Time Skylon with Campagnolo Super Record EPS 11

Hey everyone.  Today I had the day off and was able to help a buddy of mine from the shop to build up a new Time frameset with electronic Campy.  It was a tough build, but was a little more relaxed in the comfort of my home.  It’s also equipped with the newest wide rim Bora Ultimates, which alone is rare as I know of only five of these framesets in the USA (super rare).  Here it is as a gallery.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have regarding EPS installation.  This one required installing the V2 power unit on the down tube instead of the seattube.  Check it out!!!!

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2015 Campagnolo Record Preview

I got an excellent opportunity this morning to join my fellow mechanics and gaze at the new 2015 Campagnolo Record group brought by the US rep to explain new features and designs.  It really packed a punch aesthetically and is sure to be a powerhouse to compete with the other major drivetrains out there.  That being said — onto the good stuff!

The first component we looked at are the new shift/brake levers and how they differ from previous generations.  The hoods and body of the brifter are the same shape as the prior edition, but have small improvements.  The hood has a different pattern that contours the brifter better and helps to eliminate the ‘crease’ that some worn in hoods experience after heavy use.  This is also reflected on the inside of the hood where they created a thicker mesh under pressure points for better vibration dampening and a more secure fit.  A small print of “Campagnolo” is displayed in white at the outer front side of the hood.  Here are a couple photos:

The internals look basically the same with the exception of a different ratcheting shift mechanism that corresponds to the way the rear derailleur will travel up and down the cogs (actuation ratio).  This does mean that it is incompatible with the prior generation.

The crank was totally redesigned with the newer four arm spider made of carbon fiber and the chainrings each using 4 chainring bolts to attach to the arms.  This, along with the profiling of the top of each arm over the outer chainring is expected to confidently support the near 45Nm torque of the front derailleur shifting from the inner to the outer ring.  Also, I should note that the downshift is slightly different and acts much more like its electronic cousin, EPS.  When dropping from the outer ring the inner ring, the derailleur will drop to a low trim position — one slight click up from its innermost position.  This should help greatly in eliminating a chain dropping.  Here is a photo:

2015 Campagnolo Record 11 Crankset

Next was the front derailleur which ties into the prior paragraph about the 45Nm torque of the shift.  This is an improvement of about 10Nm more than the last generation and only 7Nm less than its EPS counterpart.  A 3D molded carbon cage exists on the Record and Super Record mechs and is an alloy cage on the Chorus level.  The improvement of the shifting power is mainly due to the added length of the arm used to anchor the cable.  Here’s a couple views:

The rear derailleur was definitely the best part about the entire presentation.  It boasts an incredibly light weight and features carbon fiber all over in both the Record and Super record levels.  The Chorus level will have an alloy outer parallelogram plate.  The reintroduction of a B-tension screw will help to eliminate differences in frame manufacturing specifications and allow the derailleur to be dialed in the exact same way on any number of bikes.  It’s best feature is a spline drive inside the anchor pivot that winds the spring tighter as the derailleur moves up and down the cogs.  Its benefit is to keep the upper pulley moving with the same curved slope of the cogs to prevent missed shifts and smoother transition.  Check it out:

Lastly, here are a few photos of the EPS bike with current generation Super Record 11 EPS:

How To Properly Glue A Tubular Tire

I am sure that many people have great techniques (as well as poor ones) on how to glue tubulars, but I thought I would provide my take on it.  I have glued well over 500 in my career thus far and not one has ever come back where it “rolled” off the rim.  I take this as a good technique proven over time because if it is one thing I can pretty much guarantee, it’s that someone who rolls one will definitely make sure the ‘gluer’ knows that it happened.  If you perfect the consistency of your method while gluing, then you will have predictable results that are positive.

That being said, let’s dig in.  If you are a bike shop mechanic and haven’t tried gluing, practice on a set of ones first and have them inspected about a week later by someone who has glued.  If the tire is quite difficult to pull off, then you’ve done it right.  Recently, I have come across several cases where a poor gluing was easily reflected in the difficulty (or ease) of pulling the old tire off.  Either the glue had been applied in spots on the rim or almost none at all in the center.  Let me express that you don’t have to have glued a ton of tubulars to get it right.  You just have to follow a method that is proven and makes sense.  If you are a cyclist that doesn’t have access to a shop, then follow this guide because you’ll know your wheels better because of it and you’ll always have the opportunity to be race-ready.  The process can be done in a day with the right tubulars or over several days for ultimate quality and aesthetics.

The first thing I do is to obviously remove the old tubular.  If it has been glued correctly, this will be the second hardest part.  Below you will see a series of photos detailing the removal.  I usually start by taking my index fingers and thumbs and rock the tire side to side in different places on the rim to try to peel the edges of the tire off.  If a particular section starts to peel well, I will focus there.  I take a plastic tire lever and run its edge along the part of the tire that is glued.  This kind of ‘cuts’ the glue to start the removal and ensures that the base tape does not rip off the rest of the tire.  Then, I begin to pry the edge of the lever under the center of the tire until it gives way to the opposite side.  Push either forwards or backwards along the rim flexing the lever upwards to peel more of the tire off.  Once you’ve done this for about a quarter of the radius of the rim, take the lever out and use your hands to peel the rest of the tire off.  Then, put the wheel in a truing stand if you have one for inspection.  Here are the photos of me removing a Vittoria Corsa Evo off of some Campagnolo Bora Ultimates.

After peeling the tire off, inspect it and compare the base tape to the new tubular being glued.  Many times, indentations around each rim hole for the spoke nipple will be seen.  Glue that is hastily applied will seep into these holes in the rim and create havoc for future truing and for broken spoke nipples to exit the rim in a spoke replacement.  Note any areas that are lacking in glue.  More importantly that this is to check the rim bed (the area where the tire contacts the rim) for leftover glue and any inconsistencies.  Check these two photos out:

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In the left photo, you can see that glue never really even made it to the right side of the rim and the indent in the center of the rim bed holds roughly the same thickness of glue as the left side.  From a better perspective, the right photo shows the area on the rim I found when peeling the tubular.  My best guess is that a layer of glue was on the tire and then a bead of glue was drawn onto the center of the rim bed before mounting it.  Don’t ever use this method.  That tire is not secure at all for racing — much less around the parking lot for a test ride.  I recommend at this point to mark non-glued tubulars on display models with a symbol on the valve extender with a silver Sharpie marker.

This is how to glue the new tubular.

Since there was little glue on the rim to start with, I elected to ‘paint’ over the existing glue using Vittoria Mastik One tubular glue.  It is rated the best — it holds the best (I have heard recently of using this in conjunction with gluing tape for cross tubulars and the methods I was described sounded great and sound).  The first step is to start spreading glue on the tubular since the base tape will soak up the first layer.  I like to focus on getting about 95% of the base tape covered in a nice layer of glue.  This means no thick spots or globs.  Use an acid brush (hardware stores — very cheap and perfect for the job) to steadily spread the glue in long sections several inches at a time with short strokes.  I usually spread a bead of glue (as pictured below) around a sixth to a quarter of the circumference at a time.  This helps to ensure that the glue doesn’t begin to thicken and dry or drip down onto the rubber of the tire.  While a little glue may touch the rubber, a lot is difficult to fix and results in poor treatment of the rubber to clean.  Take your time and be thorough.  Each coat takes about 10-15 minutes for a beginner and about 5-7 minutes once acquainted.  Check out the progress below.

One important thing to note with layers of glue on the tire is that you want to build a little extra glue right around the valve where it meets the base tape.  This will help prevent damage from pumping it up as well as rough valve holes and a secure fitting when stretching onto the rim.  Like this.

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Next is the rim.  I apply glue the exact same way as the tire.  Do two coats on the tire and two coats on the rim.  Spread it evenly and take care to both cover rim edges around the spoke drillings and the areas between.  Spread 2-3 small half-dime size dots of glue between each spoke drilling approximately a quarter way around the rim at a time.  Start at the last place you dripped glue and spread upwards in directional slow strokes.  Angle the brush to drag excesses of glue along the rim to areas where application didn’t sufficiently cover.  The speed of this process is a lot of what experience will give you.  The more you do, the quicker and more efficient you will become.  The idea here is that you follow the steps precisely so that you get glue where it should be.   The aesthetics will come with time.  Tubulars that stay on the rim are always cooler than pretty ones that don’t.  Here is the glue process.

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You can see in the right the bead drops of glue and spreading them out in the left photo.  Let each layer dry completely to touch and then it will be time to mount the tire onto the rim.

Take the tire and apply a very very thin layer of glue over the middle 70% of the basetape.  This will aid in activating the glue on the rim and in allowing a bit of positioning.  Check the tread and make absolutely sure that you will be stretching it on the correct direction.  Nothing is more terrible than realizing you just put the tire on backwards. Check the tread one more time.

Insert the valve into the valve hole with only some ‘pliable pressure’ in the tire.  You should be able to stretch it with moderate effort.  Begin with a hand on each side of the valve and pull the tire away from the valve in the direction of the rim.  Check the base tape on each side to make sure it is being placed evenly along the rim.  Once you get to the final six inches of the tire, wedge the axle of the wheel against something and pinch the tire while pulling it onto the rim.  Some cases and combinations of tubulars and rims are exceptionally difficult and some are wonderfully easy.  Vittoria happens to be a tubular that rides incredibly well and stretches easily onto almost any rim.

I hope this helped clear up the process of the gluing.  I may extend the article soon and include some photos of actually stretching the tire.  Feel free to comment and suggest any methods that are well proven.  Thanks for reading!

– SNC

What’s in the stand today?

This is what I was working on today….

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Specs are as follows:

Specialized SWORKS Shiv frameset with integrated aero brakeset, seatpost, and Sitero saddle.  This was a stock build I had etched up a few months back and it had been sitting on our Specialized wall with some grandeur.  It’s spec’d with a Dura-Ace 9000 groupset with time trial shifters.  Zipp Beyond Black stem was swapped for the standard stock stem setup in order to run a Zipp Vuka Bull base bar with TRP carbon brake levers and Fizik matte black tape.  The wheelset currently is a nice set of CXP80 Cosmics, but likely will be switched to Zipp 808s.  It’s a really great aero build that will be the epitome of stealth and craftsmanship.  Since I built it accordingly before, it’s been easy to set in the new cockpit and all that is left is to route the new cables and tune.  Other pressing projects intervened this build today including a Di2 upgrade on a Caad 10 Synapse frameset, a SWORKS lululemon Amira with Ultegra Di2, and an SWORKS hardtail Stumpjumper that needed a final bleed and hose replacement for Formula brakes front and rear.  That was also a great build last week that I should have a finals slideshow for tomorrow evening or Sunday.  Internal hydraulic routing and XX1 group with a nice tubeless setup.  Anyways, I’ve had a long week and got a lot of great projects out to happy riders and need some rest.  I’ll have a short article on some tech stuff that has been important to the industry lately tomorrow.  Thanks for checking things out!

-SNC

Pinarello Dogma Think 2 65HM1K Limited Edition World Champion Frameset

One of the guys I work with arrived early this afternoon to a surprise that his frameset had arrived earlier than expected from Italy.  As one of the most interesting people to work with in the industry I have met, I waited for his reaction to opening the box, eagerly handing scissors to cut the packaging.   It had been three months of waiting.  This is the first one to hit the United States.  It’s a limited edition Pinarello Dogma Think 2 65HM1K World Champion Edition frameset.  As far as I am concerned, there are lighter framesets out there and maybe even more elaborate paint jobs, but combine the two and you have this Dogma.  I installed the headset bearing, races, and spacers and ziptied the steerer tube so we could set it up for some photos.

For those of you reading who have never ridden a Pinarello Dogma (particularly I mention the Dogma due to its reputation above the other frames in Pinarello’s lineup, all of which, of course are also very good framesets), I would like you to envision the coolest tech gadget or hobby or passion you have and think of what the absolute best version of that in the entire world would be.  Got it?  This is one of the best designed bicycle frames in the entire world.  I was really happy to be there at the right time to see it.  The asymmetric carbon frame is made by a company called Torayca.  Their use of Pinarello’s designed 65HM1K carbon fiber with Nanoalloy construction alloys them to create extremely responsive feel and strength in their frames.  For instance, carbon fiber ribbing stretches down the downtube near the bottom bracket on just the drive side to reinforce the unequal power distribution in the frame between right-side thrust (drive) + pull on chain and the left-side thrust (non-drive) + pull on chain.  Classic breaks on many carbon frames of the past have been implemented into the design to be reinforced in these areas as well, creating something truly race worthy or simply as the ultimate thrill of flying down descents and roads with less fatigue, better performance, and comfort all the way through.

It’s a beautiful frame in both form and function.  If you find an opportunity to ride one, do it.  Let’s put it this way, “I really hate my Pinarello.  It really just doesn’t ride well and I’ve had so many problems with it”  … said no one ever in my experience…

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Colnago Super with Campagnolo Nuovo Record Overhaul (Before)

So this is one of the first really cool overhauls that I am handling in the new shop.  It’s really old.  It needs quite a bit of work.  I am pretty sure that it’s going to turn out nicely with enough rejuvenating and assembling.  It’s a Colnago Super frameset built with Campagnolo Nuovo Record.  That’s one of the first really nice component sets equipped to a handbuilt steel lugged road frame noted as some of Italy’s finest.  Here are the photos I took today of the parts being removed from the frame for cleaning and servicing.  It was quiet in the shop and the winter storm created a good mood for bringing back a vintage Italian classic.  More to come this week about the process of restoring and tuning.

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Bianchi Winter Project

So, I have been working some time on gathering up older Campagnolo parts for an Italian frame I’ve used on and off over several years to re-finish and rebuild.  It is nothing really unique, but the Columbus tubing has stayed in good shape and the feel of a steel frame on the road is hard to beat for comfort and classic.  I plan to use it for some touring, but primarily designated as my “flyfishing” bike.

Between friends, infrequent finds, and front and rear Campagnolo Victory derailleurs, the bike has all of the parts necessary to work and I have begun to start the frame re-finish on the fork.  I may switch a few parts and will definitely add more as time progresses this winter, but wanted to show some “before” photos for later article comparison. Below is a slide show of the bike presently and following will be about what I am going to do in the next few steps.

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Being a flyfishing road bike, I am set on a vintage look and build.  When building a flyrod with my dad in Blue Ridge, GA last summer, I saw that the hardware on the flyrod could be “blued” like rifle barrels from old Winchesters I have seen.  Immediately I thought of a bicycle frame with the same classic style along with a nice leather case for a 4-piece rod, leather pouch under the saddle for reel and flies, and a front rack large enough for a creel basket to sit in or water pack.  Sanding the frame clean of the old paint will really give it a nice “brushed look” that will give accent to the bluing process, which will then be clear powder-coated to protect the look.  I plan to write a special article with plans for the PVC shell leather rod case.  I like the idea of PVC because of its strength and light weight.  The bike will be outfitted with much of the same Campagnolo parts already equipped and I am considering making / designing the rack myself.  The only major change I may make is to glue some cross style tubulars on the wheels so trail riding will be more robust and stable.

– SNC

Park Tool Summit 2013 In Review

I was able to attend six of the eight classes offered at the 2013 Park Tool Summit.  They were the following: Campagnolo, Cane Creek, FSA, Fox, Mavic, and Shimano.  I am going to cover each one and what I thought were the best points to take and apply in the shop. Right below is a slide show of photos I took (sorry for fair quality with cell phone) before the summaries of each class.

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Campagnolo:

The same instructor, who deals with just about every Campy warranty and issue in the US department, was informative and innovative considering that a pallet of half the working material was still somewhere between the headquarters and the summit.  Inside views of the Romanian factories and the home factory in Vicenza, Italy.  Before recently, Campy was high on security and secrecy to protect larger companies from gaining insight on their special technologies and process.  Now, however, they have adopted a much more transparent view of both the parts diagrams and breakdowns and the environment itself in which the parts are produced.  Because of the demand for such quantities of these quality components, special precise training was exacted for the employees of their two Romanian parts manufacturing facilities dubbed Mechrom 1 and Mechrom 2.  Most of the final assembly of parts is done in these facilities.  They have a great traceability program to ensure that the products and parts are accounted for and distributed correctly.  For instance, every wheel built has a dot matrix code attached that contains information as to the individual that built the wheel and the exact final tension specs, ensuring the rider that the product is as perfect as possible.

Also, various innovations have been discovered and engineered by Campy that have spread to other industries because of the care and accuracy they hold their standards to.  NASA aerospace chassis designs, the formula for casting magnesium (a very very light material), and the first magnesium wheelset are but a few of them.

Great focus on chain design was taught.  Every chain created undergoes over 1200 lbs of force to “pre-stretch” them so they last longer and run smoother than any other chain.  No rider can exert this type of force which entails literally zero broken chain other than if the installer does not install it correctly.  Also, as a side note, installing a “quick link” voids the warranty as they believe only their chain pins meticulously pressed in will be strong enough to support it.  In addition, they recommend installing the chain in the smallest chainring and smallest cog to get the right amount of tension.

Cane Creek:

It was obvious for this seminar that Cane Creek is highly focused on connecting riders together and sharing their experiences for the best ride possible.  They seem to have an attitude of figuring out how to make each rider’s bike settings and technologies work best for that individual by developments in things like changing the angle of the fork and detail tuning their new Double Barrel rear shock.

One surprising note to mention in regards to their very successful headset sizing system (S.H.I.S) is that almost all headsets on the market have been narrowed down to 6 top bearings and 4 bottom bearings, making the system even easier.  As far as changing the angle of the fork mentioned earlier, bowl-shaped cups hold the bearings that are placed in eccentric matching cups in the headset for several different angles that they include as one set, so you can try different combinations for better climbing or better descents, etc.  Also, even with this new system, Cane Creek has a headset fit finder with a database of over 10,000 bikes already and adding new ones each day when submitted by mechanics and other in the industry.  This is awesome as it compiles so much data from so many companies and locates it in one place, leaving the guessing game far behind.

The biggest highlight for me was a detailed summary of their 110 headset.  From cutout diagrams, you could see the multiple seals keeping the bearings sealed up nicely and backing up the 110 year warranty.  Essentially, it is waterproof and to me, rivals the Chris King headset that is also popular by name and by its own sealed system.  I mainly think it is just good to have a choice of two almost indestructible headsets.  Plus, regardless of which one it goes with, they will quickly replace it if you somehow are able to destroy it.

The Double Barrel rear shock is a great product to explore as well and has so many options for fine tuning without problematic issues that usually arise with other rear shocks with leaking, etc.  Seal replacement was very easy and clear to understand and the hands-on experience of doing so really “sealed” in the information.

FSA:

FSA (Full Speed Ahead) was all about ensuring that their products get better and better and flaws and defects get smaller and smaller with genuine rider honesty of feedback and a willingness and commitment of the company to fix any problem.  They were the first company to develop a carbon crank with longevity.  Their SLK series has been continually refined with each season of testing as well as their Gravity line for downhill bikes.  Being that they are located near Whistler and other major downhill areas, the testing grounds put the equipment and research through extreme trials to bring us what we have today.  One cool addition for customer service was a placement of an office on the East Coast to help eliminate the waiting period of time zones to contact representatives.  This creates a faster turn around and closer connection of rider to mechanic to rep.

They also have a headset that was developed much like the one I mentioned earlier with Cane Creek, but their point of interest was to develop one that had fewer parts and a more robust interface that could be depended on in harsh conditions.  Great length was also taken to “creaks” and “clicks” in integrated bottom brackets, so naturally I wanted to turn a keen ear since I wrote an earlier article on bottom brackets and issues that arise.  Several things like the correct materials for installing bearings and retaining them with loctites and compounds that wasn’t as clear before as to how essential it is to choose the correct one.  Moving from so many different types of crank spindles and bottom brackets has led them to the development of their BB386 spindle and bearings that is the same size for all of their cranks.  They make different qualities of these, but all of the are the same so compatibility is a non-issue.

Fox:

Fox seemed to hold a different approach than any other class.  They split theirs into three separate mini-classes with hands-on working at each.  The groups rotated and gained insight on several areas from bushing and seal replacement on forks to lockout tuning and rebound damper adjustment.  The most useful in a business sense that they now offered is the bushing and seal replacement.  Developing a new tool with Barnett’s Institute, it allows bushing replacement on any fork including Fox and passes the ability to do some services at the shop level rather than always sending it to Fox to have work done.  This means that I can get a rider back out on the trail faster and that makes a happier rider.

After the first day of learning, I got to speak with the Fox rep at the social hour following the day.  He showed me a suspension unit that is installed on the new Raptor off-road truck.  I lifted it and it was quite heavy as trucks are far less concerned with being light rather than strong.  It led to something that I wouldn’t have expected.  He said that most people think that the bike fork technology and suspensions are derived from their larger parts on off-road trucks and ATVs, etc.  He said that this was quite the opposite.  The bike technology was hardest to innovate because it not only had to be really strong, but also light enough to ride and that this technology was what actually trickled up to ATV suspensions and then to off-road vehicle suspensions.  Pretty cool.  They also seemed to be having the most fun out of the other companies.

Mavic:

Mavic was, personally, a beautiful sight to see.  Slick blacked-out wheels and carbon spokes all over the place with matching yellow hinting everywhere was the realm of high-end wheels and superior technology.  Not only were several points of misconceptions I had cleared up, but it was also confirmation of several things I had been doing right.

Mavic has a philosophy that their wheels are made as a system from the center of the hub all the way to the ground — including the tire.  This is why all of their wheels are sold with tires installed.  From flashy animations of hub overhaul procedures to French dialogue speaking of dedication to ultimate advancement in technology, they covered essential procedures for replacing carbon spokes in two different wheels (R-SYS and Cosmic Carbone).  Plus, the guys teaching the class were the guys that fix the wheels or rebuild them when we send one back for service.  It was like finally meeting the guys who had done all the great work I see coming back in shipments and on display in the shop and getting a flavor of their standards and tips.

One thing that really stuck out that I didn’t know before was that they use mineral oil inside the freehub body with a bottom seal.  Mineral oil, they said, wasn’t some magical liquid, but just that it was exactly the right “weight” to stay inside and give the freehub years longer of usage and, in its absence, is why some riders have described a high-pitched squeal at times on fast descents.

Shimano:

While much of the material that was covered in the presentation part of the class was what I had recently just finished training on, it was still reinforcing and provided confidence in the hands-on tuning of the new Dura-Ace 9000 drive-train.  With its sleek machined appearance and unbelievably improved smooth performance, I have to contend that all three major companies (Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM) have narrowed the gap between each other and the game is at its highest level ever.

The new and improved cables and casing also surprised me to its superior feel and had me thinking they snagged the designer for the Gore Ride-On cables that were just discontinued.  Coming now in seven colors, the PTFE coating is uniquely applied so wear doesn’t affect performance nearly as much as before, allowing riders to use them for longer with better results.  The motto, “friction is the enemy,” really rang true here and great effort was placed into decreasing it and its effect on rider fatigue.

Summary:

All in all, as stated above, the technologies are getting more and more efficient and precise with faster rides and sexier designs.  It’s going to be really exciting to see how far they can go in the next couple years.

– SNC

Seven Cycles Axiom SL with Campagnolo Super Record 11

As I finish compiling all of the knowledge I gained at the Park Tool Summit, I thought I would distract you for a moment to show some photos of a recent pro build on Wednesday that was scheduled after having the frame refinished.  The frame is a Seven Cycles Axiom SL titanium frameset with Campagnolo Super Record 11 and Rolf Prima Vigor RS wheels.  What a sweet ride!

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