Friday, June 23, 2017

Lezyne Lite Drive Pump for Road Bikes

Here is a short review of the Lezyne Lite Drive Pump which was designed for the high pressure tires of road bikes. I was looking for a slim and lightweight pump for the Java Freccia carbon mini velo, and this one seems ideal.

All black pump with a simple pump mount

Hose is stored inside the pump body itself, and can be reversed for Presta or Schrader valves

Full length of the pump when extended with the hose

Comes with a rubber ring to push against the pump handle to prevent rattling noise due to looseness

89 grams without mount

Exactly 100 grams including the mount

This is a lightweight and functional road mini pump that will match well to any bike. With the hose attachment, it makes it easier to position the pump during pumping, and also prevent the valve from being damaged by the pumping action. A good addition to any bike.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Java Freccia Carbon Mini Velo: Part 7 - Dura-Ace 9000 Groupset

The Java Freccia carbon mini velo is almost completed! All that is left to do is to fine tune the adjustments and it is ready to go.

Java Freccia carbon mini velo, built up with Dura-Ace 9000 components

Looks great!

During my test ride, I found that the riding geometry is really low and aggressive, due to the low handlebar height. In fact, after comparison, the handlebar height is even lower than the Merida Scultura 5000 road bike! It is too low for comfort, which is why I decided to flip the stem to make it more comfortable.

Handlebar height on the Java mini velo is even lower than the Merida road bike

Controltech 80mm stem was originally installed with a downward tilt

After flipping the stem to be upward tilting, the geometry is better and almost the same as the Merida road bike

Another view of the full bike with the geometry properly set up

Full bike weight is only 6.7 kg inclusive of pedals!

Full specifications of the bike. I did not use any boutique super lightweight components, all can be found easily. Theoretical weight is equal to actual measured weight. Only 6.3 kg without pedals!

Completed bike spotted in the wild

Using the Ridea brake pad extenders with Ridea brake pads

Same for the rear wheel. Braking power is better than expected.

Java Freccia carbon mini velo project completed!

Yet another bike building project has been completed, and I am very pleased with the results. This mini velo is very lightweight at only 6.3 kg without pedals. Also, it rides really well, despite the short chain stays. Braking power using the Ridea brake pads is actually quite good, and I don't miss the SwissStop brake pads. Shifting performance with the Dura-Ace groupset is of course top class, while the Wheelsport Smart 1.0 451 wheels roll really well.

Despite my initial worries, there has been no creaking sounds from the press fit bottom bracket, while the integrated seatpost clamp has not given me any problems with slippage. Other than the insufficient reach from the road brake calipers and the slightly tricky internal cable routing, there has not been any real issues with the installation.

I have tested it while riding with some road bikes, and this mini velo actually feels just as fast as my Merida road bike! The weight difference is felt most during climbing, where this bike just keeps moving instead of dragging you back like on some heavier bikes. Carrying the bike up the stairs or anywhere is a breeze due to the low weight. It is currently my favourite bike to ride as I have rediscovered the joy and fun of riding a mini velo!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Java Freccia Carbon Mini Velo: Part 6 - Almost Completed

In Part 4 of this bike project, I showed that the drivetrain of the bike was already installed. Prior to that, I had to first install the press fit bottom bracket into the frame, before the crankset can be installed.

I have never installed a press fit BB before, so I had to do some research to make sure I do it properly. Also, I have heard of some cases of press fit BB causing creaking sounds during pedaling. Therefore, it was even more important that I do the installation properly to avoid any creaking later on.

As already checked previously, this frame accepts a Shimano type press fit BB. To ensure good performance and low weight, I chose the Dura-Ace grade press fit bottom bracket. Although it is not the smoothest bottom bracket around, the sealing should be good, while it is also relatively cheap and lightweight.

Dura-Ace grade press fit bottom bracket, SM-BB92

Plain looking bottom bracket, with the two press fit diameters at both sides

Press fit bottom bracket cups are made of engineering plastic, PA+GF for strength while also being lightweight

Press fit BB weighs only 55 grams, which is lighter than threaded type BB

Using the proper press fit tool for pressing the bottom bracket cups into the frame. It is very simple, basically a threaded rod with correctly sized plates at both ends to push in the cups.

Done! Greased the contacting surfaces and managed to press in the cups easily and fully.

Installing the press fit bottom bracket was actually quite easy. The resistance felt just right, while the cups were able to enter fully until they were flat against the frame. Hopefully there will be no creaking sound when I ride the bike later on.

After the press fit bottom bracket was installed, the Dura-Ace 9000 crankset was then installed without any issue.

With the drivetrain and brakes installed, the next thing to install would be the controls of the bike, which is the handlebar. Since the handlebar and shifters will be the same as that on the Wheelsport mini velo, I can transplant the whole handlebar setup over without removing the shifters.

The shifter inner cable will be changed, since the old one is already worn out and is also a bit too short. The brake inner cables can be reused. However, all the outer casing will need to be changed as the cable entry point for the shifter cables into the frame is different, while the brake cable routing has been changed from semi outer casing (with external cable stoppers) to full outer casing.

In this case, there is no choice but to remove the bar tape to redo the outer casing coming out from the shifters. No problem, since the bar tape is due for replacement anyway.

Handlebar setup shown as removed from the Wheelsport mini velo, before installing new inner cables and outer casings.

After much work, the handlebar setup is completed! New cabling all done up nicely.

80mm Controltech stem matches nicely with the colours on the FSA K-Force carbon handlebar

Rear shifter cable enters the frame at the downtube for neat internal routing

Rear brake cable enters the top tube from the front, and exits at the rear. Clean internal routing for this frame.

Using the same lightweight Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle on the new aero seatpost

Front single drivetrain for this bike. Look at the massive bottom bracket junction for stiffness!


Left side view. Since the bottom bracket bearings are fitted within the frame, this frame can be wider than an equivalent frame with an external threaded bottom bracket.

Using a custom tool to center the handlebar with the front wheel. The idea is to place the jig on the stem and handlebar, while a laser pointer will indicate the centreline of the handlebar, which is where the front tire should be.

Once done, just line up the front wheel with the laser pointer and the handlebar should be perpendicular to the front wheel.

During this alignment, I found that there are a few issues that can affect the accuracy of this laser guided handlebar alignment jig.

1) The placement of the laser pointer within the jig itself will affect the accuracy. If the laser pointer is tilted just a couple of degrees off, it will not be accurate anymore.
2) The laser beam may not exit the laser pointer exactly straight. This can be remedied by rotating the laser manually during calibration.
3) Distance from handlebar to front tire can affect the accuracy, especially if the laser is tilted to one side slightly.

In my case, the jig is for reference only. Final alignment is still based visually and my feeling during riding.

This bike is almost completed! In the next post, the full bike build will be shown, along with the bike weight (it is really lightweight!) and the component specifications.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Java Freccia Carbon Mini Velo: Part 5 - Insufficient Brake Caliper Reach

In the previous blog post, the bike was already shown as half assembled, with the wheelset and drivetrain transferred over from the Wheelsport mini velo.

Next, I tried to install the road caliper brakes onto the frame and fork, but ran into problems. Although there is no problem mounting the brake caliper onto the bike, the brake pads cannot reach the rims of the wheels! These are standard Dura-Ace 9000 brake calipers, so there should be no issue unless there is some problem with the frame.

Quite a big clearance between the front caliper brake and the tire

Even when the brake pad is shifted all the way down to the lowest point, it still cannot completely clear the tires

Same for the rear, the brake pad cannot clear the tire completely

As you can see, there is quite a big gap between the rear caliper brake and rear tire

I actually contacted the bike frame seller from Taobao via WeChat, but we were unable to resolve the problem. He told me that his other bikes are able to fit standard Ultegra brake calipers, although the brake pad holder has to be right at the bottom of the slot, at the limit. Dura-Ace and Ultegra brake calipers have similar dimensions, so I am not sure why it does not fit.

The factors affecting this are:
1) Brake caliper reach
2) Position of brake mounting point on frame, relative to wheel dropouts
3) Diameter of braking track on wheel rims
4) Width of rims or thickness of brake pads (small effect)

It seems to be that the frame dimensions are right at the limit where the brake pad is just unable to reach the rims properly. Almost there but not quite there, it is short by only 1 to 2 mm.

Actually this is easy to solve, I just need to use brake pad extenders, like what I used on the Dahon Boardwalk or Dahon Vitesse when I used road caliper brakes on those frames.

Aican brake pad extenders, which lowers the brake pads by about 10mm.

Weight of Dura-Ace 9000 brake pad holder and mounting hardware which is super lightweight at only 9 grams. Think it uses a titanium bolt and aluminium washers.

Aican brake pad holder, slightly heavier at 12 grams

Weight of hardware from Dura-Ace brake pad holder

Weight of hardware from Aican brake pad holder

If I combine the Aican brake pad holder with the Dura-Ace hardware, it is also lightweight at 10 grams

Testing the Aican brake pad holder with Dura-Ace hardware on the brake caliper

With the brake pad extender, the reach of the brakes is sufficient to reach the rims. However, what I don't like about the Aican brake pad holder is that the rounded area for adjusting the angle of the brake pad does not really work. Upon tightening the bolt, the brake shoe will be tilted to one side, no matter how I adjust it prior to tightening. Also, the squarish design is not nice looking, and it extends too much.

I found another type of brake pad extender by Ridea, which lowers the brake pad by 6.5mm instead of 10mm. Best of all, it has its own lightweight hardware which is also titanium. Although they are pricey, it should be worth the money.

Ridea brake pad extender which lowers the brake pad by 6.5mm. Looks much better than the Aican type, and also comes with its own brake pad.

Weight of Ridea brake pad extender is 10 grams. Slightly heavier than the Dura-Ace type, probably due to a bit more material from the extension.

However, there is one downside to this change, as I am unable to fit the SwissStop brake pads into the Ridea brake pad holders. There is some difference in dimension which makes it too tight to fit. I also cannot fit the Shimano brake pads into the Ridea brake pad holder.

Therefore, I have to use the Ridea brake pads, which at least seem to be of decent quality. Hope it works well with decent stopping power. Pictures will be shown later when the full bike is completed.

Finally, with the insufficient brake caliper reach issue resolved, I can move on to install the rest of the components onto the bike!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Java Freccia Carbon Mini Velo: Part 4 - Preparing for Assembly

With the frame and fork weighed, and the geometry comparison completed, it is time to prepare the frame for component assembly! All the components will be transplanted from the Wheelsport mini velo wherever possible, as this Java mini velo will replace the Wheelsport mini velo.

First, let's install the headset. This is easy as there is no need to press fit any headset cups into the frame.

Placing the lower headset bearing onto the fork. The crown race is already molded into the bottom of the steerer tube.

Placing the compression ring on top of the upper headset bearings

Placing the cover on top of the headset compression ring. The carbon spacer will then press onto this cover.

The carbon spacer was purchased separately, and I had to estimate the length required. 120mm is too long for this steerer tube, so some cutting is required.

Inserting the compression plug from the top cap into the steerer tube, in order to judge the length of the carbon spacer that needs to be cut.

As I plan to use the 80mm Controltech stem which is originally used on the Avanti Inc 3 (it turned out to be too long for that bike), I measured the stem height to determine the amount that needs to be cut.

Available space between top cap and 120mm spacer: 13mm
Space required for Controltech stem: 40mm
Space required for 5mm spacer on top of stem: 3-5mm

Therefore, I will require about 43mm of clearance between the carbon spacer and the top cap, so that I can fit the stem (with 40mm height) and spacer (5mm height), while ensuring that the spacer protrudes from the steerer tube by a few millimeters.

This means that I will need to cut about 30mm off the carbon spacer, trimming it from 120mm to approximately 90mm.

Using a carbon saw (similar to how I cut the FSA SL-K seatpost), instead of using the pipe cutter (when I cut the carbon spacer for the Wheelsport mini velo), I was able to obtain a relatively good and flat cut.

Final height between the 90mm carbon spacer and the top cap is about 43mm, which is perfect. If anyone else intends to build a bike with this frameset, a 90mm carbon spacer will be just right.

Controltech stem installed!

As pointed out earlier, this frame uses a press fit bottom bracket, not a traditional threaded bottom bracket. I would have preferred a threaded bottom bracket, as it makes it easy to install or remove the bottom bracket. However, the advantage of press fit bottom bracket is lighter weight, as there is no need to have metal threads on both the frame and the bottom bracket itself.

I was not sure which press fit bottom bracket to use, therefore I had to do some research to see what bottom bracket will fit this frame. The frame shell width is about 86mm, while the internal diameter is about 40.9mm.

Specifications for Shimano press fit road bottom bracket

With this confirmation, this frame will accept a Shimano press fit road bottom bracket.

Surface of the press fit contact area looks rough, but it is actually quite smooth to the touch, which is ideal. Will use some fine grade sandpaper to prepare the surface before installing the bottom bracket.

The main issue with press fit bottom brackets is creaking sound during usage, which is almost always due to poor fitting between the bottom bracket cups and the frame. It can be due to poor press fitting tolerances, or just failure to prepare the surfaces properly. Some people prefer to use loctite to prevent any movement that will cause creaking, but this makes it super difficult to remove. I prefer the other school of thought, which is to apply grease at the contact areas, so that in case it does move, it will not cause creaking sounds.

While prepping the frame for assembly, I also studied the cable routing for this frame. This frame is designed for internal routing, which keeps the exterior of the frame clean and tidy. However, this also makes it more troublesome to install or service the cabling.

Cable stoppers on the frame, which clips into the hole on the frame via a smart snap fit design.

Snap fit design of the cable stopper makes it easy to remove the stoppers for easy cable installation.

Upon closer inspection, I found that there are two different stopper designs. The first is for shifter cables, where the outer cap will be stopped by the cable stopper. The second is for the brake cables, where the outer casing will run straight through. The difference is a step inside the cable stopper.

Cable stopper for shifter outer casing, which holds the outer cap and allows only the inner cable to pass through. The inner cable will then be exposed while running internally through the frame.

Cable stopper for brake outer casing, which has a through hole that allows the whole brake outer casing to pass through, with no exposed inner cable.

Testing the cable guide under the bottom bracket, to determine how to route the cables through the frame. The route shown here is for the rear derailleur inner cable.

This bike will have a 1x11 speed drivetrain, similar to that on the Wheelsport Fantasy mini velo. Therefore, I only have to be concerned with the routing of the rear derailleur inner cable and also the rear brake cable.

I was not too happy with the exposed inner cable running under the bottom bracket, as it will collect too much dirt and affect shifting accuracy. In order to prevent this, I decided to run a plastic cable liner to protect the inner cable from dirt.

The cable liner is the same as the one found inside the shifter outer casing, and the easiest way to get it is to cut open the shifter outer casing and extract the plastic liner from the inside. Another advantage of putting this plastic liner is to make it easier to install the inner cable later on.

Splitting the shifter outer casing to obtain the plastic liner

Running the plastic liner from the front of the frame...

...under the bottom bracket...

...and out from the right side chain stay.

During the installation of the inner cable, it will be easier to thread the inner cable through the whole frame, since the plastic liner is already there to guide it through. After that, the plastic liner will need to be trimmed so that it does not touch the outer cap on the outer casing at either end. This liner is supposed to "float" on the exposed section of the inner cable which is inside the frame.

Next, the wheelset, crankset, rear derailleur and chain was transferred over from the Wheelsport mini velo. The next step would be to install the rest of the components!

Java Freccia mini velo half assembled. To be continued!