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Tech Cervelo Soloist Budget Build - Completed (for now)

Conrad

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Dec 8, 2014
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Thanks TCC, they sound crazy light. Have you had any experience with Novatec before? I've done some searching and they seem to have a reasonable reputation for reliability.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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I haven't ridden them or owned them. I have built a Novatec rear hub into a wheel for a friend, and they seemed OK. They are cheap hubs, like the others, so don't expect miracles, and I can't really comment too much on them, as I don't have first hand experience of them in actual use, but from holding them and taking them apart out of curiosity when I was building the wheel, they seemed OK. Bearings turned smooth in the hub, which tells me they were not pressed in too tight (doesn't give any clues about being too loose though...) and the machining felt consistently sharp under my fingers, with no undefined edges, etc. This gives no info about their performance under stress though I realise.

They do have an alright reputation like you say, and seem to have a presence in America further than being just another mysterious Chinese / Taiwanese cheap brand like Bitex, ED, Powerway, Hubsmith, Yuhub, etc.

Weight Weenies site will have loads of real user info on Novatec I reckon so check out what all those guys have to say for them.
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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I have a set of Novatec's laced to 50mm Chinese carbon tubulars with CX-Rays. I have been happy with them. They still spin very smoothly after a few thousand km. (Bought in 2011 - 10sp hub, for sale)

I am coaching the Neil-Pryde Nanshin Subaru Pro Cycling Team. The team has been sponsored by Novatec for training and racing wheels for the past few years. Those wheels take a lot of abuse and have tended to hold up well.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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So yeah, Extralite have finally gone back to work today after the winter holidays.

A pair of Cyberhubs, will set you back about 560 USD including registered delivery from Italy to Japan.
 

Conrad

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Dec 8, 2014
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A pair of Cyberhubs, will set you back about 560 USD including registered delivery from Italy to Japan.
Thanks for the heads up on the price but it looks like I'm going to go with something a bit cheaper, probably Novatec, they seem to offer a good compromise for cost/performance.
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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I have a set of Novatec's laced to 50mm Chinese carbon tubulars with CX-Rays. I have been happy with them. They still spin very smoothly after a few thousand km. (Bought in 2011 - 10sp hub, for sale)

The front hub is model A271SB and is incredibly smooth.
Rear is F372SB. I just picked up the rear and spun it, not quite a smooth. And now I remember that the freewheel is not the quietest, unless you get in and regrease the pawls with a heavier weight grease.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Sorry to come across like a know-it-all, but changing the grease in the freebody is not recommended. The grease in a freebody should be as light as possible and just act as a surface friction reducer between the pawls, the pawl seats on the freebody unit and the toothed ring in the hub shell.

By putting heavy grease in, to the point where it reduces the sound, what you are doing is slowing down the speed at which the pawls raise up into the toothed ring and filling the void with a heavy sluggish material. This will probably be alright most of the time, but that one time that it prevents the pawls from fully engaging in the toothed ring, as you push down really hard on the pedals, and the freebody slips forward at 1000kmph, throwing your knee with all your weight and force behind it, directly into the sharp, hard metal edge of your stem, hammering a crack into your knee cap that keeps you off your bike for a whole year while you recover, and have surgery, really isn't what you want to be happening. This happened to me on my BMX back in the late 90s, and I can still feel the damage to my right knee cap when I run my fingers over it. It was brutal.

Loud hubs are that way by design, either on purpose or as a side-effect of how they have been shaped. I know it annoys a lot of people, but putting in heavy grease is pretty much dangerous (I reckon, etc.) :(
 

George5

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Oct 16, 2014
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Thanks for the heads up on the price but it looks like I'm going to go with something a bit cheaper, probably Novatec, they seem to offer a good compromise for cost/performance.
why not just get Shimano and relax? Anywhere in Japan you can get parts and prompt service. Is it aesthetics that is your prime concern? If it is a set of black Shimano hubs might do the job. 2013-Shimano-Dura-Ace-FH-HB-9000-hubs02.jpg
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Price and weight, both of which can be 'beaten' with alternatives.

It does seem kind of counter to the whole feather weight carbon rim vibe to put a set of double-the-weight-of-the-lightest-alternative hubs in there, but I too agree that in terms of operation, you will not get more solid than shimano (although I did kill a shimano stx mtb hub in 1996, but that is mere anecdote and years ago, when bike parts were rubbish)
 

Conrad

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Dec 8, 2014
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why not just get Shimano and relax? Anywhere in Japan you can get parts and prompt service. Is it aesthetics that is your prime concern? If it is a set of black Shimano hubs might do the job.
I did consider Dura Ace hubs but they don't really meet my requirements, they are reliable but I've decided to go a different way.

Here's where I'm at now, after some research on reliabilty/cost/weight etc I've ordered these hubs. Novatec F482SB/A291SB Shimano 11 speed hubs in red.
Novatec F482SB.jpg

Here are the stats:
Novatec F482SB stats.jpg
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Cool. Should be alright.

Now you know the hubs you are getting, and have the rims, the next step is deciding the lacing pattern and then working out the spoke length.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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...looking at the measurements listed on the pictures you posted of the hubs, I came up with the following key figures.

Rear

Left (NDS) flange to centre; 38mm
Right (DS) flange to centre; 19mm
Left (NDS) flange diametre; 41mm
Right (DS) flange diametre; 49mm

Front

Left flange to centre; 34.35mm
Right flange to centre; 34.35mm
Left flange diametre; 30mm
Right flange diametre; 30mm

The ERD of the rims I sold you is 568mm.

With all of these figures, you can now go to a good online spoke measurement calculator and work out the correct spoke length for each wheel, based on the lacing patterns you want to go for.

I recommend http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/spokecalc/

For your calculations, just leave the 'Offset' box empty.

...took the liberty of doing it for you, so other people can see what the numbers look like, for interest.

Rear

Left (NDS)

Radial; 264.8
1x; 267.7
2x; 275.5
3x; 285.8
4x; 295.8

Right (DS)

Radial; 258.7
1x; 262.3
2x;271.8
3x; 284.2
4x; 296.2

Front

Radial; 269.7
1x; 272.7
2x;280.4
3x; 289.6
4x; 296.8

With these numbers, you will have to round them down or up to the nearest even whole number, as most spoke makers only make spokes in increments of 2mm length. Even if you are out of the absolute correct length by about 2mm, that is generally OK, but any more than that and you are getting into dodgy territory.

For you front wheel, going radial is what most people do. Rear, most people either go 2x on both sides, or 2x DS and Radial NDS. Radial NDS with the spoke head facing out will give you the maximum tension possible in the NDS spokes. Depending on the ratio of the rear hub flanges and centre to flange distances, this may or may not be a necessity. If the NDS flange is relatively small, and the rims are low, it is sometimes necessary to use 2x, as this gives the spokes a point of bracing support which would not be there if you went Radial. With 38mm rims though, you don't need to do this, so going Radial on the NDS will be fine.

Unless you want to 4 cross the whole lot like some brutal maniac.

The DS will have to be at least 2x (so do it 2x)
 

Conrad

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Dec 8, 2014
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Thanks for that TCC I appreciate your help . I think you're right , I'll go for 2x on the drive side, radial on the non-drive side , and radial on the front wheel. Do you have any spokes to suit those lengths?
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Will check when I get home later.

And to continue explaining how all this works for anyone wanting to get into it (I know that you obvioulsy know how all this works, @Conrad ); the lengths quotes by the calculator are the exact lengths that the spokes would be in a perfect world. Most manufacturers only supply spokes in 2mm increments, so after getting the exact lengths, you need to round them up or down to meet the lengths you will be able to get them in.

In this case, with the lacing that @Conrad wants, we have the following;

Front

Radial; 269.7mm

Rear

DS 2x; 271.8mm

NDS Radial; 264.8mm

The Front radial and Rear DS are an obvious round up, to 270mm and 272mm respectively. The NDS however, is sitting nearly bang in the middle, so really can be rounded either way. The thread of the spoke will be well with in the thread of the nipple even if the spoke is 0.8mm shorter than perfect, just as it will be if it is 1.2mm longer than perfect, so either will be OK. So, 264mm or 266mm. A case of flipping a coin, taking what whoever you buy them from has in stock, or being ultra-exact, and round down to 264mm as that is technically closer than 266mm by 0.2mm

So there you go.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Just checked my vast spoke collection and you are in luck mate. Got exactly the spokes you need!

Send me a PM and I will give you the info.
 

George5

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Oct 16, 2014
385
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I'd like to eventually end up at about 7kg without breaking the bank
Old maxim in bike building. You can have cheap, light and good but never all three at the same time. The title of this thread is counter to that maxim but I look forward to seeing the build develop. Related to the classified for a spoke tension meter just save the money and put it into higher quality parts.@TCC will vehemently disagree but for a one off build and you first need to get a feel for wheel building before going all anal about tensions and what not. YMMV.

Price and weight, both of which can be 'beaten' with alternatives.
And as you said probably not quality or reliability.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Ha, I certainly am going to disagree with all of that.

In general, I disagree with your suggestion to @Conrad that he should not use the correct tools for the job, and wing it. The correct tools for the job is always the best option; there is no debate there.

More specifically though...

Your idea that you can't have cheap, light and good at the same time is just that; an old idea. Production costs of everything, across every field, have come down hugely over the last 15 years, so relatively speaking, yes you can have all three. Getting a sub-7kg bike that is good and cheap is easily done now. I would say that the goal posts have been moved with all this. It might be true to say that it is not possible to get a sub 6kg bike that is cheap and good, certainly, but again, over time that will become the norm. Just like DNA sequencing costs have dropped from $100million to a previously unimaginable $1000 in 13 years, and billions of people on the planet now carry around a hand held wireless touchscreen computing device that is more powerful than any commercial computer in existence during the whole of the 1990s. Again, it is all relative, but sub 7kg, good and cheap is not a big deal now.

Next up, the tension metre. I have built wheels without, but they have been 48 spoke, 20 inch BMX wheels. The reason I was able to do this, is with this amount of spokes and also with the spokes being as thick and sturdy as they are, each spoke has a relatively low effect on the overall shape and true of the wheel, meaning that if one of them is out a bit, it is hardly noticeable, and if one does snap, again, it is not the end of the world.

With a road wheel, of the type that @Conrad is going to build, using a tension metre is VITAL. Spoke tension is extremely important in wheels like this for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is really really important to get them all as even as possible on each side of the wheel; on the drive side they need to be identical. On the non-drive side, there is room for a bit of movement in the numbers but they can not be below a certain number, but they too need to be as close as possible. Why is the drive side so important to get right? Well, on wheels like these, there are manufacturer flange tension limits of usually 100 - 120 kg. If you do not use a tension metre, there is absolutely no way to know when you hit this tension, or when you get to the desired tension you want, which may be just below this. As @bawbag demonstrated with his build, turning the nipple even half a turn can be the difference between 130kg and 115kg. The former figure being definitely over the limit of the hub flange, and the later, within the limits. The only way to know where you are with this is to use a tension metre. Each spoke should also be the same tension as the next, as any spoke which is over, or under will be taking a disproportionate amount of stress as the wheel rotates and is pedalled, which on a heavy, high spoke count wheel is not going to cause too many issues, but when we are talking 24 spoke wheels, with light hubs that have a low flange tension limit, that means a single spoke could be easily thrown over the limit and snap, and maybe take the flange with it. Looking at the NDS of the rear wheel; it is quite possible to make the wheel true, but have the NDS spokes sitting at alternating tensions to eachother, around the wheel. For example, even if the DS spokes are all sitting at, say, 100kg, it is possible to true into shape using the NDS spokes, with one NDS at something like 20kg, and the next at 65kg, like 20 65 20 65 20 65 20 65 etc. This is not right, and means that one spoke is over, and the other is under, all the way round the wheel, but the wheel looks and spins straight. Again, no way to see this without using a tension metre.

The idea that for a first time builder, a tension metre is not important... The opposite is true; for someone who has never built a wheel and has absolutely no idea what a spoke sitting at 120kg or whatever, kind of feels like, this tool is even more important than for someone who has built 400 wheels and can tell by squeezing the spokes, the kind of tension range things are at. Also, wheels are never just built once and forgotten (well, they are, but only because people don't maintain their gear properly). Building wheels has a distinct process phase, especially when dealing with light, sensitive parts; the initial build, first riding, tweaking, riding more, bedding in, tweaking again, then riding for a longer time, then retruing and tensioning at regular intervals throughout the duration of the life of the rim. Each time this is done, the tension metre will be used, so buying it and using it for even one set of wheels will mean it will be used dozens and dozens of times.

I know there is a vibe in cycling where some people think old stuff is better, and new stuff is fangled and unnecessary, etc., but this goes beyond that. This is simply a case of needing to get the right tools for the job, from the beginning and making sure things are done properly. There is also the fact that wheels kind of need to be as safe as possible and for a new builder, having the security of a tension metre to prevent them going over or under a limit on spoke tension could be the difference between a snapped spoke miles from home, or worse.

That is one hell of a rant, I know. What a lunatic. Haha. Sorry @George5 :)
 

Conrad

Maximum Pace
Dec 8, 2014
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You can have cheap, light and good but never all three at the same time.
That is true, even though the target of about 7kg is certainly well within reach, weight is not my primary concern. I've tried to select parts for their reliability/weight and also keep the budget at a reasonable level. Of course only time will tell and I'm sure I'll make more than a few mistakes in the process. But I'm having fun so far and my better half hasn't changed the locks on the front door yet :> so I figure I'm doing something right.
My groupset should turn up some time soonish so I'll be able to post some real world photos. In the mean time, does anyone have any first hand experience with two-bike stands? I'm looking for one that stacks the bikes vertically to save space.
Something like this:
stand.jpg
Or maybe this:
stand 2.jpg
 

GrantT

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Oct 2, 2012
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You can have cheap, light and good but never all three at the same time.

My bike might be the modern exception. In weenie trim it's well under 7 kg of which the parts cost about 160,000 yen. The rear hub is as smooth as a Cassanova's bedpost (very notchy), but apart from that it all works pretty well.
 
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bawbag

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Mar 20, 2013
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My bike might be the modern exception. In weenie trim it's well under 7 kg of which the parts cost about 150,000 yen. The rear hub is as smooth as a Cassanova's bedpost (very notchy), but apart from that it all works pretty well.
I'm on your heels with my cheapo weenie build!
Saying that, the Ultegra groupset I'm about to buy might nudge me over the 150,000 mark.
 
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