|Habanero before the 2013 build|
|Habanero after its 2013 build|
So perhaps it's fitting that the current rebuild resulted largely from a great sale Competitive Cyclist was having on a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset (6870). This time I kept many other bits, but the seatpost did finally get swapped out.
|Habanero after this build|
More than a couple obstacles were encountered, and (mostly) overcome in this build.
I picked up a set of Di2 components a while back. And then they sat in the box. For a long time. It's a daunting thing, rebuilding a bike with Di2, largely because while I understand in principle how to do it, I haven't ever done it. The first time is always frightening. Doubly so because this bike has been my daily driver for many years now. So I wanted to do a good job with minimal downtime. Hopefully I accomplished the former, but definitely not the latter.
See here's the problem. I quickly figured out that CC had sent me Shimano's newer seattube battery. That makes for a much 'cleaner' install, but it assumes you've got some way to get the battery connection out of the seattube and into the junction box. My habanero doesn't have such a thing. So I bought one of the older batteries that uses your bottle cage mounts. I don't like those batteries, because they look ugly. But whatever. But my frame's cage mounts are so close to the BB that there wasn't room for the battery. So I bought a Shimano cage relocator. Still didn't give me enough space. So I bought a bottle cage mount. Man, that thing is ugly. Not a chance that I'm going to stick that thing on the bike.
Finally I took my frame to a local framebuilder and had them drill a hole in the bottom bracket to route the seattube battery wire out. Cost $75, should have done that at the very start. Lesson learned, I guess.
The next round of purchases came in the form of different length wire. The CC kit came with wires that would have worked, but everything would have more slack than I wanted. With internal wiring you can hide the slack in the tubes. Not so with external wiring. So I ended up ordering new lengths for every wire except the seattube battery (since it's hidden in the seattube, after all).
So much for saving money on Di2 by getting a great up-front price. Now I have a bin full of parts to put on Craigslist :)
About A Frame
The frame shop that drilled my BB gave me a bit of bad news. They found a hairline crack on the interior of the BB shell between two vent holes. They say that it will propagate and fail, but not catastrophically. But over time the speed of propagation will accelerate, and the frame will need to be replaced.
This is a real bummer because I love this frame, and have had every intention of riding it forever. Now I'm not sure what to do, but for now it's still riding just fine.
The Rest Of The Bike
The strong dollar has given us great prices on stuff from overseas, so I picked up a set of Dura-Ace C24s from Merlin.
Cobble Gobbler Seatpost (with Zertz technology!)
|Zertz: The Z is for expenZive.|
|Good thing the tire is extralight, cause I'm extraheavy.|
Finally I also replaced my aerobars. For many years I've used the Profile Design Airstryke, with its folding arm rests. These are nice because they let you use the top of your bar. However they also rattle an insane amount when in the 'up' position. Half the time I use them when I might not otherwise, simply to stop the rattling.
Fortunately Max found some Profile Design T3+ with J4 risers on sale.
Once I got the hang of wiring Di2, which is of course actually very easy, the build was a piece of cake. With external cable routing you need to attach the wires to the tubes. I suppose one could use zip-ties, but I ended up buying a Shimano Di2 wire cover kit. The annoying thing is that it's black. I'd really like it to be titanium colored to sorta blend in. I'm ordering some grey electrical tape to try out.
|Junction Box B. The new hole in the BB is right below the screw.|
|The E-Tube wire is running up the head-tube, but isn't that noticable. Or won't be, once I trim the zip-ties.|
|19 pounds, 15 oz. But who's counting?|
The shifting is very good. I still need to tune it a little; I'm not getting good automatic trim adjustment in the big ring. Apparently those in the know can adjust their shifting while riding. I'm not in the know. That said, I'm not sold on Di2. Well-tuned mechanical shifting is also excellent. I guess what remains to be seen is whether the shifting stays excellent, which would be a nice improvement over mechanical which needs occasional lubing, cable replacement, etc...
I went with a 50-34 chainset and an 11-32 cassette. So far I don't think I've used either my 28T or 32T cog, except for testing out the shifting. That 34 inner ring really lets you climb almost anything. I may end up swapping the cassette out for an 11-25, which probably also would let me use a short-cage derailleur.
|Have I mentioned that I really like these wheels and tires?|
The tires too, are nice. I've been riding Grand Bois something or anothers for quite a while, and these feel comparable. Flat resistance is yet-to-be-determined, but so far so good. They do look fantastic.
|Gobbles Chipseal Too.|
I've become a big fan of the Cobble Gobbler seatpost. Two of the riders I've crewed for recently used them. One as he cruised to overall victory in RAO, and another in a great ride at Hoodoo. Washington County has taken to chipsealing roads, and the Cobble Gobbler really smoothes out the roughness.
Specialized claims that "smoother is faster", and there is some basis for that. I don't know if this seatpost makes me any faster, but it does keep my butt from hurting after a couple hundred miles in the saddle.
I started this project a little apprehensive because I hadn't ever built a bike with Di2, and obviously my frame, circa 2004, was not built with Di2 in mind. I learned a lot about Di2 in the process and if I were to do it again, things would go much smoother.
While there's still a bit of wiring cleanup that I'll be undertaking, most notably with the grey electrical tape, overall I think that even without internal cable routing the install ended up looking quite clean. A big part of that was getting the seatpost battery to work. The two things that have always bothered me about Di2 are the external battery and the adjustment thingy that hung off the handlebars in the first generation. Neither of those are an issue here.
The ride is great. For the last several months I've been putting miles on my touring Habanero (62cm cross frame compared to 64 on this build). The touring habby has a Long Haul Trucker fork, and the geometry between the two bikes also feels quite different. As a result it took most of a ride to get the hang of riding this one again. At first it felt really twitchy, but I've gotten myself dialed back in now. With about 100 miles on the new build, I'm loving it as much as I used to.
Of course the frame crack is a real bummer. For now I'm just trying not to think about it.
This looks really awesome. What, out of curiousity, did the 6870 group set you back at CC? I'm seeing them at Merlin for $1250, which has been their price-point for at least two years now (dating back to the 6770 version).
Trimming while riding works. I even did it while descending on the fleche. Kinda like texting, only more dangerous. It does take a few times to learn how to do it, however.
The shifting does drift over many miles. By the end of a very hilly fleche, despite having trimmed at the beginning, I was missing shifts. And too tired to do anything about it. My guess is we will be adjusting your tune each morning of the 1000K. But it is easy enough that I think it may be worth it.
You have me pondering a new group on the Gunnar! I'm still theorizing that Di2 must cure shifting issues that arise with frame flex, which the Gunnar has much of. With your tales of those new brakes, I'm tempted to go to 6800 at least, so why not take the extra step to Di2?
Nicely done. Bike looks great. It always did, of course.
Congrats! What with my having no sense of the romantic, I've never been happy with mechanical after switching to Di2 a few years back. At first I didn't see what the big deal was, but after I got used to Di2, riding mechanical felt like a distinct step backward. Of course, my primary bikes have always had aerobars, and the fact that you can have two sets of shifters is a killer application for Di2 that mechanical simply can't offer. It's a closer call for road bikes, but then again, given that you have aerobars on your Habanero, I think it's a missed opportunity not to stick some satellite shifters out there.
Does that seatpost do anything beyond what taking 10 pounds of pressure out of the tires would do?
I'll speak on the seatpost, if only because I now have two of them. First, it's obviously more areo, with that point-shaped bit breaking wind for your seatbag. More seriously, I suppose the seatpost does exactly what taking 10# out of the tires does, which means instead of 10# out I'm running with 20# out. In other words, I'm already pressuring to 80# even on a skinny tire and going any lower means you start to lose handling.
Thanks both for the comments!
Max, the groupset cost $1045. It was a Black Friday thing; I too have not seen it that low since. Of course I'd guess I've got another $300 in parts to get to where I was happy with the install.
Bummer about the drifting. But if it's easy to trim, I guess it's not that bad.
Yes, Di2 seems ideally suited to bikes that are perpetually shifting due to frame flex. A friend is intrigued about it for that reason; his Kestrel Talon can't stay in gear to save its life.
Damon, You are 100% correct of course. In fact suggested shifters are currently sitting next to the bike in the garage, waiting to be installed. That will be the 'killer feature'. Oddly, the aero shifter/brake lever combo is substantially cheaper than the shifters alone, which almost convinced me to add brakes as well.
Max has the seatpost thing right. Even on my touring habby with 700x28 tires at 80psi, I still felt a big improvement from the Cobl Goblr. I don't have the extreme saddle... "issues" that some people do, but after my first 200K with the new seatpost, on moderately rough roads, I was simply not having any issues at all. I really feel like it took some buzz out of the road.
How do you plan to route those brake cables if you install those?
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