New to this forum, but a 10+ year lover/rider of monster cross bikes (40-45mm tires, dirt drops) and also the admin of Monstercross News on FB. 

Here is a pic of one of the monstercross bikes I've had over the years and the only one with gears. Soma june bug dirt drops set up fr riding in the hooks and Bruce Gordon Rock n Roads...the OG gravel tire! 

I'm in Colorado Springs and started riding monster cross bikes 10 years ago and followed Matt Chester way back in the day when he came up with the concept. I don't just ride gravel, I like riding local single track as well so hence why I like monster cross bikes. I do have a dedicated gravel bike in the quiver though over the last 4 years, but tend to build those more as road bikes with big tires gearing/positioning wise for pure road/gravel road riding. 




Below is a pic of my single speed custom monstercros bike. This frame is getting rebuilt as I was in a hit and run this last june. But this was my primary bike I used daily for errands, going out at night to dinner/drinks, long rides, and urban single track exploring. This bike also has Soma Junebugs as well as Soma Cazaderros in 42. Frame is a custom Tessier Cycles made to my spec. 


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Nice bikes and welcome. Some in my dirt posse that's MTN and fattie riders at the core or some associates do (monster cross bikes). A few who really concentrate on CX racing do on our single track. Our IMBA chapter has CX community leadership and CX properties so it's fun to see the mix and what people are into.

Though and old fart I'm more in the subset who rides expert single track or trails with low level flight so the bigger mixes with cross and gravel stuff is easier group rides or meet ups and rides on rail trails. I really love bikes and pedaling so I am attracted to and interested in or respectful of bikes I might not get myself even though I'm pretty quick to tease those who take a bike niche as tribe or religion.

Monster cross was what I was after before I got an incredible deal on a barely used Fargo. That worked out better than I expected and the shopping for stuff I didn't get was fun.

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I still have a home-brew Monstercross bike built from a Origin8 CX700 frame, the bike was built six years ago. The frame was ideal for my budget Monster-cross build. With room for 700x50 tires, disc or cantilever brakes, Road or MTB rear drop-out spacing. The rear-entry horizontal rear drop-outs will permit single-speed, IGH and derailleur drivetrains. The frame-set is a bit heavier than a Surly Cross Check, the rear drop-outs and the fork are extra strong & heavy and a little overbuilt. The tube-set is 4130 aerospace standard. The welds are skillfully done, but entirely visible. The paint was very good, with good color and as tough as most automotive finishes.

I wanted to keep costs low, so I decided on cantilever brakes. The Tektro 720 brakes are good performers at a great price. Rim-brake touring wheels are also budget friendly, I found a new set of 40 spoke Velocity Dyad on Formula high flange hubs for about $130 delivered. Disc brakes would have been nice, but they limit racking options, add weight and would require a pricier wheelset.

I installed a Shimano Deore “Trekking” crank-set with 48, 36 and I installed a 22t small chainring. This was matched to a 12-27 nine speed cassette. Tiagra STI “brifters” and a front derailleur for triple were installed. A Deore SGS rear derailleur completes the drivetrain.

The handlebars needed to fit the off-road personality of the build, Salsa Moto-Ace Woodchipper handle bars improve rough surface stability and work well with STI levers. A Thomson Elite seat-post is held by Surly seat-post clamp.

To save some weight and to add mid-blade fork rack mounts, I replaced the Origin 8 fork with a new Surly Cross Check fork. The fork is much lighter, looks great and should provide a more compliant ride. The practical tire clearance is a good match for the frame, with room for 700x45 or larger tires & fenders both front & rear.

This build project is best compared to other touring bikes. It's off-road-touring tough but also touring bike heavy. The weight is within 1 pound of a Surly Cross Check using the same build items. The bike is lighter than a stock Surly Long Haul Trucker, Salsa Vaya or Fargo.

Last year I used the bike at the Red Dog Gravel event in Missouri. I ran 700x45 WTB Riddler tires, it performed like a champ.

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