Sunday, 5 August 2012


As I have mentioned before, I have of the last few months been building a bike. It is called Thor and it is the complete shit :) If you think bikes are boring, now might be the time to leave and go and read something else!

So I essentially had a blank slate and wanted to make a bike, a decent bike. I had a budget and I was going to stick to it. I didn't want to just get a complete bike off Wiggle or whatever because (a) you don't get exactly what you want that way (b) I worked out it'd be cheaper to construct it from scratch and (c) BUILDING SHIT IS FUN.

 Frame: big decision to make. I was going carbon fibre because, you know, CARBON FIBRE. I wasn't going to go second hand because if you get one that has been crashed before... well, your fork could fail and you could die. I did some research and I contraversially decided to go for one of the generic carbon frames coming out of China. All of the posts on cycling forums (and there were *a lot*) were slightly suspicious but everyone who had got one was pleased with theirs. I figured that China made the majority of road frames nowadays so would know what the fuck they were doing (and the one I was getting looked suspiciously like the Ribble/Planet X ones...)

So yes, I dropped £400 on a frame, aero fork, seat post, stem, bottle cages (important) and head set (from these guys if you're interested) and I waited.

And I waited some more. The checklist on my fridge stayed like this for what felt like a lonng time.

And this was my pile of bike in the lounge for a good 2 months (much to my housemate's displeasure)

I waited 45 days (which was the lead time). Nothing. Dropped them an email. They were like "oh, shit sorry"and gave me another 15 days so they could make the bastard thing they should've done 45 days before.

And then, finally, it arrived :)

New bike AND the Tour's on! Fucking GET IN.

Various hacking-at-tape-with-penknive moves

Oooooooooo! It's frame shaped!


Also: bubble wrap. Fucking love bubble wrap

Casually checking out the action in France...

....annnnd back to ripping off bubble wrap. Notice that in the time I'd been waiting for the frame I'd bought another set of handlebars O_o


...hang on....

...and I realise that the badgering idiots have sent me the wrong frame...


Fork is completely fucking awesome though.

And this is it!


So they sent me the right size frame and the right design of frame but the wrong finish of frame (I was after the fat 12K weave). So I emailed them again, unleashed a bit of hell. I mean, if they'd have just sent me the wrong on two months before, I could kind of understand it, but the fact they had to make it especially and made it wrong. I mean FFS.

After much deliberation I decided sending it back to China and waiting another N days (were N is large) for another was starting to get a bit ridiculous so decided to keep it and demand a bit of a discount (which I got). To be fair to the Hongfu guys, they were very helpful and responded to my emails quickly so apart from the putting-the-wrong-fucking-finish-on thing, I'm happy.

Right! Now I have all the bits! Just need to put it all together oooooooooooooooo.

First off, get the crown race put on the fork so I can get the fork and the frame together (the crown race is a ring of metal that allows the fork to sit inside the headset)

Fork sans crown race...
...and with crown race on, about to cut the steer to size.
I must admit at this point that I cheated a bit and took my fork to a bike shop where the nice man used a bit heavy tube to smack the crown race on.

Right - frame + fork assembled! Also seat clamp and back brake added for the lulz.

Next job is cutting the steer tube to size. This took a fucking long time and a lot of patience was expended. Plan of attack was a plumber's pipe cutter to mark it out then when I got bored of that a HACKSAW WOOOOOO.


Next, bottom brack cup thingies.

I did later take that offensive sticker off, I promise
Sorted. This bike building malarky is fun! Then WHEELS. WHEELS ARE FUCKING EXCITING TOO.

Time to put the cassette on:


annnnd we're all lock-ringed on!

We're now starting to look a lot more like a bike:

... the cranks, seatpost and handlebars go on...


... then the front and rear derailleurs...

They even had a nice helpful guide where the teeth of the cranks were supposed to go. Woo!

Oh god, the carbon. IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL.
Now the fun bit - the shifters. The shifters were a lot of the reason I got this groupset in the first place...



I then had a joyous half an hour trying to get these bastard things attached to my bars, involving getting a torx bolt bit stuck for a good while.

Fuck. It.
I then realised if you rolled the cover back the other way stuff got a lot easier.

Ohhhhhhhhh, like that.
Next stop pedals....

...bottle cages (of all things)...

Yes, they are carbon too. I'm sorry :(
Then the saddle! Woo! Now the seat post I was really impressed with; it was just nicely designed y'know. So the main body of it looked like this (sorry, could not get the focus right at all on this)

 Into this fits a couple of cups with a groove for the saddle rails

then some nice chrome-y clamps go over the top

Adjustment both inclination-wise and horizontally are a piece of cake with this set up. Much better than the standard clamp-on-top design which are just a badgering pain in the ass to get the inclination right on:

Here is a photo of me looking happy with my saddle. I really need a hair cut at this point. And I obviously look like a complete chump because that's how I roll.

And yes, I know I'm putting a Brooks on a carbon fibre bike and this is a bit not-the-done-thing but fuck it, it's my bike :) And if you hate it? Well:


 Then decided that my bars were too high so more chopping of the steerer tube was required. OH GOD THIS MEANS I HAVE TO CUT THE FUCKING STEERER TUBE AGAIN OH GOD.

Annnnnnnd it's still too long:

FUCKING HELL RAGE. Another 3mm needs to come off so the headset cap thing actually fits. GAHHHHHHHH.

I eventually get bored of the pipe cutter and get John to finish it off with his Dremel.

Woooooo power tools wooooo
 Then FINALLY, the fucking steerer tube is the right fucking length and we can all get on with our lives.

Wooooooooo thank fuck for that.
Next, shit gets real as we have all the cabling to do. This is the bit I've been dreading.

Uh oh.

Brakes first, mercifully not too difficult.

Then the gear shifters....

... then we add the cable housing and tape everything to the bars ready for bar tape.

Yeahhhhhhhhh ultra-low friction.
In the mean time, I get the long-awaited hair cut and acquire a t-shirt with a bike on the front. And sunglasses. Indoors.

Adding some ferrules ooooo

Some nice internal cable routing ooooo

Cables all in place, time to wrap the bars!

Oh yeaahhhhhhhhhhh :D :D :D
Chain, all 11-speed like:

I refused to spend stupid money on a Campagnolo chain tool so went for the more sensible quick link option. Chain trimmed to the right length and joined up in a matter of minutes.

Some adjusting (including copping out and taking the bike to a shop to get the shifters to work O_o I KNOW, DON'T JUDGE ME) and we are DONE. One fucking ninja bike completed. Obligatory bike porn type shots (and yes, I am shit at taking photos of stuff that isn't drawings on a piece of paper)

Oh god that fork is so pretty.

Oh so very light.

So I know calling it Thor is a little cliched.. I was going to call it Bucephalus but (a) it's a bit of a mouthful (b) it contains 'phalus' in it and (c) I'm not Alexander the Great nor will conquer most of the known world on it. Odin's raven's had naff names (Huginn & Muninn) as did his horse (Sleipnir) so I was just like "fuck it, Thor it is".

So now I have four bikes FOUR, each with their own characters which sounds a bit stupid but is true.

There is the round town hack, like an excitable labrador:

The Peugeot (in Festina colours, celebrating Richard Virenque who was a doper, but is still weirdly a hero in France nevertheless) a 15 yo and aluminium framed and just a bit sluggish...

Has been with me through the thick and the thin though, including many painful time trials, so I can't bitch too much. Also has great bar tape.

The there is The Bianchi, fixed gear and steel and chrome and wonderful.

Then there is Thor, the destroyer of worlds.

I am looking forward to riding the bejesus out of it! WooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo

This post is dedicated to John's Allen keys, without which none of this would've been possible.


  1. Interesting debates going down on Reddit about this bike btw:

  2. If the aforementioned housemate was displeased by the size of pile of bits of bike in your living room.... she should see the state of our workshop... I mean... living room.... I think it's more bike than room now with the latest 2 additions :-)

    1. Your house is probably an exception, yes :)

  3. Think you would easily get a job working for Haynes (after a couple of photography lessons).
    Note also that you have proved your femininity by getting a bloke in (assuming it was a bloke under all that hair) to help finish the job. Looks immense though and SIR CHRIS JUST WON THE KEIRIN YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

    1. Hey! It was only because John wanted to help (and most of the tools were his anyway). And you know, bike chat :)

    2. Fair enough. I would've got a lad in as well. Not very mechanical, also very clumsy.

    3. Hey hey hey! I could've put it together all by myself (apart from making the bastarding shifters work...) I DON'T NEED NO BOY.

      Except to kill spiders. I do need a boy to kill big spiders for me O_o

  4. Which galaxy will you be first attacking with that?

  5. Nice. But seriously, Shimano pedals on a Campa bike? Ouch...

    1. But but BUT have you ever met anyone with Campy pedals?!?!? Those 105s are great, don't knock 'em till you've tried 'em :)

  6. That bike is definitely Mjölnir!!!!! Exceptionally sweet!!!!