Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bike List

Here is the bike list as at Dec 2016. The pictures do not necessarily show the bike in its present state. Changes are inevitable as improvements are made to increase efficiency, look and feel.
  1. Vitus Chrono TT
  2. Olmo Link Pro
  3. Giant Momentum iNeed Street
  4. GT Transit
  5. Polygon Collosus AX 3.0 No. 1
  6. Polygon Collosus AX 3.0 No. 2
  7. Polygon Collosus AX 3.0 No. 3
  8. Colnago CX Zero EVO
  9. Mongoose Meteore 29er
  10. Vitus Taillefer
  11. Marin Fairfax SC2 IG
  12. Focus Planet 1.0 Alfine
  13. Vitus Dee Alfine
  14. Voodoo Hoodoo Mystical Folk Magic
  15. Java CL Limited Sports Bike
  16. Carver 96er
  17. Cannondale Tango SL 29er
  18. Monotine Folding Bike
  19. Ridley Blast
  20. Steinerdesign Porsche
  21. Miyata Elevation 5,000 No. 1
  22. Miyata Elevation 5,000 No. 2
  23. Giant Revive
  24. Raleigh Ultra Race
  25. Klein Quantum Pro
  26. Alero 
  27. Giant Cadex CFM-3
  28. Miyata Elevation 10,000
  29. Voodoo Hoodoo
  30. KHS Montana Pro
  31. Nishiki FS3
  32. Bridgestone MB-1
  33. Porsche S Bike
  1. Boardman Pro No. 1
  2. Boardman Pro. No. 2

Monday, December 26, 2016

Vitus Chrono TT (Sold)

I have done many crazy bike things in the past but nothing beats this. A TT bike? I must be mad. But the temptation was just too much to resist. Chain Reaction Cycles was having a sale and the Vitus Chrono TT was going for half price. Could I resist such an offer? Obviously not because I ended up buying it. Truth be told, it was a really good deal. The bike came with practically everything except for wheels and groupset. But still, a TT bike was an adventure into unknown territory. I have seen cyclists crouched over the handlebar, wearing funny-looking aero helmets and weird looking water bottles sticking out from the handlebar and I wondered, "What's wrong with these people?". Certainly, that must be the most uncomfortable riding position. I had to find out. 

With the click of the mouse, I ordered the frame and since there were wheels on offer too, I ordered them too. These are Bergamont Dolce Team wheelset shod with Schwalbe Ultremo ZX, V-Guard, folding, 23-622, 700 x 23C tyres. While these wheels are not actually designed for TT bikes, I figured they should be good enough to start with and if the bike does not turn out well, I can always transfer them to another bike. The groupset is a 10-speed Shimano Ultegra; 53/39 crankset and 11-23 cassette. Its an aggressive set-up but my thinking is that since speed is the whole point of a TT bike, why not go all the way? 

Putting the bike together was not an easy task as it appears, even though most of the major parts have already been assembled. The first problem encountered was a loose headset. After countless hours of adjustments, tightening, etc...the wobble was finally removed by the placement of a headset washer. To be on the safe side, I ordered a new headset in case the wobbling comes back. I suspect the headset used is not the best. As usual, the internal routed cables are a nightmare to put together. One wrong move meant hours spent trying to route the cable to its proper position. On top of that, cable length had to be precise or else, shifting or braking efficiency will be affected. 

The next major adjustment was the cockpit. The variations were endless and being new to TT cycling, this took a lot of time to sort out. I had to checked various sources on the proper position to make sure I was doing the right thing. In the end, I settled for a compromised position but comfort was certainly not high. Since this is a new domain, perhaps my body was not prepared sufficiently for it. During the test ride on the trainer, I discovered truly how uncomfortable a crouched position is. I salute those who enjoy doing this because I certainly am not. Never mind, I told myself, give it a shot. 

With all the work done and final adjustments made, it was time for a road test ride. I have to say this is the most frightening bike I have ridden on. It's unstable and uncomfortable when you go into a tucked position, you can hardly see anything beyond the front wheels but it is bloody fast! So, where do we go from here? I am really not sure. Perhaps my set-up is not proper or maybe my body is not conditioned enough for such a ride. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I decided that it is probably safer to use it on the trainer until I am confident of hitting the road again with it. 

Olmo Link Pro

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Momentum iNeed Street (by Giant)

I saw pictures of this bike a long time ago on the internet. It looked great and had unique features that distinct it from the many city bikes you see. I thought to myself, "Gee, it would be nice to have one." The specifications were nothing to shout about; ordinary, perhaps low-end components were used. After all, it was a bike for the masses and should be fairly affordable. Bike manufacturers tend to cut corners in order to reap higher profits. Nothing to complain about that because, for people like me, I never believe a stock bike will ever be good enough. There is always something that can be done to make it better. So, the journey to build a Momentum iNeed Street bike was kept in hibernation for a long time until by chance, someone put one up for sale. He had won it in a lucky draw and wanted to sell it so that he could use the cash to buy an iPhone 7. A iNeed Street for an iPhone 7? Isn't that a bad decision? Doesn't matter...the bike is mine.

Let's start from the original specifications.

SizesSmall, Regular, Large
Colors Double Diamond: 

 Black/White  Blue/Bronze  Matte Green/Orange  Mid-Step:  Blue/White  Red/Pearl White
FrameALUXX-grade aluminum with integrated rear carrier and cup holder, double diamond and mid-step options
ForkHigh Tensile Chromoly Steel
HandlebarAlloy, Mid rise
StemAlloy Quill
SeatpostAlloy, 30.9
SaddleRiveted Retro-Classic Comfort, coil spring
PedalsAlloy/Anti-Slip Platform
ShiftersShimano Revo, Twist
Front DerailleurN/A
Rear DerailleurShimano Tourney

BrakesAlloy, Direct Pull
Brake LeversAlloy Comfort
CassetteShimano TZ31 14x34, 7-speed
ChainZ51KMC Z51, Nickel Plated
CranksetAlloy, 42T
Bottom BracketSealed Cartridge
RimsGiant Alloy, Double wall
HubsAlloy, 28h
SpokesStainless Steel, 14g
TiresKenda Kwick Roller, puncture protection, 700x32
ExtrasChainguard, Kickstand, Bell, Integrated Rack with Straps and removable bag mounts, Integrated Cup Holder, Frame Mounted U-Lock Carrier

Not very exciting, is it? For some, the word 'tourney' is a complete turn-off and I happen to be one of those. Building a bike is not about what the bike is now but the ability to see the potential of the bike under your charge. Its about dreaming and visualising what and how things should be done. Most importantly, you must have the ability to make it happen.

Just look at that frame. How can you not fall in love with it? It's pure art to bend pieces of metal into such shapes. And how could Giant actually use those cheap components? The top tube is a single piece of metal that starts at the head tube, makes a detour for the cup holder, winds its way towards the rear to form the rack and back again.

It is obvious that with the modifications made to the bike, it is completely transformed. What used to be a straight-up, 'cheap-looking' thing is now a sophisticated piece of machinery.

Over here, we have a term for el-cheapo bikes; we call them market bikes. These are the kind of bikes that are covered with rust, creaks and croaks, uncared and never stolen. I suppose Giant intended for the iNeed Street to be such a bike. If not, why load it with all that crap?

The rear rack has a maximum load of 25 kg. That's strong enough to carry a kid but please do not do that. The rack is meant for goods, not people.

The original wheels came with brandless hubs, the spec sheet simply says Alloy, 28h. Check out the hubs now; Deore XT. The drivetrain is a Shimano Zee 1 x 10 groupset; 36t chainring with 10 gears from 13 to 35 holes. That's more than enough and climbing hills should not be an issue.

Not just the rear but the front hub is also a Deore XT.

The elastic bands are supplied with the bike. The rear rack has pannier holders for those long rides out of town.

Brandless rims give way to DT Swiss wheel set.

You won't believe the options I think of for the drivetrain. Internal gears? 1 x10? 1 x9? Retain the original 1 x 7? Etc, etc... In the end, I cannibalise the Zee system from the Cannondale 29er since I was going to change that to a 2 x 10 drivetrain. Save some money and solved the problem at the same time.

You are unlikely to see a WTB saddle on a cheap banger. I think saddles says alot about the bike. It can raise or lower the stature of the bike. Put a Brooks saddle onto any bike and suddenly, you would think its an expensive bike.

The integrated cup holder was the first thing that caught my eye. Its somewhat crazy and bizarre to put a cup holder on a bike. We don't drink coffee while on the move! But now, I do... The Deda 100mm stem might be replaced with a 90mm one as its quite a reach.

The handlebar is an On One OG gentleman styled. Somehow, this handlebar only works on big bikes. Its so comfortable, I use it on all my 29er/700c hybrids.

Its been a real pleasure building this bike. The smile factor is 9/10.