I’d always wanted a new bike, but who doesn’t? The N + 1 rule exists for a reason. (N + 1 is the number of bikes you have, plus one more, and this is always supposed to be the perfect amount) So I started saving. Since I race lots of XC, I was developing into an XC guy. This meant that the bike I bought had to be pretty fast for racing, but still fun. That was the theory anyway. So for months I saved, and ogled hundreds of bikes online. Eventually, I was doing a few races and had the opportunity to ride a XC hardtail for a few months. This completely changed my perspective, and instead of hunting for a 120mm travel full suspension bike, or trail hardtail, I started to look at XC hardtails. Then fortune struck. A dealer I knew personally had a size large Mondraker Chrono SE carbon hardtail frame that I could buy. After humming and hawing a bit, I decided to go for it and told him that I’d love to have it. Then I started to decide on my parts. This is where having connections can help, I originally was thinking mid-level components, such as SRAM GX and Rockshox Select+. Then my dealer contacted me and asked what parts I was thinking about, and I was able to jump up the ladder for almost every component while saving money. So I ordered the parts through my dealer, and then came the day when I got to unbox all the beautiful parts and stare at them. After collecting all the parts I was ready to start building.
This being the first time I built a bike, things took awhile, and I had to have some help for certain things, most notably getting the shifting set up. Finally after dealing with finicky cable routing, a missing hub cap (my fault), and a tricky brake bleed I got things put together and it was time to roll. It was time to take this pony out for its first ride. Turns out this bike is fast, being both lighter and rolling faster due to tires. I set multiple PRs soon after getting used to the bike, and I knew that I now had no excuses for when I did poorly in a race.
So, what did I end up building? Here is the complete list:
I started off with a large Mondraker Chrono SE frame, full carbon, and Boost hub spacing. The wheels were Stan’s Crest MK3, which were very light and quite comparable to carbon hoops, especially for alloy. I wrapped those hoops in Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.25 with EXO protection, and bolted on a SRAM XO1 cassette and Centerline rotors. The rest of the drivetrain was built out of a motley collection of SRAM XO1 for the derailluer, SRAM XX1 for the cranks, and SRAM NX for the shifter and chain. For the fork, I was lucky enough to get the 2021 Rockshox SID SL Ultimate in SID Blue. While most people would’ve gone for black, I wanted the contrast, and also the attention from the blue. The cockpit is held onto by ESI Chunky grips, slid onto a ProTaper carbon bar, and all that bolted to a Mondraker stem. The seatpost was a fixed post for awhile as I waited on a lever for my dropper, a KS Lev SI with a Wolf Tooth remote triggering all the up and down action. Saddle duty comes courtesy of a Fabric Scoop Pro Flat with titanium rails. Finally for the little details: Cables and housing were Jagwire, the headset was a Cane Creek 40, bottom bracket a SRAM DUB, pedals are Crankbrothers Eggbeater 2, a King Cage Titanium cage serves duty as the H2O carrier, and I copped some sweet bar ends to finish off the bars. After the dropper and pedals were added, the bike weighed in at 22.7lbs, which for a bike with a dropper, alloy wheels, and no crazy lightweight parts is pretty good.
Overall there aren’t really a ton of truly custom things on the build, other than the unique collection of parts. Eventually I might upgrade some parts, and personalize it until it becomes mine, but for now I’m stoked to be riding a super fast bike, that won’t hold me back on the race course, and that’ll keep me smiling every time I fly up a hill.
(note: I sometimes switch to flat pedals and a few other small variations, so not all photos have the exact same parts.)