Sunday, May 24, 2020

PRO Internal Routing Tool

Nowadays, most bike frames come with internal cable routing, which is for better appearance. Functionally there is probably no advantage, other than being a tiny little bit more aerodynamic. However, the main drawback of internal cable routing is troublesome installation of the cables. Many times, after you insert the cable into one end of the frame, it does not come out the other side.

It can be very frustrating and time consuming to route a cable internally through the frame, if you don't have the proper tools. I think Park Tool was the first to come out with a good internal routing tool, followed by many others.

Recently, I decided to get an internal routing tool for myself, as I needed to route new hydraulic hoses and Di2 wires through the new Cervelo Aspero frame and fork. Previously when I assembled the Canyon Endurace, I borrowed the Park Tool internal routing tool kit and it worked pretty well.

PRO Internal Routing Tool. It is made to be like a multi tool, instead of many separate parts. Comes with a storage pouch.

The left side has a big magnet for guiding the other adapters through the frame. Right side has the various adapters to fit different types of hose or outer casing.

There are three adapters, for Di2 wire, brake/shift outer casing, and hydraulic brake hose.

From top to bottom: Di2 wire adapter, brake/shift outer casing adapter, hydraulic hose adapter. Each of these adapters can be removed, to be attached to the other part of the internal routing tool.

Adapter that clips into the Di2 wire

This adapter is joined to a short stretch of cable that has a small magnet on the other end. This will allow the big magnet to guide these parts through the frame.

Alternatively, use the long wire that has a small magnet at the other end. First, guide the long wire through the frame using the big magnet. Then, stick the magnet that is connected to the Di2 wire to this long wire. Finally, pull out the long wire to also route the Di2 wire through the frame.

This tool works pretty well, but you need to know how to use it to maximize its effectiveness. What I like about this PRO tool is the addition of the Di2 adapter that can be used to guide the Di2 wire.

With this tool, I was able to guide the Di2 wires and hydraulic hoses through the Cervelo Aspero frame and fork easily. However, routing the Di2 wires and hydraulic hoses through the PRO Vibe Aero Superlight handlebar was a nightmare, as the internal space was very tight, with sharp bends. Also, the entry/exit holes on the handlebar were quite small which made it difficult to squeeze the magnet and cables through. That is no fault of this tool, just wanted to highlight that if there is insufficient space, even an internal routing tool will have limited use.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Bike Friday HaD: Upgraded Roller Wheels

My Bike Friday Haul-A-Day cargo bike is already perfect for my purposes, with an excellent Deore XT 4 piston braking setup and also Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain. The only weak point would be the DIY roller wheels that I installed, in order to allow the bike to be wheeled around when vertical.

These DIY roller wheels are quite useful, I would say essential for wheeling the bike vertically into the elevator. However, as already observed previously, these roller wheels are quite flimsy and are not of good quality. These can be seen from the thin side walls and also simple plastic wheels.

Recently, I found that the bike is unable to roll straight when placed vertically. It tends to wobble from side to side, and I realised that this is due to misaligned roller wheels, as shown below.

Steel side walls of the roller wheel bracket are already bent and deformed, as the side walls are quite thin.

The whole roller wheel is already tilted to the side, causing it to be misaligned with the other roller wheel on the other side.

There is no other way to fix this than to get new roller wheels. I tried knocking and bending it back into place but these only made it worse. Getting a new set of the same roller wheels would make the swap easier, but I could not find the same type of roller wheels. It will probably not last very long as well.

The long term solution is to use a better set of roller wheels, but that also means that the bracket dimensions will be different, which will require a new mounting method. I have no idea how it will be mounted, the only way is to get the roller wheels first and figure out a way later.

Bigger and stronger roller wheels shown on the right.

The side walls are much thicker and stronger. However, the hole distances on the metal bracket are different from the previous one.

After a few hours of fiddling, plus lots of trial and error, I managed to create a new way of mounting the new roller wheels. I had to use some new brackets from my spares, without any drilling of new holes on the parts.

New roller wheel on the left, old roller wheel on the right.

Both roller wheels changed to the bigger and stronger version.

Using some creative and desperate methods to hold the roller wheels securely to the frame, to prevent it from moving under load.

Additional brackets at the side to help prevent the roller wheels from shifting when under load.

Mounting these roller wheels is quite challenging due to limited space and non-existent mounting points on the frame.

When vertical and not moving, one of the roller wheels will not touch the ground as the bike tends to rest on the other two points at the end of the wraparound bar.

At least these new roller wheels look stronger than the previous version.

I was glad I was able to make this work, as it is essential to be able to roll the bike when it is vertical. Once again, I wished that there is a standard mounting point on the rear of the Haul-A-Day frame, where standard roller wheels can be mounted easily. This would save me and others a lot of trouble. I would not mind paying extra for a proper mounting point and proper roller wheels, it can be an add-on option when the frame is being made.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cervelo Aspero: Assembly Completed

Finally the Cervelo Aspero has been completed! It is not easy to build up a bike from scratch, as you need to gather all the parts and components needed, without making any mistakes. After that, it takes quite a bit of work to assemble all the parts correctly. If you had made any mistakes when choosing your components, you will realize it during assembly.

As you already know, this Cervelo Aspero will be used as both a road bike and a gravel bike. It only requires a quick wheelset swap to convert between these two types of bikes.

Let's take a look at the completed bike in both road and gravel configurations. Finally, I will show the Di2 wiring layout for this bike, and also the final component list.


Another look at the PRO Vibe stem. The carbon headset spacer has an outer diameter that is bigger than the stem, which affects the appearance of the bike.

With the new Bracket Cover on the shifters, and the fresh Lizard Skin bar tape.

Aero handlebar with a flat top area, which is claimed to improve aerodynamics. I like it for the comfortable flat holding surface.

Di2 Junction A, EW-RS910 tucked neatly into the right side of the handlebar drops. Di2 wires run internally inside the handlebar.

The hydraulic hoses and Di2 wire exits from the bottom of the handlebar near the stem. Di2 wire that runs to Junction B is routed together with the rear brake hose.

Rear brake hose and Di2 wire enters the top tube. Front brake hose runs into the left side fork leg.


Dura-Ace + GRX drivetrain! Shown here is the GRX RD-RX815 and the 11-34T HG800 cassette.

The gravel setup uses the Panaracer GravelKing SK 650B tires that are 43 mm wide.

Here is how the 650B tires look on the Hunt 650B Adventure Carbon Disc wheelset.

About 7 mm of clearance between the tire and the chain stay. Also enough clearance between the 4iiii Precision power meter and the chain stay.

With the SKS Explorer Edge frame bag installed.

Full view of the gravel bike! The wide gravel tires with brown sidewalls look nice on this bike.

No toe overlap when using these gravel tires, which are smaller than standard road tires.

Here is how the road setup looks like! The Teal coloured frameset stands out well from the black components.

The paint job looks fantastic under sunlight, where the glitter can be seen reflecting through the gloss finish.

Did I say I love the paint job?

Three bottle cage bosses for you to choose the position of the water bottle.

The glitter looks really nice under sunlight. Indoor pictures are not able to show how awesome the paint job is.

Glittery paint with light coloured paint splatters makes this frame unique. Plus it hides most of the dirt, so I don't need to clean it so often.

With these standard road tires, there is a bit of toe overlap. Can be avoided if you position your foot correctly during sharp cornering.

Comparison with the Canyon Endurace. The components have been moved over to the Cervelo Aspero.

Handlebar height on the Cervelo Aspero is slightly taller, but the reach is also slightly further forward.

Di2 wiring layout on the Cervelo Aspero. Wiring around the handlebar area is unconventional, but it hides the wireless unit neatly inside the handlebar.

Full component list, with the numbers in red highlighting the main areas where the weight gain comes from, compared to the Canyon Endurace.

The Aspero frame weighs about 370 grams more than the Endurace, while the fork also weighs 50 grams more. Compared to a full Dura-Ace road setup, the GRX RD weighs about 100 grams more than the Dura-Ace RD, while the special BBright bottom bracket also weighs about 90 grams more than Dura-Ace SM-BB92. With a heavier frameset, it is expected that the Cervelo Aspero will weigh more than the Canyon Endurace.

Cervelo Aspero road setup without pedals: 7.6 kg
Canyon Endurace road setup without pedals: 7.0 kg

Cervelo Aspero road setup with pedals: 8.0 kg
Canyon Endurace road setup with pedals: 7.4 kg

Compared to the Canyon Endurace (full Dura-Ace), the Cervelo Aspero weighs about 600 grams more, even with the road setup. About 400 grams comes from the frame + fork + thru axle lever, while the other 200 grams come from the heavier GRX RD and Wheels Manufacturing BBright bottom bracket.

Gravel setup, with the wheelset, tires, brake rotors and cassette switched.

By isolating the weight of the wheelset, the weight difference for the gravel setup can be determined. The table above shows the weight of the gravel wheelset (inclusive of tires, inner tubes, disc rotors, cassette), and it weighs almost 500 grams more than the road wheelset.

Although the Hunt gravel wheelset is 200g lighter than the Reynolds Assault road wheelset, the heavier gravel tires, inner tubes and cassette adds back the weight and more.

Cervelo Aspero gravel setup without pedals: 8.1 kg
Cervelo Aspero gravel setup with pedals: 8.5 kg

In summary, this Cervelo Aspero weighs 8 kg in the road setup, and 8.5 kg in the gravel setup. Not a lightweight bike, but it cannot be helped due to the relatively heavy frameset weight.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Cervelo Aspero: Road vs Gravel Setup

As you already know by now, my Cervelo Aspero is a dual use bike, which means that it can be both a road bike and a gravel bike. This only requires a wheelset swap, as already demonstrated successfully on the Canyon Endurace.

Although the Cervelo Aspero is designed as a fast gravel bike, there is no reason why it cannot be a good road bike as well. All it needs is a fast set of high profile carbon road wheels and smooth rolling road tires. The frame geometry is very similar to that of an endurance road bike, which means it is not too upright for fast rides. Even though the frameset is quite a bit heavier than the Canyon Endurace, it is acceptable as it is not meant to be a pure climbing bike.

The road wheelset is the same old Reynolds Assault Limited Edition Disc wheelset that came stock with the Canyon Endurace, with Continental GP4000 28 mm wide tires. The actual tire width is about 32 mm due to the wide 21 mm internal rim width. This is a good wheelset that I like very much.

On the other hand, the gravel wheelset that I will use on the Aspero is the new Hunt 650B Adventure Carbon Disc wheelset, with 43 mm wide Panaracer GravelKing SK tires. Although the previous DT Swiss G 1800 gravel wheelset was good, it is for 700C tires, which is not what I want on the Aspero. Instead, I want to take maximum advantage of the big tire clearance on the Aspero, which is why I will use 650B wheels and wide tires.

As shown below, the road wheelset and gravel wheelset are different, which means that I do not need to compromise a single wheelset and tire to fit both road and gravel riding. The road wheelset can be optimized for fast road riding, while the gravel wheelset will be optimized for comfort and traction during off-road riding.

650B wheels are visibly smaller than the 700C wheels. The taller 650B tire is not enough to make up for the difference in rim diameter.


Cassette and Rotor Comparison

Gravel wheels use a HG800 11-34T cassette and a Deore XT RT800 disc rotor, also 160 mm diameter.


Front Wheel Comparison
Road front wheel, with high profile rim and road tires.

Gravel front wheel, with a smaller 650B low profile rim, but high volume gravel tires.

It is necessary to use the same size of disc brake rotors and number of speeds on the cassette, if you plan to swap wheels like this. Remember, the idea is to make it as fuss-free as possible to convert between a road and gravel bike setup, with just a wheelset change. No adjustment should be needed.

On both wheelsets, the rotor is located at almost the same position, and I was able to setup the brake calipers to accommodate that. Therefore, there is no brake rotor rubbing when swapping between these two wheelsets.


Front Fork Tire Clearance Comparison
Lots of tire clearance at the fork around the 700C road bike tire. This frame can accept up to 700Cx42 mm wide tires.

Lots of clearance radially, when using the smaller diameter 650Bx43 mm tire.


Rear Wheel Setup Comparison
Road rear wheel

Road rear wheel with 11-30T cassette, using the GRX rear derailleur.

Gravel rear wheel with 11-34T cassette, also using the same GRX rear derailleur. There is no need to adjust the rear derailleur setting after swapping wheels.


Rear Chain Stay and Seat Stay Clearance Comparison
Still plenty of tire clearance at the seat stay area, around the wide gravel tires. There will be even more clearance when the road tires are used.

Still lots of clearance around the rear road tire, along the seat tube and the chain stays.

For the gravel tire, there is more clearance with the seat tube due to the smaller tire diameter, but lesser clearance with the chain stays as the gravel tire is wider.

In the picture above, notice that the 4iiii power meter on the left side crank arm manages to clear the frame. There is actually a healthy amount of clearance with the left side chain stay. In fact, there is more clearance than on the Canyon Endurace frame (shown below).


Small clearance between the left side chain stay and the power meter, on the Canyon Endurace.

Initially I thought that the left side chain stay is pushed outwards due to the BBright construction. However, later I realized that it is actually the same as the standard press fit BB construction. At the same time, the left side chain stay also needs to be moved outwards to give wider tire clearance. In summary, the Cervelo Aspero can accommodate wide tires, and still have enough clearance for a left crank arm power meter!

Non drive side view of the road setup

Non drive side view of the gravel setup.

Drive side view of the road setup

Drive side view of the gravel setup

As you can see from the pictures, only the wheelset is changed between the road setup and the gravel setup. Visually it looks quite different, especially the tires. However, the drivetrain is almost completely the same, except for the cassette.

Due to the different tire diameter, the clearance between the bottom bracket and the ground is also different. The gravel setup has lesser ground clearance due to the smaller tire diameter.

There is a diameter difference of 16 mm between these two tires. Therefore, the radial difference is 8 mm. This 8 mm will be the difference in axle height from the ground, and also the bottom bracket distance from the ground. Tire deflection under rider's load is not accounted for in this case.

BB to ground distance for Continental GP4000 road tires (700C x 28): 268 mm
BB to ground distance for Panaracer GravelKing SK gravel tires (650B x 43): 260 mm

The ground clearance of 260 mm may seem to be too low, but it does not give me any problems. I don't encounter pedal strikes when leaning over on gravel or on smooth tarmac. This is likely helped by my usage of 165 mm crank arms, which are 5 mm shorter than the more common 170 mm crank arm length.