I built this bike back in '11 as a weight weenie XC bike. It's a 1080 gram Carbonal carbon frameset.
It started out with a rigid carbon fork, and I just added the FSA 386 crankset just before I took these pics. It used to have a Campy Chorus triple road crankset, with the big ring removed. The FSA carbon cranks were noticeably stiffer and lighter than the Campy road cranks.
I built up these superlight race wheels using Stans rims, a titanium cassette, and Rotaz hubs, and got the bike down to a hair under 17 lbs as a useable, raceworthy bike. The bike is incredibly light and fast. Sprints like a road bike, and is agile as a BMX bike. On hard rides longer than 2 hrs, it would wear me out though....
I added a buttery-smooth FOX fork after getting beaten up by the rigid fork one too many times. I think that fork would actually be better if it weren't so rigid. It needs some vertical compliance. I found myself much more fresh, and could get faster lap times with the suspension fork, even though I added some weight to the bike. So the bike itself wasn't beating me up, it was the lack of compliance in the front fork. Now the bike is dreamy to ride over long distances, and the high volume Conti tires are good at adding cush to the saddle.
I trained and raced it in 2012 like this, but kept kept having shifting issues with the Dura-Ace derailleurs. I've always been preferential to twist shifters. My setup was Dura-Ace 7800 9spd, Grip-Shift, SRAM chain, and the 9 spd ti cassette. It kept ghost shifting under heavy pedal pressure, so I kept tinkering with it, until I just decided to upgrade the entire drivetrain. (I later discovered something that probably would've fixed all my previous shifting issues)
I'm well into my 3rd season with this bike, and it still rides like new, and I still get the same thrill when I hop on it for a ride. It's been crashed hard, jumped hard, ridden through deep river crossings, and had the derailleur ripped out of it. The weight weenie in me has been tempered down a bit, but I still added a lighter saddle and seatpost to offset some of the weight I added to the bike by upgrading to SRAM XX 10spd. The shifting is definitely a ton better and more reliable, so I guess the upgrade was worth it. After completely switching out the drivetrain, I still had trouble getting the new parts to shift properly. Turns out, I had a bent derailleur hanger. I had replaced it once before with an extra hanger I purchased with the frameset, but the material that is made from is so soft, that it bent just from normal use. I replaced it with a stronger forged unit, and the shifting has been perfect ever since.
I bought the bike almost expecting it to be a fragile, disposable bike, but it has been pretty reliable, fun to ride, and with a few tweaks to fine tune it for me, is my dream ride materialized.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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