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.
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!|
|It's MA BIKE OOOOOOOOO|
|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|
|I CAN SEE SOME CARBON!!!!!!|
|...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.|
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|
Time to put the cassette on:
|SO. MANY. GEARS|
|SO. FUCKING. SHINY.|
|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...
|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.|
|Ohhhhhhhhh, like that.|
...bottle cages (of all things)...
|Yes, they are carbon too. I'm sorry :(|
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:
OH MY GOD IT NOW LOOKS LIKE A BIKE.
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|
|Wooooooooo thank fuck for that.|
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.|
|Adding some ferrules ooooo|
|Some nice internal cable routing ooooo|
|Oh yeaahhhhhhhhhhh :D :D :D|
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 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.