Monday, December 23, 2013

700c Wheel and Rim Actual Weights - Mavic, Shimano etc.

These figures are from actual weigh ins off of a digital scale from new stock from an authorised Mavic and Shimano dealers  (Chain Reaction and Duke's Cycle both in Toronto, Canada):
RS 21 rear rim weight alone: 506g ! Heavy! But strong, solid and asymmetrical w a generous brake track.

Dura Ace 9000 C24 (WH-9000?) f/r: 620/840g

Ultegra 6700 Alloy f/r: 740/971g

RS80/C50 f/r: 835/1060g

Older Mavic Aksium Race Rear Rim, silver 20h eyeleted and heavily USED/worn: 493g

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ultimate 4-season Hybrid City Bike 2.0 - New Front/Rear Specific Mavic Wheels!

"Test everything; hold fast what is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:21

Got me a pair of Mavic wheels to replace my heavier Xero Lite and WTB Dual Duty/Shimano wheels!

Front wheel: Very fast/aerodynamic, light, solid with a maxtal sup alloy rim w UB control for excellent braking and yes, drop-dead wicked looks is the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR (approx. $400+ new. I found this gem for $230 used and topically damaged)! Over 120g lighter than previous Xero XSR-3's and wayyy more aero. I'm faster already!

Rear wheel: A good old reliable, fully n easily serviceable and parts replaceable, steel spoked, yet still very lightweight (860-875g) all black, all alloy and very cool lookin 2011 Mavic Ksyrium Elite.  130-200g lighter than previous WTB Dual Duty/Shimano Deore/14g spoked wheel ($200 used from Kijiji)

My face when riding it (priceless)!

Oh, also managed to finally salvage my first USE XCR carbon suspension Shokpost thanks to USE's $10 service kit. Now I have two, one for my road race bike the other for this one.
Good to have continuity:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cyclocross Build. $450 Norco VFR 3 base.

This is after I bought my carbon road bike so all the best/lightest parts went to that.
BUT, alas It worked out for the best because now I'm stuck with nine speed which means I can switch between flat bar (for my gf)and drop bar (whn i ride cx) Because I have parts for both heheh. And I can still use my FSA carbon team issue triple cranks for tht perfect chainline w a 108 BB. :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shimano Hollowtech 2 Arms: Road vs. Mountain - Same but Different

"Test all things; hold fast to what is good" - 1Thessalonians 5:21

Non-drive or left crankarms are both basically interchangeable between road and mountain.
Differences in spindle wall thicknesses between say a 6600 triple and XTR are different. The XTR is thinner. I assume the Dura Ace is also equally thinner/lighter than the equivalent Ultegra.
But I also discovered that the XTR arm bows out more from the spindle to the pedal, therefore, the pedal is more outboard/farther from the longitudinal/fore-aft center line of the BB!
So, there I was thinkin I could slap a lighter XTR arm instead of the existing 105...I could but I'd lose significant pedaling clearance so I kept the 105 on bc it wasnt worth it...oh well, I guess I gotta get a Dura Ace arm then!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mini V-brakes Suck.

Road levers and mini v-brakes are a very un-ideal setup:
- Very mushy feel
- Mediocre leverage/power due to shortened arms
- Pad-to-rim clearance has to be very close to acheive proper lever pull - meaning pad positioning has to be 100% perfectly flat and your rim 100% true or else there's a good chance it'll rub. Also, this means you rely on the barrel adjusters to release the brake to remove wheel which is no longer a "quick-release".

Better choice?
Normal V-brakes with the Travel Agent V-brake adapter = exact same crisp feel, power, modulation AND quick-release as a normal V-brake. A lil heavier and pricier though. The adapters cost $20 incl. shipping each on eBay. Year ago I couldnt find em thru any traditional suppliers, interestingly. But now that Norco/Live to Play has acquired Problem Solvers this may change.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11 speed Ribbed Polymer Cables to 2012 Dura Ace 7900 10 speed Shifters

At last, we can make our 10 speed Dura Ace 7900 shifters work as good as it should...thanks to the newer Dura Ace 9000 polymer coated and ribbed cables, right??Theortetically, yes. But, what about the extra clamping force that Shimano says is needed for these cables because they are sooo slippery?

Well, let's find out....when I install em later this month....possibly tomorrow Tuesday 16th...

You know these cables are good when they're packed like this.

Be back in a bit...

We're back!
Yes, they worked as expected. Marked improvement over stock 7900 setup to the point where it's excellent. 
What I did:
Used new Dura Ace 9000 polymer, ribbed cables with my stock new average housings on 7900 shifter + 6700 r.d. + 11-32 XT cassette on Rocky Mountain Prestige carbon road bike (typical external cable routing).

Friggin awesome!  Of course, not as quick/shorter-throwing or light as the current 9000 shifters BUT, pretty darn close and way better than any stock 7900 setup due to the 9000 cables alone.  They do make that much of a difference just as Shimano claimed (20-27%? reduction in friction). So far no issues with the cable clamping but if so, I figure one could simply remove the coating by abrading it off.
Also, big money saved as I avoided approx. $800 to fully upgrade to 9000. While I got the biggest benefit of the 9000 group (super slick shifting via polymer cables) for about $20. But, I got em by getting the complete pair of 9000 shifters.  I still do not know if these cables are available for sale alone. I know they are not available through any of our suppliers. However, I have not checked Shimano Canada...

$157 Full Carbon Rim Tubular 700C Wheel - 530g

  Third wheel I've purchased direct from an Asian manufacturer/seller.  This one was from Shanghai via 

So far, so good. The first wheelset I never rode because it was for a special fundraising build but, I did receive and install them on the bike with no problems. They were fully and professionally well-packed and sealed. Nothing fishy. Just as you would get it if ordered new from a local supplier like Live to Play, OGC, etc. 

  As was this front, 700c carbon rim tubular wheel. Full UD carbon matte finish. Aero/bladed spokes, Novatec sealed bearing hubs with minimal shell and flanges. All black. Claimed 530g w/o skewers. $157.25 + 50.00 shipping CAD.  Received it in about 9 days! Very impressive. Unbeatable price, even for the most killer deal from a used equivalent and even compared to my inside bike employee cannot get a better deal than this. Period.

Here it is, straight outta the box:

Conti Sprinters to be mounted and I'll b be back later this July with a follow up & test and hopefully actual weights...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ultimate Affordable 4-Season Hybrid City Road Bike: My 2007 Norco VFR!

A 700c city bike with super short 16.5" chainstays, extra long 22.75" top tube, and clearance for fat tires and fenders AND racks? With aerodynamic hydroformed double-butted aluminum, tall head tube, shaped stays for comfort, 27.2 seatpost, V and disc brake compatible AND it even looks good?? Only in the 2007 Norco VFR series. 

That's why I searched extensively to finally find one from Bikes on Wheels Toronto back in 2008 on sale for a paltry $450!

Here it is BEFORE:

And now, AFTER:
Only original elements left: Frameset and rear brake calipers.
Sooo, what did I do?? And why?
From top to bottom:
A way more comfortable saddle: WTB Speed She. That's right it's a women's saddle. And it's the most comfortable saddle of the plethora I've tried. 
The lightest true suspension seatpost in the world: USE XCR Carbon Alien! Designed - and made? - in the U.K. Approx. 2.5" of controlled travel via coil and urethane springs. Approx. 420g 


A compact drop bar setup for optimum ergonomics and comfort. 3T Ergonova aluminum with flat/ovalized top section for more comfort and better aerodynamics.
Wrapped with Specialized Roubaix vibration damping gel bartape with Bar Phat gel under pads on top section only as I almost never use the drops
And here comes my piece de resistance:
A road 1 x 10 speed drivetrain. All the gears I'll ever need using one, single chainring. Yes!
Dura Ace 7800 STI shifters 
Ultegra 6600 Hollowtech II Triple crankset chosen because a triple's chainline is perfect for a 1x10 because you can have a chainring exactly in the middle. $30 on eBay!
105 5700 black left crank arm. Yup I got two different crank arms, one silver, one black....just for fun...and I wanted to see if it worked and it does perfectly ;)
42 tooth chainring
Blackspire Cyclogod outer chainring guard in place of outer chainring. Saves weight, serves as a chainguard and looks darn good!
Stock front derailleur kept on and adjusted to keep chain on, thus serving as a chain keeper. $0!


11-36 10 speed XT CS-M771 Dyna Sys Hyperglide cassette 
XTR hollow pin, assymetrical, mud-shedding chain...why? Why Not! haha! Well, I know that I can get away with one chain and cassette lasting for at least 1 year so why not get one that's lighter? And it's affordable with my bike shop employee discount, heheh. Thank you Chain Reaction Toronto and Shimano S-TEC program!

 And this was an interesting spec: the rear derailleur had to be a mountain one with 34-36t max. AND NON Dyna-Sys/not a Shimano 10 speed mountain because the cable pull is not compatible with non Dyna-Sys shifters which is what I had (7800's) even if they are Shimano 10 speed shifters! Dogs! I found out the hard way by ordering a super sweet 2013 all black XT Dyna-Sys med. cage shadow r.d. and discovering that my 7800 shifters didnt pull enough cable to even shift to all cogs no matter what I did.
SO, luckily, I happened to have an older 9 speed Deore MTB r. derailleur that's all black! Thanks G! It was from my other VFR ;)
Works perfectly and quietly.

 And what would a bike be without some light wheels!
REAR is a "Speed Dream" 28 spoke, custom hand-built affair by Dave's Wheels in U.S.A.
White Industries H2 road hub with a titanium freehub body.
Driveside: 2-cross, DT Revolution 17/15/17ga butted round spokes
Non-driveside: radial, DT Aerolite spokes, elbows out for max. stiffness.
Rim: Velocity Aerohead OCR.


 FRONT is a fairly aerodynamic, shock absorbing, light Spinergy XAERO Lite with PBO fiber spokes that take care of the shock absorbing way better than any steel spoked one.

*Check the cheeky monkeys at Wellgo, sneaking in this lil message on their pedals:


Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Paris-to-Ancaster Race: My First!

First time doing this: 
Placed 30/80 in my age group/field or 123 out of 567 total with an un-rideable bike - derailleur broke off and jammed in wheel - on last km.
Excellent challenge, well-organised, very popular with great people = great experience to have under your belt. 
I highly recommend! But, it is not easy. There are sections where even an intermediate mountain bike rider would consider "unride-able" due to ridiculously deep n narrow mud trails at worst and at best soft, muddy and super-irregular grassy fields.
Yeah, thanks Tim! ;)
[Tim Farrar is one of the race organisers]
The 2007 Norco VFR bike is a phenomenal cross bike.
Geax Mezcal tires also phenomenal thnx to Paul Greene of Chain Reaction Toronto.
Nike Sphere Dry shirt for the absoluate best in comfort/sweat management.
Gatorade twistspout water bottle for superlight, big capacity, reliable spout, all you want/need.
Shimano Dura Ace 7800 shifters for mindlessly fast n easy 10 speed shifting
My girlfriend Ms. M and pro photographer Ivan R. for the photos!