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Old 02-10-2019, 09:32 PM
Eli Bingham Eli Bingham is offline
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Black Mountain Cycles Road+ Super Commuter

Hello everyone - long time listener, first time caller, and all that.

Those of us who ride to work in San Francisco every day from Marin County all know each other at least by sight, and I always get a kick out of seeing what people choose to grind over the Golden Gate Bridge to work on. You see everything from repurposed old cross bikes to 26er hardtails to Baums to the latest Spesh race bike. This bike evolved out of a need for an indestructible, dedicated super commuter that could deal with any weather we get, and brush off our sometimes miserable road conditions (there are streets in SF that seem to be practically paved with broken glass) while still being really wonderful and smooth to ride. Going fast or hanging in a paceline was not really a consideration.

It also makes a pretty okay gravel bike, though that's not really its forte. The photo is from dawn at the top of Mt Tam after a pre-dawn ride up Old Railroad Grade.

I will say this - Mike Varley makes a hell of a bargain frame. If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades touring bike that will take a lot of abuse, I highly recommend checking out the Road+. Also, the Honjos make every other fender seem inadequate.

Frame: Black Mountain Road+ 56cm
Groupset: SRAM Force 1 Hydro, 160mm rotors, 10-42 cassette, 38 tooth chainring (Marin is steep)
Wheels: White Industries CLD/Hed Belgium+ 650b/Sapim CX Ray 32 spoke
Headset: White Industries
Tires: WTB Byway 47mm setup tubeless
Saddle: Brooks Cambium C13
Seatpost: Ritchey WCS
Seatpost collar: Salsa
Stem: Ritchey WCS
Handlebars: Salsa Cowbell 2
Bottle Cages: King Ti
Fenders: Honjo Smooth 650b 62mm
Front Rack: Compass UD-1
Front Bag: Acorn Compact Rando Bag
Bell: Spurcycle
Pedals: XT PD-M8000
Frame pump: Topeak Road Master Blaster (I heard these were discontinued, but it looks like Topeak is making them again?)

Total weight: A tad over 24 pounds... Black Mountain doesn't make lightweights.

I have worn through a set of the WTBs already without a single flat, after commuting daily to SF and back on this beast, along with many unwise gravel and single track adventures. The 60mm offset fork makes it a little bit meh on the trail in my opinion, but it really shines in touring/commuting mode, and it's a total blast to descend on.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0308 (1).jpg (101.6 KB, 206 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:33 AM
douglas douglas is online now
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Very nice bike. Beautiful photo.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:38 AM
jim d jim d is offline
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Very nice Eli. Awesome photo. Great looking bike. Can you share a few more of the bike? Looks like it went together just about perfect.
J
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:14 AM
wkeller79 wkeller79 is offline
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Phenomenal bike & photo!
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:47 AM
Mzilliox Mzilliox is offline
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looks just about perfect for commuting!
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:48 AM
v531xc v531xc is offline
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That looks great! I have the Road+ on my list for when/if any of my current bikes bite the dust or I just get tired of them

Curious on sizing - I feel like I'm between the 53 and 56 based on reach. Any words of wisdom about selecting the 56?
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:52 AM
R3awak3n's Avatar
R3awak3n R3awak3n is offline
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Location: NYC // Catskills, NY
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that looks great. We need more pictures!
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:35 PM
Eli Bingham Eli Bingham is offline
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More photos

On sizing - I am 6'2" tall with long legs and average length arms, and run a 813mm saddle to BB height. This bike is more upright and about 1.5 cm longer in the top tube than my preference for a road race bike, so I compensated by running a 100mm stem instead of 120mm. For comparison, the best fitting stock road racer geometry I have found for me is a Colnago Master 61cm, which I run with 9cm of drop and a 120mm stem. I can't speak to the sizing on the 53, but I do know that Mike V sizes bikes by seat tube length, and that he is a very tall man - the largest size in his lineups always seems like it was made to be his personal bike.

Here are some more pictures - in fairness, I think the scenery is doing most of the work here.
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File Type: jpg IMG_4801.jpg (87.0 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0069 (2).jpg (154.0 KB, 126 views)
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:43 PM
MURDERF4CE MURDERF4CE is offline
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That bike is rad.. how high were you in the first photo?
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:48 PM
boomforeal boomforeal is offline
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lovely bike and pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli Bingham View Post
It also makes a pretty okay gravel bike, though that's not really its forte.
why do you say that?
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:07 PM
Eli Bingham Eli Bingham is offline
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First photo

First photo is from the peak of Tam, so about 2500'/762m above sea level.

In terms of trail riding, it's just does not feel super capable to me off-road, even compared to Mike's other frames like the old Monster Cross. I am uncertain if it's the lower trail, which makes the front end a tad more squirrelly - or the smaller wheel size, which makes it less capable of steamrolling over bumps - or even the seating position. Keep in mind that Marin "gravel" "roads" are very steep, rutted, and sketchy, and personally I feel a hardtail 29er is a better bike for a lot of it. On the East Coast, it would probably be perfect for gravel.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:51 PM
boomforeal boomforeal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli Bingham View Post
In terms of trail riding, it's just does not feel super capable to me off-road, even compared to Mike's other frames like the old Monster Cross. I am uncertain if it's the lower trail, which makes the front end a tad more squirrelly - or the smaller wheel size, which makes it less capable of steamrolling over bumps - or even the seating position. Keep in mind that Marin "gravel" "roads" are very steep, rutted, and sketchy, and personally I feel a hardtail 29er is a better bike for a lot of it. On the East Coast, it would probably be perfect for gravel.
interesting to hear, thanks. i was debating between one of these and a kona rove st, and got the latter in part because i figured the lower offset fork would make for a more stable ride on off-roads
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