The over-enthusiastic cyclist

If it involves pedalling then I'm probably into it…

My first cyclocross bike – Planet X Uncle John

Here’s the brief: a road bike I can use for winter training, crap weather commuting, touring work and light off-road. The Planet X Uncle John fitted the bill and gave me a fresh excuse to spend hours looking at parts on the internet.

Top tip: if you’re going to buy one (frame or bike) get down to their showroom and try one out. I’ve never bought a ‘medium’ in my life, but a large Uncle John would barely have needed a seat post at all.

I built the frame up with a mix of SRAM Rival/Apex, two different wheelset’s I’ve built and some other bits I had lying around. Since SRAM front mech’s only operate on a down pull, Planet X include a little pulley to put on the bottom of the down tube to feed the cable through. After 15 minutes of arsing about, I sacked it off and put on an old Shimano XT triple front mech on. It’s not right, but it works till I get around to finding a Shimano double front mech.
EDIT: it’s a Shimano FD-CX70 top pull double mech you need, works a treat, about £30.

Instead of the usual cyclocross cantilever brakes, I took a punt on the Tektro 926AL Mini-V brakes…

These are great once you do a few modifications: because there’s not much clearance on the pads, to release the noodle to get your wheel out is problematic. The solution is to hacksaw the part of the noodle that pokes through the clasp down to about 1 mm – just enough to do it’s job but short enough to disengage for wheel release. Oh, and the brake pads are rubbish – I replaced with Koolstop Dual Compound within 100 miles. I also put some of those cheap inline barrel adjusters in – they’re meant for gears but work fine for brakes.
EDIT: I later used the Travel Agents to give more pad clearance. Read about it here

So what’s it like? Flipping brilliant! It weighs about 21lbs and rides well on and off road. More to follow. Image

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