- It has longer chain stays so your heals don't hit rear pannier bags (which I use when commuting).
- There's room for larger tires.
- This frame also let me use cheaper threadless headset. The Dolan frame requires a more expensive integrated headset.
- There are lots of integrated mounts for fenders, racks, water bottles, etc.
- Since I was ordering new, I had more choices for the size. The Dolan frame is 63cm on the seat tube - making the stand-over really "tight" - fine for a serious riding bike, but less utilitarian.
- The above amount to good excuses to make the Dolan frame into a dedicated road/cross/training bike.
- It's so cheap! ($99, free shipping)
- Not black (chrome, aluminum, etc.)
- Cheap ($21)
For the fork, I wanted a simple, cheap disc fork with clearance for 29er tires (so I could ride a big front tire for some cushion). I love my 203mm Avid BB7 mechanical disk brake on my Cannondale, so my plan for this bike to run one of those on the front (no rear brake).
I want this bike to be comfortable. My Cannondale (with more upright stem installed) puts the handlebars at 28" above the axle with no sag (shock) - this height felt perfect in my 2 hour training rides (where I'd pump the shock up for about 1/2" of sag). I did my fork shopping with the Dolan frame, which has a huge 9" head-tube, and chose a Dimension fork from Universal cycles that meets my criteria (simple, cheap $65, and short 410mm axle-to-crown). The smaller Nashbar frame has a much shorter head tube (5.7") so I'll need some headset spacers to reach my "comfort" height. I feel reaching the needed height with a taller steerer is better than longer fork legs - less twist & flex (I may be wrong). The pic below shows the front end mocked up with the stem at the top of the steerer, putting the handlebars at just under 28".
I rested the fork on a 2x4 on end, and hammered on the crown race (the lower bearing race which is press-fit onto the fork crown) with a rubber mallet. The lower cup went in easily - I hammered it in with a short piece of 2x4. The upper cup was more difficult. Either the frame or the headset was a little rough on the I.D. or O.D., so I lightly filed each, until installation with my redneck tool went smoothly.
Rounding out build day 1, were another beautiful Brooks B17 (got this one 17% off on Nashbar's St. Patrick's day sale for $75) on a Nashbar seat post (<$21, same sale). The handle-bars are simple bullhorn bars from Universal Cycles ($23), and the stem is a beautiful polished aluminum piece (26mm clamp, 70mm length, 6 deg. rise) from Velo-Orange (handle-bar and stem criteria were same as headset - not black, and cheap).
Here's the mock-up, so far: