Black Mountain Cycles - Orange Cross / Gravel Bike

Finally got this built, after purchasing the frame almost two years ago before moving out from Melbourne. It’s a Black Mountain Cycles Cross Frame, designed by its owner Mike Varley, produced in Taiwan. Earlier this year they’ve also introduced their US-made frames, courtesy of SF-based Falconer Cycles, with slightly different features.

I’d intended the bike to be more of a travelling rather than a race machine. The current 2:1 gearing is based on past experience running this combo fixed on my Cross-Check, and this is the first time I’m running it SS. So far it’s okay, I still prefer 2:1 fixed, but I’ve only done low kms anyway so we’ll see - hopefully if I end up making it for tomorrow’s Brisbane Gravel Grinder.

Most parts are as planned, with the exception of the bottom bracket and cranks (the wide chainstays only allow 110BCD, so my options are fairly limited). Still waiting for some salmon pads too - as a first time Shorty 6 user, I can honestly say they do live up to their squealing reputation! I’m also still deciding on the setback post, currently feeling a bit too far back. Did flip the stem and it did feel better, but again, it’s still only early.

Big ups to Gypsy for parts and resilience to get the correct chainline, the FOA mob for TB14 advice, and angry for gearing counselling.

50cm Black Mountain Cycle Cross Frame
Salsa Woodchipper 2 Handlebar
TRP RRL Brake Levers
Avid Shorty 6 Cantilever Brakes
Thomson Elite Stem
Cane Creek 40 Headset
Thomson Elite Setback Seatpost
Brooks Team Pro Saddle
Specialized Bottle Cages
Sinz Expert Cranks 170mm
Sinz Expert Chainring 36T
Crank Brothers Candy 3 Pedals
H+Son TB14 Rims
Phil Wood Hubs
Schwalbe Marathon Mondials 700x40
WI Eno Freewheel 18T

BMC are cool cats, nice to see one here. Guitar Ted rides/races one doesn’t he?

Looking at the DS photo, you don’t have a much setback currently, I wouldn’t have thought you’d want to go further forward, but individuals have individual needs.

Fork crown hanger, salmon pads, lower straddle & tweaking will get you to better braking.

The TT decal is very Bruce Gordon! Whack some R&R tyres in there and you’re laughing.

Phwoar! Would ride! Can’t go wrong with black parts I reckon.

hot! hope to see it tomorrow :slight_smile:

Good to see it complete!!

Super nice, would ride.

Been riding the Black Mountain blog for a while, I really like his ethos and what he does.

+1 on the fork crown hanger.

Similar build to my pomp when it was in cross/gg/touring form. Ran 38/16 or around town and 38/18 for dirt gravel adventures

really cool

Getting a lot of high 5’s riding this thing?

I dig it.

How does it compare to your cross check?

Since they are both steel, taiwanese built, US designed Cross based bikes?

Thanks for the kind words guys. Had its first proper ride today at the gravel grinder, it was awesome!

I think he was saying something about taking it to DK200, but I’m not sure.

Yeah R&R (and X’plor MSO) were among the candidates for this one, but then I opted for the Mondials 'cos they were on sale! Plus I really dig them after today’s ride.

I’m glad I decided to go for black! At first I was unsure, thinking it’s too obvious. But some things are obvious for a good reason:).

Agree. Though I never really know what it is that I like about him/BMC. It’s just an impulse, after seeing their logo and font choice;).

Haha, not really. I’ve only ridden it 5 times, maybe. You know, I originally wanted to use those black Sugino 75s I bought from you, but it wasn’t the right BCD.

Good question. I don’t know. What I know though, is that after today’s ride, the BMC feels better in terms of handling - particularly during gravel descents - whose stability I didn’t quite get on my Cross-Check. But then there’s the different wheels, tires, etc; a setup which I’ve never had on the Surly.

Guitar Ted has thisto say about the BMC-Surly comparison though:

“The geometry on these is a bit like a Surly Cross Check with notable differences in head tube length, (longer), and chain stay length, (also longer), which in my opinion makes the BMC frame better for gravel riding. But it also does “all road”, rough road, or whatever ya want ta call it. It isn’t just a gravel road rig.”

And another one from Bicycle Times:

"At first glance, this subtly sparkly brown frame bears a resemblance to a Surly Cross-Check, perhaps the mother of all multipurpose/cyclocross bikes. However, the Black Mountain has some refinements that set it apart. The frame is treated with an ED coating to prevent rust, and Varley added a convenient barrel adjuster at the rear brake bridge to match the one on the headset.

[i]The frame’s double-butted chromoly steel tubes are thinner to lighten it up, both weight-wise and in ride feel. Some steel frames feel like lumps of lead to me, but this one has a light and lively personality. It also isn’t flexy when climbing or loaded down. (Of course, neither I nor my touring kit weighs as much as some, so I’m not the best pusher of those limits.)

Naturally, the frame has clearance for tires up to 45mm. It has full fender mounts and rack braze-ons at the rear axle, although you’ll need P-clamps to attach a rack up top. The brake mounts are for mountain-style cantilevers or linear-pull brakes, not road calipers, to maintain tire and fender clearance."