Help Me... Building '04 Chameleon SS- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help Me... Building '04 Chameleon SS

    I'm in the midst of buying my next bike, and my options are still open as to my component selection. Though I need some advice (and I have gone through the FAQ's and find them helpful, now i'm here for some "expert" opinions).

    Here are the MUSTS:

    Disc Brakes, Front & Rear (Hope Mono Mini's to be exact, 140mm rear rotor)
    MRP Bones Combo Cranks (170mm arms) & BB (I got these left over from my previous bike).



    I have a new Chameleon frame on order, and I can't think of a better time to join the world of Single Speed. So I'm gonna do it... but this is where I need suggestions.

    On my own, I came up with:

    Chris King Single Speed Disc Hub (16T or 17T or 18T??)
    Blackspire DH Chain Ring (34T)
    Wipperman 8X1 Chain

    My main confusion is whether or not it's the right size chain... what tensioning options are available for the Chameleon, what works, what doesn't, etc.

    The bike is a Medium, while I'm 6'2", It's being built up for Street and DJ'ing... as well as lots of Trail (as i'll have UST rims and UST tires when i want to hit the trails).


    Let the suggestions begin.

  2. #2
    Jed Peters
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    One thing....cranks are WAY too short for you.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zonic Man
    One thing....cranks are WAY too short for you.

    Well it's what I got (and what I'm stuck with for now). I liked them fine on my geared .243racing bike last year (until I broke my neck). I like the ground clearance... 165mm is worse! hehe, that's how i look at it.

    Thanks though

  4. #4
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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    what'cha gonna do for a fork?

    also, that is going to be a tiny little bike. i'm 6'1" and had ordered a Large, but then sent it back for an XL. the Large would have been good for DJ/urban, but i wanted more of an xc fit.

    i'm torn on the fork decision. i like the features of the psylo, but i'm not down with rock shox of late. i was planning to use a manitou black (100/120mm) that i had, but the steerer is too short. i might buy another one (cambria has 'em for only $285, last years model) but it has no lockout. then there's marz, and while i think the z1 would probably be too much fork, the mx comp might be too little. the fox talus would be the cat's @ss, the dog's nuts, or whatever, but they are too much $$$.

    as for gearing, the horizontals on '04's have their own built-in slidey chain tensioner gizomos, so you should be able to use whatever ratio you want. the only remotely challending part would be aligning the caliper if you end up having to slide the drops way back, but this wouldn't be an issue with avid's cps system, which is what i'm using.

    i'm ordering a fork today, so if anyone has thoughts, i'd love to hear them. (unless it is to stop being such a cheapass and buy a damn talus ).

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eSSq
    also, that is going to be a tiny little bike. i'm 6'1" and had ordered a Large, but then sent it back for an XL. the Large would have been good for DJ/urban, but i wanted more of an xc fit.

    i'm torn on the fork decision. i like the features of the psylo, but i'm not down with rock shox of late. i was planning to use a manitou black (100/120mm) that i had, but the steerer is too short. i might buy another one (cambria has 'em for only $285, last years model) but it has no lockout. then there's marz, and while i think the z1 would probably be too much fork, the mx comp might be too little. the fox talus would be the cat's @ss, the dog's nuts, or whatever, but they are too much $$$.

    as for gearing, the horizontals on '04's have their own built-in slidey chain tensioner gizomos, so you should be able to use whatever ratio you want. the only remotely challending part would be aligning the caliper if you end up having to slide the drops way back, but this wouldn't be an issue with avid's cps system, which is what i'm using.

    i'm ordering a fork today, so if anyone has thoughts, i'd love to hear them. (unless it is to stop being such a cheapass and buy a damn talus ).

    I'm coming off a 15" .243racing frame, so this one won't be much different... a bit bigger if anything.

    I'm putting an '04 Sherman Firefly on mine.

  6. #6
    The man who fell to earth
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    This should be good...

    Glad to hear about your Chameleon. I'm thinking real hard about getting one of these myself, I really like the geometry and the toughness of these bikes. It's going to be good to see how you build this bike. Anyway, I'm about your height and I can't believe your getting such a small frame...are you sure that's right for you? I would think an XL would be the way to go...maybe a L if you're a total jumper/FS dude.

    Also, I have a set of Hope hydros and a set of Avid mechs. The Hopes are good, but I wouldn't recommend them on a bike with horizontal dropouts. The reason being is that it is not easy (at all) to tweak the alignment of the Hopes once they are installed. And with horizontal dropouts, everytime you remove your wheel or tension the chain, the disc will move a bit and you will not be able to exactly line it up properly with the broken in pads. From my experience with the Hopes, they grab great and overall are good once they are bedded and aligned properly. But if the alignment is even slightly off, the braking effectiveness goes way down (plus you can get rubs/squeals). Hopes are best for fronts and on bikes with vertical dropouts IMHO.

    I have a set of Avid mechs on the back of my DISS (which has horizontal dropouts), and they are far superior to the Hopes in adjustability. If you have to change a tire or tension your chain, it's a 30 second procedure to adjust the Avid caliper so that it is *perfectly* realigned (so that braking action is perfect again). With the Hopes, you have to "Hope" you can realign the caliper as good as before. It's not that it can't be done with Hopes, but it's a lot more fuss.

    And although you can probably get by with the crank you have, for someone of your size I would recommend at least a 175. Also you didn't mention a fork, but Im thinking a Fox TALAS 125-80 would be a perfect match for this bike.

    Good luck with your build, and let us know how it turns out. Love them Chameleons!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian Lotion
    I'm in the midst of buying my next bike, and my options are still open as to my component selection. Though I need some advice (and I have gone through the FAQ's and find them helpful, now i'm here for some "expert" opinions).

    Here are the MUSTS:

    Disc Brakes, Front & Rear (Hope Mono Mini's to be exact, 140mm rear rotor)
    MRP Bones Combo Cranks (170mm arms) & BB (I got these left over from my previous bike).



    I have a new Chameleon frame on order, and I can't think of a better time to join the world of Single Speed. So I'm gonna do it... but this is where I need suggestions.

    On my own, I came up with:

    Chris King Single Speed Disc Hub (16T or 17T or 18T??)
    Blackspire DH Chain Ring (34T)
    Wipperman 8X1 Chain

    My main confusion is whether or not it's the right size chain... what tensioning options are available for the Chameleon, what works, what doesn't, etc.

    The bike is a Medium, while I'm 6'2", It's being built up for Street and DJ'ing... as well as lots of Trail (as i'll have UST rims and UST tires when i want to hit the trails).


    Let the suggestions begin.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    The fork will be a Sherman Firefly.


    XC / Trail riding will account for 20-30% of my riding.

    MOST, if not ALL Freeride / Street-Only specific frames come no larger than 15"... 13-14" is the most common. Like I said, my last bike was a 15" frame.

    I will take into consideration the crank-arm length. If I can sell my Bones, I would go for some Diabolous cranks in 175mm, but I'm already in the $3K CDN neighborhood. Getting expensive!

  8. #8
    Steamroller
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    Marzocchi MX pro air 105mm

    These get my vote, I picked up a set for about $350 and have been riding them for about a 2 months. The ETA is nice you can lock it out and still have about 25mm of travel for the small bumps while climbing. The air is nice as you can get it nice and stiff for a big guy without changing springs etc. Don't do the psylos, especially if you are over about 200 lbs
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  9. #9
    gentle like
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    i ride an '04 sherman flick

    and love my flick. had i the cash, i would've gone for the firefly. i ride an mx-comp for xc stuff and liked it very much ... but after riding the flick, i'd have to tag "for now" on the mx-comp.

    obviously i'm not sure how the fork will hold up quite yet, but it works really well. it sounds like you're going to have a kickass ride.

    "scotian" lotion, eh? you out east? what's the weather like out there?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    and love my flick. had i the cash, i would've gone for the firefly. i ride an mx-comp for xc stuff and liked it very much ... but after riding the flick, i'd have to tag "for now" on the mx-comp.

    obviously i'm not sure how the fork will hold up quite yet, but it works really well. it sounds like you're going to have a kickass ride.

    "scotian" lotion, eh? you out east? what's the weather like out there?
    I'm FROM Nova Scotia, but i live in Ontario now

  11. #11
    gentle like
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    ah - checked your profile.

    waterloo - you at university? i lived around u of w for a summer - i was at the hydrocut practically every day.

    do they still have some stunts, etc, built up out there? i had heard something about being forced to tear them down. it'd still be a nice place for xc, but ...

    if you're looking for a 'play area,' and don't know the bruce trail in waterdown, check it out once the weather clears up. it's right off hiway 5, though i can't remember the street name (i could find out). nice little spot just a short ride in. fun, accessible skinnies, a teeter-totter, some jumps and drops, etc. nothing too big or fancy, but good - you'd have a blast on the chameleon, i'd bet. i grew up right around waterdown.

    have fun in any case.

  12. #12
    USB Rep'n
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    we are developing a small cult I think....

    I just ordered my Chameleon this week! I know what you're saying about your .243 but I gotta agree with the others, that be a smallllllll frame my man. I'm 5-9" and am using the Chameleon for dj, park, and urban (as well as a little trail time) and went medium. It still has the same TT as my bmx! The small was ridiculous imo for someone my height. OK, enough, you've made your choice anyway.

    I like the build but I'llbe using 175's (thought about 180's even since SS off road can make use of the longer arms). As for the fork, I'll be using my Marathon 100 until I can get a Firefly or maybe a Z1.

    Im curious about using the discs front and back though. I was gonna run an 8" up front and v in back to make things simple. If I could go 6" front and back, I'd be way happier. How do you make it work in back with the horiz. drops? I just have not read a good explanation of how this works out without a crazy amount of fuss.

    Congrats on the SC!! We'll all have to have a "new baby" party in a month or so!
    though hope is frail, it must prevail - Taj Weekes

    betam eh-wud-eh-HA-lehu y
    eh-nay Ityopia!

  13. #13
    You Are What You Is
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    I'll join the fray

    I just took delivery of my XL Chameleon frame and immediately started stripping it. OK, actually it's a Jenson frame but basically the exact same frame as a Chameleon. Supposedly it's even made at the same place. I bought it used for $150 with the idea that I'd use the leftover parts that I have "laying around" to build up a SS. I didn't like the green so I figured this would be a good chance to try my stripping/painting skills.

    The first pic was taken shortly after I started stripping it.
    The second pic is after about 2 hours of stripping. I've made the decision to take it all the way down to a polished finish, so I've got a ways to go yet. I'll post the complete project when I finish.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    theHeadlessThompsonGunner
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    Hmmmm....

    That looks exactly like mine used to! I too hated the green, and opted to strip it early on in favor of baby's bottom blue. I've gotten really used to calling mine a Chameleon, even though it started life the same as yours did. Ah well...

    The frame is made for a Z1, and yes, it is a lot of fork. It will allow you to descend like a goon, but make some--and only some, not all--climbs hell (or preceded by ETA/ECC activation). If I had it to do over again, I'd strongly consider one of Manitou's heavy-duty offerings, such as the Firefly. The frame rides quite nice with a 120 mm Black, which is almost as stiff as most 32 mm stanchion forks (but not quite). I liked my Black, though it was a little short, but it blew up and I went back to tried 'n true Zoke. The Black is A LOT steeper at the head angle than a Z1.

    As was said earlier, your cranks will be too short and your frame too small, unless you're building a jumper (which is OK). I'm 6'3" and returned a L in favor of an XL, and couldn't be happier. It's a trailbike, and wouldn't jump too well; it's also very long and doesn't manevuer as tightly as it could. (I've cased 6 feet-to-flats without problems, though!) I like the bike so much that I'm considering having some Curtlo or Vulture steel made in its stead, with exactly the same geometry, albeit a slightly steeper head angle (again, Z1s are giant).

    Rumor has it that the 04's only fit 32 x 18 (or incarnations thereof) with discs. That said, they will fit the <03 disc adapters, and you could simply run the 'under the stay' model instead. I've been running discs on my 03 since the beginning, and the modular mount has been flawless--easy wheel removal, and no limitations on gearing.

    My bike has been pic'd a thousand times, so I'm not going to bother with more. It can be found in the 'Lizards' thead on the SC board, if you're interested.
    "I've courted brain damage like some courtesan of darkness."


    -The Good Doctor

  15. #15
    mtbr member
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    I will take all yous advice and sell my cranks and pick up some 175mm's of somesort.

    Again... I like my bike extremely flickable. I had a 15" .243... my roommate had a 13" .243 and I enjoyed his bike more than mine. I am not a hardcore, fitness trailrider, I like to play around, step ups, dirt jumping, street/urban and I will trail ride it just because I can.

    Will it be smaller than my .243? If so, THEN i might consider getting my bike shop to change the order, but my the look of the numbers, it's bigger (tho by a trivial amount).

  16. #16
    theHeadlessThompsonGunner
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    I went back and reread your post, and I think the cranks might suit you just fine. At 6'3", if I were building a jumper, I'd certainly start with a medium. I was just giving you a reference point for how big my trailbike is--and how unjumpable it is! 170 mm cranks might suit you just fine. With your long legs, you'll be able to turn them over pretty well, and still have lots of clearance. If you log many miles or start doing any 'creative commutes', you'll start to notice how short they are, though. I ride 175s and don't wish for anything longer (most days!), mostly because I like the clearance. Longer cranks might give you more leverage for trialsin stuff, though.

    Good luck, ride what you have (at least once, and then rethink things if needed), and post her when she's built!
    "I've courted brain damage like some courtesan of darkness."


    -The Good Doctor

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