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Despite a recent bike sale, N+1 has once again become 5. I don’t think that 5 is being especially greedy on the bike front but free space (S) in my garage is diminishing and S is now S-1 and rapidly approaching zero. Naturally, in the eyes of those I live with, S went negative a loooong time ago.
The goals of my 2018 bike are centred around freeing up either this new 2018 bike or my previous road bike to use as a dedicated bike for my own personal cycling efforts. One of the bikes will become some sort of test bed for occasional pieces of new kit while I can just get on the other one and ride like a normal person without having to change some errant component or charge yet another battery.
Another of my personal, bike-related goals is to scale various hills, mountains and passes in Europe in 2018. Bike weight is a factor I’m acutely aware of.
Yet another goal was to buy a powertap hub of some description as well as getting some form of improved crankset changeability. Currently everything bike-related is a bit of a nightmare and I often spend an hour faffing around changing bits before curtailing the planned ride to a further hour and then my free time is gone for the day.
At least the rationalisation went something along those lines. In reality the powertap hub didn’t rank highly enough on the ‘interesting’ scale and I haven’t (yet) got one because of that. Really all I wanted to do was:
- Play ! – Try out Shimano’s Di2 – but that non-trivial exercise seemed to spiral out of control and morph it acquiring various bits of new and second-hand components. Then, finally, I just bit the bullet and bought a second-hand frame.
- Modernise ! – Make my first, tentative move towards 11-speed
- Waste ! – I mean invest, some money.
I also wanted to find some uses for various bits of kit that I’d been squirreling away for a rainy day. My sixth sense is knowing that ‘stuff will come in handy one day‘. Ce jour est arrivé (yeah, I googled it too).
The overall thrust is for a ‘half-decent Performance Road Bike’ but, in some respects, accomplishing that thrust a little on the cheap.
- Electronic Shifting – I confess to previously knowing little about this other than what I had enviously learnt from watching most of my cycling friends shift effortlessly through their gears each weekend. Shimano’s Di2 or SRAM’s eTAP seemed sensible choices. Other than the odd ROTOR and CANONDALE crank most of my components are Shimano, even on my MTBs. So there we go. Shimano Di2 it was. Did I research: the relative battery lives; speeds of shifting; and X, Y and Z? nope. Although I do tend to trust wired stuff a bit more than wireless stuff.
- Cost – wasn’t really a factor in the sense that I did not have a specific budget in mind. I just wanted to get cheap stuff where I could and then buy nice, expensive stuff where I thought it was either interesting or needed. I guess a couple of grand was a figure I had in the back of my mind.
- Altitude & Distance – I want it to be fairly light. I really have no idea how much any of my bikes weigh. I know my current road bike has a carbon frame and is quite light in the grand scheme of things. If it were 100g lighter or heavier I would be none the wiser. It all becomes rather moot when you are carrying a couple of litres of water (ie 2kg) of extra weight in your bottles. Especially if, like me, you don’t always drink all of what you carry. So for my 2018 bike, it needs to be a carbon framed road bike that’s going to be comfortable to ride.
- I don’t especially like the hydraulic brakes on my MTB. They’re ok but quite an old model in any case. So I’ll stick with normal brakes to go with my existing rimmed road wheels which I will, no doubt, swap round from time-to-time.
Here are the final choices with the main driving reason(s) in brackets afterwards for each component ie COST, PERFORMANCE, TOY, EASE-OF-USE, ALREADY HAVE
- Wheels – I have been making do with what I already have, Zips (10spd), Cosmic Carbone (broken), Mavic CXR (loan). The Cosmic’s rear fairing/rim section is broken and rattles like crazy. Other than a rarely-used disc wheel I wouldn’t buy a second-hand wheel. Wheelset Dura Ace R9100, 11 spd, carbon-laminated 60mm EWHR9100C60FRCY. My research into wheels is that, even on hills, most of us will gain overall from aero wheels than super lightweight ones. I could be wrong… [PERFORMANCE]
- Crankset – Shimano Dura-Ace seemed like a good move. I’ll be angling for some time with Shimano’s new power meter later this year, so I reasoned that a Shimano-for-Shimano swap would probably work first time if, indeed, that loan ever happens 😉 FC-R9100 172.5mm [PERFORMANCE]
- Shifting – As above, Di2. I’m going to write about Di2 later as it intrigues and interests me; so I had to get Di2 really! I’m only (mainly) going to be shifting gears from the levers rather than one of the special buttons than can be secreted elsewhere. However these sweet little Dura Ace shifters have buttons on top which will remotely control your Wahoo Elemnt/Garmin Edge display ST-R9150-R/L [PERFORMANCE/TOY]
- Chainrings – I have various Shimano and Shimano-compatible chainrings in various bags around my house. As I’m getting an 11-speed chain then it seemed rude not to get some new chainrings. Apparently Shimano have better teeth on their rings/cassettes compared to compatible ones?!? I am finally ditching the ovals for non-TT riding. I prefer the ovals and I think they are faster for me but they just don’t shift properly and I ‘m fed up with them. Actually I’ll keep them on my TT bike as the Ultegra front mech on that bike, for some reason, seems to shift perfectly and I dare not touch it. When I had it serviced las tyear I was super-nervous about putting a new chain on it that might not just shift as perfectly as it currently does. I got these FC-R9100 53-39T [PERFORMANCE]
- Chain – It will be a Shimano 11-speed chain. Actually I’m going to get a few and try them on all my 10 speed bikes as well. Apparently they are compatible and marginally faster [PERFORMANCE/EASE-OF-USE]
- Cassettes – There is a Shimano pattern emerging. I think there’s an unused 11-speed Shimano compact cassette lying around somewhere from the Wahoo KICKR smart trainer. But I want a super-spinny cassette as well as this summer’s ride is going to be properly steep. Either that or I am a granny and really do need a granny ring. So, a Shimano 11-28T and 11-32T will do nicely, thank you very much. [PERFORMANCE/EASE-OF-USE]
- Rear Derailleur – RD-R8050-GS Ultegra. This is the extended derailleur hanger and longer cage which were needed to accomodate the 32T ring. [PERFORMANCE]
- Brakes – long story short. I have Shimano Ultegra. It’s not an interesting story, so don’t ask. BR R8000 Ultegra R55C4 [COST/TOY]
- Tyres/Tires – I plan to have a US tire on the front and a European tyre on the rear (ha ha) just to keep al my friends happy. I’ve not bought anything new yet. My stash of Ultremo ZXs has run out and Schwalbe don’t seem to sell them any more. I usually consult the tyre bible and then I typically tend to ignore it and buy something with a bit of puncture protection for the weekends. Cycling in Surrey is not a particularly pleasant experience for tyres. I tend to get Conti light tubes with 80mm stems; which is probably not a good idea for Surrey’s roads but it’s what I do. The tyres in the picture are a 26mm S-Works which are variously bandied about as “the fastest tyre in the world”….err. That’s why I was fooled into buying them. They’re not, in my opinion, the fastest tyres in the world. I’ll probably change these to 23mm conti’s of some description. [PERFORMANCE]
- Handlebars – Specialized Pro handlebars and a Giant stem were lying around looking forlorn. Many bits of kit I own seem to have ‘expert’ or ‘pro’ written on them, maybe it’s the same for you? I wonder what the experts and pro’s actually use in the real world? I had a specialized MTB stem as an option but reasoned I would get laughed at if I use MTB components. I think there is a Cane Creek bit on the top of the stem and a Bontrager spacer. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- Handlebar tape – it’s black and a little bit padded with no branding on it. For all I know it was from Lidl. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- Bottle cages – I have some specialized ones. I bought a job lot of cages a while back, I think from Sigma Sport. They are RED and very much the wrong colour. Oh dear. I shall have to go thirsty. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- Water bottles – I have a job lot of freebie bottles from races; SiS , Mavic and High5. Colour-wise they match neither the bike nor the bottle cage. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- Di2 – The whole decision process is quite complicated, in the end perhaps the only thing I would have done differently is to put the JUNCTION, shown above on the stem, into the end of the handlebars using a different part. The battery is cleverly secreted inside the seat post with various wires running inside the frame to the junction box you can see, above, and to another junction box near the bottom bracket. Luckily my frame had a hole already there for that latter junction box and no drilling was required in the end either for that or for the wires. If I ever wanted a SPRINT gear controller (or if I were to put some aerobars on and wanted a controller on the end of those) then the junction box on the stem would need to be swapped to a 5-way junction rather than the existing 3-way junction. [TOY/PERFORMANCE]
- Saddle – I have a Specialized Toupe 143 lying around which is my current favourite. I don’t especially like the looks of it (colour) but it’s mostly comfy. I’m going to keep one of my ISM ADAMOs for now while I get a bike fit; although those saddles each offer quite different height/riding position and will probably require a subsequent bike re-fit if I do change from one to the other. Sigh. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- Pedals – Favero ASSIOMA with look/KEO cleats for my Fizik shoes. If the Assioma are on another bike then I have some Shimano Ultegra pedals I can swap over from my TT bike which will then mean I have to use my cheap, cheerful and very smelly Specialized shoes which have the Shimano cleats on them. I do know how to change cleats but it’s a faff. Far easier to buy several pairs of shoes 😉 I prefer the Shimano cleats and wish the PM pedals all supported them but they don’t. Grrrr. [COST/PERFORMANCE/ALREADY-HAVE]
- I will probably use the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with the fancy aero mount when I get round to figuring out where I left the mount. [ALREADY-HAVE]
- I have a specialized tool bag that goes under the seat and fastens round the seatpost+saddle bars [ALREADY-HAVE]
- That’s it apart from sundries like Di2 grommets, Di2 wires, cable ends and various spacers. No chain catcher though #YouWillLiveToRegretThat.
- Ah. One more thing, I nearly forgot. I managed to find a Cerelo S3 frame (56cm, 2012) that had been knocked about a bit but was structurally sound. So it came super cheap via a friend of a friend. Failing that I would probably have got something Specialized as I tend to buy that brand by default. It’s just that all my mates have various Cervelo pieces of kit so I felt obliged to join their party, albeit as the cheap relation. If I had gone down the Specialized route I would have had to have gone one better than my existing frame which would have meant a new S-works frame and that would have significantly increased the budget for probably zero performance gain. The S3 has a proprietary seat post, I imagine it’s carbon and has a model number but I’ve no idea what that number is. [COST]
I haven’t totted up the receipts and depreciated the value of re-used components. Maybe a fair value for insurance purposes would be £3000? To replace on a like-for-like basis must be over £5k. Shame I’m not that good really.
It’s super sweet and super quiet and fairly light. It has gadgets.
What more could I ask for?
I’ve not really used it yet so I’ve no idea how it rides. Maybe this Sunday? Or maybe Mr KICKR beckons instead 🙁
I think the overall look is a bit too monochromatic. I’m not entirely sure what to do about that. The frame is a 2-tone black, even though it looks pure black. Maybe I’ll get some coloured tyres or handlebar tape or put the bottle cages on that I don’t think will look too good. Maybe.
Here is a slideshow of some of the other images I took at Hampton Court Palace; probably at the exact same spot where King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once walked hand-in-hand. A lot of good that did her.