Dura-Ace 9100 Preview


Hey everyone!  I wanted to share a few photos and thoughts after seeing and riding the new Shimano Dura-Ace groupset.  It features some really nice improvements and has some new tech that stays in line with the prior model.

The lever throw is significantly and noticeably less that 9000 and has a slightly crisper feeling to the shift.  It reminded me of old school 9 speed Dura-Ace and how the lever actuation felt like there was a beginning and end to the throw for each shift.  The hoods are redesigned as a single compound hood with some grip pattern in the right places.  While it resembled the more ergo feel of Campagnolo, it had its own unique feel overall and was pleasant to hold on to.

The front derailleur is by far the most innovative piece of the system (other than the power integration with the cranksets, which I haven’t seen yet).  It uses a separate spring tension to actuate the derailleur that is separately adjusted from the cable tension.  It is kind of like having a built in inline barrel adjuster at the actual component rather than in the housing routing.  It gets rid of the tall arm that was getting in the way of some gravel grinder frames in the 9000 series because it would rub the fatter tires (thus, most were coming spec’d with 10 speed front derailleurs).

The brakes are slightly more responsive and use a nicely redesigned cam action to open and close the brake for narrow or wide rims.  It moves opposite to the prior models.  The dial goes inward towards the brake rather than opening to the outside.

The crank looked slightly more molded and shaped to accommodate strong pedal forces in the downstroke while giving it a nice blacked out finish that might appeal some more than others.

Lastly, the rear derailleur seems to take a lot of its tech from the XTR derailleur.  It now sports a shadow plus style mounting system, but doesn’t include the clutch (likely for weight savings0.  A full carbon parallelogram holds the pulleys, which are different in size and closely resemble the slightly larger pulley on 11 speed 105 derailleurs.

Anyways, on to the photos, shown below.  I’ll be adding a build review and other tech as we begin to install it in the shop in the weeks to come.  Enjoy!  Stop by and check it out!  I’ll also being adding a few more detailed photos below in the next couple days as I have a chance to take it apart.

 

 

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What I didn’t know about electric bikes

After a lot of research this weekend, I learned quite a bit more about electric bikes and how they work.  I particularly concentrated on how the motor in the rear hub operates and how it can provide power without any moving parts.  My first goal from this point will be to open the hub shell of an Ultra Motor brand hub motor in the rear wheel of a Stromer.  I’ll detail all of it in a well-covered post.

Most of the information I found was on just a couple websites which I somehow had not come across yet. Electric Bike is definitely well organized and provided the most information about a variety of hub motors and their corresponding controllers and diagnostic procedures.  Ypedal has an amazing and vast knowledge of the systems and has created tons of custom setups as well as details repair on several Youtube videos that is a complete procedure and well explained.

Most of the motors have a similar layout:  An outer shell to protect and encase the motor, then a ring of magnets that are positioned between the shell and coils of copper wire.  Other than a couple sensors and wires that exit through the center of the wheel near the axle, that’s about it.  Very simple and once familiar with the parts, moderately easy to work on.  I chose to first learn about the motor because it seems like this is the only component that I haven’t been able to service other than to simply install a replacement wheel.  To have the ability to fix the motors once the manufacturer’s warranty expires will be essential — especially as the number of electric bikes is increasing and they are becoming more common.

Back to the sensors and wires in the motor.  Usually there are three small square shaped sensors that are positioned between two of the outer magnets in line with each other.  These are called Hall sensors and they measure the electrical current coming out of the motor as the wheel spins.  A tapered side of the sensor body is always positioned outward and usually is set with a tiny amount of JB Weld or epoxy. Out of the top of each sensor are three uncovered wire leads that are soldered to colored wires carefully running to the center of the hub and exit from the wheel to the controller and potentially a torque sensor.  A torque sensor is generally on higher end electric bikes while cheaper versions simply use a cadence magnet to calculate the input of added power.  The torque sensor is nicer because it adds power based on a direct measurement of the deflection of the wheel backward against the rear dropout when you put pressure on the chain and pedals.  Most are robust and work accurately, giving the rider a better feel of added power when accelerating.

In some situations, I read that one or more of the Hall sensors can go bad and with the right tools, it is a small project for an afternoon that will avoid a replacement ($500-750) or service elsewhere ($100/hr).  Even if you aren’t up to doing the task yourself, you will be better able to diagnose and familiarize issues that occur.  For the avid mechanic, it is possible to upgrade your hub motor for minimal cost.  Larger wires (if they can fit through the frame and center of the wheel) will boost available power and a better controller or throttle can more accurately distribute the power.  Unless you have an extreme desire to mod your electric bike, the magnets and copper wire are difficult and costly to replace.  Some motors are spun low with larger gauge copper wire which can provide more power, but less torque on hilly terrain while high spin copper will have better power at a high cadence and will last longer.

In order to remove the motor from its hub shell, a car bearing puller is necessary.  It is an extractor style tool with three arms that pull on the shell while a center bolt pushes the axle and opposite hub shell side.  It is helpful and recommended that you tap the shell with a mallet during this process to aid in freeing the two halves.  Otherwise, direct extraction with the bearing puller could break the hub flange and then you’ll be left with a useless motor and no shell.

Considering the Stromer that was detailed in the review and diagnosis, I believe that the torque sensor was overloaded in the frame without that necessary bolt and the motor overheated and fried one or more of the sensors.  This would explain the NO_COMM lack of communication between the LCD controller and the motor.

It makes a lot of sense once the elements are broken down like that.  I also think that one of the wires exiting the rear hub is a faulty wire with a weak spot somewhere near the center of the wheel.  The torque sensor itself seems okay.  I am going to check current through each of the wires to determine the faulty one and then solder in a new one along with the replacement of the sensors.

I was very happy to find this information and come to realization that these bikes can be fixed from the ground up if necessary.  Why wait a week or weeks for new parts to install when the local hardware store and Radio Shack have all the necessary parts for a solution?  I am going to continue to do more research into the motor repairs as well as connecting different controllers to the bike for operation.  It is exciting to realize that with the right research, I can create incredibly fun bikes that are useful for both fun and transportation. Now, once I can locate a car bearing puller, I’ll open the motor and take photos of everything so you can see it.  Stay tuned!

– 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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Sworks Tarmac SL3 Rebuild

A project that has been in the shop for a few weeks has finally been completed and I wanted to share some photos and background that I believe really details what the cycling industry is about.  This Specialized Tarmac SL3 had been in a crash during the prior year and it was questionable as whether to replace the frame and wheels or repair them.  Weighing in originally at just over 13 pounds, it was equipped with SRAM Red, Zipp 202s, and Specialized components.

Upon inspection, it was evident that the rear chain stay had a major break in the FACT 11r carbon fiber and the other stay would likely have been compromised from the impact.  In addition, the rear wheel was destroyed as well as the fork.  We consulted both the costs of a new frame and wheels and with a company out of North Carolina called Jack Kane Cycles that could repair the carbon.  They assured us after sending multiple photos of the damage that it could be repaired, but that a new finish needed to be applied to the whole frame for aesthetics and durability.  After debating about this issue in the shop, it really made good sense.  At Kane Cycles, they believe that a repair in carbon fiber means making the whole system complete as a skeletal structural unit.  It should essentially look like nothing ever happened.  After sending them the frame and a replacement fork, they matched the paint and finish and repaired the damage with impeccable quality work.  I highly recommend their services and very much appreciated their updates and professional attitude.

While the frame was being repaired, we decided to use the hubs from the Zipp 202s and rebuild them with Sapim CX Ray spokes and Alchemy TB-25 tubular rims.  Alchemy machines a variety of hole drilling for their rims, which made it an excellent choice along with the great reputation they have for quality products.  The spoke calculations made it the hardest set of wheels I have ever laced.  From spoke nipple washers to measuring spoke length for recessed straight pull crossed and radial lacing to mounting the tubulars, it came together absolutely even and precise and dropped almost a hundred grams off the original set.

The rest of the bike suffered no damage in regards to the components, bars, and crank.  After cleaning and lubricating all of the parts, I installed Teflon shift cables and housing with long tongue protectors and put the sweet machine back to racing performance.  With Look Keo pedals installed, it weighed in at 14 pounds 11 ounces.  After a quick test ride, I realized that the industry was at a point where the technology is at the same level as our ability to repair it.  The bike is different today than the original, but now reflects a much more customized look and feel with a “one-off” style.  I plan to write a followup post later concerning the building of the wheels and how to measure for such a situation.  Here are the photos!    – SNC

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Park Tool Summit 2013

Well, tomorrow is the first day of the 2013 Park Tool Summit.  This is a big convention of hungry coffee-loving mechanics and enthusiasts brought together by the biggest bicycle tool company in the US.  I attended one in Philadelphia about two years ago and am really looking forward to all of the tech knowledge and hands-on working that some of the major component manufacturers lead and discuss.  I am attending the following courses: Campagnolo, Cane Creek, Mavic, FSA, Shimano, and Fox.  From top-end wheels to overhauling complex suspension forks, it’s sure to be a blast.  I plan on taking many notes and recording the seminars with audio that I’ll post for those interested.  Prepare for a lengthy post on all of what I see there and learn.

While I will not be able to attend every class,  I intend to gain the knowledge from other mechanics my shop is sending there and pass it on to you.  May my attention be focused and my hands adept.  Being that I will probably have to share the knowledge ASAP, I may post small bits throughout the convention from my tablet.  Stay tuned.  There’s a ton of great things happening in the industry this year.