Airborne all rounder project- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Airborne all rounder project

    'Scuse me for posting a bike that may be slightly off topic, but hey, it has 29er rims and does not fit into any one category real well - by design. My goal in building this bike was to build an all rounder. I want to have something that is completely off road worthy, capable of being loaded up with racks and bags for a tour, and able to hold its own as a road bike, too. The only changes I am allowing is the swapping out of wheels/tires for road use. So this is my baby:
    Airborne Ti Carpe Diem frame, which Airborne calls a "CX/Touring" frame, in its smallest size, 50cm. For a road bike I like a 56cm top tube, this has a 54, great for touring/CXing. The top tube is slightly compact as roadies say (or sloping as MTBer say), and this slope is a nice balance between them. Geometry is what I was looking for too. Steepness and bb height are between road and mtb. The stays are shorter than you would get on a dedicated touring bike or mtb, longer than a road bike - more all-rounder goodness. For touring I will have to get a longer rack and mount the bags toward the back. I also have an Old Man Mountain lowrider for up front. I am planning on my California Coast tour already.

    Can a bike have too much Chris King stuff? You can't see it here, but the 90mm, 15 degree Thomson stem is a great stubby little stem that puts me in a good position for all but dedicated road rides. Ok, I may allow myself to swap out the stem for dedicated roadie use. But no saddle/post swap. I am pretty sure.

    Airborne re-brands the same carbon CX fork that Redline, Nashbar and others resell, but puts a sexy carbon weave veneer on it. I had to have the disc mounts faced - the combo of hub, brakes, and fork pushed the rotor out too far and it rubbed the caliper body even when mounted in its outermost position. Even now the rotor comes very close to the fork leg - but it is centered in the caliper. Midge bars are awesome, I set them up with not only gears, but STI - oh the sacrilege! Personally I think it looks and works awesome. Rims are Salsa Delgado Cross - wide and beautiful, 32H with 14/15g DT spokes and brass nipples, CK ISO disc front hub, and CK Classic in the rear, 135 width. I went with a 32H rear wheel in spite of all of the warnings to go 36H with a touring bike. But I dunno - these things seem indestructuble to me, and sometimes advice like that is a little out of date. The frame has 132.5 rear hub spacing, which is very cool. Ti - like steel - can handle a little spreading of the stays, and with this bike I can have a 135 rear hub for one wheelset and 130 for the road wheelset. I have not built the road wheelset yet, that may be a later post. The 44c/1.8in WTB Mutanoraptors fill out the fork for all it is worth - and ride great. Low rolling resistance, nice round profile, predictable handling. I just wish the were kevlar bead.


    Not everything is new on the bike. You can have my Gobi saddle after it can no longer be held together with Barr's cement, which may be very soon. FSA seatpost chosen for its huge setback and carbonie goodness. Between that and the long saddle I have a big range of seating positions, appropriate to an all rounder. OK, I wont need to swap post/saddle, then, maybe just slide the saddle forward for the roadie config.

    The rear stays are curved for compliance and clearance and the design works well. In keeping with the front tires, the 35c Kendas Kross Supremes are the biggest I could stuff into the frame. As long as I keep the wheels dished and true, all is well. It is amazing how such a small tire can hook up so well, but when I get out of the saddle in technical stuff, I do have to work to keep traction back there. Tires are set up Stans' tubeless 29er which lets me run low pressures for CX, I like it around 40. Less than that endangers the tires and rims, I am afraid, there is just not that much air in there even if you are not worried about pinch flats.

    Another sacred cow falls by the wayside - V brakes with no travel agent adapter! I can hear the screaming even now. Yes, they feel a little vague - but not that bad, and stopping power galore. I could have discs in the back with this frame, but the front is where it matters if you have any finesse with your braking technique. Plus I don't think a touring rack will fit around a disc caliper, although I have seen it done on other frames.

    Speaking of technique, I love riding a bike like this - it forces you be be a good rider, you can't just let the suspension and tires do all the work for you. Full on mtb rear cluster - 11/34 XT cogs and 750 (non rapid rise) derailleur. Unfortunately you cannot see the front of the drivetrain in this pic, but it is an ultegra triple front mech - you have to go with a road front mech with road shifters. And the crankset is the newest 581 LX with the outboard bearings and semi integrated BB style. BUT it is the big ring set - 26/36/48, another great compromise between mtb/road/cx/touring. XT and XTR are not available with the bigger rings, and road triples don't get this small. It gives me one set of gears for all purposes. 48/11 big gear is only slightly smaller than 53/12 typical road big gear, and a 26/34 granny is much bigger than an mtb 22/34, which is great for me, I rely on low gearing too much on my mtb. Great geaing range for loaded touring.

    I think the midge bars deserve a second look, esp from this angle. They really help turn the bike into an all purpose rig, I am very excited about putting this baby through its paces in all of its different venues.
    Disclaimer: ComCycle USA

  2. #2
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    Awesome bike! I have a Zeppelin as my road bike as was thinking of setting up one of these as a general all-rounder. Thanks for all the build details as well. Enjoy.

  3. #3
    paintbucket
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    Nice build. Very well thought out. I usually just slap on whatever parts I've got hanging around and call it done. Obviously you subscribe to another school of bike building.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
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    I like it

    Is this your only bike?

  5. #5
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    That's a great set-up. What is the reach from bar to brake/shifter lever? It looks like it might be difficult to get on the brakes or shift in technical situations (but it probably isn't). I'd sure love to try those bars off-road, but it would take a lot to give up my Ritchey Bio-max bars. Would the USCF or ACA let you into a road race sporting those bars? Have you spent time on smaller cross tires? Some of those roll as well as a lot of road-specific tires, but still give great traction off the tarmac. That fork sure looks nifty, but I�m not sure I would have the guts to bang down a rocky road on it -- it's steel or titanium for me off-tarmac.

    I have a Seven Muse cyclocross bike that serves as my "all-arounder". On it I've done many paved road centuries, a few gravel road centuries, and countless 50+ mile paved/gravel/double-track/single-track rides. If I could only own one bike, that would be it for sure because I can ride anything on it pretty well with a simple tire change. However, I do have three wheelsets for it: road race wheels for road racing and strictly paved road rides, a touring set with 32c tires for general riding, and a cyclocross set with 32c cross tires when I know my ride is going to be more than 50% dirt or involve trails. While I can "ride" any off-road trail (nothing climbs faster!), it isn't an off-road race bike. If I had adequate clearance for a legitimate 29er tire on the rear (I've got it in the front), it would be race-worthy. As a matter of fact, I had my 29er frame designed to largely mimic the cyclocross bike because it handles so well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    That's a great set-up. What is the reach from bar to brake/shifter lever? It would take a lot to give up my Ritchey Bio-max bars. Would the USCF or ACA let you into a road race sporting those bars? Have you spent time on smaller cross tires? That fork sure looks nifty, but I�m not sure I would have the guts to bang down a rocky road on it -- it's steel or titanium for me off-tarmac.

    I have a Seven Muse cyclocross bike that serves as my "all-arounder". I do have three wheelsets for it. I had my 29er frame designed to largely mimic the cyclocross bike because it handles so well.
    The geometry of the bars is at: http://www.on-one.co.uk/products/midge.shtml

    These are replacing my Bio Maxes, acutally. I do like that the Biomaxes have some rear sweep to the top bar. These do not, and it would be nice if they did, but overall I like these better for off road in particular.

    I don't know about race legality of these bars, good question. I have no plans to race, and I think the discs also disqualify the bike from races, but I hear that is about to change.

    I have narrower tires for touring use - 32c Paselas. But here in So Cal there really are no good CX venues like back east, if you want to ride for any distance you are going to need the biggest meats you can get.

    We will see about the fork. It is not lightweight, I got it for ride quaility. It comes in around 780 grams, I think, so about twice as heavy as a road fork, but lighter than your typical 2 lb steel fork.

    Your Seven sounds great. I was seriously considering a custom steel frame. I was looking at Seven and Strong and others. Have you posted yours?
    Disclaimer: ComCycle USA

  7. #7
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    Custom Carpe

    for another $400, you can customize an Airborne frame. I have a Carpe coming for a customer w/ the rear widened to fit 29" tires, much like the Rivendell Atlantis. About 1 month wait on this puppy.

    Not that you'll use the 29" much, but it's nice to know it's there.

    The Carpe AL is also available for those penny pinchers, but not customized.

    Nice build on your bike and send pix from your tour.

    Pat

  8. #8
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    Widened Carpe?

    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    for another $400, you can have a Carpew/ the rear widened to fit 29" tires.
    Pat
    NOW you tell me. Sounds like a nice option. I wonder if they can widen it after it is built, just kind of stretch it out a little?
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  9. #9
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    I doubt it

    I doubt they can stretch your existing frame. In fact, I know they can't. But you know the custom option is there for your next bike.

    I'll send pix when we get it.

    Pat

  10. #10
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    That was a winkie icon

    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    I doubt they can stretch your existing frame. In fact, I know they can't. But you know the custom option is there for your next bike.
    I'll send pix when we get it.
    Pat
    Pat,

    Love to see it. Did not expect a bike to be widenable, really, that is what the winkie icon was in my post. No standards out there for smiley icons, I guess.
    Disclaimer: ComCycle USA

  11. #11
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    sorry

    it's been a looooong day. We have 18 hrs of daylight and 70' temps, and I just need to get out in it.


    Pat

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