5th Mar 2017
One of the positives of the recent weather and other pressing concerns, I recently had to get my pilots licence revalidated and needed an hour with an instructor before the end of February, is I've had time between Zwift sessions to build my latest steed. It's the first time I've built a bike from scratch but was pretty straightforward and enjoyable. There were a few frustrations along the way, setting up the front derailleur and bleeding the brakes to name a couple, but I'm very happy with the end result, aesthetically anyway as I've yet to ride it more than 100 yards. It's still awaiting the proper Mason branded seat post clamp and I'll probably swap saddles with the CAADX once I've ridden it a few miles and sorted any snag list that is bound to occur. The problem at the moment is I don't want to get it wet and therefore dirty. Building it from scratch seems to have added a certain parental like instinct to protect it from the outside world.
Such over protectiveness isn't helped by the fact that the finish of the frame is beautiful. The Shutter Black paint is rich and deep and I'm not ashamed to admit that it's currently got more wax on it than the car. If it rides half as good as it looks I'll be a happy man. Even it falls short, I'll strip the bits off and hang the frame on the wall.
If the frame is a work of art it is the components you add to it that transform it into a means of transport and although I decided early on not to go mad with the spec or worry too much about the overall weight, I wanted it fit for purpose. I'm not a racer or an epic climber, and the main reason for invoking N+1 was distance comfort, so shaving 1 gram here and there wasn't factor when sourcing parts. That said, with a little shopping around the price difference between Shimano 105 and the next level of the Japanese company's road components, Ultegra, is not huge so by using the later helped bring the final weight in at just under 9.5kg. No lightweight by today's carbon standards but still 0.5kg less than the CAADX I currently use. It'll end up slightly less if I change the saddle as the Brooks that is currently fitted is no lightweight in itself.
Something I did want from the off was hydraulic disc brakes. I'm a big fan of disc brakes and although the cable operated ones on the CAADX are, for me, a step up from rim brakes, they don't have the feel or almost maintenance free peace of mind of the hydraulics fitted to my mountain bike. Shimano's mid range hydraulic set up are designed to work well with Ultegra drivetrain so that kind of settled the decision making early on. Something I didn't think of at the time was that the hydro set up runs 140mm discs up front where a cable disc set up benefits from a 160mm disc. This does add a complication if I want to swap my Hunt wheels between bikes. The hydraulics have been the source of a few issues and many swear words as bleeding them seems overly complicated and even now, I'm not 100% happy with the lever travel. They work well but there's improvements to be had, once I figure out how.
Up front I stuck with Deda components to match the headset itself until it came to the handlebars that are Fizik. I'm sure I'm breaking some rule or law regarding mismatching components but I already had the Fizik bars and I like to be diverse.
Dom Mason has tipped a nod to photography with his naming, Definition, Resolution & Bokeh frames and the F-stop axle are the obvious ones, so having an interest in photography myself, I kind of liked the idea of jumping on the back of the theme by adding a custom headset cap in the style of the Nikon FE-2's shutter speed dial.
All that's left now is to do complete the bike's raison d'etra is to actually ride it.
Maybe I'll give the road a clean first though.