Thursday, August 13, 2015

Working on my mechanic game

Imagination is the only limit... well, that, money, experience, motivation...

I was hunting a Cervelo P4. At the suggestion of a few friends whose opinion's I trust, and after checking some stack/reach charts, I broadened my search to include a 7 series Speed Concept. P4's seem to be somewhat rare in small sizes, but medium 7 series are all over the place, so I quickly came up with a frame/post/fork on the cheap. It was kind of beat and ugly, but I planned to paint it anyways so right up my alley.

One of the reason's I was pushed in the Trek's direction was how crappy the P4 was to work on. Well, after some serious time spent tuning the Speed Concept I can say, this thing is a nightmare for your normal owner, and caused some serious headaches, trips to Home Depot and cases of Guinness to be consumed before I can finally say it's in acceptable riding condition. Most of this stems from two primary issues (not having the integrated front end I get to skip that)

The first is that I insist on using my Nokons. The issue with that is that the SC was really designed for you to run cable housing INTO the frame (why?) all the way. I just wanted to run the liner inside because...well that makes sense... but the large top tube hole and nearly useless rubber grommet will not accept such a setup. Something solid is needed to keep the cables from pulling through when pressure is applied. (you when you brake) I tried a couple of different solutions before finally deciding just making a carbon fiber cap would be the easiest (and pretty fly) solution. It turned out pretty well... I should really make another one to clean up some of the imperfections in it, but it will work as is.

The other thing is the rear brake design Trek decided on. On the positive, once you get it dialed in the performance is pretty good, certainly better than many (thinking of you original Zipp 2001 brake) and definitely enough for how much you (should) be using your rear brake. However, I guess I'm spoiled on Tririg's center pull design, which isn't adequate but excellent. I'm 99% sure I can modify an Omega to make it work on the SC, and if I get too much headache out of the stock Trek one I may explore that, but for now I'm happy with the SC's stock setup. Some Speed Concept Rear Brake tips... a little late to the game, but it might help someone else in the future.
- Many of the small pieces must be set a specific way. Mainly the little "U" cover and the small pinch bolt in the wedge. If either are installed backwards (very easy to do with the little bolt as it LOOKS like it should fit the other way.) then it will hang and you will have dragging brakes.
- You need to measure the cable and cut it nearly flush with the bottom of the wedge. Any longer and it will either catch on the return spring or get in the way of the brake cover... both leading to poor performance.
- The easiest way to set the brake up for inevitable "later" cable changes/moving is to actually get it set how you like it, then make permanent marker marks on the frame so you can quickly get it set back up without endless adjusting.
- Use spacers with the brake pads to do minor adjustments to width, useful for multiple wheelsets of varying widths.

And on a completely unrelated note, I'd like to link to this article on Slowtwitch a week or so ago.

The Kool Stop kinky Bead Jack.

This tool has long been my secret weapon for getting race tires on my wheels. Especially my current Cycleops Powertap and Zipp Powertap, both are very, very tight fits. I would guess I've probably changed a few thousand tires in the last couple of years, but only after reading this article have I ever had success changing one with JUST my hands. The secret? Really getting the bead of the tire in the center of the wheel. Things are so much easier. Admit it... how many of you are like me and have been doing it wrong?

Finally, yesterday was the last Crit of our series this year. I had a good night, finishing second in my race and holding on in the pack for the B race. This could possibly be my last race this year (sadly) but for what little bit I've had a chance to race, I've enjoyed being back in the game.

Haven't shaved my legs in a few days so I had to bring as much pain as possible!

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it
- Christopher Morelock

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