Thursday, May 2, 2013

Habanero Rebuild Complete!

It was about 4 weeks ago that Max and I were in a hotel room in Bishop, CA discussing some shifting issues I was having with my Habanero. After he pointed out a fantastic deal on a complete Ultegra 6700 groupset, I took the plunge and ordered. A few conversations later, and I also ordered some Neuvation R28SLW wide-rim wheels.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I'm back at home with boxes full of components, tires, tubes, bar tape,  and so forth. I gave the bike an initial weighing (10.7 kg, or 23.6 pounds), and then started disassembling and cleaning. The entire tale is below. The short version is that the only parts that stayed the same are the frame, seatpost, and seat.

Before Rebuild
After Rebuild

Replacing the Neuvation carbon wheels with the alloy R28SLWs didn't save much (about 100 grams), but was still a no-brainer move. I'm too heavy for carbon wheels, I don't race, and alloy wheels just handle better. The new wheels let me run a 700x32 Schwalbe Ultremo which may improve ride quality, but at the very least look comically awesome. I was able to sell the carbon wheels on craigslist for $400.

There is an impending 70g savings coming soon from replacing the Neuvation skewers with some Ti skewers. But Jenson USA is taking their time shipping.

The old drivetrain was a real mish-mash of components; Ultegra 6500 and 6600, 105 5600, FSA, and KMC. They're all compatible and worked well enough together, but theoretically replacing them all with 6700 will give me better shifting and will certainly look nicer. Oddly Merlin Cycles has the Dura-Ace 7901 chain for $4 less than Ultegra, so I did swap in the DA chain. All told the drivetrain changes saved about 250 grams,

Initially I planned on retaining my stem, bars, and fork, and headset. But my headset is notchy, which is annoying, so I splurged on a new Chris King headset. The 1" stem cap didn't fit my 1 1/8" stem, so I had to buy a new stem cap. While I was doing that, I vainly ordered a Ti crown race, which saves something like 6 grams over the stainless steel one. Dropping a Ti crown race on al Aluminum fork seemed criminal, so I picked up a Ritchey Carbon Comp fork (one of only 2 1" carbon forks I could find, the other being Nashbar). With a new silver headset, my old black stem started looking tacky, so I bought a new Ritchey Classic stem. But that has a 31.8mm clamp, so I had to buy new handlebars too.

While making gratuitous Ti upgrades, I decided to replace my aging and ugly aluminum bottle cages with King Cage Ti cages. That saved a remarkable 62 grams, and it's a huge aesthetic improvement too.

Savings on the frame come to 900 grams, but in fairness 540 of those are from leaving the aerobars off for now. Other than aerobars, the fork, stem, and bottle cages were the biggest contributors.

Somewhere North of a bunch of money later, the bike is now a svelte 8.53 kg, or about 18 pounds, 13 oz. Given that I didn't make an effort to go super-light (and the frame isn't that light to begin with), I'm pleased with the result. Adding the computer and a couple other odds and ends will probably bump it above 19 pounds.

But the goal here, as Max gently reminded me a few times, has never been to save weight. The goal is to give the bike that "new bike" smell. Get it back into a shape where it is shifting smoothly, rolling fast, and cornering like it is on rails.

Shakedown Ride
The part of any build that I enjoy most is the shakedown ride. That's where everything comes together (hopefully). In the case of the Habanero rebuild, the shakedown ride was about a mile, because as it turned out the 700x32 tires that fit perfectly in the garage when under-inflated, didn't quite fit when fully inflated. I've since replaced them with an Avocet Fasgrip 700x28 in front, and 700x25 in back.

With that swap, the bike is riding very nicely. Shifting is generally pretty good, though I'll be adjusting it a bit as the cables seat more fully. As Max and I have discussed several times, a major periodic overhaul seems to be money well spent. After 9 years of riding, I'd say the Habanero was due!


Max said...

That looks pretty awesome, though too bad about the tires. Is there a theory behind 28 front/25 back?

sam said...

I'm glad you asked. I bought the 28 ages ago, but it didn't fit either the front or the back. So I started buying 25s. But the 28 *does* fit in the new fork, and I had an unused 25. So they're almost a matching set.

Interestingly the Avocet 28 is nearly the same size as the Ultremo 32. Not sure which is closer to correct, but my money is on the Avocet.

The Avocet is a prettier tire than the Ultremo anyway. But apparently no longer manufactured, so hopefully these will last forever.

Max said...

That suggests Grand Bois 28s would not fit for the rear, either. It's pretty tight on my front fork (which is the same as yours). Bigger tires do look pretty sweet.