May 2, 2011

Nick’s new fork… and almost everything else

Nick had me make a HUGE number of modifications (the email is like 2 pages long listing them!) to his monstercross frame (not a Waltworks) and build a new fork that can accommodate a 2.1″ tire without messing up the original geometry. Here she is – I think we were both worried about whether spending this kind of time/effort/money on a relatively cheap frame would be worth it, but I think it was.

For what it’s worth, I get this question a lot, so:
-The shortest axle to crown fork I can build that will clear a 29×2.1″ tire is about 405mm axle-crown (as you can see from the photo, there’s not much room under there!)
-If that’s longer than the fork the frame was designed for, we can compensate to *some extent* by increasing fork rake.
-If the original fork is more than 10-15mm shorter, I do not recommend doing this.

I get a lot of requests for monstercross stuff, and I like doing them, but it’s worth keeping a couple of things in mind:
-Almost everyone will have toe overlap with drop bars and big 700c tires, because the toptube on a drop-bar bike is usually 4-5cm shorter than on a conventional mountain bike. This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s worth being aware of.
-If you want to run road cranks, the large rings and narrow chainline mean that the chainstays have to be very long for tire clearance. Mountain bike cranks are a common choice to get around this problem.
-There is no such thing as a bike that is the “best of both worlds”. The bottom line is that while a monstercross bike is a fun mountain bike AND fun road bike, it is far less capable than either of them in their home terrain. Don’t expect to keep up with the local club century ride without working pretty hard, and likewise expect to get dropped by your fast friends on a real mountain bike trail. Of course, if you’re on a ride that combines both – you’re in the catbird seat!