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I’d like to thank the Academy… January 31, 2010

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madone almost finished

When I stepped back after the laying on of WTB Vigo saddle and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, the message I had to suppress was, no joke, “Nobody’s going to let you get on that, you know.”

Still missing bar tape, a chain, pedals, and tuning, but this puppy knocks me out.

This Geezer’s 2008 Trek Madone 6.9 Pro…

Thank you, Danielle…


Closing in on the thrill January 31, 2010

Posted by Bill in Equipment.
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The one part of this project that offered me any heartburn at all, save the international flavor and “how the hell can all this stuff actually go together?” anxieties (previous post), was the thought of starting cabling from scratch.  I’ve had a sufficient number of binding cable runs, etc., to know that it’s not automatically successful, and I was less than happy about learning on this build.  Fortunately, I stumbled into my nearest (almost nearest) Trek dealer, City Bicycle Works in Citrus Heights.  There the neighborly mechanic not only sold me some of his personal stock of hard-to-find (in Sacramento at any rate) SRAM white cable housing, he gave me the quick tour of which fittings go with which kind of housing, the difference between brake and derailleur housing, how to cut it, the works.  madone with cablesHis significantly younger helper, not to be outdone, demonstrated skills with hand motions and eyebrows in thumbs-up expressions of support and good will.

The Citrus Heights City Bicycle Works store is the corner hardware store version of the City Bicycle Works kingdom.  You want people who’ll take the time to bring you to understanding, this is the place.

If you look closely at the lever positions, no, they are not quite in the right spot, but everything works like a champ.

Oh, and brakes… why does Campy sell front brakes with backing inset nuts that are too short for 90% of all forks out there?  Is that to keep their advertised weight down?

Campagnolo, I had translated what I have to say to you about that:

Ciò è una strategia stupida.

Brilliant engineering… January 31, 2010

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madone frame with cranksetThis build began with a modest degree of fear.  I have built a number of machines in my time, and I have repaired that which was built by its builder, with all the parts coming from the same source.  Or, at least the parts at one time started out fitting together, and leaving in completed form from the same place.

This build, however, was anything but that.

Frame: American; Waterloo, Wisconsin; used, via Ebay.

Drivetrain: Italy (pretty, but have you seen that tower in Pisa?)

Other parts: China (very glad there’s no dog food in this bike)

Installing the Campagnolo Record Ultra Torque bottom bracket was nothing less than an affirmation of my faith in international community of engineers.  OK, maybe the European Space Agency and NASA can’t keep their feet and meters straight when they jointly send something to Mars, but when Campy and Trek put their heads together in this revolutionary bottom bracket design, they totally got it spectacularly right.  Once the hard-to-find Loctite products arrived (primer from San Diego, adhesive from butt-nowhere), the BB went together in about five minutes.  I had to stand and wipe grease from my hands multiple times just to slow down the experience.  It’s beautiful, it’s light… I pity the poor slobs who pay someone else for the pleasure of installing it.

Stage 2 January 29, 2010

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In truth, this journey began not with a frame, but with a ride two years ago on an Independent Fabrication bike with a Campy Record grupo. That supple, snappy bike with its effortless light shifting behavior grabbed my attention big time, and my fantasy world entered the realm of the $5,000 custom-frame bicycle. Then fantasy collided with financial reality as the lure of carbon took hold, and I entered the zone of serious cognitive dissonance.

So I started fishing about for a responsible way to get into my $5K bike which, of course, had morphed to an $8K bike in my head. A year ago Ebay offered up a Chorus/Record drive train – you’ll see this later – and I was off to the races. That drive train sat in my garage, burning in its box on the shelf, until the daily news that I wasn’t getting any younger drove to me find something to hang it on.

Back to Ebay, and to the Madone frame offered by an excellent seller, Sarah Hansing, master wrench with deep Trek connections, offering guidance and necessary wisdom for this carbon-baby who didn’t quite appreciate the depth of the project he was beginning.

So I bring you today’s progress:

headset installed, complete with new Madone 6.9 fork with its 1 1/8″ top and 1 1/2″ bottom Cane Creek headset bearings, Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon stem, and FSA K-Force carbon bar. Yummy.

You can take the speed out of the geezer, but… January 28, 2010

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Yes, in biking terms, I’m am such a geezer. But that’s not my fault.

Still looking to two wheels for a speed fix, I have begun a build, and I’m bringing you with me. It all started with stumbling across this lovely frame: Trek Madone 6.9

This 2008 Trek Madone 6.9 Pro called to me and just moved on in, as you see here.

Carefully and perfectly repainted by Russ Pickett of Air Art in Chico, CA, this frame awaits that which will make it the lightest thing to roll beneath me, and you will be witness to its transformation.