My bicycle doesn’t need middleware

Some of you (well 4 people) have requested that I write something about my bicycle, as that is the subtitle of this blog. For those of you expecting something extolling the praises of SAP here, you will be disappointed. When it comes to bicycles, I’m very much a best of breed guy. Each little bit is from a specialist vendor, but somehow it all fits together perfectly. Without any middleware. (unless you try mix shimano and campag)

Bicycles arent software….

I took this photo on the way down the grossglockner alpine road earlier this summer. (see the story here)

The first question normal people normally ask is what make is your bike?  Well that depends which bit you are talking about. The bike was put together by a friend of mine, Juergen, who used to build bikes and race them, but now has a normal day job as he has a mortgage to pay. He has a cellar workshop that would embarass most bike shops.  

The frame is carbon fibre, and weighs 980 grammes. We don’t know what make the frame is, as it was built as a prototype for a trade show. (Almost all carbon bikes are built in the same two factories in Taiwan and China) There is a long post waiting to be written on globalisation and cycling components but that will need to wait….

The fork is from Merlin, an American firm, it is also carbon. (I’m not sure what it weighs)

The brakes are  Campagnolo record and the rest of the groupset is campag chorus (11-23 10 speed cassette), with the exception of the crankset, which is from FSA, and is a compact carbon (34-50)

The stem and handlebars are from a German firm called Syntace. The stem is a F99, which is one of the lightest stems on the market. It weighs less than 100 grammes. Considering this is the thing that helps steer the bike, that is light.

The wheelset is also from Campagnolo, the neutron. This is their mid-priced low profile wheel and weighs about 1750 grammes for the pair. We replaced the standard quick-release skewers with tune titanium skewers. (Tune is a small German firm that specialise in ultra lightweight parts. the skewer is the only thing from them I can afford..)

The seat post is from use alien, a small UK firm. in weighs 166 grammes, and has been used to win the TdFrance king of the mountains twice. (not me, some skinny french bloke)

The pedals are from time, a french company.

The saddle is from Selle Italia and weighs 140 grammes, (SLR carbonio) It looks uncomfortable to those used to paddled sofa saddles, but it is actually suprising comfy, despite zero padding.

The bottecages were another minor extravagance, also carbon, and weighing  26 grammes. These are from an American firm Bontrager 

The bike weighs just over 7 kgs, which is very respectable, considering that the wheels are relatively heavy. Actually if I had the funds I’d buy a pair of lightweights! both wheels together weigh less than a kg!. (again a small German firm.) My other concern is that if you have mega fancy wheels it motivates other folks to ride past you, and then you feel really slow, as despite all the technology it does, eventually, depend on the legs and lungs. Sig describes this phenomenon rather well. This happened to me quite a lot in Italy last week too.

If anyone is at all interested, I will do the money no object dream bicycle post another day.

This weekend I will be venturing out on Sunday into the Odenwald, my local hilly bit,  as I need train for the charity ride up Mont Ventoux (see wiki) in aid of warchild. We have about 5 people riding (Sig and Hamish have blogs), but we would like more. The wiki will explain how you, dear reader can join us, or-and donate to a worthy cause.

14 thoughts on “My bicycle doesn’t need middleware”

  1. your friend Juergen sounds like my friend Duncan. I bought a bike off Duncan which has an aluminum Cannondale frame, Shimano 105 components, Easton Carbon fork, and low end shimano wheels. And it has down-tube shifters!! I get such a kick out of using downtube shifters again! : )

  2. Thomas, I must have missed where you noted you had Shimano on the bike, but excellent sounding bike.

    I’m currently riding a prototype Wilier (their second Mortirolo Scandium made) and am about to sell it for a new Colnago C50 (full Campy Record – perhaps compact cranks) with Euru’s and FSA carbon K-wing for stem and bars.

    I envy that you can travel the European mountains so much more easily than I (with the Atlantic in my way).

    BTW – I’ve been riding a Selle Italia SLR for a few years – I’m giving it up to go back to the Flite.


  3. Dubs,
    no Shimano on my road bike. (I was commenting on Tuco’s bike) (my mtn bike is shimano xtr but that is another post on its own)

    Your new bike sounds v impressive. with that bike, surely you ‘need’ at least bora wheels….!-)

    Check out ax-lightness for your next seat if money is no option….

  4. Yes, my mountain bike is a Trek with XT/XTR mix (oh the embarassment!!!) It just got stolen along with a Ritchey that like Tuco, I had just finished rebuilding with downtube shifters and all!!! Oh well.

    Thus my excuse for slimming down to 1 very expensive bike rather than several fairly-expensive bikes. My wife has a heart attack every week about it though.

  5. As one of the four who requested this post, I feel I must comment. Regretably, my old Trek mountain bike will not compare in quality! Although, I do know a lot about carbon fiber. . .Anyway – thanks for sharing all the details. Someday, when I have money, I’ll try to put together a nice road bike. . .but maybe I should just forget all that, be happy with what I have, and give my money to your charity? 🙂

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  7. You say it so well, Thomas – in the end, it comes down the legs. I have to admit that when I see a flashy bike I DO tend to pick up the pace a bit.

    But on the flip side…one thing I’ve noticed is that when I get a new bike or upgrade something that stands out (like wheels or front fork (I’m a mountain biker)), I always figure I have to improve my riding. So…good bikes are fun (even if people do chase you more)!

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