Saturday, April 2, 2011

Around 130 miles later...

So I've gotten two good long rides on the new bike.  I'm not even going to pretend like I'm qualified to give a review about the nuances of performance, but here's what I can say with confidence.

  • It's light.  I don't know exactly, but I'm guessing I've got 16lb-ish build here.  I feel, and probably am, faster on this bike.
  • The front end is noticeably lighter, and I suspect it's because I've never had a full carbon fork. Not a bad thing, however.  
  • The bike has a very solid feel.  No rattles or creaks or the incidental sounds here and there that I've grown accustomed to from my CAAD9 and cross bike.  
  • The SRAM Force group performs like gangbusters.  Significant improvement over SRAM Rival. 
I'm very pleased with this project.  I wouldn't even hesitate to order another frame/fork from this ebay merchant.

Monday, March 28, 2011

build complete!

Wow.  So... I'm done.

The worst part of the build came after the last post, and that was installing the chain.  For some reason, the master link was not cooperating, and I could not get it to lock into place.  It would get half-way, and not go further.  Thankfully, the Park MLP-1 pliers ($10 on ebay) were a lifesaver.

I pulled a master link off an old chain (an 1090), but that also wouldn't go on, which lead me to believe it was the adjacent pins that were causing problems.  So after working the pins back and forth, along with some prolink lube, my next attempt with the new link worked, and just a little pedal pressure was all it took to snap into place.  So make sure the ping holding onto the master link have enough room to actually hold onto the master link!

Last night, it tool me a little over 2 hours to cable it all up, dial in the shifting, wrap the bars and tighten everything down.  I feel finally I have a good understanding of how the limit screws work, and when I installed the cabling, with a minimum amount of tightening from the barrel adjusters, everything just worked.   I also highly recommend this torque wrench, the "1/4 DR 20-200IN/LB TORQUE WRENCH MICROMETER ADJUSTABLE"  (catchy).  I got it from someone (optioneparts) on ebay for $22.50.

Already had a set of allen wrench that use 3/8" drive, so a little conversion chuck at the hardware store put this guy into action.  There's actually a Newton-Meter scale written on the wrench, so you don't need that paper.   4 NM agreed exactly with my little Ritchey carbon torque key, so had no reservation for using it elsewhere.  Brakes got 2 NM, seat post 8 NM, derailleurs got 6 NM each, seat locked down at 10 NM, stem and bars at 4 NM, pedals around 20 NM.  I was very careful with the front der clamp, and I doubt there's even 1 NM holding the guy there, but it hasn't slipped. Truthfully there isn't enough leverage to really get on a BB cup, and the necessary torque for those cups are right at the limit of this wrench, so I'm not so sure I would trust the accuracy.

So even though my senses urged me to do a short local ride for the first ride, I hopped on this AM and rode it 20 miles to work.  It was fantastic.  I definitely notice the lightness of the bike, and finally think I understand what people talk about when they call a carbon frame "compliant."  I have to do a little fine-tuning on the front der, but all and all, things came together very nicely.  No rattling or creaking from the components.  Also, this bike is fast.

I haven't had the heart to spoil the look with a saddle bag, and I recently found a little carbon pump at the port ride (hey, I posted to the facebook page, but no one came forward to claim it...), which I may use, but for this ride I just stuffed a tube, a CO2 canister and that little pump in my jersey pocket. I'm not even sure I want a speedometer on this guy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's coming together

I had Dennis Stone cut the fork today and dig through his parts bin for some barrel adjusters. I ended up using an FSA compression plug which first sits snugly in the fork tube, then the cap screws down, gently squeezing the headset together. I think it's a better design than the plug the headset came with, which just expands as you screw it down.


The headset that came with the bike came with a plug doesn't have any capability to pull things together -- looks like this, actually, and isn't a two-piece apparatus.  

So far I really haven't had any build problems.  The drive-side BB was a little tighter than the left, and one of the barrel adjuster was dead-set on not cooperating, but screwed in eventually.  Obviously, lots still to do, but in a way I feel the hard stuff is behind me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

that's a big head tube

headset seemed to lock into place!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

hammer down, fork race

I had my favorite LBS (Stone's in Alameda) pound down the fork race for the headset this morning.  I saw some DIY videos on youtube last night, but they made me feel queasy. To be honest, I was slightly hesitant about bringing in some generic fork to that shop, because (1) let's face it, I paid a 1/4 of what it would have cost there and (2) that shop is All About Steel.  But Dennis (owner) was impressed with the fork, and once he picked it said, "oh, a true temper fork...  wait... no... well, they look identical.  Hard to say, they all come from only a few factories."  Anyway, he got to pounding in the back room.  It was a tight fit, and I'm a touch skeptical just how well the bearings are going to sit...  I've cleaned an integrated headset on two other bikes, and I don't know, they just seemed more secure.  Maybe once the thing gets tightened down it'll be fine.

He also convinced me that I don't want to chop off a carbon steer tube myself, so I'll be going back.  Stone's Cyclery is a great shop, and while I did get most everything for this new bike off Ebay or online merchants, I'm happy to spend locally on accessories and miscellaneous bits whenever I can.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

All the fixin's

And what you see are all the components that make up a bike! My torque wrench is ready, and Phil's grease will go where it needs to go. I have a master wrencher on retainer, and I'm sure he's going to love the email which starts off, "Okay Ant, so I took the hack saw to the carbon steer tube and...."

Lucky me, rainy weekend coming up.
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last parts arrive!

Got the last shipment of parts today at work!  After very positive results with SRAM on my cross bike, I've "upgraded" my Dura-Ace 7800 shifters and rear derailleur on my CAAD 9 with SRAM Rival, and couldn't be more happy.  With Happy Fun Bike however, I decided to take it up a notch and give Force a try.  So aside from a Rival front derailleur, I'll have a complete Force group.  I decided to go with GVH Bikes due to the low prices, being able to choose the components exactly, and team mate recommendation.  It was extremely easy ordering from Tom @ GVH bikes, rounding out what has been a very painless process of collecting all the parts together.

- Force 53/39 Crankset with GXP bottom bracket.
- Force rear derailleur.
- Force shifters.
- 1090-R SRAM chain

Saturday, March 19, 2011

miscellaneous components

  • Control Tech 44cm alloy bars off my CAAD 9
  • Two new Tacx Tao alloy bottle cages
  • Michelin Krylon tires 700x23
  • Fizik microtex bar tape in dark grey.  Love this tape.  I have white installed on my CAAD 9 and after 2 months it's not dirty!  The dark grey should match the Fizik Arione seat pretty well
  • Swiss stop pads.  Never used these guys
  • Some random headset that was included with the frame.  I might use an FSA compression plug that I think is designed pretty well and seems more sturdy than this one.
  • Not included in this picture is some no-name brake cables and housing

Stay tuned for the group!  I'm five pieces away from starting on the build.

frame and fork unveiling

The frame and fork actually arrived on monday.  It was shipped to my local post office from Hong Kong, total delivery time of ~ 10 days. Had to pick it up from the post office due to required signature.  I was really impressed with the thorough packing job.  Everything looks great, and the frame and fork are incredibly light.  The claimed weight for frame and fork is ~1300 grams (about 2.8 lbs).   First, here are some schematic picts and a stock photo.  I ordered the XL (57cm TT).

And here are a few pictures of the unboxing.  

Probably a little difficult to tell in the pictures, but it's a full carbon fork.  The bottom bracket area is quite large, and really the only negative reaction I've had is that the threads for the bottom bracket cups is a little dirty.  Looks like it had adhesive at one point, but I don't believe the threads have been used.   I tried to take a picture, but it didn't come out.

There are a number of sellers on Ebay with great ratings delivering these frames.  I went with the seller e_baygoods, and while I can't comment on ride or build quality yet, the purchase and delivery process were super easy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

some more parts!

- Easton EA 90 Alloy Stem. Used, but perfect condition
- Non-named Shimano brakes. The model number on the back says BR-560R, but I haven't done any searching to find the comparable line. Maybe 105, I don't know. These came stock on my 08 CAAD9, which I later replaced with Dura-Ace 7800 brakes. I remember thinking, "hmm, I cannot tell a difference..." on my first descent.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

check out the wheelset

Got a great deal from a teammate on a gently used set of Easton EA 90 Aero wheels. Also installed is a top-shelf SRAM Red 11-26 cassette with the same miles as the wheels.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

First components arrive...

rather than list all the specs upfront, I'll roll out the details as the parts arrive.  so far we've got:

  • Fizik Arione w/ Ti rails.  installed, but never used.
  • Control Tech carbon fiber 31.6 seat post.
  • Control Tech carbon fiber 34.6 seat collar.
  • Dura Ace 7810 pedals.  used and scuffed, but cheap.