Interbike 2009 Revisited – Monster Cross is Alive!

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Rawlands Drakkar Cyclocross / Adventure Bike / Monster Cross

The $630 Drakkar frameset by Rawland offers monster cross with a custom look at production prices. © Cyclocross Magazine

Believe it or not, we’re still digging out from Interbike, and we’ve got some interesting upcoming cyclocross-worthy products that still deserve attention.

A lot of people have asked us what we saw at the show and what trends we’ve noticed. One of the big trends is the growth of the “monster cross” segment. Perhaps just like the “crossover vehicle” is all the rage in automobiles, indecisive consumers that want to keep all options open have helped grow a niche one-off product into an increasingly common option.

There are various permutations of the monster cross bike: A rigid 29er with drop bars, a cyclocross bike with disc mounts and big clearance, or something in between. Many bikes in this category offer disc brake mounts, horizontal drops or track forks to allow singlespeed use, and wide clearance for 2″ or wider tires. Options abound, making the possibility of owning one do-it-all bike a true possibility with one of these machines.

The following bikes caught our eye, and they join bikes like Voodoo’s Nakisi as versatile, go-anywhere-including-cyclocross-races bikes.

Rawland’s Drakkar

One bike that really caught our attention was the 22-pound Drakkar from new bike startup Rawland. Available now on a pre-order basis, the$630 Drakkar frameset features lugged and TIG-welded construction from Columbus Zona tubing and comes complete with the double crown fork designed by Kirk Pacenti.

Rawlands Drakkar Cyclocross / Adventure Bike / Monster Cross

Lots of clearance for wide tires. © Cyclocross Magazine

Tire clearance is massive, fitting tires up to 2.4 inches, and with clearance for such wide tires, Rawland’s Sean Virnig belief that the Drakkar is the ultimate adventure bike just might be true.

On your adventure with a Drakkar, you’ll be well positioned to see the sights, as the company’s 50 mm head tube extension will keep you upright and eliminate the need for tons of headset spacers and keep things looking clean.  It might be a little high for hard-core racers, but ‘crossers who ride trails and commute in city traffic may appreciate the extra height.

The frame is disc-only, so don’t plan on any UCI races with your UCI-illegal 45mm tires until the ban on disc-brakes is lifted. The pictured bike features mechanical disc brakes, and as pictured weighed only 22 pounds with SRAM Red and fat tires.

A medium frame has a long effective top tube of 58cm, so the Drakkar runs long and could make a great flat bar bike for those that are arm-length or torso-length challenged. Current pricing is an intro price through October, and goes up to $725 after that.

Origin8's 700CX Cyclocross Monster Cross Frameset

Rear forks and a hanger allow various gearing options. 132mm spacing allows road or mtb hubs. © Cyclocross Magazine

Origin8′s 700CX

J&B Importers showed off a prototype of their upcoming 700CX frame, expected to be available in early 2010. The 700CX, like the Rawlands Drakkar, is designed to provide the owner with many options, but at a lower price point with more economical tubing. Instead of emulating a custom-builder look, 700CX aims for value and affordability at its incredible expected target price of $200 for the frame and fork.

The 700CX is double-butted 4130 chrome-moly, and features standard 27.2 seatpost, a 68mm bottom bracket shell, and versatile 132mm rear spacing to accommodate road or mountain hubs. Rim brakes or rear discs are an option, and owners have the option to run full housing to keep gear cables protected from the elements.

Want to run singlespeed? The rear horizontal track forks allow that, and removable housing stops keeps things looking clean for the one-gear crowd. Rack and fender mounts are planned, making the 700CX an attractive winter beater or commuter.

Salsa’s Fargo

Salsa Fargo Monster Cross Cyclocross Bike and Frameset

Salsa offers its Fargo as a versatile monster cross option. The SLX complete comes in at $1400, while the XT is $1815. Frameset retails for $560. © Cyclocross Magazine

Although not new for 2010, the one-year-old Fargo comes in two different complete bike models, the $1815 XT and the $1399 SLX, aptly named for their Shimano parts spec. The XT features Deore XT parts down to the hubs, a nice (easily rebuildable) touch for a bike that may see abuse. Remember bar-con shifters? Before tri-geeks and TT freaks adopted them, they were the ultimate shifter for cyclocross and drop-bar mountain bikes. They’re back on both the XT and SLX models.

The Fargo offers vertical rear drops with tons of rack and fender mounts. The front fork boasts no fewer than eight fittings per leg for racks and fenders, making the Fargo ready for a loaded-multi-day cyclocross adventure or your ride to the corner store to pick up beverages and food for the weekend’s cyclocross race. Better yet, pack up the bike with your race gear, ride to the race, unload the bike, and then race it hard.

Framesets are available for $560.

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