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New Mountain Bike Build for Bicycle Touring and Commuting

Updated on December 30, 2013

Contemplated mountain bike for touring and commuting

Bringing concept of traditional touring bike to a mountain bike project.
Bringing concept of traditional touring bike to a mountain bike project.

Silly Bike Blogger Reference "Rigmarole" and "Mumbo Jumbo"

.Blog is an odd word, not sure who coined the term but it probably comes from the term "mumbo jumbo" or "rigmarole". This thought came to me about the time I was asked if my recent bike build of a Nashbar mountain bike frame was a "poor man's fat bike wannabe". .

Hmm, now it's fairly obvious to me why I thought of word association given the context as the question alone sounded like "mumbo jumbo" and my answer could have been a long explanation sounding like rigmarole. After further consideration I would sincerely like to thank that person for making such an insulting remark in the form of a question. As I have now built upon two new bike models which I affectionately dubbed "Rigmarole" as an all rounder specific to bicycle commuting and now the "Mumbo Jumbo" which is what this article is referring to.

Now that it's winter snow bike bunnies everywhere are climbing aboard their lofty fat tire bikes and dashing through the snow without a care in the world, good on 'em as my Texan neighbor would say. I want to be clear that I am not defending my bike build here, in fact I know it has its' own niche as I've ridden in snow and ice plenty and it was loads of fun. Now realizing that my own bike build is a bit unique and would conjure an association with fat bikes I'm flattered. I suppose the style resembles a fat bike with the sweeping handle bars, sturdy steel front rack and pseudo fat tires at a mere 2.35 inch to 2.4 inch tire diameter. Speaking of which while I was looking for an inexpensive frame to build the Nashbar technical support kept telling me a 2.35 inch tire wouldn't fit, well, it does and none too tight.

Now there is no denying that I built this bike "on the cheap" mostly because I was able to without compromising on a quality bike build. By quality I am suggesting the objective view of the term which is a bit more technical than simply reciting what is read in mountain bike magazines or on the internet. Not that it's all "mumbo jumbo" mind you, just to say hey, I found some incredible prices on some new old stock parts that I wouldn't trade for some of today's top of the line components. Perhaps I'm a bit of a retro grouch, but that doesn't apply here.

Some of the appeal of this bike comes from the classic style of the original Safety Bike. A simple, solidly built bike with simple, solid components. Shimano Deore LX thumb shifters with indexed or friction option on the flick of a switch isn't the only option missing on some of today's top shifters, the old school thumb shifters rarely if ever wear out or break. Also, the fact that the shifters and brake levers are not integrated avoids the costly expense of replacing two levers when only one is worn out or broken.

Transformation of New Bike Build

"Our new bike build went through stages of transformation before manifesting its' elegantly funky nature.
"Our new bike build went through stages of transformation before manifesting its' elegantly funky nature.
First build with 24" rear wheel and Kenda Kinetics 2.6" tire.
First build with 24" rear wheel and Kenda Kinetics 2.6" tire.

Classic Style for Modern Build

Classic Style for Modern bike build, the "Rigmarole" for commuting without too much fat.
Classic Style for Modern bike build, the "Rigmarole" for commuting without too much fat.

Work With What You Have, Where You're At and Move Forward

Question is where did I find those components to justify the expense? If you search on ebay for new old stock components you will find those vintage Deore LX shifters, derailleurs, crankset and cogs are very expensive. Well, that's what Craigslist, thrift stores and garage sales are for. Found an old Diamond Back Ascent EX that was garage kept and hardly ridden if at all with those precise components, so without further ado I snagged the bike for $50! . My next find came in the form of a WTB Dual Duty 24" downhill wheel mounted with a Kenda Kinetics 2.6" tire didn't need truing or a tube, for $2.93! After installing the wheel I got a photo of it and realized it didn't really change the geometry or riding position enough for me to complain about and is very fun for hitting loose and or muddy trails with.

Another nice acquisition by way of craigslist came in the form of an older Mavic X223 disc wheelset. A bit heavy for sure but those are some wheels that can handle a load and rarely need truing. Now for the new stuff, the components I didn't want to skimp with (not that I did with the components) but I knew what I wanted and since it had been about a year and a half getting the stuff together it was time for me complete the project. Speaking of the fork, the Kona Project 2 has been around for twenty five years and the suspension corrected rigid fork comes in different lengths of 410, 420, 440 mm. I got the 440 mm disc brake model with canti brake bosses for installing a front rack. At the time I had little or no idea of what rack I would put on the fork as I had previously sold my Surly Cross Check with an Old Man Mountain front rack on it, which I consider to be the best front rack for mountain bike touring available. After receiving the fork from Kona I realized it didn't have the midway threads for some of the low rider racks, which had me contemplating the OMM rack even more but refused to pay that much for this build project.

For me the disc brake selection was obvious with Avid BB7 Mechanical set, which I consider to be the best disc brake set on the market for the price. These can often be found on sale so prices vary. I picked up a bran new set, got 'em installed and had a heck of a time getting the Delta Universal rear rack installed with the adapter. I wrote a lengthy blog article about it and provided a link to Delta who returned my email saying they were going to resolve the issue with the universal disc adapter to the rack at their next tech. department meeting. So, I don't want to discuss that too much more here just know that if you want to install a Delta rear rack using the disc adapter double check that the holes in rack will line up with the adapter.

At this point I had completed the first build, which we affectionately refer to as the "Rigmarole" for commuting. For the most part the project had been successful even with some customizing of the rear rack to fit centered over the rear axle. When I received the Minoura MT 4000-SF for Christmas I was looking forward to having an easy installation on the Kona fork and I must say the price was perfect for this build at $53.95 and free shipping from amazon.

After installing the front rack the "Rigmarole" had transformed into the "Mumbo Jumbo" and after getting a 2.4" wide tire on the front I'm sure it will ride like the name suggests, good ole fashioned funky fun.


Note: For bike touring and commuting the Kenda Small Block Eight is used in place of the Kinetics for low rolling resistance on pavement and dry trail surfaces. Nevegal on front maintains sure handling.Oversized 31.8mm Mountain Riser Comfort Bars provide sure handling with loaded commuter panniers and handles changes in riding surface with Minoura MT 4000-SF steel front pannier rack. A bike that rolls fast for commuting with lots of starts and stops, ability to take on pot holes, ride over grass, hop curbs and hit the trails with. A very nice all rounder wannabe fat bike that doesn't need to be.

A Nice All Purpose Bike Build

Mountain Bike for off road trail touring, camping, trekking, an all purpose bike build.  Got my "Mumbo Jumbo"
Mountain Bike for off road trail touring, camping, trekking, an all purpose bike build. Got my "Mumbo Jumbo"

Quality, Affordable Steel Front Rack for Mountain Bikes

Video of Photos from past year, With this Project


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