Friday, November 21, 2014

Keirin is a Star

Wednesday's post on All Hail The Black Market was a pleasant surprise for me.  The day prior, I sent Stevil a link to a video I took of Keirin's first bike ride and he chose to add it to his post.  I set up the iBert on a townie bike and took her for a spin around the neighborhood.  It was a short ride, but she was thrilled.  There will be many more adventures for her and her sister by bike.

I'm especially grateful for Stevil's Photoshop skills.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Arrived: Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio 2 Saddle

A new Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio 2 saddle just arrived and I'm pretty excited to test it out.  It is replacing an Ergon SR3 Pro Carbon saddle that I found to be pretty terrible.  Because of the shape of the Ergon, the front wings dug into my hamstrings with each pedal stroke.  I've been happy with Selle Italia saddles in the past, with similar shapes to this one, so I'm hopeful it will be a good fit.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Current Emonda Build & Weight

This is the current state of the Emonda:
The current weight is 6.71 kg / 14.79 lb.

I was unable to use the 25c Continental Grand Prix 4000s tires on the Pacenti rims because the top of the tire hit the bottom of the front brake.  There was plenty of clearance in the rear.  My main complaint about this bike is the angle at which the front brake attaches to the fork.  If it were kicked back a bit, there would be loads of clearance.  As it sits, the brake extends more toward the tire than over it, creating less space for the tire.  I know that the issue is not just because of the TRP brakes.  I purchased (and returned) a new set of Campagnolo Chorus brakes and the fit was no better.  Luckily, I had a pair of Continental Ultra Sport 23c tires hanging in the garage.  I'm not terribly fond of the red, but will ride them until I decide on a new set of tires.  About a week ago, I sent an email to Jason Schumacher (Customer Service Manager) at Trek about the brake clearance issue, but haven't heard back yet.

I've only been able to get out on one ride so far with the new wheels, but they are fantastic.  They are more stable in crosswinds than either the Boyd 38 or Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels and the wide profile really allows the tire to fill out and provide a nice ride on the crappy farm roads around Salinas.

The other new addition is the Ergon SR3 Pro Carbon saddle.  It has a bit of a funky shape, so I need to play around with the position a bit before offering my opinion of it.  The boxy shape at the front of the seat area pressed my hamstrings on each pedal stroke if I sat where I wanted to be.  I'm going to move it back a little and drop the nose a little for my next ride on it.

Now that I'm just about done with this build, I need to figure out what other bike needs my attention.  New wheels for the CX bike?  Gearing change for the XC bike?  Hmm...

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Update - October 23rd, 2014 - I have not heard back from Jason at Trek.  By this point, I'm guessing I won't.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

New Wheels - Pacenti / Circus Monkey / Sapim / DT Swiss

Today I picked up my new wheelset from Peninsula Bike Works.  The 20/24 wheels are built with Pacenti SL23 rims, orange Circus Monkey hubs, black & white Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and matte silver DT Swiss alloy nipples.  I ordered the Circus Monkey hubs directly from the supplier and had Sean order the rest of the parts.  Pacenti recommends using nipple washers on the rear drive side when building a 24 hole rim as a safety precaution, so I had Micah add those when he laced up the wheels.

I didn't weigh all of the parts individually, but the rims were 450g each (as advertised), and the hubs were 70g front and 230g rear.  Total wheel weight on the Feedback scale is 1430g.  Not too shabby.  The sale of my Boyd 38 carbon wheels paid for this wheelset and left some change in my pocket.  I had a bit of a freakout moment with the Boyds when descending Fremont Peak several weeks ago.  After that, I decided to go back to aluminum wheels and see what all the buzz is about with wider rims.  For now I'll be wrapping them with Continental Grand Prix 4000s 25c tires.  Depending on the shape and feel, I might go back to 23s.  TBD.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Built & Ridden: Trek Emonda SL Frameset

I finished the Emonda build yesterday afternoon and took it out for a windy 20 mile shakedown ride. The bottom bracket is stiff. Surprisingly stiff in a good way. As for stability, I feel this frame is more stable than my previous one, which was an open mold Chinese Flyxii FR-303. It rode well, but was just a bit twitchy at higher speeds. It has some toe overlap, but I'm used to that with this frame size. For the record, I wear size 43 Sidi Wire shoes and it scuffed it during a track stand about 18mm in from the toe.  One thing I am not used to is having a huge top tube to seat stay junction.  I have fairly large legs, so my inner thigh will easily press against the junction, but not while pedaling.

I'm not sure what's going on in the top tube, but when I pull the rear brake I can hear the cable rub.  I decided to pull the line and put a sheath over the cable to prevent any possible damage to the frame.  The strangest thing about the build is the minimal clearance at the front brake. I'm using older carbon over aluminum TRP brakes and running Continental Grand Prix 4000 S 25c tires that are still pretty new. When I fitted the front wheel and spun it, the little nubs rubbed the bottom of the brake caliper. This could totally be because of the brakes, but I did not have the same clearance issue with the Flyxii or on a Colnago CLX.  Maybe I'll just have to save up for some EE Brakes.

As for weight, it's nearly identical to my previous build on the Flyxii. As shown here, it is set up the same. The frames both have tapered head tubes and forks, but differ in bottom brackets and seat mast/post setup. The differences are a Thomson Masterpiece seatpost and Woodman collar to the Emonda seatmast, different brand headset and spacers, standard to BB90 bottom bracket, and different brand cables and housing. The Flyxii was 15.96 pounds (7239 grams), and the Emonda is 16.01 pounds (7262 grams). Please take note that this weight is with the bike set up to ride, as shown, with bottle cages, Garmin Edge 200 & Bar Fly mount, under-seat tube and tool bundle, and mini pump, but no water bottle. I haven't weighed it without the full riding gear attached.

For size reference, I'm about 5'-8" (172 cm) tall.  The bike is set up with a 10 cm -10 degree stem with a saddle to bar drop around 5.5 cm (I might drop another 5 mm).  The saddle height is about 69 cm from the center of the bottom bracket spindle to the top of the saddle, along the seat tube.  The direct distance from the nose of the saddle to the top center of the handle bar is about 50 cm.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weighed: Trek Emonda SL Frameset

Today I rushed home at lunch to weigh and photograph the Emonda.  The weights of the seatmast and stem should be taken with a grain of salt, as the scale rounds to the nearest ten.  I didn't bother to weigh things like the headset bearings, compression plug, headset cap and bolt, carbon spacers, chain catcher, aluminum bottle bolts, etc.  I don't have a scale for the small stuff, and I don't really care.

Frameset, as it comes out of the box with all the bits attached.  1790 grams.
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Frame alone, no bolts, chain guard, bearings, etc.  I did leave in the internal routing guides and the derailleur hanger is on.  1040 grams.
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Fork alone without the headset bearing or compression plug.  360 grams.
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Seatmast.  130 grams.
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Stem, Bontrager RXL 90mm.  130 grams.
Trek Emonda SL Frameset

Adding everything up puts the weight at 1660 grams, so the little parts I took off together weigh around 130 grams.  I'm only doing this for those weight weenies out there.  You know who you are.

Little bolts that could be replaced, if one cares, for a little weight savings are the seatmast clamp bolt and the bolt that attaches the chain guard to the frame.  They're both steel.  I'd go with titanium for both or aluminum for the chain guard.  The stock bottle cage bolts are black aluminum.

Tonight I should have a little time to start building it up, starting with prepping the BB90 Campagnolo adapter with the special Loctite.  I do really miss a nice threaded bottom bracket.

Arrived: Trek Emonda SL Frameset

Trek Emonda SL Frameset

Yesterday my new Trek Emonda SL frameset arrived at Carmel Bicycle.  As soon as I got the call from shop owner Rob, I hopped in the car and headed over.  We pulled the frameset from the box, unwrapped it, and threw it in a stand to look over.  The first thing I noticed was the massive downtube, especially as it blended into the BB90 bottom bracket shell.  Massive.  We chatted a bit, showed it to other customers, and I then wrapped it back up and headed back to work.

When I got home I put it on my Feedback Sprint work stand to look over.  I have to say the finish of the frame is a 7.5 out of 10.  Just a bit disappointing.  There are two small partial finger prints on the R in TREK on the downtube, and of course under the clear coat.  Next, I noticed some excess carbon fiber in the bottom bracket shell.  I was able to flex it with light finger pressure, and it peeled out.  It won't affect the frame at all, but is a finishing touch that should not have been overlooked.  The paint was mostly good, but there are a few little "blips" and one small "wart" that are pretty easily found when within a foot of the frame.  The last little annoyance might only be noticed by me, but I might as well mention it.  On the back of each seat stay is a decal that reads, "DESIGNED IN WATERLOO WISCONSIN."  The drive side one is a bit off-center.  I know, nit picking, but I do computer graphics for a living, so I notice these things.  Anyhoo, none of the issues are enough for me to take it back to Rob and ask him to have Trek replace it.

As for weight, the frameset as shown weighs 1790 grams (3.95 pounds).  That includes frame, fork, seatmast, Bontrager RXL 90mm stem, FSA headset, expander plug, carbon spacers, bottle cage bolts, chain guard, and the internal cable routing guides.  I will weigh the individual pieces later.  The complete build will be with 11 speed Campagnolo Chorus and will ditch the Bontrager 90mm -7 degree stem in favor of my Thomson 100mm -10 degree stem.

On to the photos.  The complete set can be viewed on Flickr.

Trek Emonda SL FramesetTrek Emonda SL Frameset

Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Massive downtube / bottom bracket junction
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Excess carbon in the BB shell that should have been cleaned out
Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Hard to see in the photo, but there are a couple smudges in the R

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ordered: Trek Emonda SL Frameset

Today I handed Rob at Carmel Bicycle a small envelope with five crisp new Benjamins, freshly plucked from my bank account, as a deposit.  He is ordering for me the just-released Trek Emonda SL frameset, and I'm stoked.  Since I use Campagnolo, he also had to order the adapter kit for the BB90 bottom bracket shell.  If anyone cares, the part number is 407383 and they spec the use of Loctite 638 (retaining compound) and 7649 (surface primer) for the adapter installation.

I've never been a huge fan of Trek, nor have I been opposed to them.  I briefly considered a Madone frameset based on the near-perfect geometry for me, but didn't really like the $2k price tag.  The Emonda has the right combination of price, geometry, visual simplicity, and weight that caught my attention.  I was very close to purchasing a Ritchey Road Logic, and would have if this bike didn't exist.  The frameset is supposed to arrive in about a week, and I'm incredibly excited for my early birthday present to myself!

Trek Emonda SL Frameset
Soon, this will be mine.  Trek Emonda SL frameset.
Carmel Bicycle - Next to the Barnyard Shopping Village

Monday, June 30, 2014

Video: Le Tour De France Explained in Animation

This is an incredibly well done animated video explaining Le Tour.  I especially enjoyed the history in the beginning of the video.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Bar Fly Shim for 26.0 Handlebar

A while back I bought a white Tate Labs Bar Fly for my Fuji Connoisseur retro-ish road bike.  The Bar Fly isn't available for a 26.0 bar, which is what I have mated to the Nitto Dynamic quill stem.  I was using a shim made from a Bud Light can held on with electrical tape.  It worked ok, but slid when it got warm and recently just gave up on life.  Luckily for me, I have a friend in the machine shop at work who is also a cyclist.  Armed with a CAD drawing, I headed downstairs to beg for a shim.  A day later I had this in my hands:

Bar Fly shim

Below is the shim installed on a set of first generation of Easton EC90 bars.  It looks great next to the Nitto stem and reliably holds the Bar Fly in place.

Bar Fly shim installed on EC90 bars next to a Nitto Dynamic stem

More photos of the Connoisseur are on Flickr.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring Install - Bolt Decisions

After numerous rides on my Santa Cruz Highball using only the 32 middle ring, I decided to ditch the front derailleur, shifter, and extra chainrings.  After looking at the options I decided on the Race Face Narrow Wide single ring, mainly because I could get it in orange, and bumped up to a 34.  If it proves to be too much, I can always do a cassette conversion to gain a 40 on the rear.  My current XT cassette is 11-36, and I rarely use the 36 out in Fort Ord.  One of my big concerns with going to one ring was losing top end speed which is why I opted for the 34 tooth ring.

Install was straightforward.  Mostly.  I pulled the cranks to get the rings off and do some general cleaning and went to slap on the new ring.  There is a choice of graphics on this ring.  One side is mellow with some laser etching in the grooves, but the other side has Race Face laser etched all over it.  I wanted the beautiful orange color to show, so I opted for the mellow side out.  I had ordered a set of Wolf Tooth Components single chainring bolts in blue to nicely offset on the orange and tie in the blue bits of the Fox fork.  This is where I ran into trouble.  You see, the Race Face ring is flippable, but different.  On the mellow side, the bolt holes have a recess for a bolt head to sit in.  The flashy side is flush.  If you want the mellow side out, you need double chainring bolts.  If you want the flashy logo side out, then you need single chainring bolts.  Bummer.  I dropped $36 ($28+tax+shipping) on the WTC bolts which are now useless to me.  Luckily I had a set of double bolts sitting around that I slapped on.

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring - 34 Tooth
Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring - 34 Tooth

I wrapped the chain around the chainring and largest cog in back, without running it through the derailleur to determine the new chain length.  With three links overlapped, I shortened the chain by one link and added a master link.  I was a bit surprised that the XT chain didn't have a master link installed.  On the stand, shifting didn't seem to be any different, and thinking about it, I didn't take note of extra noise from the chainring.

As for weight savings, I dropped about 380 grams (0.84 pounds) by removing the rings, cable, shifter and derailleur.  It's a decent chunk of weight dropped for parts I rarely used.  I will give it a proper flogging this weekend to see how well everything works and will do my best to try and drop the chain.

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring
Hard to see, but the flashy side holes are flush and the mellow side holes are recessed.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fort Ord Is My Back Yard

After moving to the Toro Park neighborhood about a month ago, I have been spending a lot more time in Fort Ord and have basically forgotten about my road bike.  It's awesome to hit dirt within about ten seconds of leaving my front door.  Yes, it's that close.  Below are a four photos from recent rides.

My new back yard - Fort Ord
My new back yard - Fort Ord.

Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno SSCX
Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno SSCX looking over the new 'hood.

Redline Monocog Flight AL SSMTB
Redline Monocog Flight AL SSMTB looking over the new 'hood.

Santa Cruz Highball AL
Santa Cruz Highball AL on one of the many trails in Fort Ord.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mount Skidmore Bottle Cage Adapter

I've really been enjoying the Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno singlespeed cyclocross bike, but was not happy with the bottle cage placement.  I have a Backcountry Research Mutherload strap to hold a tube, mini tool, and patch kit, but had to mount it under the down tube near the bottom bracket.  Sure, I could have put it higher on the seat tube, but I was going for a lower center of gravity.  After scouring the interwebs, I came upon Mount Skidmore in Australia and their bottle cage adapter.

Mount Skidmore Bottle Cage Adapter
 The adapter came in a nice little bag that can probably be used as a dry bag for an iPhone.  I have a Samsung Android phone that's just a little too big for this bag.  I did however find it useful to hold replacement parts for my gardening shears.  Perfect.

Mount Skidmore Bottle Cage Adapter on the FCU Mount Skidmore Bottle Cage Adapter on the FCU
As you can see in the above photos, the adapter allowed me to push the cage up to give enough room to place the Mutherload on the seat tube at the bottom bracket shell.  Other benefits are that the bottle is now a little easier to grab and I have the option of mounting a second bottle in a reasonable location.  Well, there aren't bottle cage bosses on the seat tube, so I have that little issue to deal with.

This is a really well made handy product that is well worth the price.  Also, shipping to California from Australia was pretty speedy.  I hope they come up with other nifty products.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fairdale Bikes R+D

Here is a fun video of the guys from Fairdale having fun with "bikes" of all kinds!

Monday, January 27, 2014

ALERT: Demo Bikes Stolen From Santa Cruz's Headquarters

Nearly $100,000 worth of Santa Cruz demo bikes were stolen from a locked trailer behind the company’s headquarters last week.

Click here to read the full article on MTBR.

The photo below was originally posted by Eric Highlander to his Instagram account.

Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno SSCX First Ride

On Saturday, I took the Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno out for the first time.  I decided to do a (mostly) road ride with it just to get familiar and make sure everything was well set up.  I first headed over to Peninsula Bike Works to drop off some tires for Micah, then hit the bike path toward Marina.  After passing through Sand City and on to the Fort Ord Dunes path, I took a side detour toward the old military bunkers.  They are all blocked by large cubes of concrete, but make a great place for photos due to all of the colorful tagging.  I took a few photos in front of them, then headed back to the main trail over a sandy dirt area that wasn't really a path.

Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

I have to admit that I went a little more custom with this bike than I had originally planned.  The only stock parts left are the frame, fork, wheels, and tubes.  I changed out everything else.  That said, I'm really happy with the bike.  It was the best first ride I have ever had on a new bike, and I don't plan on changing how it is set up.  I spent a lot of time measuring between my road and cross bikes and it paid off.  At some point I will probably change the seatpost to a Thomson Elite to match the stem, and when I need new bar tape I might add some carbon bars with a compact drop.  Different tires will also be in order depending on how I plan on using it.  At the top of my list right now are the Clement X’Plor MSO tires in 40mm with 120tpi casing.  They look like a great all around tire and will fit the bike.  For a while I have been stuck on the Bruce Gordon Rock n' Road tires, but I think that if they do fit there won't be much clearance.  The Rock n' Roads are also about 60 grams per tire heavier.  It's not a big deal for overall weight, but enough to feel in rotational weight.  For pure SSCX riding I'll have to look around, but I am happy with the IRD CrossFire 32mm tires on my geared CX bike.

Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

The bike handles very well and is more stable than I expected.  Other reviews I have read mentioned twitchy handling, but I didn't get that.  Also, toe overlap was not an issue for me.  The main drawback to the bike is the weight, but I didn't feel it to be an issue while riding it.  With all the nice parts I have on there, it still weighs 21 pounds.  The fork alone weighs about 930 grams uncut.  The full specs of the current build are listed below.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SSCX Bike Arrival - Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

For a couple years I have been eyeballing the Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno from Bikes Direct.  I like the idea of singlespeed cyclocross and this is (supposed to be) a cheap way to try it.  Last week I finally hit the purchase button and today it arrived at work.  I quickly pulled it from the box and began removing the packing and protection.  The box itself was pretty beat, but the bike is well wrapped and protected.  Or so I thought.  I pulled off the foam on the seat tube to find a small dent seven inches up from the bottom bracket shell.  It's very odd since there were no parts near that spot.  The closest was the front wheel, but that couldn't have caused it.  My best guess is that it happened while being prepped and boxed and was just missed.  I had already been emailing with Matt from BD, so I shot him an email with a photo of the dent.  He immediately responded and asked if I would accept a $50 refund.  Absolutely.  That's awesome customer service, and the refund was given within 30 minutes of me sending the photo.  Rad.

Seat tube dent
This dent is worth $50

After getting all the protective material off of the bike, I quickly threw it together to get a weight.  From searching online, I was expecting it to be around 24 pounds, but was pleasantly surprised when my Feedback Sports scale read 22.31 pounds.  I have already ordered some new parts and have some old parts that I will install in place of stock items, so the bike will be vastly different from stock.  The details of those parts will come soon.  Based on looks alone, I'm already happy with the bike.

The bike in stock form
The bike will look much different when I'm finished swapping parts

Some details of the bike that I could not find online:
  • 30.0 seat post collar
  • 52cm frame has a 95mm head tube
  • Stem length is 130mm!
  • Handlebar width is 45cm C-C at the hoods
  • The crank length is 175mm
  • The measurements for ST and TT match the geometry listed online
  • The bike ships with the fixed cog installed and the freewheel in the parts box
  • Included for the brakes are both Y cable straddles and aluminum triangle cable straddles