Monday, April 4, 2011

Bianchi 1885/ SRAM Red

I decided to start off the 2011 season with an old friend and a new build. The foundation of this build would be my 2010 1885 frame/fork, the rest would be a whole new dance for me.

63cm bikes are a rarity in carbon form so for now, I'll pedal away on this extremely responsive aluminum/carbon seat stay equipped platform.

This year I'll be trying out road tubeless wheels and tires. I've ridden these Hutchinson tires before and their grip is super nice. As of this posting I've had only one ride on them with 90lbs in the rear and 80lbs of pressure in the front and they roll into the corners similar to tubulars. Not the same but noticeably different than tubed clinchers.

It's been almost 6 years since I've built a bike from the frame up. Usually with my job, I'm on the outta da' box build. This time I wanted to create a build that has a bit of class, a bit of tech, without being cliche'.

Drivetrain. Still 10 speed.

The label says Hydro but the frame is actually Super Plastic Formed aluminum. What does this mean? Strong and stiff. Not featherweight, but aren't motorists increasingly becoming bad drivers? Think of SPF as an insurance policy should that motorist who refuses to use a hands-free headset, buzzes you with the rear view mirror of her SUV. Also you can detect a blob of red grease under the band clamp for the front derailleur. That's carbon fiber assembly paste by FSA. A must to use under SRAM front derailleurs. Given the spring force for their front derailleur, it's better to know that the clamp won't twist, versus over torquing the clamp and crimping the frame. Another SRAM recommended tip.

The Arione fits my bumm like teeth to gums. Ok, maybe that was a bit off color but dang it, I love the way this saddle fits! Historically, I'm all over the saddle when I ride; on the back for climbing and mashing, on the nose for high cadence, spinning for the horizon. The Thompson Masterpiece seat post is as light as many carbon posts and just oozes handmade goodness! The post is a 31.6mm which we use on almost all of our road bikes. That's a good thing and adds to the cornering prowess of our bikes; a nice over-sized seat tube allows you to steer the bike with your butt instead of the bars when needed. No spindly seat pins mate!

Powerdome cassette 11/26t and a Shimano Dura Ace chain for quieter operations. The Gore cables are snickety quick too.

Nice tube shape. 1885, what a year!

If you run a Thompson seat post, you have to run their stem. Or at least if you're matchy-matchy like me you will. Again, holding this stem in your hand really feels good, smooth, well crafted and pretty light for being aluminum. 130mm strong.

I chose to use a braze-on style front derailleur. Why? Because owning a high end groupo and coming from Campy bikes over the past 4 years, I like knowing that I can move the parts to another frame should this frame go away. Campy, on their mid-high end front derailleurs you can convert a band clamp derailleur to a braze-on style, SRAM you cannot. The braze-on set up if needed also allows you to use SRAM shims to re-align the derailleur's outer shift plate to match outer chain ring profile which facilitates better shifting when set up this way. And I used a Force derailleur because the shift plates are stiffer than the Ti Red derailleur; better up shifts.

Powerdome cassette. It's amazingly light.

For a 63cm aluminum frame and aluminum steer tube, I'm ok with this weight. It's not like it's a pound over in the wheel department. The bike feels quicker than this scale leads you to believe. Many miles to go!

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