Sunday, January 30, 2011

California - Day 6 - Where's the Riding?!

Day Six. California. Training camp.

I've been under the weather, I got out for two rides, and... that's it.

Day Six didn't help things much, although I learned what I need to do. That's a big part of avoiding that feeling of helpless, knowing what needs to get done.

Today I decided to work on the bike. I thought of getting in a ride later, but when it rained, a kind of unusual event, I canned that idea of riding.

With the rain came the idea of committing to the TsunamiTwo. See, the one big thing to install on the new frame is the BB30 bearings and crankset. If they go on okay then the bike is fine.

If not, not.

First I did what I could without having to touch TsunamiOne - the fork.

Before that though I wanted to see what the bike would look like with a 90 mm tall rear wheel sitting in the dropouts.

I think about this time I mentioned to the host that I was glad I was building the bike here. At home I'd have rushed things, short for time, unable to spend too much time on any one project. Here, time stood still. I could spend 5 hours on the bike and still have 5 hours of daylight left.

Well, okay, I could spend 3 hours because I'm waking up later than 7, but you get the idea.

Wicked cool. If I glue some felt or hook and loop stuff on the seat tube it could act as a tire saver.

I should have pointed out that my host broke out the good camera. You can tell because the pictures are a lot better. Deep blacks, nice depth, yada yada yada.

Another look at the openings at the bottom of the seat and down tubes.
I wonder if they'll hum at all.

The blow-hole like opening for the front derailleur cable.
Note the pristine BB shell...

A nice look at the seat mast.

The narrow down tube. And the close seat tube.

Trial fit of fork, headset, and stem.

The 3T Funda Team fork is a lightweight (330g measured, cut, including sleeve) fork. It's a result of 3T's overhaul of its design processes, including the recruiting of an ex-F1 carbon fiber engineer.

(F1 is top of the level car racing, and the teams use carbon fiber everywhere.)

As the engineer put it, they were doing it all wrong. He went through the line and revamped pretty much everything.

This fork was one of those things.

The fork's important stuff.

The biggest danger to a fork isn't the huge pothole. Well, not directly. The weak point of the fork is the bit where the stem attaches. Due to overtightening of the stem, unseen damage after a fall, and probably a zillion other things, the stem/steerer-tube junction remains the most critical customer/shop serviced area. Cutting a fork, installing one, even adjusting the angle of the stem... they all rely on being able to consistently clamp the (if so equipped) carbon fiber fork.

3T now has a metal sleeve that you epoxy (two part epoxy) into place. A star nut sits in the sleeve, ready to pull the stem cap down.

First you cut the fork to the right length, then you file and sand the edges with very specific sand paper. In preparation for the epoxy, you need to wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol after sanding any rough spots. Finally a two part epoxy glues the sleeve in place.

Sanding the edges with 120g silicone carbide sandpaper.

Luckily most of the required items came with the fork. No nitrile gloves, no respirator, no file. But the sand paper, the epoxy, the Popsicle stick to mix said epoxy, all included.

Without epoxy, test fit.

Of course I cut the fork conservatively, 2 mm too long. I had fudged 2 mm because that's the width of the blade.

Properly schooled, I punished myself by passing out on the couch, sleepy like crazy. Then, a bit groggy from my nap, I went and promptly cut the next 2 mm off.

That's more like it.

With rain falling I decided to take the plunge and give the BB a shot.

You can see TsunamiOne in the background.
I'm optimistically installing the cranks on TsunamiTwo.

At about this time I ran into trouble. When I finally managed to get the bearings into the shell, they'd barely turn. I mean we had to exert a lot of force to get the bearings to go even a few mm. I tried to get the spindle in but even with some really good whacks with a heavy mallet, the spindle didn't go through.

I'd talked about how I was glad I was doing the bike here due to the time available here. Well, another reason is the detail oriented host. He'd find anything and everything wrong with the bike. The BB30 trials cinched it. If it were at home I'd have just gotten a bigger hammer.

Instead, with the analytical host thinking in overdrive, I now know the BB shell got distorted (probably during welding). It has to be re-created in round so that the bearings would work properly.

BB shell with circlips. The clips keep the bearings from going in too far.

Optimistically installing a bearing.

I took the bearings out later.

Several times.

Cleaning out some grease. Or adding it, I forget which. I did that several times too.

The problem was the BB shell distorted the BB30 bearings, causing them to go oval. My host noticed the bearings would rock back and forth one way but not another. He noticed that he could see gaps in the loose bits.

The bound up the bearings made it virtually impossible to insert the spindle or to even turn the bearings at all. The first time I almost got the cranks on, they'd pretty much stay where ever you turned them.

No spin at all.

The weirdness I experienced last year was because of the same reason (and I measured up to a 15 watt loss in friction, pedaling furiously in a tiny gear while coasting at 45 mph). It wasn't a fluke. I think it'd caused by welding a pre-finished BB30 shell. I think that the shell needs to be machined after welding.

Problem is that there aren't any BB30 facing tools that I know of. I heard of one or two coming out but I haven't seen them anywhere for sale.

Therefore I had to use a different facing tool.


I'm using a Mark 1 facing tool, with an infinitely adjustable cutting range.
It has two hands, glasses (in my case), and very dusty hands.

Because filing is like cutting a fork - you can always cut more but you can't add stuff back - I filed diligently and slowly. After a lot of trial fits and such, I had to give up. I felt as tired as I did when I took my midafternoon nap.

Except this time it was midnight.

My host captured the moment.

"Wow. I got nothing done."

Look, at least the pictures look better. And I was wearing my Expo hoodie.

As far as the bike goes?


Yeah, I know, I know. But I really want to get it done tomorrow. TsunamiOne is down so I have no choice.


StevenCX said...

Well this is interesting. There must be tools available to framebuilders, since any metal frame gets welded and heat treated, and carbon frames are also baked.

Marcus said...

That's how the alpha-q forks worked, the glued in insert. 3T must have taken over since, as far as I know, the AQ division of True Temper is gone.

Aki said...

I spent some time looking for a BB30 facing tool. I remember one of the cycling sites said that at least one, if not two, were being released. But I couldn't find any, at least not as of now.

Fork - I didn't know that. I typically get exposed to what I buy/use or what my friends buy/use. I mean, yeah, I see stuff and read about it, but to actually work on it, that's when you truly understand it. My last few forks have been Reynolds, with their expanding plug thing. The sleeve gives me confidence though.

Anonymous said...

I understand the rush to get the bike rideable, but I'd really face that shell a bit more if at all possible. I have a relatively new supersix and the bearings are very smooth. It probably doesn't matter that much for performance, but after all you've done to maximize your equipment for this season, it's hard to believe that you'd settle for such tight bearings.

Aki said...

I think I will, but after I get back home. My other frame was similar but worse. This one isn't as bad.

Right now the bearings are a bit tight. But I rode all last year like that and it was okay.

Having said that I think it'll be good to make them "right".