APR46's descent into custom bike maddness

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apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

Hi all, long time lurker here who has slowly started to participate more. I've learned so much from you all and though I keep waiting to do an intro post until my small collection of bikes is a bit more stable, its a rainy day here nursing a post black friday hangover...

My current chapter with bikes started in 2017, when I moved to Washington, DC, realized there was an amazing exploring to be done by bike and built up a gravel bike. At some point those regular weekend rides started to hit 100+ miles and I decided it would be a fun idea to do Unbound. This bike has since carried me across the finish line of the Unbound 200, SBT Gravel Black, and Belgian Waffle SD among other events. Its has a lot of miles on it, but will hopefully be replaced soon by a custom Ti frame from Mike DeSalvo. Its been 17 months--but I am hopefully getting close to the front of the line.
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Highlights are:
  • Guerciotti Brera, size 52 frameset
    2 wheelsets with Berd spokes, one is 27.5 and the other 700c
    Sram Red AXS levers, Force wide derailluers
    Vision 4d MAS handlebar with disconnects for blip shifters on the extensions
    Easton EC90 crank, now with a Bingham built spider and Praxis 48/32 chainrings

Photos of some different configurations of it are here: https://imgur.com/a/6YPitOk
Weighs about 7.8-8kg (w/ pedals and cages, no bottles or lights) depending on configuration

After putting down a deposit with Mike, I decided I to build a single speed cross bike. Its used around town and will be used for some racing if I ever get around to it. The big thing here was learning how to paint decently using a rattlecan. This bike is a 52cm Van Dessel Aloominator made by the now defunct Zen Fab of Portland, Oregon. The fork stem and seatpost was done with mostly Spray.bike paints. The single speed is made possible by an Squid Oner eccentric BB. Its running a regular road wheelset with gearclamps on the HG hub to hold the singlespeed cog in place.
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More photos are here: https://imgur.com/a/VVN3dWN

Just before the pandemic I had picked up a Wahoo Kickr bike and during it, I had started to use it to play with my fit using the Myvelofit app as a measuring tool and translating those into bike geometries using BikeCad. This was at first more confined to helping me decide what road bike to eventually buy. However, the fits were agressive and started to get me into the area where small bike frames seem to have compromised handling. The math was very hard for me and was a barrier to figuring how to characterize the different options. The ability to play with the BB height via the eccentric on the Van Dessel convinced me to give this a more serious effort and I ended up designing a frame with my own geometry and having it built. This is the result:
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There are also some really custom things going on with this bike. The highlights are:
  • Ti frame with Carbon ISP (they upsold me on this) and X12 dropouts
    Custom geometry w/ 80mm BB drop, 405mm stays, and a 73 degree head angle
    Modified 3T Fundi 50mm offset fork, resulting in a trail figure of ~51mm. I shaved and plugged the cable port then partially painted fork, finishing it with an air dry matte clear Cerakote (using those painting skills from the prior build!)
    Enve SES Aero 40cm handlebars
    FSA ACR stem with custom MFJ printed glass nylon spacer that allows for the front brake hose to be run up and into the fork steerer. This mates to the newer, double depth, composite DEDA DCR 36 degree spacer which in turn fits into a Cane Creek ec44/40 lower headset (being used as the upper). The Bottom is a Cane Creek ec44/33
    Sram Rival AXS, with a 1x drive side 165mm crank mated to a road / "standard" width 165mm power meter crank + a Croder 5x 110 spider + Praxis 12 speed rings (a thing I liked from the gravel bike)
    Bottle cages and mount from Silca
    Woodman ISP topper w/ MJF glass nylon shim held in place using a Extralight expander
    Zeno couplers in the stem and frame allow me to disconnect the hydro lines to drop the fork, remove the bars and work on the headset should the need arise
    Ascent Polaris 69mm wheels (currrently running 28s)
More photos are here: https://imgur.com/a/464Jt9O

Frame was produced by XATW / XACD after talking to a few overseas factories and hunting down examples of their work IRL. The reason for this was partially cost, but also shorter lead times. That latter didnt end up really being much of a benefit due delays from additional covid lockdowns, as the frame took nearly 5 months from order to get to my door anyway.

I've been riding this bike since August and I am pretty happy with it. While its not an aero bike as I wanted a more classic look, I did take care to minimize the round tubes facing the wind and my narrow position on this bike is extremely fast. It also gave me more confidence that the new(ish) Domane RSL has a similar geo with a similarly narrow cockpit and is also optimized around 30mm tires.The downside is that its heavy, as the whole bike as pictured weighs 9kg. After swapping to road pedals, I am down a little, but its the heaviest bike I have owned in a long time. I will also be swapping the stem from 90mm to 100mm as having that narrow of a cockpit seems to have increased how far I can reach with my arms.

by Weenie


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apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

Since I previously shared the Ti bike on the Ascent Wheels thread, there were some questions about the ordering process. I made the order over Alibaba. It was really straight forward. I sent them the geometry and my options and they sent back a quote. This also allowed me to look at other vendors. Some came in really cheap with longer weight times, XACD was actually the most expensive. However, they could do all of the options I asked for. They were a little pushy, but I had no issue pushing back when it made sense. For example, I was very insistent on x12 or UDH dropouts and we had a good conversation about tube diameters for the rear stays in which their engineer took into account my weight.

On receiving the bike, it was pretty close to perfect. The only thing that was slightly off in my interaction is I asked about if the chainstays were asymetrical because of the disc brake placement on one side or if the bend placement resulted in the flat spot being produced in a different spot was the result of another reason. This was sort of interpreted as an allegation of a production error which was not my intent. Where they did mess up was on the seatmast topper I ordered as well. It came with the wrong hardware and I ended up buying the Woodman instead of waiting for resolution, which they did come through on. Overall, I would 100% work with them again despite the delays.

romanmoser
Posts: 565
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:30 pm

by romanmoser

Nice concept
Love the zen hydro quick decouplers touch , care to give us more info about that and pics ? Sounds like it should be standard for all integrated bikes Imho ...

Good to know you had mostly good experience with XACD
I had bad experience a few years back with titan product, quite pushy, and some lengths not respected headtube for example, cable bosses not aligned, headtube warped and ovalized etc.

Care to share the geometry, tubing diameter and thicknes ?
Straight gauge ti tubing ?

tiddytoddy
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2022 7:16 pm

by tiddytoddy

Really interesting and unique set of bike you've got!

Pyotrump
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:01 pm

by Pyotrump

Super interested. How's the frameset weight?

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

romanmoser wrote:
Fri Dec 02, 2022 11:38 am
Nice concept
Love the zen hydro quick decouplers touch , care to give us more info about that and pics ? Sounds like it should be standard for all integrated bikes Imho ...

Good to know you had mostly good experience with XACD
I had bad experience a few years back with titan product, quite pushy, and some lengths not respected headtube for example, cable bosses not aligned, headtube warped and ovalized etc.

Care to share the geometry, tubing diameter and thicknes ?
Straight gauge ti tubing ?
The frame geometry: stack of 510mm stack and a 393mm reach. These in practice are smaller since the ec44 headset and the spacer adds quite a bit of height. There is a 75-ish degree seat tube and an 80mm BB drop. the bb drop is for handling and because with that steep of a seat tube angle greater BB drop is needed to keep the bike 2x compatible with the wheelbase f/r ratio that i was looking for.

The tubes are butted but relatively thick at .9mm-.7mm. OD of the tubes varies depending on which tube, but the rear chainstay is 22mm and the seat stays 16mm. Downtube is 40mm and top tube us 34.9mm. Carbon tube is 31.8mm.

The frame was very well built. As far as I could measure everything was square and assembled easily. The pressfit was well aligned and even with the sram BB, it spins really nice.

Re the couplers. Right now I have one in the stem and another located in the downtube. I am actually swapping from a 90mm to 100mm stem in the next week and plan on putting both of them in the stem as the extra room will make a difference. The Zeno couplers are cool because you can use whatever hose you want and they are smaller than the Formula / Sram ones. I will update when that's done with more details.
Last edited by apr46 on Mon Dec 12, 2022 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

Pyotrump wrote:
Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:03 pm
Super interested. How's the frameset weight?
This frame was heavier than I was hoping. Sort of dissapointed with that when building. It weighed 1622g including the heavier Ti seatmast topper I didnt use. With the Woodman setup it's a bit lighter.

StiffWeenies
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:39 pm

by StiffWeenies

How do you like the Easton Bingham Praxis combo? I suppose the spider's wider chainline makes it more sensitive to big/big cross-chaining? thinking of pairing that 48/32 combo with a 10-30T cassette for road

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

StiffWeenies wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 6:40 pm
How do you like the Easton Bingham Praxis combo? I suppose the spider's wider chainline makes it more sensitive to big/big cross-chaining? thinking of pairing that 48/32 combo with a 10-30T cassette for road
Works fine, but I am using the Force wide FD.

StiffWeenies
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:39 pm

by StiffWeenies

apr46 wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 8:23 pm
StiffWeenies wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 6:40 pm
How do you like the Easton Bingham Praxis combo? I suppose the spider's wider chainline makes it more sensitive to big/big cross-chaining? thinking of pairing that 48/32 combo with a 10-30T cassette for road
Works fine, but I am using the Force wide FD.
Thank you! your wide FD idea is genius

Is the cassette you're running 36T?

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

StiffWeenies wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 8:43 pm

Is the cassette you're running 36T?
A 10-36 is on the 27.5 and the 10-33 on the 700c.

StiffWeenies
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 3:39 pm

by StiffWeenies

apr46 wrote:
Thu Dec 15, 2022 1:24 am
StiffWeenies wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 8:43 pm

Is the cassette you're running 36T?
A 10-36 is on the 27.5 and the 10-33 on the 700c.
For your Ti bike, is the Rival FD the standard, non-Wide one because you're running the Croder spider instead of Bingham? and for the Rival RD, are the jockey wheels standard? finally, were SRAM Flattop chains used for both bikes?

Thank you and sorry for the incessant questioning!

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

StiffWeenies wrote:
Thu Dec 15, 2022 6:39 am
apr46 wrote:
Thu Dec 15, 2022 1:24 am
StiffWeenies wrote:
Wed Dec 14, 2022 8:43 pm

Is the cassette you're running 36T?
A 10-36 is on the 27.5 and the 10-33 on the 700c.
For your Ti bike, is the Rival FD the standard, non-Wide one because you're running the Croder spider instead of Bingham? and for the Rival RD, are the jockey wheels standard? finally, were SRAM Flattop chains used for both bikes?

Thank you and sorry for the incessant questioning!
No problem! I left quite a few build details out regarding these bikes. The Rival is a standard FD as the chainline is unchanged. The Croder spider isnt perfect though as it lacks the tabs to be compatible with the 32t inner from Praxis. Nothing a very small amount of filing couldnt change, but its a risk I was willing to take that not all people will be.

I did plan on having a custom spider designed and built as a future project, but thats on hold for now.

DHG01
Posts: 611
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:14 pm
Location: Madrid

by DHG01

Very interesting build on the titanium; and stunning results.

Comment on the tube thickness - on butted titanium I ve always seen published 0.9 - 0.7 mm thickness. Has anyone seen any different? Steel goes down to ~ 0.4 mm.
I wonder how Litespeed is able to get such light frame weights.

apr46
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:46 pm

by apr46

DHG01 wrote:
Thu Dec 29, 2022 6:24 am
Very interesting build on the titanium; and stunning results.

Comment on the tube thickness - on butted titanium I ve always seen published 0.9 - 0.7 mm thickness. Has anyone seen any different? Steel goes down to ~ 0.4 mm.
I wonder how Litespeed is able to get such light frame weights.
Yes! Some custom builders definitely go thinner (and lighter) but it comes down to a skill issue when welding that thin.I think Bingham built welds straight gauge thinner than .7mm.

by Weenie


Visit starbike.com Online Retailer for HighEnd cycling components
Great Prices ✓    Broad Selection ✓    Worldwide Delivery ✓

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