My Dirtbag Kaffenback Build

Till 2006 I had a a Rocky Mountain Rail cross bike. Unfortunately it finally tapped out with a cracked right side chain stay. And after moving towns in 2007 and picking up a 29er in 2008. Kind of forgot about replacing the Rail for 3 years.

With ever increasing road riding as well as looking for alternatives to always taking the Chromag I decided the best option was another Cyclocross frame. My reasoning behind this decision was versatility and ability to take knobby tires for winter. I like the feel of steel frames and it had to have the ability to either be disc or rim brake.

Unfortunately the steel frame options are where a bit limited a year ago and hard to find used. I Remembered On One sells Planet X, specifically the Kaffenback. While not a true UCI type cyclocross frame it is still is capable of what I was looking for. And it comes in at $189 USD without fork.


The initial build was aimed at simply to get it on the road and cheaply. For  me it is better to buy better parts individually over time as I figure out what I need, that way I can find out what works and what does not over time.


The wheels are Bontrager rim brake rims on Bontrager hubs that I picked up for $75. Tires are Kenda Kwickers and paid $50 for the two. Chain and cassette are basic Sram.

I Found a Kona Project 2 Cyclocross fork for $30 including shipping off Pinkbike. No disc mounts as was just wanted to get it road worthy. The headset not pictured was a freebie from the shop I worked at.

Non drive side crank was $20 from a local shops old stock bin.

The BB is standard Shimano.

The drive side crank is from the Rocky Mountain Rail I cracked the chainstay’s on in 2006. So cost was free. Chainrings free as well.
Seat post is an old one from my mountain bike which was bent. Cut the lower part of the seatpost off which took care of the bent section. So cost was nothing. Salsa seat collar $2.


Shimano road front derailleur…no idea the model…free

Shimano rear road derauilleur From my parts bin…free
Tektro CR270 brakes front and rear. New from a shop for $45 total.image
Easton EA-30 stem, 90mm length. Came from the 29er I didn’t like. The extender was free.image
Bontrager road saddle. Bike shop parts bin…$10image
Handlebar $10 from bike shop close out. Tektro levers $30.

Kelly Take Off’s parts bin so free with Suntour GPX shifters.

Bar tape $20

In the end the total was maybe $450. Which got me riding right away and allows me to hit some easy singletrack as I desire as well as road and a bit of gravel. Of course this was a dirtbag build as I wanted to get riding immediately and then after ride time figure out which parts I would like to switch out.

So after 8 months of use and other then some brake pads and of course wearing out tires the parts I am looking to change are disc brake calipers, disc wheels, Retroshift levers, switch to a 60 or 70mm stem, and maybe a different bar, but I’ll wait to see if the shorter stem improves things before swapping that out.

If things work out the new parts will be ready for the Test of The First Gravel.

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