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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Learning a lot from building/completing the OEM Bike Project

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines
March 17, 2018

My OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) carbon bike project sourced from Eastern Visayas and Taiwan is nearing completion.  All I need  to do is to make the FD STI work (it does not work now -  cause ? I inserted the sti cable wrong)  I have to go to Marikina to look for Erning at John Wilkes bike shop for repairs.

The bike is drawing raves:   ohs and ahs even from bike shop owner and fellow kapadyak  I was able to build a very light bike, probably 6.7 kg.   It will be lighter once my Campagnolo Bora 2 35 mm wheelset arrives.   (1.3 kg)

It is not  so much of a beautiful or lightweight bike being as the ultimate result, but the tremendous amount of knowledge and skills that I obtained that really mattered.   I built this bike with my own hands, with only 30% coming from outside:    the press fit of the BB, the solution to the loose headset.  I can talk sensibly about many things thanks to this project:

1.  Prepaid order of bike frames from far away places
2.  Carbon framesets
3.  Are Taiwan framesets fakes, will they break easily?
4.  Ordering carbon frames and bike accessories from Lazada
5.  Bottom brackets:  BB 30, BB 386, BB Evo, BB 865 etc
6. The SRAM group set;  how not to buy cranks at various groups
7. Weight weenies:  weight of various components
8.  Internal cabling difficulties and challenges
9. Headsets and aluminium expanders for head sets.
10.  Tuning the bike derailleur
11. Direct Mount brakes:   installing and making this work

So I really learned a lot.   I was able to make a lot of posts at this blog and even comment sensibly at threads on the above related topics.  Even at the very simple machine like a bicycles, a lot can be learned. If you are interested

Some discussion

1. Prepaid order of bike frames and parts from far away places.

   The same as Lazada experience.    For me ordering prepaid from a City in East Visayas was risky and fearful experience.  I have always believed that when you buy, there is an instant exchange of PHP and goods.  But in this case, I have to send PHP first prior to him ordering from Taiwan, and full payment prior to delivery from Visayas to here.

  Thus as counter measure, I have to do the following:

        1.  Bike the guy who is selling and ask for references from the previous persons who bought. Sec. Noe Bought a Pinarello from the outfit;
       2. Write a contract (which I hope he would honor)
       3. Got the phone number of the guy and talked to him, got PM of the picture of the item, plus his ID.
       But there were times whenn I really got scared, right after I sent the complete payment.  He could not be contacted at FB nor  his phone.   I was frantic and I had to call Sec. Noe. Fortunately I got the bad news that he drowned his cp and he acknowledged via PM his receipt of full payment.  For the delivery, he came here to Manila last Feb 17, the day after Vigan ride and I had to hurry back to Manila from Vigan to take the delivery of the bike frame.  Since I was commuting, I paid extra for the large package at the AC bus from MoA and from Crossing to Angono.  (no choice.  hindi naman ako marunong ng Grab Taxi at Uber)

    Now I ordered a Campy Bora 2 wheel set (1.3 kg) It has SRP of P130 k.

  2. Carbon framesets:

      Carbon technology is almost generic now and everybody who does this seem to have mastered the  technology.   And mass production is in Taiwan where they have large manufacturing facilities.  70% of CF are made in Asia:  Taiwan and China.  The raw material:  carbon fiber is made  and supplied from Asia:  and the best Toray is supplied from Japan (Mitsubishi)

    Making carbon fiber parts is not much different from fiber glass:  only you use carbon fiber (which is just like a cloth) which is more expensive:  P500/yard and you have 20 to 30 layers per part

    All carbon fiber is made by  hand:   ie the  fiber in many layers are laid by hand on molds. The high tech part there comes from pattern making from cutting, and the manner of laying down the fibers. I learned also about the various types:  3k (the first generation) 12 k (where the  weave is almost not noticeable) and UD. The manufacturing high tech is about the ovens, the molds and the vacuum process (to remove the air bubbles) from in between layers of the  fiber.

    Carbon fiber is strong and light  (10 times stronger than steel but weighs only a third)  It is a space age technology and used initially for race cars, at outer space, aircraft parts for strength and weight savings.

N. B   Not all carbon fiber parts are light. Those  who go on sale have carbon frames circa 2011 and they weigh 1.4 kg.  much much heavier than Cannondale CAAD 8 or  10 which tip the scales at only 1.2 kg. The really very light frames are Helium from Ridleys (about 600 grams) and Trek Domane (the lightest production bike in the world at about same weight)

    While strong, cf is brittle.  It will break when a certain part is subjected to high impact.   Carbon fiber  wheels suffer when subjected to high tension tuning/truing.  And some can pop out.  But many  carbon fiber bike owners suffer 3 to 5 times crash and their bikes are still good.

  Will Taiwan made cf frames easily break vs the orig?  I doubt.  95% of cf bikes are subcontracted by Europeans and American and Taiwan. There are videos of Sava frames being thrown and hammered on the floor and they do not break. There was a demo of handle bar breaking.  I doubt the authenticity of the video and they may be sued.  They must have sawed of the handle bar before doing the stunt.  I sawed to size (removed 10 cm) from a seat post and I had hard time sawing.

    Does it have expiry:  five years?Some say it has.  But others doubt it.  For bike, there is challenge when there are metal parts getting in contact with carbon fiber like the bottle cage and FD attachment. Just check frequently for rotting and corrosion.

   Keep your carbon fiber parts: wheel set and frame from heat. Say trunk or inside the a parked car because they can pop out

3.  Are Taiwan  framesets or parts fake?

        There were group discussions on these topic and long threads of conversation appeared at groups.   It appeared that many have old and outdated opinion on Taiwan, as if they are a bunch of shady individuals typical checkua who cant do nor produce quality products. This is difficult because we have scores of  Fil Chi who can be from Taiwan.  We have thousands OFW working in Taiwan factories.  Taiwan is only some hundred km north of Batanes islands. and their aborigines are not much different from the natives of Batanes.

     Taiwan has state of the art manufacturing facilities. It is globally competitive country and it built its wealth exporting to the world.  Some bike parts manufacturer:  SRAM, FSA, Kenda, Giant are from Taiwan

   95% of  bike frames:  alum and carbon fiber are sourced from Taiwan.    Even high end frameset:  Pinarello, Colnago, Orbea etc are made in Taiwan.  Why do they buy from Taiwan:  because  they are cheap:  costs only $200.00 and then the marketers can sell these between $1,000 to $5,000.  Typical Dogma frames, Bianchi sets you back by P220,000.  Wow

   A bike shop owner who saw my OEM bike warned me that the frame or fork could break That is pretty much an indictment of his wares most of which are carbon and probably made in Taiwan.  He is doing a disservice to fellow Chinese.  I am not friend of Chinese but we  should realize that they are masters of manufacturing now.

4. Ordering from Lazada.

   I request my order be done through my daughter who is a regular Lazada buyer.  She can order by Credit card, enjoys monthly discount and has free delivery to boot.  I got my first order:  a handle bar (Toseek at 220 grams) a Toseek seat post, alum jockey pulley wheels and seat post clamp (wrong size)

  Thus the handle bar which costs P1,500 set me back by only P1,300

 It takes time to have delivery and you have to be careful when ordering. When you get a wrong size of item thats it.  You have 7 days to return, and you have to pay for shipping.  They occasionally run of stock. So be patient if you get a cancellation.  So be patient.  They have delivery dates which could be 2 to 3 weeks from the time you ordered.   COD options are available.

5. Bottom brackets

  It was a simple thing before one bottom bracket for all cranks that were either:  ISIS, square  type but now no more.  You have to make the  3 match:  the crankset, the BB and bike frame width.  Thus if you have  BB 30 frame, you have to have BB 30 crankset, and BB 30 BB. I made the mistake of buying a BB 30 crankset (clearly imprinted on the spindle) and yet I bought a 86.5mm wide BB shell.  Useless purchase.  I had to buy another GS.

I made a separate post on BB.  There are BB 30,  BB 38.6, BB evo, BB 86.5 BB 91. Before we had threaded BB,English or Italian.   Knowing the difference can give you head aches.  This is is true for MTB too.  Otherwise you have to look for adapters and they are not available locally and they are expensive.  Some are available at Ebay and they warning that they do not ship to PH.

6.  SRAM group sets

    It is one of the expensive group sets.   However,  watch out for the crankset.  It may not fit your bike. They sell BB30 BB36, Standard (GXP)  That should fit many of our bikes They are light lighter than Campy or Durace.   The lightest portion of the GS are the  crankset which is about 555 grams, and the shifter which is about 290  grams compared to 440 grams for Ultegra.

The technical support is nil; they wont repair shifter that were sold by another group.  Its difficult to contact  their distributors:  Bikezilla, Missing Link and Lifecycle. The GS that I bought will be entirely useless:  the left shifter does not work.  and the BB 30 crank does not work...

7.  Weight weenies

     The most important part to shave weight is the drive  train which consist of shoes, pedal, crank, chain, the cogs, wheelset and  tires and tubes.    Since you rotate this drive train so many times, when you add up the weight, they could total a ton. Say shoes:    you bought a 1 kg shoes from Boy Pepsi that sets you back by P2k  and the other guy uses a SIDI costing  P10k but weighs only 500 grams.   Over a week end ride the and the rotation  of  is 20,000 times, that would be 10 tons difference in effort. That is a lot of effort.

    You also lighten the tires and tubes. Tires and tubes could  weigh as much as 1 kg.  But if you buy more expensive tires say Michelin pro 180 grams x 2  =  360 grams +    super light tubes  90 g x 2 = 180 grams = total weight -  540 grams vs.  1 kg of heavy cheap tires.   Think about this

    You may spend 2k x 2 =   4k +  200 x 2 for superlight tubes =  4,400.  But the weight savings of 500 grams over heavy tires and tubes is equivalent to weight saved from a frameset which will set you back by  P30,000.

8.  Internal Cabling.  

   This is a bane to many mechanics. I found out  why.   I personally saw the difficulties.   Just  to install the cable in the drop bar, I spent 1/2 day and spent two hours fabricating the tool to catch the outer cable.  . It was easy installing the brake outer since there was a flexible end.   However when there were two outers, the space within which to work was narrower and the visibility was poor.  You to have to hook the  inside opening of the cable and pull this out.

  Installing the cable within the frame.  There are plastic guides.  However, when you commit a mistake and to remove the cable you have to follow up with plastic guides again. The guides  have to be secured by a masking tape so that they wont slide inside the frame.   When you lose the guide, you have to catch the cable with the tool fabricated earlier:   a bent spoke that was sharpened at the end to hook the cable inner and outer.  But each time you make an error, you  have to reinsert the guide when you remove the cable. Otherwise, you will spend endless time looking for the cable.  It could go elsewhere.  This is tiring

9. Headsets and aluminum expander.

   Since this a carbon fork and steerer the normal flower headset expander will not work. It has to be the aluminum expander that costs P500.00 each.  My initial installation was a dud and the fork was loose.  So I have to bring it to the bike shop in Marikina.  He initially tightened the expander so that it is flush against the  fork steerer wall. Then he removed some of the spacer.  And then asked me to place thin shim over the bearing so that the rotation of the fork will be lighter.   The lip of the steerer fork has to be 1/2 inch lower than the lip of the stem.  I bought a LaBici stem which is 60 mm and very light too.  This is my second time to have headset challenge with a Bianchi bike

10  Tuning the bike derailleur

    Last night I was waiting for my turn at the bike shop because I gave up on tuning the rear derailleur.  Only 2 or 3 gears worked.   So there was line and was third.  I was 20 minutes past 7 and I would imagine it would take at least one hour to complete the work:    assembling a rim set, tuning the bike, changing the cog set.  So I decided to go home and just return today.  However I was not  content with that.  I analyzed the problem.   The stopper made of plastic installed by  Celso, mechanic of John Wilkie broke and therefore the cable was stuck.  I unstuck the cable and replaced the cable stopper.  And I tried to pull the cable hard.   It gave way and maybe about 1/2 inch was pulled from the RD side.  I noticed that the RD would work only for downshift if you apply tension on the cable.   And lo all of  a sudden the RD worked:   all ten speeds. But then I had to adjust the limiter screw for Hi so that I can use 11 and 13.  Well done JB.   I saved P50 to P100 mechanic fee.  And was able to sleep well last night.

   Today I brought the STI for FD to mechanic to Erning at John Wilkie who promised he can repair my SRAM red and Ultegra STI shifter and would charge me P300.00 per shifter.  I would be able to come back for them tomorrow.  I pray ma repair niya.

11.   Direct mount brake

     First, the  mechanic Celso said that I should exchange the front and rear brake because they would not adjust properly.  Baka the former owner placed them at wrong boxes.  So pinagpalit ko and the brakes worked properly.  Before kasi and I could get the brakes accept the wheels. Dikit na dikit and the wheels would not turn.   May secret pala.  If you turn the mounting bolt to the left, bubuka caliper.

  You will have to really use the adjustment barrell to get right clearance between brake pads and brake line.  You need not pull the cable hard when you tighten the cable.  And then the cable must wrap around the anchoring bolt   The brakes are strong and works with lightest touch

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How many bikes do you own/have in your house?

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines
March 14 2018

Image result for how many bicycles do you own

Image result for how many bicycles do you own

From Quora - How many bikes do you own   (on the average 2 to 3)

That is a very timely and relevant question.  Many post events where the biker was said to be be nagligpit and worse, asked by wife to sell a or several bikes. Order ni Ms.   Kalat kasi. Kasi maraming bikes.

Kapadyak ilan nga bike meron ka o nasa bahay (Yong iba sa kaibigang bike shop nakapark ang kanilang bike.  Totoo o hindi)

Several pro bikers were interviewed at You Tube and on the average own at least 6 bikes.  Some own 11 bikes.   And I thought I was abnormal

I think most bikers at least those  I know and talked with have at least 3 bikes. True or false.  The entry level would surely have only one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blue feet Boobbies of Galopagos Island - the seeds of epidemic dated millions years ago (Who copied?)

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines
March 12, 2018

Blue feet boobies at Galopagos Island

Blue-footed Boobies
                                             Kahanga hanga - unang naghasik ng virus ha6

Image result for blue webbed boobies of Galapagos
                                                  Copy right infringement by the Bike company
                                                       on the Boobies feet color?

Image result for blue webbed boobies of Galapagos
                                                      Nanggaya tayo sa birds, nahawa?

I nearly fell of the bed laughing as  I watched the survival segment Animal Planet on TV. It featured the mating characteristics of various animals, so that they will survive and perpetuate their species.  The mayfly which has only 24 hours to lay eggs, some species of deer which breed only once a  year and more -  crabs which attract female by waving their pincers...

One those featured were the boobies of Galopagos.  Believe it or not their feet are celeste green in color and their courtship consist of the male raising its celeste green feet to the lady, and then laying down sticks and looking at the sky. The color of the feet is sexual attraction tool... And the lady boobies fall for it... I could not believe that such birds  were the predate  certain bike colors.  They were probably here million of years ago, well ahead of homo sapiens


1. Is buying that color a courtship pattern we inherited from the birds?

2. Will ladies fall for that color?  Hehe and say Yes.