Sunday, May 2, 2010


Part of being a good "constructeur," I should think, is always thinking about which parts to use before your bike has been built. So without yet mentioning the overall "theme" of Bike #3, here are some of its parts, and the thought behind them.


This will be a race bike, so I wanted something like a 52-40 gearing. Since one of the objectives of the bike is to make it as light as reasonably possible, I naturally wanted to use TA Pro 5 Vis cranks. I found the above crankset on eBay France for a very good price. It was configured as a 52-40-32 triple. One of the many nice things about the TA cranks is that the same arms can be used in a single, double, triple, quadruple, etc. I'm going to keep the 32 as a spare for my 48-32 randonneur gearing and run this as a double. These cranks came to me with a pretty dull finish, but a few minutes with Simichrome and they were shining like new.

Also photographed, since they're also polished aluminum, as the Huret Jubilee derailleur that will be used on this bike, and the Shimano Deore DX hub I polished.


This wheelset presents possibly the first ever combined use of Mavic SSC tubular rims and Deore DX hubs. They're nice hubs, which I have fanatically polished, and everything looks nice together. 32 hole, 130-spaced, with a freehub body that accepts 6- or 7-speed, Hyperglide or Uniglide cassettes. I used 2.0/1.8 double-butted spokes on the driveside and 1.8/1.6 on the non-driveside. I just kept tensioning and tensioning and the rims wouldn't go out of true; this will be a strong wheelset! The front wheel will be laced radially, which will be fun! Challenge Paris-Roubaix or Veloflex Roubaix tubulars to be added.


I've been experimenting this season riding a Selle Italia Flite. Last year, during the 100km "Hell of the North" race, I was surprised to find my Flite was very comfortable. Since it's half the weight of a Brooks Pro, can be set back much further on the seatpost, and is nice and long for a variety of positions, I thought I would see if it was as comfortable on long rides. On the couple of 160km rides I've done this year, it seems to be only slightly less comfortable than the Brooks. Since I saw that Selle Italia had recently reissued what they call the "1990 Flite," I bought two from All Terrain Cycles in the UK. At $70 Canadian each, this was a serious bargain compared to a Titanium-railed Brooks Pro, for example.

The Flite came in several slightly different colour/logo configurations, but the reissue has the original red/white/yellow setup, which is probably the nicest.

Front Derailleur

Even though Olivier's rod-operated front derailleur remains the nicest one I've seen, there is still a place for lever-operated ones! With a 52/40, I'll want to be making front changes often enough, so I'll use a regular derailleur. Olivier and I have talked about why builders use brazed-on derailleur tabs, and we can't figure it out. I once saw a Mariposa frame whose seat tube had cracked at the derailleur tab; it's on the thinnest butt on the bike, and seems a perfect spot for a stress riser. I've never had a clamp-on FD come loose, so that doesn't seem like a good reason for picking a braze-on. The worst reason of all is weight: the Dura Ace 7700 clamp-on weighs 6 grams more than the braze-on version. The actual steel braze on weights at least that much, and probably more.

So, what is the nicest clamp-on 28.6 front derailleur out there? The aforementioned Dura Ace 7700, I think, followed closely by the 7410. With the dominance of carbon frames, it's tricky to find 28.6 clamp-on FDs these days. But apparently the French, so wise in other bike matters, have more than enough 7700 and 7410 FD on their hands, and just want to get rid of them. Olivier and I have been snapping up several very cheap, new in box Dura Ace FDs over the last couple of weeks, for an average cost of around $25. Some of the booty:

Brake Lever Hoods

For reasons I will disclose in a future post, I want to use clear hoods for Bike #3. I had no idea such things existed—but they do, and they're incredible! Behold:

These might not be for everyone, but for me, they're about as good as it gets. They're Modolo 919 Anatomic hoods (my favourite!) through which are visible the lovely insides of these Super Record brake levers.

These levers came to me somewhat beat up on a used bike I bought some time ago. They had Shimano clamp bands on them, which just seemed wrong, so I swapped these in from a pair of Triomphe levers. If only I had clear bar tape, and could actually see these!


Finally, more a frame part than a part-part, but worthy of mention here anyway. Since I'm using a Huret Jubilee, and since I want it to actually shift well and not just be phenomenally light, I have to be careful about my dropout choice. First issue: do I need to use a special Huret dropout, with its unusual hanger tab? No: thankfully, my Jubilee is made for normal Campagnolo tabs. Second issue: how to minimize chain gap by getting the upper pivot considerably behind the axle? I think what I will do is use the above Campagnolo 1010 long horizontal dropout, but actually cut off the tab and move it to the centre of the dropout. (Why did they place the tab all the way at the front, anyway? It only allows adjusting in one direction!)

So this week I promise posts on my second attempt at brazing the ST/BB, and also a post on Bike #3, which I may as well reveal right now will be named Greg Curnoe.


Daniel said...

Here's your clear bar tape.

AH said...

Oh boy!

I think I will, in all seriousness, use red for this bike, but that clear tape could certainly come in useful some day...

RMHampel said...

Adam, I'm thinking about replacing my B-17 Ti for a Selle Italia Flite. Can you tell me what the saddle's dimensions are (width, length). I can't seem to find them online. Thanks.

AH said...

My Flite is 140 x 275 mm. The clamp area of the rails is 75mm long.

By contrast, the B17 is 170 x 265mm, and the clamp area is about 55mm. So the Flite is way narrower, a bit longer, and has much more usable clamp area.

The Flite is definitely not for everyone. On some rear ends is seems to be tantamount to torture. It just happens to get along with mine. (And I really do need to go on a longer, slower ride before I really determine it's a good replacement for the Brooks Pro; riding hard takes a lot of weight off the saddle, and makes anything seem comfortable.)

roshgosh said...

Mate, seriously good work. How about a book some day ?
best regards