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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Here are a couple of shots of a very very rough initial incarnation, with some more stats:

Size: 53, w/ 530~545 top tube depending on how you measure. 140mm headtube, 465mm seat tube c-c, 72 h.a., 74 s.a., 45 rake, 1 1/8~1 1/4 tapered fork.

Frame Weight: 911g with hangers but no bolts, with ISP uncut. Raw w no paint. 893g after ISP cut to 645mm (cutting to a non-ISP length should drop another 20-25g). A clear coat will add 30-50g and a paint job another 70-100g. But this is 12K, so UD should be a bit lighter, 20-30g ish. So there you get lost in the math. Bottom line is, it will be a 900g-ish frame, which is slightly above my expectation. I will probably attempt an "SL" version at some point but that will cut 80-90g at most.
Fork weight: uncut 365g, cut 340g.
Seatmast topper: 118g. Will be a bit lower, still trying to source a titanium screw. Should be around 112g when all is done. For better or worse, I decided against the more popular design used by 3T, Tune, etc, in favor of a more robust clamp structure.
Total weight with mix of Campy Chorus/R/SR/ZG come out to 12.9lbs w/o pedals. There should be plenty of room for ww'ing, if I am prepared to throw money at it.

Carbon: a mix of T700/T800/T1000 fibers. Gave up on the NANO bandwagon as the weight savings will be fairely negligible based on the feedback I got.
Construction: monocoque front triangle, carbon rear dropouts w alu hanger.

A few things to note:

1. The 140mm headtube seems long, but it compensates for a super low fork crown of 365mm (possibly lower than any production fork crown) which pushes headset bearings farther apart to achieve a "slam-it" result. As discussed before, this helps with the front end stiffness as well. Based on my math, this replicates the 53cm Colnago C50 which fit me perfectly.

2. Seat tube is dropped back by 15mm to hug the rear wheel, so the top tube c-c measurement seem slightly longer than the effective length. The seat mast topper also offers more offset (23mm) than it seems (8mm).

3. Down tube is lowered partly due to the lower fork crown and partly due to the "hug the crown" design, or whatever they call it. I thought long and hard but ended up going away from the Merckx/Dogma type design as the "crown fairing" on the fork would be pure dead weight, but the funnel shaped downtube actually increases the stiffness and fits better into the integrated structure in my mind. Plus the fork will be more versatile (yes, I am playing with the idea of a custom titanium frame somewhere down the line). Fastening the front brake is easier than I thought. You just turn the handlebar a little bit. That's all.

4. Rear shifting cable will go through the toptube and then seatstays, which will save some cable length (80-100mm) plus less curve in the cable, which will help smooth the shifting. Right seatstay is therefore enlarged by 3-4mm in diameter to accommodate the internal cable. This apparently is working well, as the prototype shifts perfectly.

5. The cables will enter the head tube which will shorten the amount of cable left out in the wind, which hopefully will help clean up the air flow in the front. In fact, as you can see, I have tried to eliminate the exposed cable as much as possible. That said, the rear brake cable might need some rethinking given the frame size.

6. Looks wise, it's definitely a bit rough, but I have a feeling that if it's properly dressed up, it could potentially be a looker too.

Testing is being done. Some prelim numbers are fairly encouraging.

I will point out the wrong direction of the front skewer myself :lol: .


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Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:13 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:12 pm 
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I appreciate the detail of the downtube's junction with the lower headtube.
I also appreciate the design detail of your seatmast topper.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Because my comments below might seem blasphemous, let me preface them saying I genuinely love/appreciate Falco's (and Berk's) inspirational efforts at designing/building their own bikes from scratch and especially sharing their trials/tribulations along the way. They provide a fascinating look into the process that I otherwise would not enjoy. Thanks to them!
However, overall I just don't really get it...

What I most take from their experiences is the amazing skill and knowledge of top-end frame builders, whether custom like Crumpton, Parlee, Serotta et. al. or stock builders that supply the pro peleton and most of our cycling fantasies. It seems to me that they can produce just as good (or perhaps better) frames than even the most highly skilled part-time/lay builder and do so at a fraction of the cost since they benefit from years of experience/experimentation/refinement and the economies of scale.

Other than for the micro-few of us with the time, inclination and bottomless bank account to build one's own from scratch, especially if one does not intend to do it as the initial step into the professional frame-building profession, why do so? Enjoyment, personal experience, OK; I understand that. But can one actually make a frame that is functionally better, lighter, better fitting, more beautiful, whatever than those built by the pro-builders? I doubt it. Maybe one can push the envelop for certain aspects of the frame (ie Berk's one piece seats/seat tubes), but I don't see the overall results of their efforts being competitive with the pros. Of course, they don't necessarily intend their results to be 'better'; but I suspect some followers of their efforts (initially myself included) might have assumed they could match/supercede the pros.

Again, all their efforts make we appreciate even more the builders on display at NAHB as well as the top-end 'mass' producers... what a deal we get when we buy from them and their years of experience/passion and cost efficiency!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Location: Denmark
congrats! I like the rear cabling and the seat post is awesome, looks very clean. When you have time can you get closer shot of: rear seat stay cabling, rear brake cabling, side shot, shot where fork meets head tube and whatever comes into your mind


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Location: Denmark
Fourthbook wrote:
Because my comments below might seem blasphemous, let me preface them saying I genuinely love/appreciate Falco's (and Berk's) inspirational efforts at designing/building their own bikes from scratch and especially sharing their trials/tribulations along the way. They provide a fascinating look into the process that I otherwise would not enjoy. Thanks to them!
However, overall I just don't really get it...

What I most take from their experiences is the amazing skill and knowledge of top-end frame builders, whether custom like Crumpton, Parlee, Serotta et. al. or stock builders that supply the pro peleton and most of our cycling fantasies. It seems to me that they can produce just as good (or perhaps better) frames than even the most highly skilled part-time/lay builder and do so at a fraction of the cost since they benefit from years of experience/experimentation/refinement and the economies of scale.

Other than for the micro-few of us with the time, inclination and bottomless bank account to build one's own from scratch, especially if one does not intend to do it as the initial step into the professional frame-building profession, why do so? Enjoyment, personal experience, OK; I understand that. But can one actually make a frame that is functionally better, lighter, better fitting, more beautiful, whatever than those built by the pro-builders? I doubt it. Maybe one can push the envelop for certain aspects of the frame (ie Berk's one piece seats/seat tubes), but I don't see the overall results of their efforts being competitive with the pros. Of course, they don't necessarily intend their results to be 'better'; but I suspect some followers of their efforts (initially myself included) might have assumed they could match/supercede the pros.

Again, all their efforts make we appreciate even more the builders on display at NAHB as well as the top-end 'mass' producers... what a deal we get when we buy from them and their years of experience/passion and cost efficiency!


I totally get it! if you have tried to create something beautiful from scratch whether it's a painting, instrument, piece of music there is a special feeling of pride that is priceless when you accomplish that. Life is about obstacles and overcoming them, some of them you choose your self and some not and I think it's a waste not to use your brain/skills/bottomless bank account to do what you love and at the same time inspire others. Some people are just not made for settling!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:37 pm 
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Altough I don't like 12k fibers aesthetically, it looks very good. The SL version will be just without the external comestic layer? I don't know if you have already said but did you design the laminate yourself? What software did you use?

Looking forward to the testing results

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:43 pm 
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I admire your effort, although there is not any innovation in it. Congrats anyway!

I agree the 12K layer is so early 2000s. Make it seem cheaper than it is.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:08 pm 
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the world certaintly works in mysterious ways as both fourthbrook and kgt ride the cento uno, which happens to be the frame i almost got but for this whimsical Falco affair. One would think we might have a similar taste but u never know.

i have made a bit more progress than i have had time to post (my second proto is in UD although 12k isnt necessarily bad). so just bear w me.

just another word re bottomless bank acct, i do not currently own a car, and lets just say this project gives me more fun than a honda accord.

fitty4 im out of town right now but i promise to post more detailed pics when i return.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Location: Near Horgen, Switzerland
I congratulate you for building the knowledge and contacts to build a moulded frame, rather than a tube-to-tube design. While a few people experiment with CF construction, I don't see many individuals who have gone to the lengths you have to do this.

Whether the result is better / worse or about the same as a top-end frame is an interesting question. Because it's your design it will automatically be superior and better meet your needs than other bikes. Functionally it looks good too - the weight, finish and design look well thought through, and I imagine stiffness is reasonable if you took the advice of the factory on the layup. So I end up disagreeing with previous posters.

Please let us know if it's functionaly on a par with a Dogma after your test rides.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:38 am 
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Just got back from a trip out of town, so here are some updates.

I built it up with Chorus/SR mix and got 13lbs-ish w/o pedals, so not quite a weenie but surely has room for upgrades. Added some cheap $30 decals (yeah, what the heck) and off I went for a 30-miler.

The 4 things I was concerned about before the ride were the rear shifting, the rear braking, the narrow and minimalist seat mast and the wedge-type seatmast topper, things I normally would not worry about when I swing over a Prince or a C50.

1. Rear shifting.

First and foremost, the rear shifting was excellent. Shifts were simply perfect. They should be, considering the fact that there is less bend compared to a traditional cable routing.

2. Rear braking.

Not sure if it was the cable routing or the finicky ZeroG s, rear braking didn't feel smooth enough. It was OK, but just OK. In fact the issue is that the calipers seem to open up a bit reluctantly after I brake. I think the second frame will probably have the cable exit the top of the top tube near the mast (ala Trek, Look, etc, instead of C'Dale Evo, A2J etc).

3. Seatmast.

I was actually most concerned about this part -- partly due to the narrowness of the mast, and partly due to the concept that aero seatmasts are known to be rigid vertically but compliance laterally (not good). I was pleased to discover that the harshness apparently isn't an issue as the side width is actually narrower than many round-shaped ISP masts on the market (33 v. 37). The frontal width is quite narrow but I didn't not feel much flex in seated riding. BTW, the tests came out OK on this point. Of course out of the saddle riding would not concern the mast width whatsoever, so no worries on that. With that said, I might just add a bit of width at the base of

4. Fork.

The fork felt quite compliant actually. Given its demensions it was not surprising. The fork stiffness numbers in tests weren't as impressive as the BB numbers for sure. Out of the saddle felt good but comfortable. With respect to the fork alone, it was definitely closer to the C50 ride than the Prince ride. One of the things I thought about doing is to rework the mould a little to add around 1.5mm width to each leg for a slightly stiffer rider (FYI -- this means the mould needs to be sent back to the original factory for a little more CNC work). Might be 10-15g more weight on the final fork but so be it.

5. Seatmast topper.

It certainly felt fine for the first hour, but at the end of the ride, it developed an ever-so-slight wiggle if one feels carefully when you twist the saddle. I can live with this amount of wiggle, but I don't see why I should. My speculation was that the wedge is a carbon piece and not polished enough, so if it were better polished, then the wedge would be pulled up more to sit snugly within the mast. My inner-poser made me sacrifice some degree of adjustability in favor of clean lines so now I will just have to live with it. :-)

Overall, the ride felt very good. It's stable, surefooted, and feels efficient, power transfer is fairly automatic, which clearly is an improvement over the C50. Front end and BB felt solid, save the compliance in the fork legs. For a first try, I am reasonably happy about the outcome.

But it's not time to be complacent. Time to start with some improvements.


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Last edited by elviento on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:06 am 
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Yes, the decals... Used the "Yataghan" font just to be a bit different.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:32 am 
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Very impressive! :thumbup: Admire the effort that went into details like cable routing, the fork crown / downtube integration etc.
But if I may say so, this bike deserves a proper graphic designer to do the decals...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:40 am 
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Yes, you are absolutely right on that! I have been working on some proper graphics, so hopefully my next frame will be more pose-worthy.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:02 am 
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Wow wow wow! Looks great and you prefer the ride over a C50, sounds pretty awesome!

I think aesthetically it's come together beautifully. I'm a really big fan of the visible 12k outer weave personally.

Thank you for sharing!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:50 am 
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Very nice result and some nice ideas on this project as well.

I second your idea about the rear brake cable exit cause if you look at the cable bend it looks way too "tricky" and not smooth enough.
Anyway compliments again! :thumbup:

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Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:50 am 


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