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Old 02-10-2022, 03:30 PM
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reuben reuben is offline
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Litespeed Appalachian

After my young, skinny, triathlon days, I didn't ride for 2 or 3 decades, but like a lot of people, I revived old hobbies or started new ones during the pandemic. I decided to fix up my old steel Bianchi, and had it restored by Toby at Hot Tubes, who did a fantastic job. It had pretty serious rust in some places, and I used to ride it with that rust. Lucky for me, Toby was able to repair the existing tubes without replacements.

I'm probably overly concerned about rust now, but that's just the way it is.

So I got to thinking that if I stick with cycling again, a bad weather bike would be a good thing to have. Rain, dirt, wider tires, possible dirt surfaces, somewhat bombproof. I started a thread asking about cyclocross bikes and brakes, since I'd been watching some UCI CX races, and figured anything that would work for cyclocross would surely work for me, although I didn't want a carbon frame and I'm not enamored of disc brakes.

After many great suggestions from the Paceline Hive Mind I was toying with the idea of a Gunnar Crosshairs, Black Mountain Monstercross, Milwaukee, and a few others. Preferably used.

Then someone pointed me to a Litespeed Appalachian with fork and headset in my size, in apparent pristine condition. It was on ebay. It was in Poland. I was excited but wary. The seller had great feedback and ratings, yet my spidey sense tingled. I asked the seller a few technical questions and got prompt and correct answers, so I bought it. Titanium. No worries about rust. Yay!

Then I started sourcing parts, which as we all know is no mean feat during a pandemic. About the time the frame arrived I had pretty much everything I needed, if not everything that I wanted.

I've been riding it when the weather isn't too bad (ice, snow), or dark in these winter days.

As an old roadie coming from a lifetime of side pull caliper brakes, the TRP CX 8.4 Mini V brakes I put on were a new world to me. They work fine, but are a bit finicky to adjust. I settled on the TRP CX 8.4 brakes due to the thread above.

The frame came with fork and what appeared to be the original headset, plus spacers, all 1 inch. I've been riding it this way using a 1 to 1 1/8 inch shim from Velo Orange so that the 1 inch steerer tube will work with the modern 1 1/8 inch fizik stem. A few weeks ago the final part I wanted arrived - a 1 inch Chris King NoThreadSet in gold sotto voce. I chose gold in an attempt to complement the yellow lettering in the decals and head tube badge. It took five months due to the pandemic, but it arrived, thanks to AVT, who were great to work with.

Drivetrain - Shimano GRX 810 mechanical, with 48/31 chainrings and 11-34 cassette
Levers - Ultegra R8000
Stem, bars, seatpost - Fizik, R5 aluminum stuff
Bar tape - Fizik 3mm something
Saddle - the same Fizik Aliante R3 Open I have on my dedicated road bikes, but in black
Brakes - TRP CX 8.4 Mini V
Cables - Jagwire Road Pro
Spacers - Wheels Manufacturing
Pedals - Shimano PD-EH500, which are SPD on one side and flat on the other
Wheels - Velocity Quill with 28mm Pirelli P-Zero 4S clinchers

The steerer tube, stem, and headset are essentially an adaptation of the old 1 inch head tube and steerer tube to more modern 1 1/8 inch stems. I bought a shim from Velo Orange which slips over the steerer tube, allowing the stem to clamp on in the usual fashion. This let me ride it with the old headset while I was waiting for the CK headset, and it will stay in place. The CK NoThreadSet is 1 inch to fit the head tube and steerer tube, but I bought an extra 1 1/8 inch cap for the top.

I tried to get Continental GP5000 tires on the Quill rims but it was a minor nightmare. After heeding multiple suggestions to let the GP5000 tires warm up in the sun I got one one with some difficulty, and gave up on the other. But let's be realistic - when it's cold and wet outside, my hands are half frozen, and I'm a few miles from home, that just isn't an option. Hence the Pirelli P-Zero 4S tires.

Wheels were built by Ye Olde Potatoe, and transferred from another bike.

I didn't research much, but I believe that this is 1997 vintage. I have no idea what such a clean frame of that age was doing in Poland, unless it's a great counterfeit and I've been duped. Anything is possible.

Mmm... Paceline resized me. I'll try to put up some larger external versions of the pics when I have time.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 2022-02-10_DSC1625.jpg (63.4 KB, 1085 views)
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File Type: jpg 2022-02-10_DSC1617.jpg (129.5 KB, 585 views)
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Last edited by reuben; 04-16-2023 at 08:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2022, 03:53 PM
fried bake fried bake is offline
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That’s a good looking bike!


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  #3  
Old 02-10-2022, 07:56 PM
Jad Jad is offline
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I like this. The gold headset looks great, and the 1 to 11/8 ramp up looks smooth. Those brakes ought to be solid.
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2022, 08:39 PM
Peter P. Peter P. is offline
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Love the bike-a steel fork is your best bet with a 1" steerer, and the bike is set up properly.

Never let that frame go; those have a storied history and build up into a very fun, practical bike.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2022, 08:53 PM
robt57 robt57 is offline
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Nice Job...
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Old 02-10-2022, 09:04 PM
warren128 warren128 is offline
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It looks very nice!

I've been waiting for you to post photos of it.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2022, 06:03 AM
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reuben reuben is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
Love the bike-a steel fork is your best bet with a 1" steerer, and the bike is set up properly.

Never let that frame go; those have a storied history and build up into a very fun, practical bike.
This has the original aluminum fork. Steel canti forks with 1 inch steerer tubes are basically nonexistent on the used market, and in these pandemic times and associated supply shortages I doubt that I could get a builder to fabricate one for me. I'd get one if I could, but it doesn't seem viable right now.

First world problem for sure.
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Last edited by reuben; 02-11-2022 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 02-11-2022, 06:06 AM
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reuben reuben is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warren128 View Post
It looks very nice!

I've been waiting for you to post photos of it.
Ah, yes, you were one of my mentors in that thread. Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2022, 08:05 AM
th_boone th_boone is offline
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Awesome! I have always wanted an Appalachian. Such rare rigs and love seeing them from time to time. Cheers-
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2022, 11:28 AM
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weisan weisan is offline
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reuben pal, you did an awesome job with the parts selection and the setup. Everything looks so proper and well-balanced. I kinda went down the same path a few years ago with a Merlin cyclocross bike. It's currently loaned out to a friend who absolutely loves it.

The only thing you might consider doing in the future is to size up and try a wider tire, maybe from Rene Herse. I know they are expensive so wait for a deal to come up on the classifieds section. Riding on fat tires with lower pressure is a hoot under the right conditions.
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:15 PM
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reuben reuben is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weisan View Post
reuben pal, you did an awesome job with the parts selection and the setup. Everything looks so proper and well-balanced. I kinda went down the same path a few years ago with a Merlin cyclocross bike. It's currently loaned out to a friend who absolutely loves it.

The only thing you might consider doing in the future is to size up and try a wider tire, maybe from Rene Herse. I know they are expensive so wait for a deal to come up on the classifieds section. Riding on fat tires with lower pressure is a hoot under the right conditions.
I have a pair of Continental 32mm Speed King CX, but haven't put them on for a couple of reasons.

1) Trying to get a pair of 25mm GP5000 tires on the Velocity Quill rims was a no go. Way too difficult, even when warm. Can't see it happening when my fingers are cold and wet. Hence the 28mm Pirelli. I haven't tried, but assume that the Speed King will be the same as the GP5000.

2) I'm still not sure what this bike will be used for the majority of the time. The original intent was bad weather and maybe a bit of dirt/grass. That's still true, but if it ends up being 99% road, which is likely given that I'm a roadie at heart, then 28mm should be plenty.
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:30 PM
mhespenheide mhespenheide is offline
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I've found different Continental tires to have different degrees of difficulty in mounting. The GP5000's are notably more of a challenge than the 4000's. So you might try the Speed Kings.

Or not...
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:45 PM
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weisan weisan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reuben View Post
if it ends up being 99% road, which is likely given that I'm a roadie at heart, then 28mm should be plenty.
I hear you pal.

I have said the same thing to myself.

But keep an open mind, if you get the chance, try a supple 30-32mm tires, you might actually like it. The main advantage of wider tires to me is being able to ride through less than perfect road conditions without having to dodge or deviate from a straight line or worry about puncture.
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Old 02-14-2022, 12:53 PM
warren128 warren128 is offline
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me = also roadie at heart

I am running 32mm Gravel King slicks (tubed) on my 2000 Appalachian, and I'm very happy with them. I ride about 80/20 road/dirt. The GK slicks are super smooth and fast on pavement, yet provide a reasonably secure ride on the type of dirt that I ride around here, mostly hard-packed fire roads. When my slicks wear out, I'll be replacing them with 32mm GK SS (semi-slick), which I've tried, and I found them even more secure on dirt yet still handle superbly on pavement.
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Old 02-14-2022, 01:12 PM
robt57 robt57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warren128 View Post
When my slicks wear out, I'll be replacing them with 32mm GK SS (semi-slick), which I've tried, and I found them even more secure on dirt yet still handle superbly on pavement.
I've run the Hutch overrides in 35s similar result sentiment.

But do you find the PSI issue road VS loose. I literally find the override are quite compromised in each of the tasks with the other use PSI, so to speak. Pumped up you ride the center on pavement, but unless I dump 20-30 PSi to the gravel sweet spot I hate it on loose gravel Lowered PSi the edge get some opinion..

So do you repump etc for use?
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