Tuesday, July 29, 2008


"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant,
his BMC TT02 with the Zipp Speed Weaponry or his totally bitchin' carbon-framed road bike with the super smooth Campagnolo components and the ride like butter,
. . . . er . . . . or anything that belongs to thy neighbor."
Exodus 20:17 (Greyhound Standard Version)

They say he will come again--He Who Shall Not Be Named. This, I believe. And I believe the Word of He Who Shall Not Be Named and that of The Holy Prophet:

It is all about The Bike.

Amen. Let us meditate for a moment in silence, His Name be praised.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I know I should be faithful and train harder on the bike, but I am not in love with my road bike and I have been coveting new bikes. I even surf bike porn late at night on ebay rather than love and maintain the bikes I already have.

I want a new road bike. BAD. Right now I have my first grownup bike, a Canondale R600 that rides like a Panzer Tank falling down stairs. You could chip your teeth riding over a gum wrapper on that one. I hate riding it for long periods of time, and it is slower than slow and heavy.

But beyond having something new and shiny and (presumably) faster, I also want to be less clueless about bikes and how they work. And I don't want to have a bike just like everyone else. And even though it is generally more expensive to build a bike than to buy one new, I don't want to spend an excessive amount of cash all at one time on a bike. You are, after all, reading the online rantings of a cheapskate lawyer who has never spent more than $20k on a car.



So, I've hatched this plan to feed my lust and my curiosity by building a bike from the ground up. A "Frankenbike" if you will. She will be just what I want and perfect in every way. She will be strong, und powerful, und schneller, und die schönste . . . . . .

* * * * *

Oh, I'm sorry. Forgot you were there for a minute. What were we talking about?

Oh, yeah.

I originally was going to start by buying a frame and then getting the necessary pieces one by one. But I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger and making a decision concerning the frame I want. Carbon? Steel? New school? Old School? Titanium? A mixture? New? Used?

Plus, I went here and saw this yesterday, which is essentially my bike frame that has been outfitted with the best components to make it lighter and (presumably) better.


So, I've modified my plan, and I've decided it would be fun to have the community participate--in part because I don't know what I'm doing and I need the input. I think I'm going to learn about bikes while working on my current road bike, trying to improve its ride and performance while lowering its weight. Then, when I've got it as good as it can get, I'll think about buying a super frame and transferring the good components to the new bike. At the end of the process, I will be Des Knaben Wunderrad.

But like I said, I need help and advice. This is the first in a series of posts in which I'll ask, "OK, what do I do now?" And I'm really hoping the bike savvy amongst you will chime in--especially (new picture link) He Who Shall Not Be Named or his One True Prophet.

What is the first thing I should change that will give me some bang for a moderate buck in terms of improving the ride and performance of the Panzer Tank? The current setup is an aluminum frame with a carbon fork but alloy steerer. Right now it has a triple front chain ring (which I intend to change eventually) and it rides like a tin lizzy tackling a rumble strip. I was thinking maybe:
  • A carbon seat post?
  • With a carbon seat?
  • A new fork and steerer?
  • Only a steerer?
  • Carbon handlebars?
  • Something else?
  • If one of these components, what type? What brand? Where's a good buy?
    Können Sie mir helfen? Bitte?

    Flatman said...

    Ohhh...this is going to be fun. I love spending other peoples money.

    I am going to need full specs on your current bike (size, components, drivetrain...etc.)

    I will lead you to the light, my padawan. (is there any kind of budget for said dream bike???)

    BowserTheCat said...

    Vielleight kann ich Ihnen helfen.

    I did something similar last winter. I had a 20+ year old Bianci frame that I had paid a bunch of money for 20+ years ago. I stripped it, painted it and put all new components on it. I went with SRAM Force for the most part with MAVIC wheels (I lust for a pair of Zipps though). All in all I probably have about 2 grand in it.

    Twas a fun winter project!

    21stCenturyMom said...

    I don't know that much about bikes but I'm pretty sure a carbon seat post would be a good investment. Especially since buy them and don't use them and then sell them on eBay and Craigslist.

    Then put some Dura Ace components on it to lighten it up. That would be a good start, I'm sure.

    stronger said...

    download the chainlove.com desktop alert

    Kevin said...

    This is a great idea. It shall be a great learning experience for the readers of your blog as well

    Liam O'Connell said...


    come see me and well get you on something special and sweet

    Supalinds said...

    I will learn with you because I know nothing.

    Flatman said...

    ditto on the chainlove comment.

    Bigun said...

    C'mon, get what you want and stop fretting about it. You know you want it.

    Fe-lady said...

    (Sky's the limit!)

    Bigun said...

    what frakenstein bike would be complete without....

    great knockers!

    triguyjt said...

    i don't claim to be savvy about bikes one bit...

    good luck on cooking one up in the laboratory...
    or Frahhnken-bic..

    btw..the bike i race on is the ill-mentioned cannondale in your post... if I could only upgrade....

    Jane said...

    This is your funniest things you've ever written

    Nytro said...

    um... i'm a leetle hurt that i wasn't at least designated as an apostle. but, whatever. i'm also unsure that not buying a car over $20,000 qualifies you as cheap. but that may just be the cheap me yelling that i've never spent over $10,000 for a car... which clearly makes me more patriotic than you. (and possibly far less educated)(but that's just a rumor i'm starting).

    short story long, I'M BACK, BABY! tell your friends.

    CoachLiz said...

    Go for Dura Ace components. A Carbon seat post is very nice. My tender bits would say skip on the carbon seat and just ride the most comfortable saddle you can find (Adamo) and don't worry about the weight.

    I still have my R400 and it was a great bike to start out on. Once I changed to a carbon frame my numb fingers issue disappeared. For what it is worth, go carbon.

    Hmm...with 2 carbon bikes, does that mean that I have increased my carbon footprint???

    Paulie said...

    Here's my 2 cents: If your going to change out the frame later then I would not replace the seatpost, fork or stem either, because many frames these days have proprietary seatposts and forks, and the geometry of the frame is going to determine the stem. So what you have left is the bars, gruppo and wheels. I think wheels are a great upgrade to do first. I think second would be the gruppo. For value Ultegra, but for bling Dura-Ace. For real bling, Campy! Centaur has all the carbon bits and is a reasonable price. Chorus has the prestige. Leave the Record for those with the deep, deep pockets. Best places to find Campy parts are probikekit.com and eurobikeparts.com. Have Fun!

    Kathy said...

    When you do get a new frame, go with carbon. My first bike was aluminum, and my second is carbon. I love it. Huge difference in the ride.

    You'll have to think about Ultegra vs. Dura ace. Dura Ace is a lot more expensive for not much better performance. It's slightly more responsive and thus preferred by racers. I'm told that with Ultegra and Dura Ace, when it wears out, you throw it out. With Campy, you can actually repair it.

    momo said...

    just so you have even more to think about here - i have the SRAM Red on momolektra and its really nice... i could definitely get you a deal on that. the rest of it - i dunno.

    the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

    oh, I have an idear or two. but then I'd be giving it away! truly, Origin8 makes good frames, my LBS will build me a custom with a carbon frame and whatevah I want on it at cost - except I'd probably have to pitch in the labor.

    For me, this is not a problem. See? Make friends with roadies and you get mechanical help for life!

    Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

    I noticed by following your link that the bike is 48cm. Goodness, I didn't know they made them that small! Seriously, my ride is 54 cm and 19 pounds. I figure that frame size has something to do with how light you can get it.

    CoachLiz said...


    Live big and go for a Cervelo P3 with a disk on the back wheel!!!

    IronJenny said...

    Just do the Jennyhills workout and you will get fast. I have a cruddy old bike and I can go fast.
    Rest more.
    Train less.
    Don't skip your long bike.
    Truly - do the Jennyhills.
    Don't skip your long run each week. (15 miles min)

    there. You have more than my two cents worth. That's like a nickel worth...