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  1. #1
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    Advice for SS gravel build on a budget?

    To skip to the "long story short" part, go down a paragraph...

    Last year I had a SE PK Ripper SS 700c which I loved. Up until then I had only ridden BMX, a little bit of cc mountain, and a Dirt Jumper set up for freestyle and urban trials. I bought the SE after a couple 20-30 mile city touring rides on my SS dirt jumper (somehow keeping a 10+mph pace with a buddy on his SS road bike). The PK Ripper got me into distance road rides but when I started hitting 40 or 50 miles in a day I became interested in touring and decided it was time to get a bike with gears. I built a Salsa Vaya which I love. Regrettably, I sold the PK Ripper to fund the Vaya's wheel set. My favorite rides on the Ripper were at a local reservoir. I always transported the bike there and when I arrived I'd push myself to see how fast I could complete three or four laps of the 5+ mile gravel loop that surrounds the water. After cooling down, I would ride a few curb lines, practice my track stand, and jump a few mild dirt mounds or a log or two. Here's my dilemma... A few months ago I moved to within a mile of the reservoir. I love riding my Vaya there but that bike is evolving into more of a distance tourer. So...


    I would like to build something single speed to ride one mile to the reservoir, blast around the 5mi gravel loop a few times, be rough with if I jump a few curbs or dirt mounds, and ride home.
    I want decent front and rear breaks.
    I am open to 26", 29" and 700c
    The gravel is fine and mostly hard packed but I am leaning towards a higher volume tire because I do see some sloppy mud and deep sand at times. 700x35 would be the absolute minimum. Kinda leaning towards 26" or 29".
    I want it to handle well. I loved how aggressive the track geometry of my PK Ripper was.
    I want to complete the bike for as far under $500 as I can so my girl doesn' shoot me for building another bike.
    I want to be able to bronc the bike. I don't understand everything about how the frame geometry effects this. Chainstay length? I want to be able to bronc and clear curbs and small logs instead of stopping or going around them.

    I found an unknown 26" GT mountain bike frame (no fork) in my size at a local place that sells only used bikes and parts. It had a 7 3/4" tall head tube (1 1/8"), canti break mounts and said something about triple triangle... I can get it for $75 or a tad less.

    Do I want a mountain frame in 26"? Is there a 700c road or cross frame that will take my abuse in my price range?

    Am I trying to build something that can't exist outside the PK Ripper?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Wolfcri; 04-07-2013 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Typo
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  2. #2
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    Redline monocog 29er

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by billmania View Post
    Nice, but out of the price range.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deeps Elgnis View Post
    Redline monocog 29er
    Looks like a cool bike if i could find one used under $500.
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  5. #5
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    bronc? who says that? do you mean bunnyhop? the only reason that makes sense to me is because I have heard rednecks use the term "bronco hop." to avoid confusion, stick to terminology that the other 99.5% of us use please.

    for your uses, just about any bike would work if you can single-speed it. do a search for "monstercross" on this forum. you can even take and old road bike, one that fits you, and put the fattest tires that the frame and brakes will allow. I ride an On-One Pompino, which you can build up pretty cheaply and do the kind of things you describe. if you want to be able to hop it and whip it around, a mountain bike would be better. just buy an old mtb, put some narrower tires on it, and convert it to single-speed. read the SS FAQ or check sheldon brown's SS conversion page for more on that.

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  7. #7
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    Surly Cross Check SS...fits 45mm tires. Or go Karate Monkey for much more tire clearance.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Whisperer View Post
    Surly Cross Check SS...fits 45mm tires. Or go Karate Monkey for much more tire clearance.
    I think those would be out of his budget, unless you can find it used (either complete or frame and parts).
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  9. #9
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    Find a pre-93 MTB with horizontal drops. Specializeds are usually good candidates. Take off gears, and enjoy. If needed, buy some 700c brake adapters and rims. All for well under your budget.

    I just bought a 90 Spec. Rockhopper at a local garage sale for $10.

  10. #10
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    I think you should scour craigslist, garage sales and your local bike shops for something if you are looking for the cheap thrill. Try to buy as complete as possible to hit your pricepoint. Building yourself usually costs more, unless you are patient and savvy. There's always something of interest in my area and I've had good luck. I'd plug getting a 26er and slapping the 650Bs on there. My MUSS is a craigs buy and some of the components are used LBS scores. Some even say you can squeeze a 29er in there, but I've not tried.
    I think the GT is all about condition, the triple triangle is a reference to the 3rd triangle made by crossing the seat stays over the seat tube connecting to the top tube I think. I don't know if it really serves a purpose other than making GT identifiable. If it doesn't excite, leave it be. Also, if you do spend more money than the girlfriend can know about, ask the seller to write you a receipt for half the cost. Tell them it's a matter of bike or death.
    Finally, sometimes you can get lucky at your local dump if they have a steel bin separate from the rest. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4nbstd View Post
    I think those would be out of his budget, unless you can find it used (either complete or frame and parts).
    Both are quite common on the used market...
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  12. #12
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    +2,I have one inroute from BD as we speak,should be here tomorrow...it's only a dirt-drops swap away from being a makeshift monstercrosser and fits your needs....and is on sale for $349.99 SHIPPED ("More in May" but right now all sizes up to 19" ready to go in Black,smalls in White,none in orange last time I looked on the site)
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for all of the replies, guys. I will take them into account. Theres actually a surly 1x1 with 650b's for sale locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    bronc? who says that? do you mean bunnyhop? the only reason that makes sense to me is because I have heard rednecks use the term "bronco hop." to avoid confusion, stick to terminology that the other 99.5% of us use please.
    As for "bronc"... Its actually a correct term.

    A bunny hop is when both tires leave the ground at the same time. A bronc or bronco is when you lift the front end first and then jump off the rear wheel, sometimes with a pedal kick. Theres actually a big difference. In most cases, you can not bunny hop as high or far as you can bronc. Its also a lot easier to bunny hop a bike than bronc if it has longer chainstays. You may learn a few things from Ryan Leech's "The art of trials."
    Thanks for your reply.
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  14. #14
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    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  15. #15
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    Nashbar has a 650b Single Speed bike at a good price. It is geared more for urban/commuting riding too.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfcri View Post
    As for "bronc"... Its actually a correct term.
    what you describe as a "bronco" sounds like a bunnyhop to me. if you asked a bmx rider what a proper bunnyhop is, he would describe a "bronco." bunnyhopping with both wheels leaving the ground at the same time is just a sloppy, inefficient way to do a proper bunnyhop to me. I rode BMX street/skateparks for 18 years, so maybe that's how bmx riders talk about it and trials riders have a different lexicon. anyways...

    any progress on the bike search? it sounds like just about any SS bike could work for you with some narrower, high-pressure tires and a taller gear ratio than what would be common on an XC bike. you might even be able to pull it off with a SS cyclocross bike like a Surly Crosscheck or On-One Pompino.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    any progress on the bike search? it sounds like just about any SS bike could work for you with some narrower, high-pressure tires and a taller gear ratio than what would be common on an XC bike. you might even be able to pull it off with a SS cyclocross bike like a Surly Crosscheck or On-One Pompino.
    I found a Surly 1x1 on craigslist locally. I really like the build. Its got 650b's on it too which i am interested in trying out. The guy is asking $530 which seems like a good price with the components included. I dont know if i can pull it off though because building a bike over a few months would be a trickle of funds rather than the $530 cashdump at once. Its a cool bike though.
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