Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bicycle Choices

I am currently in the middle of a training bicycle rebuild here in Switzerland.  I summarised the rebuild idea recently and now propose to go into some more detail.

Since I don't know if my choices have actually worked yet then I invite you all to come along with me for the adventure.   Over the next week or two we will see if I have done my Internet research correctly !

Just by reading this article you will see some of the options you have to custom build a bicycle for yourself.

Why Custom build

  1. The Money!  With few exception the sum cost of a bicycle's components is a long way short  i.e. under the cost of the assembled store product.
  2. A la Carte Flexibility:  This is the main benefit.   You can select exactly  which components you need without compromise.  Want that specific carbon seat or type of brake pad.   Yes you can.
  3. Confidence:  By putting everything together yourself you are assured that your bicycle is build by you, not some muppet in a hurry who does not care.  It should be better right!

Why not custom build
It could be that I made a fatal technical or design error and then all I will be left with is a set of components that don't actually work to make a new bicycle!

What components I plan to Salvage?
In essence the undamaged components namely:

Rear Wheel and Block

Tyres and Inner tubes
Geartrain/ Groupset  e.g. Campagnolo Record cranks and derailleur and brakes and levers

Temporary Components
For the purposes of testing I'll be temporarily mounting 

- brakes
- carbon seat
- front wheel

Whilst testing out the bicycle these damaged components should hold up.  Meanwhile the orders to ebay are being made, it is just that it takes a while to arrive to Switzerland from the UK and China.

Discard or Upgrade
The bottom bracket bearing  (the bit inside the frame between the pedals) is now 15 years old.  A new one is about 30 GBP. Discard!

The front carbon forks might look okay, but they hit the ground hard.   I'm scared.

The frame has some dents and scratches.  I plan to replace

The Front Mech (derailleur/ changer) is a band on unit.  This can only be used on new bicycle if the frame tube diameter is the same, unlikely.

I can't use the old handlebar since it is the old Quill standard and won't fit in the 31.8mm new standard.

Mail Order from Whom?
Wiggle have almost stopped selling Road bicycle frames.  Their current selection is pathetic.   Chain Reaction frames can easily go to 3K GBP.  Too expensive.   Ribble have a good selection of low priced frames.

What is more Ribble [almost secretly] use Dedacciai frames

Don't Forget ebay
Some no-name components are available from ebay.  

Examples:  Seatpost,  Carbon Seat

To me these have the distinct advantage of no-logo or small logo.  For a subtle, non shouting build, one that does not advertise /steal me/ this is just ideal.


Not expensive, but just have to remember which ones to order
All this will screw up if for some reason I can't use the existing Campag groupset  (cranks, derailleur etc) since if I was to start from scratch I'd rather use Shimano.

Frame and Forks

You can spend over 3000GBP  (5K USD or 5K CHF) on a frame.  I am quite sure those frames must be made exquisitely.  I know, my outgoing bespoke Condor frame was in that league :-(

However, in order to keep costs down I selected the Dedacciai DR15.  Of course this is no accident since I've determined it's available ultra economically from Ribble as the HF83

I needed that frame because then in principle I can reuse the seatpost (27.2 mm diameter) and the Campag geartrain will fit in the BSA  (British thread) bottom bracket without issue. Keeping the original geartrain means I can also keep the rear wheel, block, and rear derailleur.

[In principal I can convert the rear wheel to use a different Shimano block and then Shimano geartrain by replacing the Cassette Body   I wrote 3 times to Easton but no reply so sticking with Campag means I should not have to change anything]

In essence then this is a key decision, I won't know if it all works until the frame arrives and I try to assemble it .. yikes.

Fork Length

I want the handlebars to be up high so I don't have to crouch.  I spoke to Ribble Cycles who confirmed they don't cut the headtube and that would be my responsibility.  Perfect!

Bottom Bracket
The new 11 speed Campagnolo geartrains and all current Shimano have a different style of bottom bracket fitting   (the thing the cranks rotate on).    So the old standard is so old that Campag only sells old heavy crappy bottom brackets and I could not convincingly find a new light one.  

Internal Cabling
The new frame has internal cabling. No idea how this works.

Front Mech
The outgoing Condor frame has a band on front changer but the Ribble Frame has a brazed on so I'll need to order another.  Again there are no quality 9 speed Campagnolo parts so I have to order a cheapo product ...

Campagnolo Centaur front mech

Brakes change later
I plan to keep the existing Campag Record brakes and hopefully change them later as funds allow.  And, I notice the 15 year old brakes are pretty light already so really why change?

Rear Wheel
This Easton EA90 SLX wheel and Campag block was new in 2013 and with my design I should be reuse.  


The existing seatpost should fit (27.2mm) except that it needs to be longer than the current one and unfortunately I had chopped down the existing post  to save weight.  Doh!

I checked Agata's bike and her seatpost is the correct diameter and over 400mm long !!! So I plan to swap my old Thomson seatpost for her's and then use that one

I have to find the Chinese supplier of the solid carbon 91 gram seat and whilst it is in the post from China I will mount the existing damaged seat.  Just as a test!

Okay I am continuing to order components.

Farewell old Condor friend
Dedacciai frames

(a difficult name not deddaciai dedaciai deddacciai dedacci)