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  1. #1
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    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics

    So, I recently purchased a Santa Cruz Nickel frame, on closeout from competitive cyclist dot com, for a crazy deal. I was actually originally in the market for a 4" travel 29'er frame, to swap all my parts over from my Surly Karate Monkey.

    However, 3 factors came into play that swayed my decision. The first factor was that I love the Karate Monkey the way it is and would be shamed to stripe 'er of parts for some new mistress. The second factor was geometry, I couldn't find a 29'er frame with the geometry I wanted, for the price I was looking for. Most of the 29'er frames have looong chainstays and steep angles. But the third reason is what pushed me back in the direction of 26" wheels, the Nickel frame on closeout for $699, with 16.7" chainstays....and then reading about the 140mm travel upgrade in other threads!

    The Karate Monkey gets the thumbs-up and lives as my smooth XC trail speed machine. The Nickel shall be built as a rough and tumble big-all-mountain bike, with concern for weigh. I have a lot of spare parts laying around to use, but need to build a new wheel set. Hopefully I can get a reasonable weight on this thing.

    Here is the Nickel frame, popped fresh out tha box:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel1.jpg  


  2. #2
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    The first thing I did was call up Marzocchi and inquired about end-of season deals on 2012 items. Big mistake, as I am now the owner of a Roco LO and a 44 RC3ti, and a big bag of Quinoa from Costco. The Quinoa should provide enough protein and sustenance to survive on while I get my finances back in the safe zone.

    The Roco LO is 200 x 57, bringing the rear travel of the Nickel up to 140mm, as demonstrated in other threads. The Marzocchi 44 RC3ti is 150mm of travel, with a tapered steartube. Should be nicely balanced...MTBer4Life has this same suspension setup on his Nickel, the reports have been very positive.

    Official frame weight on the local bike shop digital scale was just under 7 lbs, with the Roco LO...something like 6.95 lbs. The 44 RC3ti weighed in at 4.4 lbs. Not bad, so far.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel3.jpg  

    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel4.jpg  


  3. #3
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    After some time, I place an order on parts. First up is the wheel build. This was a tough decision, but I finally settled on limited edition ano-electric-blue Halo Feedom Disc rims.

    I have black Halo Freedom Disc rims on my Karate Monkey, and have been very pleased with their weight and strength. They built up real true-like and have remained so. I am a fan.

    Halo also makes them in ano-red, but I have red parts on other bikes, so blue is the risk I shall take....laced to a green Chris King hub. What am I doing?!?

    btw, Universal Cycles has the Halo rim weight wrong...they show 645g, Halo's website shows 545g. The digital scale at the local bike shop weighed them at 540g.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel5.jpg  

    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel6.jpg  


  4. #4
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    Are you seriously living off quinoa now?!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve.E View Post
    Are you seriously living off quinoa now?!
    Not seriously, but I did buy a big bag of quinoa to help out. Eggs, cans of tuna and homemade salsa are part of this bike build, too. I am on a serious spending budget now.

  6. #6
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    Secret Weapon

    Adding tension to the secret weapon, and 4th reason I went with this frame, dropouts compatible with this hub. I won't be conforming to the new standards for a while.

    An Alfine hub has been abused on my Karate Monkey for about 2 years now, without a single problem...one should be able to survive on this bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel7.jpg  


  7. #7
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    more eye candy....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel8.jpg  

    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel9.jpg  


  8. #8
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    Mmmmmm. Nice. I wanna' hear how the frame gets along with the Alfine down the road.

    Love the idea of a IGH one my suspension bikes, but hate the idea of still needing a tensioner.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Love the idea of a IGH one my suspension bikes, but hate the idea of still needing a tensioner.
    I feel the same way...but my hate for the tensioner is less than my hate for the deraileur.

    One overlooked advantage of the IGH is being able to shift without pedaling. This is nice in technical little descents with steep gully climbs at the bottom.

    Hopefully I can come up with a low-profile tensioning setup.

  10. #10
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    Progress

    The bike stands on her own wheels! Still have some things to work out in the chain tensioning department, but this is more or less what I'm going for.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel12.jpg  


  11. #11
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    Borrowed the XTR cranks off of my Karate Monkey to start prototyping the chain tensioning devise. I have a feeling this would not work on it's own, but it was worth a shot. Even with a super high roller, the over all difference in chain growth above the cranks is still greater than the chain length shortening below the cranks. In conclusion, chain tension still gets tighter.

    I'm going to attempt to invent a spring-loaded roller to make this work.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel13.jpg  


  12. #12
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    Yup, Avid mechanical disc brakes...mis-mached pair of calipers, laying around in the garage. Currently rocking a pair on the KM, definitely a fan of these simple yet powerful brakes. Pretty easy to dial in a no-drag setup.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel15.jpg  

    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel14.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Chubby ROCO.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel16.jpg  


  14. #14
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    Thieves beware!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel11.jpg  


  15. #15
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    Very cool to see someone having fun with their build!!
    Thanks for sharing

  16. #16
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    Don't know that you'll get around the issue without using something out back. Something like this.

    ETR/D / bike chain tensioners and other goodies / your friends at yess labs

    Run your ring and cog as far inboard as you can, and I'd think it would minimize how much of the tensioner is sticking out to potentially be damanged.

    Rohloff makes one like that, and I think Shimano even has one. Or just trim down an old rear mech - seems like a short cage model would work well.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  17. #17
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    Or on the cheap, use an old rd and use the screws to set in one spot.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dansMTB View Post
    Or on the cheap, use an old rd and use the screws to set in one spot.
    I have a variety of hanger based chain tensioners at my disposal, in the garage...a Surly Singulator, a Paul's tensioner and a couple of old road deraileurs.

    Those are my back-up options. I want to try and tension the chain from the bottom bracket.

    I need to order an Alfine cog, that has the plastic chain guide built in, to keep the chain on track.

    Although I'm anxious to ride the Nickel, I'm kind of savoring this build for some unknown reason. I have a set of Shimano SLX cranks on order for this bike.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    Don't know that you'll get around the issue without using something out back. Something like this.

    ETR/D / bike chain tensioners and other goodies / your friends at yess labs
    yess!!! Something along these lines is what I'm hoping to accomplish. I need to get the chain as short as possible, to pull it off.

    The Nickel has plenty of clearance in this area to position a BB tensioner, with the elevated chainstays.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-etrb-cutout_grande.jpg  

    Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-etr_b_grande.jpg  


  20. #20
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    Belt drive

    Have you thought about going with a belt drive system. My understanding is some of the belt drive systems sold in Europe incorporate a belt that stretches so you do not need a tensioner.

  21. #21
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    Very Nice

    Quote Originally Posted by sriracha View Post
    The bike stands on her own wheels! Still have some things to work out in the chain tensioning department, but this is more or less what I'm going for.
    Nice Build. Here is an update on my build. I built this one to be a trailbike queen.

    Right now she weighs in at 28 pounds 4 ounces. I will post pics later.

    Cheers,

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBforlife View Post
    Have you thought about going with a belt drive system. My understanding is some of the belt drive systems sold in Europe incorporate a belt that stretches so you do not need a tensioner.
    Had not considered belt drive. I did not realize some of them stretched.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sriracha View Post
    Had not considered belt drive. I did not realize some of them stretched.
    One of my riding buddies is from accross the pond and when we first linked up he was using this belt drive system on a FSR to power his Rolf rear hub. No tensioner required. He said he liked it alot. The system did eventually wear out on his bike and he was unable to find a replacement belt at that time so he put a tradional set up on his rig. Unfortunately I am not able to remember the Manufactures name.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBforlife View Post
    One of my riding buddies is from accross the pond and when we first linked up he was using this belt drive system on a FSR to power his Rolf rear hub. No tensioner required. He said he liked it alot. The system did eventually wear out on his bike and he was unable to find a replacement belt at that time so he put a tradional set up on his rig. Unfortunately I am not able to remember the Manufactures name.
    Interesting. I wonder if you lose any power, due to the stretching belt? Or maybe it acts like a rubber band, storing potential energy and releasing it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sriracha View Post
    Interesting. I wonder if you lose any power, due to the stretching belt? Or maybe it acts like a rubber band, storing potential energy and releasing it.
    Do do remember him saying that he got no feedback at the pedals.

    This was like four years ago, too.

  26. #26
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    Progress:

    Steertube cut.
    Brake housing and cables have been strung.
    Hub and shifter have housing and cable...adjusted and shifts great.
    XTR crankset and Kona Wah-wah pedals have been returned to the Karate Monkey.
    Shimano SLX cranks with Saint pedals now reside on the bike and look awesome.

    All that's left to do is add the chain tensioner, but I am now away from my steed, for Thanksgiving. Bike will be completed immediately upon return, with more pictures to come!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-nickel15-2.jpg  


  27. #27
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    Yee haw!!

  28. #28
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    The Nickel lives!!!!

    Finished the bike yesterday evening, took 'er on a test ride....wow! I am quite happy about the Nickel, and the way the bike rides. The bike pedals really well. With just the right amount of chain tug, you can feel the rear wheel dig into the ground on climbs, with minimal bob. On the descent, the bike was amazing! The suspension feels plush, yet firm, sporty, yet bottomless. The handling was great, too. Feels well balanced in the corners and on jumps.

    Loving the Alfine setup. Didn't drop the chain once....in fact the bike was really quite. I didn't hear any chainslap.

    I couldn't be happier with this bike. Super stoked...best bike I've owned.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel1.jpg  


  29. #29
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    More pics! You like the 57mm shock?

  30. #30
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    X2 Please post some pics of your tensioner setup. Great looking bike and interesting build. -Marcus
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  31. #31
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    fnck a derailleur...I have a new use for the derailleur hanger: bottle opener.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel3.jpg  


  32. #32
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    Super quite drivetrain, no chain slap, no dropped chains. Roughly 200-300g weigh penalty, depending on other setups. The clean lines, rock clearance and no floppy derailleur make it worth it. I have broken free of the derailleur matrix!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel5.jpg  


  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    More pics! You like the 57mm shock?
    I love it, so far! Although, I removed the 200x50mm Fox RL shock immediately, before building, so I don't know how it compares to the OEM setup. I want to sell the Fox, advertised as unridden.

    With 140mm rear travel and 150mm front travel, the bike feels perfect for aggressive trail riding. Hitting small jumps on the trail, the bike was really smooth on the landings. Yet, at the same time, the bike does not feel like "overkill" for trail riding and climbing. Pedal strokes are responsive and efficient, with great traction.

  34. #34
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    Chromag saddle with Italian leather and titanium rails. Not the lightest saddle, but certainly comfortable and nice looking. Barely lighter than the previous WTB Silverado saddle and much nicer to sit on.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel4.jpg  


  35. #35
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    Chris King parts are so nice to look at. Thomson ain't too shabby either.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel7.jpg  


  36. #36
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    Certainly the new King of my quiver...the Nickel.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel6a.jpg  


  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by sriracha View Post
    I love it, so far! Although, I removed the 200x50mm Fox RL shock immediately, before building, so I don't know how it compares to the OEM setup. I want to sell the Fox, advertised as unridden.

    With 140mm rear travel and 150mm front travel, the bike feels perfect for aggressive trail riding. Hitting small jumps on the trail, the bike was really smooth on the landings. Yet, at the same time, the bike does not feel like "overkill" for trail riding and climbing. Pedal strokes are responsive and efficient, with great traction.
    Same experience here. There is a huge difference between the two shocks. In fact the biggest difference or improvement I have ever experienced in a parts swap. I'm going to keep my Fox shock. I can use it if the Monarch should pop or when I need to send it in for a service. And, I don't really feel I can get enough for a bottom feeder Fox shock to make it worth not having that option.

  38. #38
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    As a noob, I'm intrigued & love the simplistic idea of no derailleurs. But, how hard is that for steeper climbing ? Or is a single speed bike mainly for DH riding via shuttle ?
    What gearing comb is that ?
    Or is that Alfine an internal shifter ?
    Sorry for the noob ?'s.

    btw- love your Ni...
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxo56 View Post
    As a noob, I'm intrigued & love the simplistic idea of no derailleurs. But, how hard is that for steeper climbing ? Or is a single speed bike mainly for DH riding via shuttle ?
    What gearing comb is that ?
    Or is that Alfine an internal shifter ?
    Sorry for the noob ?'s.

    btw- love your Ni...
    If you go to the drivetrain section: Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks - Mtbr Forums You can read about it for days.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxo56 View Post
    As a noob, I'm intrigued & love the simplistic idea of no derailleurs. But, how hard is that for steeper climbing ? Or is a single speed bike mainly for DH riding via shuttle ?
    What gearing comb is that ?
    Or is that Alfine an internal shifter ?
    Sorry for the noob ?'s.

    btw- love your Ni...

    Thanks! 3 rides on the bike so far, and I love it, too!

    The Alfine hub is an internally geared 8-speed hub. I am currently using a 34 tooth chainring and a 22 tooth rear cog. The gear range seems just about right for the trails I built the bike for. I could see a 32 tooth being a bit nicer for the steep climbs, but I'm afraid a 32 tooth won't work with this chain tensioning setup....the upper and lower chains might touch.

    Shimano also makes a 3-speed internally geared hub, with disc also. I use that on my roady bike. I could see using that 3-speed internal gear hub on a DH bike. The 3-speed hub is about a pound lighter than the 8-speed and about $100 cheaper. They also make an 11-speed IGH, but I don't think it's as robust nor as efficient as the 8/3-speed hubs, plus it's more expensive.

    As for climbing, the hub works great! I'm not sure which setup has less friction, this or a traditional setup...so far, it feels great when climbing without noticeable drag. One thing that is really nice about this setup, is being able to shift without pedaling. I am constantly shifting now, coasting down rocky-tech sections, in anticipation of a steep climb at the bottom. It's rather nice.

    Also, like I mentioned earlier, this setup is absolutely quite. Not even the slightest chain slap is happening. Still no chain drops, either. I can corner closer to rocks/logs now, without fear of killing a derailleur as well.

  41. #41
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    I got photo-bombed by a bush!

    Official weigh, as shown: 33.88 lbs.

    A little on the portly side. I'm ditching the heavy single speed chain in favor of a 9-speed Whipperman...that should bring the weight down to 33.5 lbs...plus, the chain is rotational and unsprung weight.

    I'm sure I could drop some more weight in tires, when these wear out.

    It is light enough without compromise to strength and durability. Smooth bearings everywhere make it roll efficiently.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel2.jpg  


  42. #42
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    Nice! A fatty, yes, but still nice. Try a 10 speed KMC chain, nice and light.

  43. #43
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    Hey, those mountains look familiar. Where is that?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    Nice! A fatty, yes, but still nice. Try a 10 speed KMC chain, nice and light.

    I didn't even think about using a 10-speed chain. I already purchased a 9-speed chain, special order.
    I'm sticking with a Wipperman chain. It looks like the weight difference between 9 and 10 speed chains, in Wipperman, is only 14 grams. I can live with that. I don't want to spend more money, at this point.

    The mountains in the background are in the Santa Barbara area. We have some rough, non-shuttle mountain trails, that will be the ultimate test for the IHG hub and chain tensioner.

  45. #45
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    Well, I was hoping that I had invented something new that is patentable, but after some research, it appears that Shimano has a variety of patents held on chain tensioning devices, including frame mounted, torsion sprung devices meant to accommodate the varying chainstay length of a full suspension frame.

    As a result, there is no reason for me to be cagey with this device. I do feel that this idea has never been done before: mounting a spring loaded chain tensioner on the BB in conjunction with an Internally Geared Hub on a full suspension bike. If so, please feel free to let me know.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel8.jpg  


  46. #46
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    I made this by modifying an old MRP boomerang and common parts from the local hardware store, including brass bushings for the mini-swingarm to pivot on. All common parts means I can easily replace them long into the future. All the parts were also made in the USA, including the extension-spring. Tolerances are pretty snug, with minimal play in the moving parts.

    If anybody is interested in having one made, feel free to PM. This thing works awesome on elevated chainstay bikes.

    BTW, I do plan on trimming off that extra part of the boomerang, above the chainring. I'm just waiting to complete more testing on rougher trails, before I do such a thing. I might need to bolt on an upper guide device, to hold the chain on securely, but so far, I have not had a single dropped chain issue.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel10.jpg  


  47. #47
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    My homemade spring loaded chain tensioning device weighs in at 220 grams. Not bad. I was afraid it was going to be a lot more, with the tension spring. I originally had a heavier spring, but it applied way too much tension on the chain. The lighter one works perfectly. Still applies more tension than a rear derailleur...chain slap should be a thing of the past for me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel9.jpg  


  48. #48
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    Side profile, showing the angles.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nickel Bike of Funk - build pics-121204-nickel12.jpg  

    Last edited by sriracha; 12-05-2012 at 06:27 PM.

  49. #49
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    i've read up on the internal hub gearboxes and the pics of your build got me jones'n for another sidewalk sale from SC.

    Maybe a Ni ifn they have any more my size...
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxo56 View Post
    i've read up on the internal hub gearboxes and the pics of your build got me jones'n for another sidewalk sale from SC.

    Maybe a Ni ifn they have any more my size...

    seems as if they still have frames available at competitivecyclist.com...price has dropped to $600.

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