2015 Carbon Road Bike Build – Day 1

In preparation for my crazy bike ride from Baltimore to Key West in April 2016, the Key to Keys, I decided it was best to build a new bike suited for this ride instead of using my, more fragile, time trial / triathlon carbon bike. After several months of planning and ordering, I've compiled the entire project to share, including more than 150 pictures of the build.

Introduction


In preparation for my crazy bike ride from Baltimore to Key West in April 2016, the Key to Keys, I decided it was best to build a new bike suited for this ride instead of using my, more fragile, time trial / triathlon carbon bike. After several months of planning and ordering, I’ve compiled the entire project to share, including more than 150 pictures of the build.

NOTE: The frame used in this build is a Chinese replica frame. It is not produced by Specialized, nor has any affiliation with Specialized. Apparently the use of this frame really hurts some cyclists feelings. I’ve been asked “How can you live with yourself”? and the answer is quite simply, just fine thanks 🙂 The authentic Specialized frame costs upwards of $7000, which I clearly will not spend because I have a brain and common sense. I purchased this frame for $530 from a reputable frame builder in China who I took the time to research their designs and reviews from other purchasers. I know that some who have purchased frames from China experienced very poor quality, causing them to break while riding and become seriously injured. It’s important to remember that not all frames built in China are of the same quality. It is 2015 and materials, processes,and overall quality have improved greatly since these horror stories surfaces. Don’t associate some analysis article of a similar frame with mine. I have already subjected my frame to an initial stress test and it passed beautifully. I don’t have any fear that this frame will hold up well for years. And in the case that it doesn’t, my feelings are hurt. I had the money to experiment with such a frame. For the future of this bike I will never make any claim that I ride a Specialized frame. I ordered the frame with the paint and logo because I wanted to avoid those pompous, self-rightous cyclists out there act as if they are shareholders of Specialized, hurling insults and negative comments. Please, just move on and realize that I will not be replacing my frame because of your 2 cents. 

Build Process


  1. Install bottom bracket
  2. Install crank
  3. Install front derailleur
  4. Install rear derailleur
  5. Install seat
  6. Install brakes
  7. Install headset bearings
  8. Install shifters
  9. Install stem (onto handlebars)
  10. Install fork
  11. Install wheels (with tires and tubes)
  12. Install chain
  13. Install cables (brake and shifter)
  14. Install handlebar tape

Issues Encountered


During the build process I encountered several issues which took a bit of time.

  1. The fork steerer tube was 0.003″ out of spec. This problem prevented the lower bearing crown race from not seating properly. After a visit to my LBS to pick up a new race, their opinion was to use a 2 stage epoxy to seat the race onto the fork. I took their suggestion and it worked great.
  2. The shifters would not downshift. To my surprise, after concluding they were defective and requesting an RMA from my seller, I discovered they the shifter boot needs to be folded down into the installed position. I’m still not sure why, or if this is normal for today’s shifters, but I’ve never encountered this before.
  3. The fork would not tighten enough to remove the play. Since this is a full carbon frame, including the form, the steerer tube cap is different than the usual spider bolt. After watching a YouTube tutorial, I gave it another shot and all was OK.

Remaining To-Do


  1. Install pedals. The Garmin Vector 2S pedals will arrive on Thursday night (12/10/2015)
  2. Install cadence sensor.
  3. Install XLAB SuperWing system on rear of seat

 

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