I built this up just in time for a late snow in Seattle:

My new mountain bike: Kona Explosif, Rockshox Reba SL fork, Rohloff, BB7 Disks (click for more images and closeups)

I found many of the parts (frame, fork, front wheel, disk brakes) at the Seattle Bike Swap for very good prices (under $300 total).  The frame called out to me immediately since it has sliding dropouts that work well with my Rohloff hub and nice steel tubing (TT Platinum OX).  The fork was never used and cost about 1/4 of it’s original price (thanks to Andre for finding that one).  The front wheel is the stupidest front wheel that I own: Shimano XT with aluminum nipples and straight spokes, but it was cheap, also new, and had the disk mount that I needed to work with this fork.

I’ve enjoyed more mountain biking in the last year and expect to get a lot of use out of this bike.  It’s a size larger than my previous Rocky Mountain.  I think I’ll prefer that, the top tube is much longer (over an inch longer) so I’m running a short stem and won’t be hanging way out over the front wheel.

This buildup was really quick and I took a lot of short cuts that involved zip ties, but I doubt that I’ll really change it anytime soon (except for removing the studded tires and going back to normal knobbies).

Also, if your only rear disk wheel is 700C and you really need to build up a MTB quick, you can run it:

700C rear, 26" front

It looks stupid, but worked fine and got me to work and back on a day when snow and ice were in the forecast.  I swapped the rim out for the 26″ one after a day.


  1. Sean says:

    My Unit is of the same vintage is nearly the exact same frame(except for braze-ons). By and far the best frame I”ve ever owned, good choice.

  2. Jeff says:

    Wow, I guess I will have to go to bike swap next year. I am bad at bargain hunting so always assume I will never find anything good. When I see stuff like this it makes me think again. Of course, you had to have the Rohloff already to make it a cool bike.

  3. Alex Wetmore says:

    It can take a lot of poking through the bike swap to find good stuff. It is helpful to go with friends who also know what you are looking for and can point out the good deals. This frame was sitting under a table in a pile of other frames, so it didn”t jump out at me at first. The disk brakes were pretty easy to find. A friend found the fork for me in just minutes once he knew that I needed one.

    The best times to go are in the first hour (to get rare stuff) and in the last hour (when the good deals are flying because people don”t want to take things home). The 3 or 4 hours in between are boring.