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February 5, 2012
Every few years I accumulate enough bits and pieces to create a Frankenbike. It’s a slow process that I manage through donations, replacements and upgrades. Here is my very own “Bikes of the Bunch” five minutes of fame featuring a plethora of spare parts, a few clandestine purchases, and a lot of favors along the way.
One of the significant moments in my blogging career was helping out the Rapha Condor team as a lackey in the 2009 Sun Tour. I was unemployed and happy to help out the team as I knew most of them already. It was actually a big turning point for this blog because the posts that I generated from this experience made me realise how hungry people were for behind the scenes content. Little did I know that this would be the start of a longstanding relationship with Rapha which eventually attracted me to working with them.
Andy Verrall giving the Condors a wash during the 2009 Sun Tour. Andy now works with Team SKY at their service course.
A very talented rider named Ben Greenwood had a nasty crash on stage 2 which put him out of the race. He was bruised and battered and his bike was a mess. The frame was cracked on the toptube, but not beyond repair. Team Manager, John Herety gave me the frame after the race as it was no use to them.
Ben Greenwood looking like he got in a fight after stage 2 of the 2009 Sun Tour
The frame sat in a pike of junk in my storage room for a couple years before I got off my backside and had it repaired. It’s nothing special, but it looked like it would fit me okay and it didn’t cost me anything. Plus, I loved the headbadge. I bumped into a gentleman named Raoul Luescher who repairs carbon frames and I convinced him to help me out with my little bike project. Raoul generously fixed my battered up frame for no cost and inspected the rest of it using ultrasound to ensure that it was structurally sound.
Raoul Luescher from Luescher Teknik
I’ve long admired the work of Steve Munyard from Sun Graphics. Steve and I caught up for a coffee and I told him what I’d like to do. I was working on a new CT kit design and had a couple concepts to show him. He drew something up on photoshop which I liked and within a couple weeks he had the frame cleaned up, painted, and looking like new.
The Condor headbadge is one of the finer details of this frame
A good friend of mine was hit by a car up in the Dandenongs last year where his bike was written off. It was sitting in his garage collecting dust. He was able to claim a new bike on insurance and they told him to keep the damanged bike as it was no good to them. Lucky for me most of the Shimano Di2 was still intact and he simply gave it to me. The only thing I had to do was buy a new brake lever.
I asked Echelon Sports if they’d help me out with the 3T handlebars, stem, seatpost. I had a mish mash these parts laying around, but if there’s one rule on a bike build, it’s that these three items must always match. I had used 3T components on my last bike and loved the handlebars. After that decision was made it was obvious that I needed the matching stem and seatpost. I had an old San Marco Replica saddle laying around which is the comfiest thing saddle on the market. I adds a lot of character to a bike like this as well. I also ordered a couple Elite bidon cages because of their elegance and simplicity.
This wasn’t as easy as you might think. The Di2 was my biggest concern. I’ve build lots of bikes before but I’ve never installed Di2 and I was certain that there would be issues that I couldn’t resolve with my spare parts laying around the house. I took the frame and box of components over to Hampton Cycles and asked them to build it up for me. And I was right – it wasn’t straightforward. They had to get an external Di2 kit to run the wires and many other parts weren’t an ideal fit. Many hours later the guys at Hampton Cycles managed to get everything working properly and riding like a dream. They did a fine job at getting the Di2 looking very clean despite the frame not being designed for it.
Okay, these weren’t cheap, but they were a “necessity”. Out of all the wheels I’ve ever ridden, one of my favorites are the ENVE 25’s with DT Swiss 240 hubs. I decided that a bike like this needed a low profile set of wheels and I got a line of a set of demos that were hardly used. I put on a nice set of Vittoria Corsa Evo CX tubulars (not shown here) and they ride like a dream.
What Would I Change?
Steve’s workmanship on the paintjob is absolutely stunning, however since the new kit design has changed (coming very soon, I promise) I would probably paint it differently. Also, aside from the exceptional front derailleur shifting, I don’t really rate the Di2. There’s no “feel” or “snap” to the rear shifting and I cannot say that I’ve ever had much of a problem with mechanical shifting. The only thing that would change my mind however is if there was just a simple “click” to let me know how hard I need to push on the lever. Maybe I’m just having trouble getting used to it.
Alright, let me have it. What would you change?
SLAM THAT STEM!
Thank you to Ben Greenwood, Raoul Luescher (for fixing the frame), Steve Munyard (Sun Graphics for the paintjob), Leigh De Luca (Echelon Sports for the 3T parts), Hampton Cycles (for the build), and Monza Imports (for the ENVE Wheels), and a good friend (you know who you are) for the Di2