Bicycle Ten Project: Sizing

When I used my Fuji Aloha CF2 frame to build a road bike, I was left without a time trial bike. The Aloha CF2 geometry did not let me get forward enough (doing so would require a $150 seatpost), and the head tube did not let me get low enough. It does make a brilliant road frame. To fill the gap, I purchased a used "Motobecane Nemesis" frame. It's the same exact frame as the older 2006 Fuji Aloha. It's aluminum, fairly stiff, and not particularly light at about 1680 grams. It gets the job done. I was able to use many parts from the old TT rig, and spares for everything I didn't have. The only new part that I needed was a front derailleur, since this bike uses a braze-on attachment.

The bike was filthy when I got it in the mail, and the spacers were cold welded to the aluminum steerer! It's amazing how corrosive human perspiration can be. A star nut setting tool was the correct tool to force the steerer and spacers apart.

Anyway. The frame uses a 27.2mm seatpost, meaning I can use existing seatposts to get the geometry I want. The top tube length is 560mm, the seat angle is 76 deg, and the head tube is 112mm long (I think). By lowering the aero bars, and dropping the pads to the lowest possible position, I get what looks like a good time trial fit! My back is flat, the angle of bend in my arms is about 110 degrees, and the saddle is the correct height (slightly too high if anything, but my hips don't rock at all, and I'm used to a high-saddle position).

I even took a short video of a sprint on the stationary trainer. I discovered that using a disc wheel on the trainer is a bad idea: the wheel acts as a huge resonating chamber, and finds every single harmonic through the frame. It was unbelievably loud.


The Secret Weapon

Identify this product...

The product in question costs about $2.25 for ten servings, making it roughly one-tenth the cost of energy gels such as Clif Shot or GU. I'd like to experiment with this in hard efforts, and if it agrees with my stomach, I'll make my own energy gels! It's vegetarian (but not vegan) and delicious. I'm guessing that it may be too sweet and/or fatty for use in production, but we'll see.

Have you guessed what the secret weapon is?

So I've Been Busy...

If you know me, you know of my legendary hatred of cold weather. That's right, ladies and gentlemen: just because I've spent almost all of my life in New York or New England, does not mean that I like the weather! I've been spending many hours, on my Kreitler 2.25" rollers, and my PowerCranks, watching the miles tick away while not going anywhere.

Writing about base training is difficult due to the inherent lack of glamor it involves. I'm riding, 1-2 hours a day, at an even pace, with some variation. Sometimes I ride with team mates, other times I ride alone. I go to the supermarket more often in an effort to eat enough food and recover properly every day. Two hours on PowerCranks still feels like a really long time.

There is some excitement in the works! My first race of the season will be an indoor 10km time trial on a Computrainer. It's at 10am at Landry's Bikes in Boston, MA.

I'm working on piecing together a time trial bike out of an old Motobecane Nemesis frame that I got for a song. It addresses all of the fit issues with the Fuji Aloha CF2: the seat tube is more vertical (76 deg versus 73.5 - it matters!), it accepts standard seatposts (so I can use my Thomson set-forward post), and the head tube is much shorter (for a lower position in the front). With longer cranks, time trial rings, and a disc wheel in the rear, this bike is purpose-built for going very fast. That Fuji frame did not go to waste: it makes an excellent race bike, and will be even better once a couple of parts arrive in the mail. Stay tuned...


#7: New Racing Bicycle (kinda sorta)

The ECCC recently decided to ban aero equipment for non-A riders this season. A professional fitting reveals that my TT bike should be about one size smaller. The Fuji Aloha CF2 frame has great road geometry, and poor TT geometry. Hm. This sounds like a death sentence for a bicycle! Or, an opportunity!

You see, in my stash of parts that I have lying around, I have handlebars, bar tape, aero wheels, an extra stem, a spare cassette, a spare chain, and an extra set of pedals. All I needed was a new crankset (FSA SL-K, $200) and some new shifters (Shimano Dura-Ace ST-7801, $200) to make myself a superb race bike!

Back when Ivan Dominguez raced Fuji bikes, he chose to ride a converted Aloha frame. Why? Well, it's stiffer than any other Fuji frame! It's also way more aero. Fuji realized this, and both replaced the Aloha CF series with the DS-1 TT bike, and used the same frame in their SST bike!

So, for not all that much (especially considering the resale value of all of the components I removed from the bike), I was able to build an absolutely top-flight race bike, weighing in at under 17 lbs with fairly ordinary components in a 56cm size.

Specifically, the bike has: Ritchey WCS aluminum bars, Dura-Ace ST-7801 shifters, a Thomson stem, a Specialized Toupe Gel saddle, stainless steel Speedplay Zero pedals, Zipp 404 clincher wheels, FSA SL-K cranks, a Dura-Ace rear derailleur, and Cane Creek SCR-5 brakes.

I'm looking forward to doing some serious damage in the ECCC ranks with this machine.