...except I bought my present myself. I mean why leave it to someone else to get you something you don't want. Only you know what you really want. And I really wanted a new bike. With new parts. Well, almost all new parts. (ed: like my birthday, but not actually.)
Several months ago, when Cameron Falconer and I worked together to make a small run of cross bikes, I slated one of the 62cm frames for myself. However, I tossed and turned over my inability to make a decision on how to build it. Or to build it in the first place because my current bike built works great. I had just done a 3+ hour ride to Fairfax and back via San Geronimo Ridge, a perfect on/off-road ride, and was really digging the bike. However, I had already sourced new parts for the new bike and built the wheels and told myself to just build it.
So I did. The first thing I did in choosing the parts for the new bike was to determine gearing. On my current bike, I run a 46/34/24 with a 13-30 cassette. I calculated my low gear and my high gear as they work well for my riding. I knew I was going to run a double crank and needed to know ring size I would need with an 11-36 cassette. It turned out that a 40/28 combo matched up almost spot on.
With that piece of the puzzle in place, my decision on wheels came down to wanting to run the Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road tires tubeless. I looked at H Plus Son Archetype, HED Belgium +, and Pacenti SL23 rims. Having built all three for customers, I knew they all built up very nice. I chose the Pacenti rim because the BG tire seated with only a floor pump and two layers of tubeless tape. And Kirk Pacenti is a friend of mine and I like using friend's parts.
Then the big question: SRAM or Shimano? I've been a long-time Shimano guy and would have continued with Shimano if Shimano's road shifters worked with their Shadow + rear derailleur. Having built several bikes with the new clutch type rear derailleurs, I knew I wanted to run one on the cross bike to keep chain tension up and noise down. Shimano's clutch type Shadow + derailleurs are only compatible with 10-speed mountain shifters, not road (STI or bar-con) shifters. Shimano's 9-speed mountain derailleur is compatible with 10-speed road shifters, but it's not available in a Shadow + design. SRAM, on the other hand, does make their 10-speed clutch type Type 2 mountain derailleur compatible with their 10-speed road shifters. So, SRAM it is.
The rest of the parts:
Salsa Cowbell 2 bars with Cane Creek SCR-5 brake levers and SRAM TT500 bar-con shifters
Ritchey WCS 120mm stem
White Industries VBC 40/28 cranks with Phil bottom bracket
White Industries H2/H3 hubs (I stashed a set aside for myself as they were transitioning to the T11 hubs. The H3 rear hub is 10-speed max and builds with less dish which I like), Pacenti SL23 rims with DT Revolution and Competition spokes
Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road tires sealed tubeless with Orange Seal sealant
SRAM X9 Type 2 rear derailleur and a Shimano CX70 top pull front derailleur
Paul Mini-Moto brakes
Not all the parts I used are new. It's fun to repurpose old parts and in this case, I pulled out of my parts bins an XTR seatpost, WTB Rocket V seat, and some Shimano 959 clipless pedals.
What do I think? I think it rides pretty darn nice. Maybe a touch snappier feeling than the Taiwan sourced cross bike, but that's probably because the drivetrain is all new and fresh. I like it.
One more thing, I've been really liking the PRO Digital Carbon Smart Silicon handlebar tape. It's got a gel-like backing that gives a nice feel on the bars either with gloves or without. It's not slippery. It wraps smoothly. It is slightly oversized, but not huge. And best of all, it's not $40 like some of these designer tapes. Well, maybe that's not the best of all. The real best of all, is it's available in black only.
(What's playing: Reverend Horton Heat Baby I'm Drunk)