Black Mountain Cycles MCD: Final Review

Having pedaled a few hundred miles on the Monstercross Disc, I’m quite certain that I can make a fair assessment. Most of my miles have been in the Delaware State Forest in Northeast Pennsylvania, an area that provides smooth dirt roads, soupy gravel, singletrack and snowmobile trails. There’s plenty of uphills climbs and equally as many descents.

First, let me lay out the build. I purchased the frame and fork and decided to strip my Van Dessel and use that drivetrain, mixed in with some new parts for the cockpit. Now, I would normally build up my own bikes, but my lack of hydraulic brake knowledge, coupled with my in-ate inability to understand different hub systems led me to my friend Xavier at Action Bikes and Outdoor. Xavier stripped the Van Dessel, ordered some brake hose, figured out the hubs and did an incredible job with the entire build. I could not be happier with how it came out.

Shifters, derailleur, and crankset (SRAM Force) as we’ll as wheelset (Bontrager Affinity Elite) we’re switched over, along with the Thomson Seatpost and Chromag saddle. I went with a Velo Orange Tall Stack stem, a rather odd looking bit, but very comfortable with the 17 degree angle and my favorite bar, a Salsa Woodchipper. Xavier chose the Maxxis Rambler tires (700X40mm) as he certainly knows the terrain here in NEPA.

With any new bike, getting the correct fit is a process. I like to take a bike tool and figure it out as I ride. After my third ride, it was completely dialed in.

This bike climbs extremely well in loose, choppy conditions. The taller head tube and longer wheelbase give you confidence when bombing down a potholed jeep trail. Traction is up to the rider. Tires make a big difference, as not all gravel or cross tires are right for every surface. Read reviews and choose your rubber wisely.

It was deeper than I thought

While you could race this bike at any of the big gravel events that are all the rage these days, it’s probably best suited to take you on that long adventure or that beautiful farm road and it’s just begging you to hop on that trail you’ve been dying to explore.


4 thoughts on “Black Mountain Cycles MCD: Final Review

  1. That’s a beautiful bike. I love the Woodchippers on my Fargo, but they sit significantly higher than yours. I find that I’m always in the drops. Wondering about your experience. Also curious about your thinking with regard to hydraulics. I love the performance but it’s not hilly enough here to really benefit from them and so I stick with mechanicals on most of my bikes. I do have hydraulics on my Surly Instigator and I always dread bleeding them. 😉


    1. First, I have the Woodchippers on 2 bikes now. I can’t imagine going off pavement without them. I’m not a big fan of hydraulic brakes either. But, they do provide some peace of mind when descending. Also, how do you like the Fargo? Looks like an awesome bike.


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