The Chinese Stealth Weight Weenie Bike - a build thread.

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#1
Hey ho.

As mentioned in another thread, I have begun the slow process of building up a bike. Now, why am I doing this? Two reasons.
  1. Fun - I love geeking out over stuff which for all intents and purposes is utterly trivial. Build a guitar pedal? Better put some Vishay mil-spec resistors in there. Why? Because they look like miniature sausages, and just because.
    Buying an off-the-peg bike means I miss out on all the geekery of learning the difference between a Sapim CX-Ray spoke and a CNAero360 spoke etc etc. I love this stuff.
  2. Cost - Now, I'm well aware that by the end of this little project, I will have spent enough that I could have bought a decent spec off-the-peg model by a reputable seller with all the warranties etc that go with it. Sadly, I never have that kind of money lying around. Yeah I could save and buy it next year, but where's the fun in that? Now I'm committed. No turning back. The stealth bike... It has awakened!

Right. So where am I so far? Here's a handy progress guide which will be updated as and when:


Phase I - Obtain cheap,reasonably lightweight carbon frame/fork/seatpost in the most ghetto possible stealth finish - unpainted unidirectional carbon. [complete]

Phase II - Learn how to install an integrated headset, cut a carbon fork steerer and then assemble. [ongoing]

Phase III - Obtain handlebars and stem, assemble with installed fork. Attach seatpost and saddle to frame. [incomplete]

Phase IV - Buy wheel components, learn from Owen how to build wheels, assemble. Freak out and beg for help.[incomplete]

Phase V - Buy groupset based on below three factors. Install [incomplete]
  1. Visual evilness. Does it look cool or evil? Cool can do one.
  2. Price. I am a tightarse. Yorkshire.
  3. Weight. May as well aim for it being as light as possible.

Phase VI - Ride and pray that it doesn't result in a horrific crash. [incomplete]
 
Likes: bird

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#2
Nice one.

Phase II; nothing to really learn here and a million times less hassle than pressing in headset cups, etc., so you can probably just take this one off the list. You just drop the bearings into the bearing seats in the headtube, slide the fork steerer through, slide the little wedge thingy down the steerer and into the top bearing inner race, put on the top plate ring if there is one, put as many spacers on as you want, put your stem on, then the compression wedge, and you are done. You can make it harder for yourself by attempting to do it after 8 cans of Chu-Hi Strong 8% if you want to be a rebel though.
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,617
1,195
143
Setagaya
#3
Some ideas on a lightweight top cap and expander in this thread.

I am using this option. 16 g on the scales.

For the stem the Kalloy Uno 7 is cheap and lightweight. Graphics can be removed with acetone (nail varnish remover). Replace the steel bolts with titanium (from ebay) and it's even lighter.
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,617
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Setagaya
#5
Also, photos and weight of frame & fork needed to make people feel inadequate about their current machines. And what BB is the frame?
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#6
Phase I
Frame (size 56, but equivalent to 58 in most brands) - 965g
Fork - 393g (uncut)
Seatpost (350mm) - 200g
Bottle cages (x2) - 29g ea.
Seatpost clamp - 19g
Headset - 129g
Bottom bracket (BBright to Shimano) - 159g

So, the frame. Made by some anonymous factory somewhere, sold by Zhongwei as the R-043 or their customer/partner Velobuild as the R-055. It's a vague approximation of a Cervelo RCA/R5 from what I've read (and seen by the jokers who want to get it painted up like one. There are some differences - the seat tube tapers slightly differently and the clamping section isn't the bespoke style of its inspiration, but it's pretty close.
Why this one? I picked it not because of any Cervelo envy - I don't really give two shits about brands to be honest. I chose it because it's reasonably light, looks both normal and weird at the same time, and was cheap. Proper cheap. Excluding postage and Paypal fees (always the way in China) the frame and fork only are $420. By the end of my order, I'd ordered the seatpost, two bottle cages, a seatpost clamp and a headset, meaning a total cost of $530 including shipping and fees. The original price was a little bit higher, but by being civil and friendly the price was reduced a touch.
Actually, the main reason I chose this one is because my body geometry is stupid, and this one fits better than most. I have long legs, a short torso and shitty T-Rex arms. The Canyon Ultimate CF has similar geo, but with a shorter headtube which would result in my back hating me. That and it would have Canyon branding, which while really rather cool, just isn't stealth enough.
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Likes: bird

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#7
How much do you weigh, anyway @bawbag ? I reckon you are sub-70kg or around 70kg right?
Well, before our little jaunt into the mountains yesterday I weighed 67kg. I woke up this morning weighing 65kg, even after some insane eating/drinking binge last night. Cheers for that. You can now refer to me as "the husk"

Also, photos and weight of frame & fork needed to make people feel inadequate about their current machines. And what BB is the frame?
Hold tha's horses!
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#8
Is there a BB in the frame already, or do you need to buy one? (can't quite see from the photo)
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#9
Well, before our little jaunt into the mountains yesterday I weighed 67kg. I woke up this morning weighing 65kg, even after some insane eating/drinking binge last night. Cheers for that. You can now refer to me as "the husk"
OK, well that puts you in the 'can get away with very very light wheels' category... Any thoughts on what kind of wheels you want (carbon / alu rim? clincher / tubular, etc?)
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#10
Is there a BB in the frame already, or do you need to buy one? (can't quite see from the photo)
Well, one was sent with the frame, but it's not been installed. The BB is that weird BBright specification - that's why the chainstays are a bit Jeremy Beadle. The pressfit BB they supplied is for Shimano cranksets - it's flat on one side and sticks out on the drive side to balance out the wonkiness.

BB, headset, bottle cages, DI2 cable guide thingies, seatpost clamp and my Selle Italia SLR 135g which I recovered in black leather. Because it looks scarier.
Some of this stuff might be scrapped, especially if I can't acetone the names off the bits. Gineyea? GineNO. They actually look nicely made, though.
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Go fork yourselves:
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TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#11
I have a fancy Wheels Manufacturing bearing press and loads of different sized bearing drifts if you need anything pressing in (not like that).

Before you go and start pressing the BB in that they sent you though, have a good old nerd up (and let everyone on here get stuck in too) about what cranks you want; Shimano are not going to be the lightest (they will work forever though), and there are a load of other lighter options out there for cranks, which all potentially use a different axle size and BB requirement, so give some thought to that first. BBs are not really that expensive, so not using the one they sent you and and getting a different one to match whatever cranks you decide on is not really a big deal.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#13
This is an exciting project @bawbag :) I have done the same with my last 3 bikes and it is very satisfactory when you get to ride your finished bike. The parts sourcing and build process are the moments I enjoy the most during the winter months.



@TCC is right about phase II, nothing overly complicated there. However, it is also wise to take some basic safety precautions to prevent unexpected and potentially catastrophic outcome with a carbon steerer.

Have fun picking the parts and putting everything together! :tup

Cheers!
Cheers! Also feel free to weigh in with any suggestions/criticisms at any time. I'm pretty much going to be winging it.

I have a fancy Wheels Manufacturing bearing press and loads of different sized bearing drifts if you need anything pressing in (not like that).

Before you go and start pressing the BB in that they sent you though, have a good old nerd up (and let everyone on here get stuck in too) about what cranks you want; Shimano are not going to be the lightest (they will work forever though), and there are a load of other lighter options out there for cranks, which all potentially use a different axle size and BB requirement, so give some thought to that first. BBs are not really that expensive, so not using the one they sent you and and getting a different one to match whatever cranks you decide on is not really a big deal.
Yeah, I'm holding off on that front. If I spot a bargain on something light, I'll hop on that and get the appropriate BB. To be honest, the new 5800 groupset has the evil looks thing sorted with its matte black stylings, but it certainly isn't lightweight. It's ludicrously cheap though, which would allow me to spend more on wheels.

Wheels-wise... Hmmm... Still poring through the options. Don't really want to go much over 50,000 if at all possible. Clinchers are probably the safer bet, just because I can't be bothered dealing with the hassle of hauling an entire extra tyre around whenever I go off into the hills. Although on Sunday I was running a tub on the back and clincher on the front for maximum idiot points.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#15
Looks good :) but I personally would not trust my life to ANYTHING that came out of China..........
Fair enough. Thing is, if you build a rapport with the people you're dealing with, you'll get a good product. The woman I dealt with at Zhongwei initially told me "your size frame is in stock and ready to ship" but after a few days of chatting with her about this and that, she told me that she'd get the factory to build up another frame. They built one up, she wasn't satisfied with the standard, so they did another. She approved that one, so it was sent on to me.

Treat people like shit - expect shit back. Treat them with respect - you'll get the same. China can manufacture to extremely high standards or pump out utter shit dependant on the requests of the clients.

Also, I specified my own unique carbon layup for the frame based on Boris Karloff's costume in The Mummy.
 

timefleas

Maximum Pace
Nov 30, 2013
107
45
58
#16
Looks good :) but I personally would not trust my life to ANYTHING that came out of China..........
That just doesn't make sense. Many of the carbon Giants are made in China, as are the Pinarello Dogmas, most of the Zipp carbon wheels...
With that said, you of course would want to buy from a reliable seller, know what you are buying and so forth. Personally, though, I would not buy one of these no-name frames, with ball park geometry, but simply buy a lightly used or NOS frame from a known manufacturer, sold by a reliable seller, perhaps a couple of years old--but I figure what was good for a TdF rider a few years ago is good enough for me now. All my bikes are build ups done in that way--ended up with several fantastic bikes for pennies on the dollar (sold three, still have four, but just keep building...)--what I would NEVER buy is a brand new off the shelf bike of the year--money better spent elsewhere..
 
Dec 21, 2013
459
154
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57
France - moving to Shizuoka
#17
Chris,

Nothing on your bike is made in China?

List the full spec.
And to Robert - its the hidden things that get me worried not the building - Coming down a fast steep hill and hit a bump I would not feel safe the frame would not fall apart!!
As for spec of my cycle - frame Japan, wheels - France, Handle bars, head set and seat post - Italy, Shimano 6500 groupset - Japan (before they moved production abroad.
 
Dec 21, 2013
459
154
73
57
France - moving to Shizuoka
#19
Look at China, they can copy jeans, trainers etc - all not good but may fall aprt and no harm done. Then they copy cigarettes, drugs, electrical equipment etc. All fail or can kill you faster than the real thing. So which catagory does a copy of another manufactures frame fall into.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#20
Look at China, they can copy jeans, trainers etc - all not good but may fall aprt and no harm done. Then they copy cigarettes, drugs, electrical equipment etc. All fail or can kill you faster than the real thing. So which catagory does a copy of another manufactures frame fall into.
Yeah I remember reading about those faulty cigarettes. Took off a poor guy's arm when he lit it, god rest his soul.

I'd better be more careful when I use my oven (Sharp) , my fridge (Toshiba), my tv (Sharp again), my living room's air conditioner (Fujitsu) and my iPhone (Apple), as they were all made in China. Oh no, even my popcorn maker was made in China! That's really scary! You know, I actually had to cut a notch into one of my screwdrivers in order to remove the anti-tamper security screws on it so that I could disable the thermistor and thermal fuse which were preventing it from being a fire hazard. Lethal.

You can probably set your snark detector on its lowest setting for this post. Unless it's made in China. Then you're better off just taking out the batteries and binning it.