Five years ago I strolled into Ancaster Cycle just to nose around and day dream of owning more bikes. I wandered the shop and inspected each mountain bike they had then move towards the roadie side of the rack where I noticed a black and white bike with disc brakes. Upon closer inspection I found myself drooling over the Norco CCX3, a do-it-all style of CX bike that I would categorize as a gravel-cross-commuter. I was strangely drawn to this bike, never having the urge to own a CX bike before. I returned home and did some humming and hawing before digging up some cash and heading back to Ancaster to make the Norco mine. I remember my wife's puzzled look when I wheeled it in the door, as it looked like a road bike at first glance and I'm not a road going kind of guy.
After adding some bottle cages and clipless pedals I was off to see what this rig could do. My first ride was down the Lynn Valley Trail to Dover, then across Radical Road to Hay Creek for some light trail riding before riding pavement back to Simcoe.
I did some awesome rides in its first year. A few trips to Brantford and back via the rail trail, a tour of the area surrounding Port Burwell including a closed section of Lakeshore Road.
On year two, the bike became mostly a kiddie hauler. I had the Chariot trailer hooked up almost permenantly and cover alot of miles pulling my son while he slept most of the way.
Year three was alot of the same as year two, pulling a trailer. Although now my son would stay awake and watch the interesting things go by. One of the kid's first words was "bike".
Year four started out with a major overhaul. Complete disassembly and clean / lube job. I finally washed away the years of road grime it had worn like a badge of honour. I spent alot of time again pulling a trailer, now with the added weight of my daughter along for the ride. Lots of funs times had with the three of us, stopping at each park to play wherever we would go. The trailer saw so much use it needed an overhaul too including new tires and some minor repairs.
Year five (2016) and shit got real. I decided to push the bike hard and see when it would push back. I made a few more modifications to the bike and off I went, logging the most miles of any year I had it. I did some mixed surface rides, doing pavement out to Turkey Point then riding the singletrack for a little cyclocross action. I also did the TillsonBurn ride this year, pushing outside of my comfort zone. I rode it in the ice and snow, the rain, the mud, and the burning hot sun.
After this year of hard riding, it needs some attention again. Nothing a little elbow grease and spit shine can't fix. The crap conditions are here and the fatbike will get all the glory for the next couple months, which gives me lots of time to refurb the CCX and do some more tweaking of my setup. Its been an excellent companion and proven to be very tough, never leaving me stranded. Funny how I had never given the thought of a CX bike as a serious do-it-all machine, and after buying it on a whim it became one of my all time favourite bikes. Here's to many more years on this awesome bike.
My setup as of now:
Frame - 2012 Norco CCX3 (bought the bike in 2011)
Fork - Norco cromoly CCX
Headset - Kore
Stem - stock Norco
Handlebar - Salsa Cowbell
Shifters - Shimano Sora 9 speed
Derailleurs - Shimano Sora front, Shimano SLX rear
Cassette - Shimano XT 32-11
Crankset - FSA
Wheels - Alex Black Dragon
Tires - Specialized Trigger 42c
Brakes - Avid BB7 road
Post - FSA
Saddle - Specialized Power
Pedals - Shimano PDM-520
Got my first ride in on the Winter Project 29er I built this year. As you know, the frame is an old KHS Tucson, mated with a Lefty and some Shimano / WTB goodies. I did swap the Schwalbe tires in favour of some sweet ass retro looking Maxxis treads. I went with skinwall Ardent tires, 2.25 rear, 2.4 front. These tires are of the "rip and grip" variety and work great in the sandy trails of Turkey Point.
I got a few compliments from other riders I met on my maiden voyage with it, one person mentioned that it had a classic look to it, to which I say thanks. Thats what I was kinda going for. I'm glad it turned out that way.
The bike rides awesome, steering is quick, likely because of the 72 degree head angle mated with the 45mm offset of the lefty. Though quick, its controllable and stable at speed. The bike wants to be ridden fast, it feels a wee bit sluggish if I'm sight seeing, but open up the throttle and it loves to be laid over into the corners. I had to do a few quick adjustments of the seatpost height, the rear brake, and the stem spacer height, but after that the ride was uneventful. I'm glad I built up a 29er over the winter, I forgot just how fast they can be after riding the fat bike all last summer. Looking forward to putting alot of miles on this old girl.
Got the frame stripped and painted. No photos of the process, sorry. I did a rattlecan job on it with acrylic enamel. Coat of primer, primer sealer, paint, and clear. Turned out ok, its a 3 foot paint job if you know what I mean.
Also broke down the front wheel and a short time later had it built on the Lefty hub. The spokes were almost dead on what freespoke gave me for lengths so I reused them. Wheel build turned out good and only took an hour. I'm getting pretty good at this wheel building stuff, those 6 wheel builds I did last year are paying off now.
I decided to toss on some rubber and see what kind of travel reduction spacer the Lefty Max is going to need for the 29er wheel. Looks like I'm well in the safety zone for 100mm and can even squeak out 110mm if I wanted to. I'll have to build a nice 40mm travel spacer from aluminum or plastic when I do the Lefty rebuild.
No time wasted here. Tore the bike down to the frame and checked out all the parts. Its going to need some replacement parts, and some love for the rest of them.
Removed the white plastic cages, these will go on my black and white scheme CX bike. Took off the brand new Shimano Hydro brakes, Shimano Deore driveline came off and is in good shape too.
Crankset if totally fubared. BB is toast and broken, crank threads for the extractor tool are stipped, small chaingring is missing two bolts and now resembles an old Bio-Pace chainring. The bb shell on the frame has significant rust inside, although it does not seem to be enough to be concerned about. Needs a good cleaning for sure.
Down to the frame. Bare frame weighs in at 5lbs 1 oz.
One thing I noticed was the seatpost is 26.8mm. An odd size, not sure who even makes this size anymore. I`ll need a new one as the head bolt has stripped out the aluminum clamp for the saddle rails.
Part 3 will be coming soon!
I picked up a bit of a winter project for this year. After riding the full fat and loving it all year, I decided I could use a nice 29er to mix things up and keep the riding experience fresh. I`ve gotten quite good at buying bikes and selling them for a small profit, as well as buying bikes with parts I want, doing some swap outs and reselling the bike for the same amount I bought it. The cost of my bike hobby is paying for itself this way.
I picked up a 2008 KHS Tucson 29er. It has a 4130 cromo frame, Rock Shox Tora 318 Soloair, WTB wheels, Shimano drivetrain and brakes. Its in need of some love and updating. I`d like to paint it as well, the colour is butt ugly IMO. The seller also included a second set of wheels with the bike (including rotors and a near new cassette, YaY!)
My goal here is to build this as a good looking, cheap bike for general XC shredding.
Weighs in at a hefty 31 lbs.
Some more photos of the bike as it sits.
Part 2 will be ripping the bike down and inspecting all the parts.
Cheap bikes...... I love them. I'm not talking about the crap you'll find at your local department store whateverthef*ck-mart, I'm talking about well built cheap bikes that are real working machines and not a bicycle shaped object picked up from the toy department.
It seems that I always find myself buying a relatively cheap bike ($1000-1500) and upgrading it to my personal tastes / bomb-proofing. I'm not interested in pop can thin aluminum tubes for lightweight racing or the high cost of carbon fiber frames. Cheaper aluminum frames use heavier wall tubing without as much shape manipulation, which IMO makes a better bike..... for me at least. Although harder to find now, cro-mo frames can be had cheaply as well.
Some of my favourite cheap bikes you ask? Well I've had a few over the years.....
1) Norco CCX3 - $875 +tax
What a work horse. This bike has done it all for me. Road riding, gravel grinding, rail trail jaunts, even some singletrack work. It has seen 25c racing slicks, 32c commuter tires, 35c cross tires, fenders, racks, panniers, kids pulled in trailers... the list goes on. Who can fault a 29lbs cross bike with disc brakes for the price? Especially one that withstands the abuse of a clydesdale on a weekly basis.
2)Nashbar Big 'Ol Fatbike $1100
The only mountain bike I own right now. 4130 chromoly steel frame, 4" wide tires, can run it 29er+ (a format that I'm beginning to really love), decent parts from the OEM. Heavy? Sure. Sexy? Nope. Solid? Like an anvil. I've beat this thing for a year now and have no faults with it except the rear hub died, spent $90 on a replacement and we're good to go again. Bric approved.
3)Origin8 Scout 29er frameset $250
I had bought this frameset from feebay and built it with parts in my bin into a nice rigid singlespeed 29er. another bike made from 4130 it served me well. A nice frameset that would be my go-to choice to build another 29er - singlespeed or geared. Sold it a couple of years ago and have missed it.
Its always nice to see what people make of cheap bikes. Some bike snobs will scoff at your run of the mill $1000 hardtail with an aluminum frame and cheap fork. Fack em! A bike is what you make it, and no matter what you spend it will be seeing some upgrades I'm sure. If the bike feels too slow or heavy - pedal harder. I've seen people on cheap 38lbs fat bikes out ride the guy on a carbon fiber state-of-the-art race machine. Its all about the engine.
I love cheap bikes.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.