Sunday, November 17, 2013


 At long last Dirt Owl #1 is built and ready for testing. I took it out for a few hours this past weekend and, all in all, I was pretty stoked. I'm holding off for paint until I make some racks and I'm sure I won't want more braze-ons or little changes. I've also left the fork steerer tube long for moment but I'll cut of half an inch or so for the final build (notice the crazy tall stack of spacers). So far I also really like the 650b tire size. It still feels fast and manouverable, it accelerates well too. None of that stuff is a make or break thing, but it feels good, and I'm happy to get to try it out.
Build specs:
Panaracer driver 650b 2.2", velocity synergy rims, LX hub rear, old DT Swiss Hugi front
11-34 9 speed sram casette, xt rear der, campy triple front der,  Sugino xd2 crank 46/36/24
old xt  and avid v-brakes with tektro v-brake levers
9cm Nitto technomic stem, 46cm nitto Mark's bar, DA bar ends, FSA Duron headset, yokozuna cables/housing, Newbaum's tape
Cheapie seat post, brooks, old crummy pedals
Most of the build was chosen just beacuse it's what I had laying around. I chose the v-brakes just because I happened to have a pair and randomly had the correct levers. The campy front der and xt rear were scored at a rivendell garage sale a year ago, and while both work, I would have chosen others if buying them new. The newer xt rear ders dont have barrel adjusters on them and when used with bar end shifters there is no way to set them up to index properly. Adding a barrel adjuster to this derailleur is tricky as it has a strange location for the cable housing to enter. The Campy front has to be canted to the side to allow for the 24t chainring up front; the chain jambs up underneath it otherwise.  I'm also currently just using some janky old plastic pedals until I figure out something better. The goal here was to figure out a decent build without sweating the ideal build too much.

Plenty of room here for a larger tire in the fork, though I might have to switch to cantilevers to get clearence on the stradle cable.
The front drop out after a little clean up
Tire clearance out back. The frame came out good for huge tire clearance. Also here you can see the tread pattern on the Panaracer Drivers. So far I really like them, and they feel fast and grippy.

The only big mess up on the frame is the bottom bracket. I had a hell of a time finding bottom bracket drop numbers for other ridgid 650b mountain bikes.  I ended up just basing mine on the Rivendell Bombadil but going a few mm higher. Turns out that's still not enough to get good bb height and lessen the pedal strike. I'm going to end up running shorter cranks to see if I can get better results. Currently I've got 175s on there and I'm gonna try 165s. Seems short but I prefer to spin anyway and use low gears, this bike's lowest combo is 36 rear 24 front, pretty freaking low.


  1. Very cool, the bike looks great! I really like the name Dirt Owl, too. Congrats on building your first bike; it's something that I've wanted to do for over 20 years but not yet got around to learning.

  2. Thanks! You should do it if you've wanted to for so long! It was such a rad feeling to ride a bike I made for the first time.