Friday, 14 February 2014

Yet another bike build post


A quick post because EXCITING NEWS my team bike arrived last night! Therefore I've spent many hours over the last 24 fiddling with it and swearing at internal cable routing and why I seem unable of cutting cable housing to the correct length, ever.

Also, I did resolve to myself to WRITE MOAR POSTS (after my one post in 2013, I mean FFS) so here you go. A POST. WITH 57% MORE ADDED CARBON.

Exciting boxes!
I gingerly start taking stuff out of boxes. Everything looks carbon and expensive. OH GOD I SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED WITH THIS.

As you can see, it is very important to have old toothbrushes and pyjama bottoms lying around because I'm pretty sure that is what pro mechanics use for degreasing stuff.

Those bars are carbon. At this point I was developing a great fear.

The frame makes it out the box. I like orange, and I like this orange A LOT. Also note the Q rings (i.e. slightly elliptical chainrings for DAT PEDALING EFFICIENCY). This installs more fear in me because I need to make a front mech work with that!

Nice touch of team name graphics on top. 
Box #1 has yielded its goodies, now time for box #2!

I am pretty certain I am not a good enough bike rider to deserve these wheels.

I take them out the box, realise they weigh nothing and carefully put them back. I step away.

*deep breath*

I woman the fuck up and got the wheels out the box and tape, tube and tyre them up. They look...dangerous.

I sadly have no cassette for them so back in the box they go for the time being. From now on this build will feature a pair of my shit winter bombproof wheels (SWBWs).

I start putting the groupset on my bike. It is late. It is *very* cold and I am listening to Radio 4. The later it got, the weirder it became. I periodically left to get more clothes, to drink tea and to lament my not owning fingerless gloves. The mechs and shifters went on, then I had the arduous and time consuming task of measuring everything to get everything the same height and distance apart as all my other bikes.

You'd think this would be a 2s job with a tape measure.

It's not.

It takes fucking ages. Half the problem is of course that bikes don't tend to stand up perpendicular on their own so there is usually lots of awkward leaning against stuff and swearing when you realise you've been measuring everything while the bike is leaning 10 degrees over to the left.

By this time it was about 10pm and I hated everything. Especially retracting tape measures and saddles and shifter hoods that were all slightly different to each other. Radio 4 was talking about Belgian child euthanasia and I was really starting to lose the plot.

And THEN the internal cable routing started. Now this can be tricky at the best of time without you being (a) tired (b) cold and (c) listening to progressively weird shit on the radio. It nearly broke me. Honest to god.

I slowly iterated to the correct cabling solution (cost: MY SOUL). Some of them are definitely a touch short but I'm human and my soul was dying so I think I can be excused.

Finally FINALLY cabling was done and all that needed to be done was gear/brake adjustment and bar taping. ON THE HOME STRAIGHT YAAAAAAAAAAY.

The front mech + elliptical chainring adjustment was definitely entertaining, especially with the hilariously bad instructions from ROTOR which I can neatly summarise as:

1) Install front mech. Make sure it is parallel to the chainrings (dur)
2) Adjust front mech correctly.
3) Here are some unhelpful diagrams that are both low resolution, incredibly small and completely devoid of ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER.


I therefore binned the "instructions" and followed the standard applied mathematician approach of iterating to the correct solution, changing things a few mm at a time until it worked, then stepping the fuck away from it sharpish when it did and saving it to your external hard drive.

Taping up, thank fuck for that. 
Indexing stuff = done. Adjusting brakes so I don't die = done. Now just some bar taping and DONE DONE DONE.

Dat campag. Dat Ritchey and Aprire loveliness. Dat lack of feeling in my hands and OH FUCK did I just slice my hand open with a Stanley knife? (A: Yes, yes I did).

Time to step back and appreciate the lines.
Just to prove that the bike did actually work, here it is hiding in my office after getting wet in some seriously biblical rain :'(

So there you go! Just got to get used to it now before my first race at the London Bike Show on Sunday! This is by far the most quality carbon I have ever ridden (not worthy, not worthy) so I am interested to see how it feels compared to my other bikes (a mixture of steel, alloy and cheap carbon).

Hopefully I'll get a post out about the Bike Show race (which I do really hope doesn't include me failing to get round the first corner and taking out a crash barrier). Watch this space!


  1. Mmmmmm, q-rings . . .

    How did it go? Did you win?

    1. See the post I'll write later today/tomorrow :)

    2. Three blogs in two months? With all zeese blogs you are spoiling us! :)

      How do you find the q-rings compare to standard cranks? Have you used them much before this bike?

  2. It's a very tentative suggestion, but perhaps, in future, once it gets to past 10pm and you can't think straight... well, maybe that is the time to go to bed and do the internal cabling the next day? :-/

    But that is a rather lovely bit of carbon goodness... love the angular tubes. Hope the race was fun!


    1. Sadly it just had to be done that evening :( I would agree that cabling bikes when utterly exhausted is not a brilliant idea!

  3. Very much enjoying the 2014 blogs. I think you are getting a little less sweary. I know this should be a good thing, but it does make me laugh. Also very jealous of the bike. Please get a nice contract to write for Cycling Weekly. Doc Hutch is getting a little samey.

    1. Yeah, think I am mellowing as I'm getting older!

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