Friday, May 12, 2006

Carbon One is built

Carbon One, my prototype and demo-mule is built up. The derailers need to be dialed in a little bit, but otherwise its the real deal. While its to be expected, I am amazed at how light it feels to pick up. Likewise, to flick it from side to side when on the bike. I can't wait to weigh it in - even with the old Zonda wheels.

I found the proper nut for the front fork. It had been safely put away (along with a few odd other bits) in the can in which the headset came. After four months, an old mind like mine can forget things.

The Cane Creek brakes mounted and adjusted (pads and centering) easily. They provide good stopping power and reasonable modulation, at least as best I can tell on short 10:30PM ride around the neighborhood. Overall, they felt very good. Where else can you save 50 grams over Record or Dura Ace, and save $50-$100 over same? Normally, I'd expect 50 grams to cost $100-$150 - so these are a bargain.

In mounting brakes, it became evident that Deda designed the fork and rear triangle with more tire clearance than one might expect on a high-end carbon frame. It certainly doesn't look like its overly generous - but it appears that a pair of 700cX28mm tires would fit fine. The brake shoes are virtually at the bottom of their slots. I like this approach.

Also noted mounting the brakes; the Vittoria tires (came with the Zondas) are from Thailand. nothing wrong with that. But, apart from the Cane Creek brakes and the FSA derailer and Bottom Bracket, this is a truly Italian bike. As noted, the derailer will probably get swapped out for Campy. The BB will get replaced as soon as Joe can get me a Deda. The CC brakes will stay, but I'm inclined to complete my Deda showcase by mounting a set of Deda Tre tires. But, its probably better check that they're actually made in Italy before going that far.

The SLR saddle felt much more comfortable than I expected. In fact, I think it may be easy to get used to. One thing, the front is firm so its important that its not tipped up or pain will be experienced.

Being used to handlebars as seat height, its going to take a little work getting used to having the 2 inches below. But the reach is good, so this doesn't seem concerning, just an adjustment.

This was built with long chainstays (420mm) - I like a steady bike on a long ride, and find that this doesn't really limit manuverability. The headset and fork must be spot on also, because no-hands feels easy, even at lower speeds on an old concrete street. Going around the circle of the cul de sac felt good, but I'll have to wait for a longer day-light ride to find out how hi-speed handling is. A bike should fall naturally into its line on a corner, but it should be easily be steered off that line went necessary. Not all that many bikes can do both well, so we'll have to see about this one.

I know what I'd do differently next time with the paint, but that doesn't take anything away from the job that Gordon did. The shine is so deep, you can feel how smooth the surface of the paint is. I'm looking forward to working with him again in the future. Highly recommended.

The current front derailer is an FSA compact. Its a braze-on that works with the Deda band-clamp that comes with the front triangle. The FSA doesn't like the angle of the cable line. The derailer, in its small chainwheel position, gets over center so that pulling the cable doesn't lever the cage up. Mind you, the cable comes up (in typical carbon frame fashion) through the middle of the yoke of the chainstays. I've fiddled with it a bit and got it to work - but I'll probably replace it.

I have a decent used Chorus compact derailer with a 35mm clamp. Its interesting, both this clamp, and the one being used with the FSA aren't round. Rather, as they tighten up, they assume the shape of the tube.

Of note, Deda recommends against the use of Shimano clamp-on front derailers. The feel that the band is too narrow and can stress the frame. Deda's own band, or the one on Campy derailers are considered safe. So, for Shimano builds, its important to spec a braze on derailer.

I finished the handlebars with Yellow Deda tape. Its the only color that I have in stock that works with any of the colors on the bike. Unfortunately, yellow wasn't what I wanted to accentuate - so I'll probably order either deep blue or black.

Today, at a nearby "high-end" bike shop, I picked up a couple of new Campy shifter cables. For some reason, they were the same as the rest of my cables - too short, and not by a little. Generally, every cable tried has been at least a foot short. I can't explain this - the chainstays aren't that long. The front cable housings could be shortened up some, but no where near enough make these cables work. ERGH???!!!! Until I have that Ah Ha moment of understanding my own stupidity - I've found a solution. Deep in a drawer I found an old Schwinn '100" Gear Cable'. I suppose this is for a tandem or something. It's pretty big diameter so there's a little drag in the housings, but not bad. Anyway, this sucker was not too short.

Rear shifting is fine, but temporarily I'm using a long-cage Record. It seems a bit overly sensitive to chain length - probably because the derailer tab on the frame isn't very long. It looks like the chain will have to be shortened some more until the new derailer arrives. This may preclude using the big chainwheel with the big sprocket, but who does this anyway?

If the weather is any good tomorrow, there will be pictures of the finished product for all to see.


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