Wheelsport Fantasy mini velo with most of the components removed
The Ultegra 6800 road caliper brakes will still be used, although it would be possible to save another 40 grams if it is upgraded to Dura-Ace 9000 brakes. However, it would cost another $300 to upgrade to Dura-Ace brakes.
One cheap way to lose weight is from the bottom bracket. The gold coloured Aerozine ceramic BB is very smooth, but it is also a bit heavier than the more lightweight SM-BBR60 Hollowtech II BB. Might as well give it a try, as the black colour matches well with the frame too.
New SM-BBR60 Hollowtech II bottom bracket installed
The Ultegra 6800 rear derailleur can also be changed to a more lightweight version, the Dura-Ace 9000 RD. This was originally on the Merida Scultura 5000, which was recently changed to Ultegra Di2. The Dura-Ace RD is very lightweight at just 160 grams. To see the differences between Ultegra 6800 and Dura-Ace 9000 RD, check out the comparison here.
I actually wanted to change to a clutch rear derailleur, such as the mountain bike Shadow Plus RD that has a clutch to prevent chain bouncing when traveling over bumpy terrain. This will also help to retain the chain on the chain ring. However, there is no clutch road rear derailleur that is compatible with the road shifters, so I just used the standard road rear derailleur.
Dura-Ace 9000 11 speed rear derailleur for extra weight savings
The cassette will remain as the Dura-Ace 9000 11-25T cassette, same for the Dura-Ace chain. Finally, the Ultegra 6800 crank arm with the Wolf Tooth narrow wide chain ring will be installed!
New 1x11 speed drivetrain, with a mixture of Ultegra and Dura-Ace components
The new chain ring on the crank arm looks really nice, especially with the outstanding gold coloured chain ring bolts. It has a very clean appearance, without the complexity of the double chain rings and the front derailleur.
With the drivetrain installed, the next step is to install the road shifters and connect up everything. As planned, a Dura-Ace right side shifter will be used, together with the modified Ultegra left side shifter. These will be installed on the lightweight FSA K-Force compact road handlebar, which is used on both the Merida Scultura 5000 road bike and this Wheelsport Fantasy mini velo.
Dura-Ace right side road shifter for 11 speed shifting, Ultegra left side road shifter without shifting function.
While removing the brake and shifter inner cables and outer casing from the original Ultegra shifters, I took the chance to consolidate and weigh them. This includes the front and rear brake cables, and the rear shifter cable. With this actual measurement, it will give a more accurate theoretical weight calculation, as inner cable and outer casing weight is usually unknown.
Weight of front and rear brake cables, plus rear shifter cable is 160 grams
Road shifters connected to the brakes and the rear derailleur
Close up view of the 1x11 speed drivetrain with the cables connected
Gold coloured chain ring bolts and crank arm fixing bolt makes them stand out more against the black frame
Almost ready to go for a test ride. Bar tape is not wrapped yet as I might need to adjust the shifter positions.
Pedals installed and ready for a test ride!
During the brief test ride, my primary concern is how the narrow wide chain ring will perform. Without any chain guard, chain spotter or front derailleur, the chain might come off the chain ring during shifting. I have to trust that the narrow wide design really works to keep the chain on the chain ring.
Other than checking if there will be chain drop, I also checked if there will be a rough pedaling feeling at extreme gears such as Gear 1 and Gear 11, where the chain will slant more to the side.
As for the other functions such as braking or shifting, it will be similar to the previous setup, so there should not be any problem.
The results of the test ride were good, as there was no chain drop even during aggressive shifting while pedaling. There is some slight rough feeling during pedaling when in the extreme gears, but it is still acceptable.
With the test ride completed, the shifter positions can be confirmed, and the bar tape wrapped
Very clean bike cockpit, with nothing mounted on the handlebars. I plan to keep it this way, without any cycle computer on this bike.
Using the same lightweight and yet comfortable Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle, with the shortened FSA SL-K carbon seat post
Full bike view with a minimalist look, without extra accessories on the bike. A mini velo built purely for a lightweight, high performance fun ride.
Wheelsport Fantasy Mini Velo, with a 1x11 speed drivetrain
Full specifications of the final setup, with a weight (without pedals) of just over 7.3 kg!
With the conversion from 2x11 speed to 1x11 speed, along with some weight savings from elsewhere, the total weight loss is slightly over 400 grams. This may not seem like much, but considering that it was already a lightweight bike to begin with, this is a pretty good outcome.
Also, the frameset itself is already over 2.5 kg, as compared to a typical carbon road bike frameset that is below 1.6 kg. This means that despite the disadvantage of having a heavier frame to start with, this mini velo is still able to achieve a weight of just 7.3 kg (without pedals).
The most important thing is, how does it ride? After extended test rides on my usual routes, I found that this 1x11 speed gearing is sufficient 99% of the time. The other 1% where the gearing is not quite sufficient is during short sprints, where the speed briefly passes 40km/h. However, this is not a major issue for me as this is not that common.
As for the lowest gear, I have not tested it on steeper slopes, but it should be low enough to handle most slopes. With the lowest gear inch at 38.7, it is just one gear higher than the lowest gear inch on the Merida road bike (34 gear inch), which should allow it to handle 90% of the slopes that the road bike can handle.
The narrow wide chain ring is also working perfectly, as I have not experienced a single chain drop on my rides. It seems that there is no need for a clutch rear derailleur if I am just riding on roads or PCN, as the surface is smooth and does not bounce the chain off.
With this, the project is completed! I have successfully managed to rebuild the bike with a setup that is unique and different from my other bikes. Each of the bike now serves a dedicated purpose with minimal overlapping characteristics.