redline814
I decided I wanted to build a gravel bike from scratch. This is something I have never done before and am winging it as I go. I found a no name Reynolds 853 steel tube frame on CL that looked like a good base to build on. The fork is 1", BB is threaded and the rear is 130-ish.

I'm shooting or all components to be in the mid price range. Nothing chepo and nothing top of the line. Used or new. I'm not sure if it is wise to use more MTB components than road since I will be in the gravel/dirt. I want a single up front and 9 or 10 gears out back. I'm leaning more towards a road drop bar that has flat spots (to rt/left of stem) to place your hands on long trips. The brakes will be TRP CX9 Mini's.

For the moment I need feedback on cranks...
Prefer to be black. Maybe a Shimano 105 or is there a CX specific crank option?


I attached a pic for reference of my starting point...

[photo+1]

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Seth
I'm undertaking the same thing at the moment.

I have a mix of components that I am using, Ultegra 6600 brifters, 105 long cage rear derailleur, Ultegra front derailleur, sora crank, ultegra brakes.

Going with standard road bars for the moment, mainly because that's what i have and what i am used to.

Putting it on an old frame i had lying around but this will be a temporary measure. there just isn't enough clearance for some fatter tyres as I'd have to max out at 25mm schwalbe marathons.

Looking around at frames, thinking along the lines of the Soma Saga or Surly LHT or anything else in that sort of frame type. If I find something, I'll switch the brakes over to cantilevers as well. I'd love to have all the frame options that you guys have over there in the US.
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redline814
It sounds like you are off to a solid start. Having a garage of old parts makes you 1/2 way there. Find a solid frame selection and tack on a mash of parts until it rides how you want it to [smile] 


Update:
- Picked up some cheap FSA RD-400 wheels with 700x32 rubber.
- Also scored 105 cranks at my local bike shop. A guy was upgrading to compact 105 version and was going to do nothing with his old set. I snatched them up for a super deal.
- Carbon seatpost on its way.
- Still looking at drop bars. 

[2diets0]
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Seth
What sort of shifting are thinking of? brifter style, down tube lever or bar end shifter?
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Simpleton.
In my mind this is the the true spirit of a Gravel Bike. Finding a frame and making it work. Nothing too fancy but nothing cheap. Just solid and reliable. Thanks for posting. I'll be following your build.
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redline814
Seth - Soma makes nice steel frames if you can grab one of those.

Thinking I will stick to to a clean cable look. The bars I'm picking up have internal cable routing. I'm hoping to find a great deal by picking up a single STI lever for handling for the rear shifting job. I can use a standard lever for the other one since I'm running a single up front.

Simpleton - Right on! You got the right idea. I will cover up the frame scratches with some car touch up paint. Only doing that so it prevents rust. I want to keep some character on the frame...lol.


Another Craigslist score I'm picking up tonight...an older model Performance Bike carbon bar. I like the flat section on top to spread out the weight across my palms. Carbon to help with vibrations. 

[p3pb5538360]
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Seth
So I was in a shop over the weekend and made an impulse purchase of a 56cm Surly Long Haul Trucker. Went for 700c wheel frame as i have more than a few on them lying around so can re-cycle these wheels on this bike. Should have it this weekend hopefully.

Haven't had to purchase much else, got some cantilever brakes on the way for this frame. All I think I need at this point will be a new stem. Something with a bit more angle to it as all my spares are off road bikes.

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HupHup
I am starting my new Gravel bike build also. It is more of a re-birthing of my mountain bike. I currently have a Surly Karate Monkey with a full XT kit. Looking to keep this cheap by converting it to a drop bar setup. I am tossing back and forth on the shifting situation. Thinking bar-ends shifters so i can continue to use the rest of the drive train. Planning on taking the Reba fork off and putting a Fargo fork on it (like the mounting options on it). 

I really want an All-City Macho Man non disk brakes, But cash flow is low.
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Seth
Making good progress. Just waiting on some components to arrive to keep going.
Can't wait to get it out on the road.

Will possibly look for a decent second hand compact crack but will see how a standard goes at first.
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redline814
More progress. Updates:
- I need to remove the road freewheel and add the XT 11-34 one I picked up.
- I went with a single downtube shifter. If racking up some miles and find I don't like it located there I can always spend the cash to pick up a STI lever.
- Found out the steel fork that came with the frame is bent all out of shape. Some day I might take it to the local bike shop and get it straightened. For now I picked up a cheap carbon fork.
- Went with a "ChainSpy" to keep the front chain on track.
- Added a 90mm cheap stem.
- Still need to cut the seat post and steering tube.

Seat is on its way. Looking at a chain option and still searching for a rear derailleur.

It weighs 17.4lbs as you see it in this pic. I will be happy if I can keep it to the 20-ish range.


[2i0583s]
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Seth
Looking good. That stem is so slammed! I'll be jacking mine up a fair bit for some extra comfort.

I'm no further on, still waiting for some stuff to arrive.
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redline814
I would prefer a higher bar as well. I plan on starting out with at least two 10mm spacers under that stem before I cut it.

Also...ordered the rear derailleur (Shimano XT M770) and KMC chain (X9 SL).
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Seth
Still waiting on the last few parts. UK to Australia delivery is not super quick when choosing the free option. Hopefully it all arrives today. Will be riding by Sunday if it does.
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redline814
Seth wrote:
Still waiting on the last few parts. UK to Australia delivery is not super quick when choosing the free option. Hopefully it all arrives today. Will be riding by Sunday if it does.


Be sure to post up a pic. I'd like to see the components you choose and how it looks once together.
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Seth

Will do. I think it will come together pretty well.

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redline814
Completed the bike. The seat choice was focused on comfort vs being lightweight. I added some thick bar tape for comfort as well.

I threw on some flat pedals for the test ride. I will have Eggbeater's on it.

Final weight is respectable given my low budget...20lbs 12oz.

I hope to rack up some miles during this 3 day holiday weekend. Can't wait!

[2vshyci]

[vhrlkz]
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Seth
Nice work. Looks good. Parts still haven't arrived another full week later so I'm doing donuts.
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redline814
Did a 40mi gravel shake down ride this weekend. It rides real nice and feels lightweight on the uphills.

Some notes and changes...

- I would prefer larger tires. I'm thinking go 700x35 over the current 700x32 (when they wear out). The gravel around me is large and often deep with rolling hills and sharp turns.
- I must have short fingers. The brake levers need to be closer to the bar. I found it finger numbing if I had to ride the brakes for any amount of time.
- I must have gone too cheap of the shift lever. It keeps ghost shifting under load and won't hold no matter how much I tighten it.
- The current 39/11-34 gearing could use a tweak. I often found myself searching for a lower gear. I never needed a higher gear...even on the few pavement sections. Too bad the smallest chain ring possible on this crank is 38T.
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Seth
nice work.

I've got 37cc tyres on order (if they ever get here).

I suspect that I'll need to rearrange my gearing as well. currently have a standard crack with a 11-30 on the back. Will be on the look out for a compact.
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Seth
I decided to find a compact/CX crank yesterday.

Given that I run a standard crank on my madone with a 28 on its climbing wheels, it was silly to think that a standard and a 30 would be a good combo for a heavy Surly LHT.

Getting a 105 CX50 crank, 46-36. Should make things much more comfortable.
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Seth
Finally, finally just about ready to ride.

All that is left to do is put on the bar tape, dial in the handlbars (angle, height, trim excess tube from the forks) fine tune the seat position and change over the tyres from road robber to something more suited for gravel.
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