Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 Colnago CX Zero EVO



The 2015 Colnago CX Zero Disc is designed for the endurance rider. With its classic geometry, Disc brakes and Ultra spec this bike will push your boundary's and keep you going for longer.

The CX Zero EVO

The CX Zero EVO is the bike for endurance. A professional level racing frame, proven in the Spring Classics in Europe, the CX Zero Evo strikes a perfect balance between performance and comfort. The most versatile Colnago model, the CXZero Evo has been developed to meet the demands of cycling in the greatest range of conditions. “Classic” geometry for fit combines a taller head tube and slightly shorter top tube. This allows a more relaxed position of the shoulders and arms and a more open angle between the torso and thigh for more efficient pedaling during even the longest days in the saddle. The tube shapes of the rear triangle are designed to offer maximum vertical compliance while allowing clearance for up to 25mm tires.

The endurance geometry arises from the extent of the steering tube, which is considerably longer than the classical racing. The reason is essentially linked to two factors: the need to raise the position of bust and shoulders, then relax your arms slightly and shorten the top tube. The higher head tube, also promotes the driving of the bicycle in all situations by making the front end also more comfortable. The conical shape is characterized by the double diameter of 1-1/8 "at the top and 1-1/4" in the lower. The larger diameter also increased corresponds to the shape of the fork crown and seat stays, mix that improves the aspect of safety and better handling.

Shimano 11 speed drivetrain

To power this bike not only involves you but a good drivetrain system. This year Colnago have spec'd up the CX Zero with the new Shimano Ultegra 11 speed. With its light action and smooth indexing allows you to push that little bit further but supply you with the confidence and the reliability that Shimano offer with their products.

Shimano hydraulic brakes

The all new Shimano dropbar hydraulic brakes give the Colnago CX Zero the stopping power it needs down the hills. The dual piston caliper ensures even brake wear and a greater performance. Its STi shifting mechanism offers the 11 speed drivetrain an economical brake/gear lever but a smooth and elegant change gear.

DT Swiss Wheelset

The CX Zero Evo disc is rolling on a set of DT swiss R24DB wheels rapped in Continental Grand Sport Race 700x25C. These will supply you with the comfort, grip and speed to make those long distance endurance rides that little more enjoyable. 

Colnago/Deda Finishing kit

Colnago finish there bikes of with a combination of self branded parts and the Deda range, such as handlebars, stem and seatpost finished of with a Selle Italia saddle.

About the Colnago brand

Ernesto Colnago was born in Cambiago, a small rural village twenty kilometers east of Milano on February 9, 1932. Ernesto was just 13 years old, but to start work, he had to be at least 14. He changed the date on his working papers and so was hired as an assistant welder. It was 1954 when Colnago went out on his own in a tiny little workshop, his bicycles have been used by more than 100 professional team, 2,500 professional racers, who have won more than 7,500 wins worldwide. Champion riders of the caliber of Fiorenzo Magni, Gastone Nencini, Eddy Merckx, Giuseppe Saronni, Gianni Motta, Gibì Baronchelli, Michele Dancelli, Gianni Bugno, Oscar Freire, Johan Museeuw, Tony Rominger, Pavel Tonkov, Yaroslaw Popovych, Erik Zabel e Alessandro Petacchi, and many others, have ridden Colnago Bicycles to victory. As the great researcher and innovator he is, Colnago created the first frameset in carbon fiber in collaboration with Ferrari Engineering in 1986. The next year, the innovative straight-blade “Precisa” was created. In 1989, two years later, the dramatic Colnago “C35” emerged, an innovative monocoque carbon fiber frame in road racing & mountain bike versions. 1994 was a hallmark year when Colnago introduced the ground-breaking “C40” carbon fiber frameset for his 40th anniversary and still a reference point today. No other frame has won as much as the Colnago C40: 5X Paris-Roubaix and many World Championships. In 2000 another remarkable model emerged from Colnago’s atelier: the limited edition CF1, created in collaboration with Ferrari that quickly became a major success. Next was the CF2 dual-suspension mountain bike in 2002. After ten years of success in every segment, Ernesto Colnago launched the “C50” in 2003. It was the Fiftieth Anniversary of his company, a brand that has become synonymous with the best bicycles the world over, synonymous with the best products Made in Italy. This new carbon fiber composite frame quickly found success in both the competition and sales arena. And for 2004, for the official anniversary of Colnago, a special collectors item bicycle was created, the “50th Anniversary”. Ernesto Colnago continues to dream about and create bicycles appreciated by riders passionate about cycling all over the world. Don’t ask Colnago which of his bicycles is the best: his answer is always the same. “I’ve made a lot of bicycles, but the most beautiful is the one that is yet to come.” For more info on Colnago please feel free to view Bike Radar's article on them.

Top Features of the Colnago CX Zero Disc Ultegra 2015

Full carbon fiber CX Zero frame and fork
DT Swiss Disc specific wheelset
Continental Grand Sport Race tyres
Shimano Hydraulic dropbar brakes
Shimano 11 speed Ultegra drivetrain
Colnago/Deda Drivetrain

Product Data

Road:Yes
Number of gears:22
Front Axle Type:9mm QR
Cable Routing:Internal
Model Year:2015
Frame:CX Zero Carbon Disc Specific Frame
Fork Material:Alloy/Carbon
Fork:CX Zero Carbon Disc Specific Fork
Steerer:Tapered 1 1/8 - 1 1/4
Bottle Cage Mounts:Double
Front Derailleur Mount:Braze On
Dropouts:Replaceable Rear Derailleur Hanger
Wheel Size:700c (622)
Wheelset:DT Swiss R24DB
Groupset Manufacturer:Shimano
Brake Levers/Gear Shifters:Shimano Ultegra
Front Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra
Brake Type:Hydraulic Disc Brake
Brakes:Shimano BR-RS685
Brake Calipers:Shimano BR-RS785 + SM-RT99
Chainset type:Compact
Chainset:Shimano Ultegra
Chainring Size:50 Tooth, 34 Tooth
Chain:Shimano Ultegra
Bottom Bracket:Shimano Pressfit
Cassette:Shimano 105
Cassette Range:11-28 Tooth
Handlebars:Deda RHM02
Bar Tape/Grips:Black
Stem:Deda Zero One
Seat Post:Colnago CX Zero carbon
Saddle:Selle Italia X1
Tires:Continental Grand Sport Race 700x25C
Pedals:Supplied with basic flat pedals
Warranty:2 year frame warranty, 12 month parts warranty

2011 Pivot Mach 429

This was a project that did not materialise. The store sent me a frame that was damaged and I had to return it. Sadly, they did not have any stock of the small size frame and so, I have to let this one go. It would have been a beautiful bike. 
The Mach 429 has won awards and high praise from the MTBR, Outside magazine, Dirt Rag, MBA as well as countless European magazines.
The Mach 429 has that special “something” that few if any other bikes can match.  Sure, you’ve heard it all before from every manufacturer advertising that their 29er accelerates and handles like a 26” bike and theirs feels better then everyone else’s.  The difference with the Mach 429 is that IT DOES, and has countless reviews to back it up.  The combination of dw-link suspension and Pivot engineering results in a bike that makes the ground beneath you nearly disappear and delivers acceleration, stiffness, traction and precision that can’t be matched.  It’s light, nimble, and stable; inspiring confidence whether you are racing or just riding your favourite trail.  When you throw a leg over the Mach 429 you know immediately that you’re riding the most efficient and fastest 29er full suspension bike in the world.

Features:

  • Material: Mach 429 Alloy
  • Suspension: 8 bearing dw-link® and high-modulus carbon rocker
  • Fork Compatibiltity:100mm or 120mm
  • Shock: Fox RP23 Boost Valve shock
  • Rear Travel: 100mm
  • Head Tube: Tapered fork-compatible oversize head tube (with Cane Creek XX headset) for increased front endstiffness and control.
  • Bottom Bracket: BB92 bottom bracket
  • Front Derailleur: Direct mount
  • Technologies:

    • Dw-link® Suspension: One of the primary benefits of the dw-link® suspension design is position-sensitive anti-squat. Put simply, the dw-link® is the first and only suspension design that takes into account the rider’s weight and position on the bike (i.e. the rider’s centre of mass). When you stand up to sprint or shift your weight back to climb, your weight along with the force on the pedals is the dominant force on the suspension. This bob or “squat” caused by the rider’s mass shift is a good part of the reason why ProPedal, SPV, Brain, lockouts, and a host of various other “platform damping” solutions exist: to resist suspension bob and squat. With the dw-link®’s anti-squat design, the dual suspension links are positioned in such a way that your weight shifts do not result in unwanted suspension movement or “squat” under power. This allows for tuning of the rear shock with lighter valving, making the bike free to absorb bumps and follow the terrain better.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mongoose Meteore 29er


Its the same old story. Many spare parts lying around, need to clear, find a frame, put them on, sell the bike, recoup some money and build again. That's the plan but it always ended up stopping short of the selling part. This time, my excuse is that this will be the bike I will bring over to my Thailand home. Lets see if it will materialise.


The frame is a Mongoose Meteore 29er. It came from a friend who wanted the parts but not the frame. It was rather cheap to inherit and that has always been my preferred mode of bike building; buy them cheap and and sell them for a reasonable profit. People need to understand that the physical aspects of the bike is not everything; the effort in putting it together and making sure everything works well is something money cannot buy. Its call experience and unless you have been there and done it, be nice to your bike builder.


The stance of the bike is rather compact and it actually is. For a 29er, it doesn't really feel big like the Cannondale Tango.



The parts of the cockpit were transferred from the Marin Palisades Trail. That bike is undergoing some rejuvenation. The brake levers are Shimano Deore, shifters are Shimano Alivio 3 x 9, stem and handlebar are from Merida. 



The Suntour XCR fork was a clearance item from Chain Reaction Cycles. Its an air fork, so its actually quite light for a suspension fork. Not really plush but it works well.


At long last, the Sugino-Colnago crank is put to good use. I think it has finally found its home on the Mongoose. This is a terrific crank but its not for the weak. With a 48T chain ring, you better make sure you have strong legs to move the bike that is not on the lightweight side. A Shimano Deore front derailleur takes care of the front shifting.


Shimano Alivio 9 speed rear derailleurs do the job. Nothing flashy, you shift, it moves; that is all that matters.


The wheelset came from a Giant Momentum (http://www.momentum-biking.com/us). The rear hub was replaced by a Chosen 'loud hub' and it lives up to its name! You don't need a bell, a few backward turns of the crank and the whole world will know you're coming. More importantly, they are really smooth.


My favourite seat. Nothing more to say.


I don't really like cables that stretches from source to component. The long cable housing does not provide the 'crispiness' compared to bare cables. Tuning it is quite frustrating at times because besides the cable stretching, the cable housing is also stretching.


How it looks from the rider position.


Overall, it is a nice bike. Its not something I will hop on if I want an easy ride but I will take it on the trail anytime.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2010 circa Vitus Taillefer

Building a bike is not rocket science. With a fair amount of experience and proper tools, it doesn't take much to build a bike from scratch. The challenge is finding the 'right' one to build. Over the years, I have build, break-up and re-build many bikes. The time has come for me to be more discerning about building bikes that says something about its origin, evoke and convey an emotion and rides beautifully because after all, bikes are meant to be ridden. This is the challenge and in today's environment where bikes are a dime a dozen, finding that special frame is like striking the lottery. 

Vitus Bikes have a long heritage in road cycling and have racked up quite a few Pro Tour stage wins over the years with riding greats such as Irish road cycling star Sean Kelly who claimed stage victories in the Tour de France onboard a Vitus bike. Vitus pioneered the bonding process that is now widely used in the manufacture of carbon frames and this process has been developed and refined and is still utilized in all high end Vitus Carbon Fibre road bikes. In recent years Vitus has had close collaboration with French DH super star Christian Taillefer in designing their range of MTBs. Through sound design concepts through to the use of high grade aerospace alloy and carbon fibre you can be sure that each and every Vitus bike has been designed to provide the perfect balance between performance, function and style. 

Amidst all the advertisements in the classified ads, this frame stood out. It is a hardtail frame by MTB legend Christian Taillefer. I did some googling and discovered that he was once a downhill legend in France. Well, he must have been really good for Vitus to engage him in designing a frame. And what a frame came from that collaboration! See for yourself in the following pictures:



The seat tube is the first thing that caught my eye. Rather than a straight tube like most others, this one is made up of 2 parts. Why? This arrangement creates a steeper angle for the seat tube and at the same time, actually shortens the chainstay so that the wheel is more directly underneath the rider. Makes sense but only saddle time will tell.




Look at the reinforcement on the head tube. This frame is definitely designed to take on a lot of punishment and with Christian's background in downhill racing, this is not surprising. 




The frame takes a standard 68mm bottom bracket. 




One variant.




Another variant. 




Cable holders are placed in unexpected places on the frame.




Have you ever seen a rear hanger arrangement like this before?




Vitus did the right thing!




This is just the beginning. The process is going to be an exciting one when part by part, they make the bike whole. This one is going to be really special. Stay tuned.


Features: • Standard 1 1/8” headset • Replaceable mech hanger • Seatpost – 30.9mm • Seatclamp – 35.8mm • BB Width – 68mm • Brake Type - Disc and V-Brake Tabs • Headtube length – 125mm • Toptube length c/c (40cm frame) – 55cm • Weight (40cm Frame) – 2.44Kg




Finally, after months of sitting in the room, the bike was taken out for its first ride. One word, awesome! While the central idea for the bike was for DH purposes, it was a breeze to ride on the road. The long top tube provided space to stretch out and hunkered down. With a short stem, the riding position suited my style of riding. This is one bike you can ride around the whole day and not feel tired. 



I might replace the 1 x 10 Shimano Zee drivetrain for a 2 x 10 Deore drivetrain. That will give me a higher gear ratio for road riding and with the smaller chain ring, I can hit the trails without any problems.

The only complain is regarding the brakes. For some strange reasons, there is a 'wavy' sensation on the brake levers. The rotors are probably bent. Simple fix.



Never for sale....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Marin Fairfax SC2 IG


There is a saying that goes like this; what goes around comes around. One of the first bike I owned was a Marin Fairfax. As it was too big for me, I had to sell it as much to my reluctance but it was no point keeping it since I was not comfortable with it. That was 2 years ago. One day, while browsing around at the LBS that I patronized regularly, there stood the reincarnation of my Marin Fairfax.


Instead of the usual derailleurs and cassette, this one came with Nexus 8-speed internal hub. With my experience using the Alfine system, I wanted to know how the lower-specced Nexus performed. Frankly, you would find it difficult to distinguish between the 2 systems. Outwardly, the Nexus does look a bit plasticky but where performance is concerned, it is hard to tell them apart.


The original brakes were replaced with Tektro Mini-V brakes simply for looks and performance. Bike manufacturers have a tendency to cut corners when it comes to certain components and I do not blame them. It is all about maximizing profits by using cheap parts that work. My preference is for better quality stuff that I know can withstand the abuse and gives me peace of mind when I ride.


The original saddle is really comfortable. This is one place Marin did not make any compromise.


The original crank has since been replaced by an Alfine 39T crank.


The Rockshox I-ride suspension fork was transferred from the Carver 96er to the Fairfax. It made alot of sense to do that. The I-ride fork was designed for 700c wheels which the Fairfax is running instead of 29er wheels. And since the Fairfax was designed as a hybrid right from the start, the I-ride fitted nicely in the steerer tube. On the Carver, I had to add a few spacers to get the correct fit and it certainly made the bike look bad. The other reason for transferring the fork over was that the I-ride uses V-brakes which is in sync with the Fairfax braking system.


Shimano brake levers replaces the unbranded original brake levers. More than looking good, the Shimano brake levers gives better feel and definitely, more comfort.


The handle bar was replaced by a On One Fleegle bar. The handle bar sits slightly lower than the stem and improves aerodynamics slightly. I think it is also more comfortable.


The shorter arms of the Tektro Mini V means braking is much more effective and powerful.


The Marin logo on a matt black frame makes the bike look rather good.


We live in a strange world. What goes around really does come around.

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 Focus Planet 1.0 Alfine

I normally do not buy complete bikes off-the-shelf. It is probably because a complete bike never have everything I like. And if it has everything I like, it would probably be too expensive. I saw the Focus Planet at a local bike shop that I visit during my lunch hour. This is a rather unique bike shop run by a senior gentleman who can be rather cranky at times. He sells a vast range of bikes, parts and accessories that ranges from $2 lights to very expensive carbon fiber bikes. Like most bike shops, it is messy with parts strewn over the floor, bikes hung here and there and well, you get the picture. So, it was with a big surprise that I found the Focus Planet hanging on the wall. 


The first thing that I noticed was that it was belt-driven using Gates carbon belt drive and it was mated to a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal gear hub. I always believed the 2 most important components on a bike are the frame and the drive train. Closer inspection showed that the frame was German engineered. The matt black paint job with blue criss-cross lines made the bike looked subtle but modern. It was love at first sight. 


Specification

FrameTrekking 2.1 Focus Belt, alloy triple butted
ForkPlanet alloy, 9 mm QR
BrakesShimano BR-M396, 160 mm/160 mm
ShifterShimano Alfine 8-speed
CranksetTruvativ Firex, Gates Carbon Drive CDC Chainring
Gear ratioFront: 46, rear: 22
HandlebarConcept EX, 640 mm
StemConcept EX, 90 mm
SaddleConcept Cross
SeatpostConcept EX, 31,6 mm, 350 mm
HubsFront: Concept, 9mm, rear: Shimano Alfine 8-speed
RimsConcept SR 300
TiresContinental Urban Focus, 622-35


Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub are amazing. The gear changes are so smooth, its unbelievable. You can even change gears while stationary unlike derailleurs. Well, you can do that on a derailleur system too but the noise of gears and chain mashing against one another is not something I like. The rear drop-outs are the sliding type with double bolts to ensure nothing moves even under high load. Adjustments is also easy. Coupled to a carbon belt drive, the rear transmission is so quiet, nobody can hear you coming from behind. The only drawback of the Alfine is the weight of the hub compared to regular derailleurs. But, there is always a price to pay. The 11-speed Alfine rear hub is reported to be lighter. That might be a future upgrade.


The Gates carbon belt drive system is another amazing piece of technology. The belt is guaranteed to run thousand of kilometers without having to worry about stretching. And it is oil-free meaning no black stains on the pants. It is a bit tricky to get the correct tension but once tuned, you need not have to worry about it anymore.



The 22 'teeth' rear sprocket. I was thinking that 22T may be too many teeth but when coupled to the 46T front chainwheel, it provides effortless pedaling and when speed becomes a necessity, be assured the bike will be rather rapid (relative to the power input).


The frame is well engineered. As usual, each bike company will have their own version of frame geometry but nothing beats climbing on and riding the bike to find out whether it works for you. This frame definitely works for me.


The psychedelic graphics add some flair to the frame which would otherwise be quite boring. This is a great bike to ride when you want comfort and speed. There was nothing much I needed to do on the bike except for the change of handlebar and stem to suit my riding style. Even the pictures were taken off Focus website! How's that for continuing the 'I did not have to do much' statement.


Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 Vitus Dee Alfine


The wonderful thing about custom building your own bikes is that you get to choose what you want. It is about experimenting and experiencing the different type of technology available so that you can appreciate what it can do for you. More importantly, it gives you a chance to compare and conclude what really works for you instead of just settling for whatever the bike you bought came with. The Vitus Dee started as a single-speed 29er city bike. However, I knew it had the potential to be enhanced further.


For a start, the original cockpit was replaced by an On One Mary handlebar. With its swept back and slight riser, this handlebar proves once again that looks is not everything. The retro looking bar is really comfortable. Mechanical disc brakes were replaced by Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The stem is a Kore 80mm fitted in a flipped-over position so that the front end is not so high.



Brand X headsets are cheap and good. The golden handlebar gives some colour to the bike which would otherwise by blackish all over.


Shimano Alfine generator front hub provides constant power to the headlamp. The lamp is made by B+M Lumotech. It is really bright and provides illumination without being glaring.


The carbon fork is light and strong. It is not anything branded but it does the job.


Shimano Alfine 39 teeth crankset is simple and elegant.


Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub are amazing. Changing gears is almost instant and the smoothness of the change is incredible.


Shimano disc brakes never fails to impress me no matter what grade they are.


A Fireeye seat post is mated to the original Vitus saddle. This is probably the sole item that was retained. The rest have all been replaced.


It says hand crafted on the seat tube. Whether it is or not does not really matter, the bike looks and feel handmade.

Vitus makes great bikes. The finishing is very good and no flaws or unsightly welds can be seen.


This bike rides really well. The 29er custom-made Spank wheels matched to Freedom Thickslick tyres provides plenty of go. While you need to be a strong rider to get this thing going fast, you have the option of kicking back and enjoy a leisurely ride without much effort thanks to the Alfine gear system.


This is the bike in its original configuration.