It is new bike day! Always exciting to build up a new bike from scratch, as there is always so much to learn. This time, it is a lightweight, faster version of the Fabike C3 all-weather commuting bike.
The Fabike C3 is a great bike, however as with all bikes, it has its limitations. Previously, I did not want to use a chain on an all-weather bike, as the chain will rust and require maintenance. That was why I got a belt drive bike with Alfine 11 Di2 internal hub.
However, I recently learnt that the KMC EPT chain is virtually rust-proof, being able to resist rust even when ridden frequently in the wet, without any cleaning. This opens up the possibility to use a conventional chain drive on my all-weather bike, and still retain the low maintenance characteristic.
I tested the chain drive system on the Fabike C3, and I really liked it, as it is definitely faster and lighter than using belt drive and internal hub. I could keep using this setup on the Fabike C3 frameset, but a new frame would enable a more lightweight and cleaner looking setup.
What I was looking for is basically a carbon road bike frame, but with built-in mudguard mounts. Mudguards are indispensable when riding in the wet, as it keeps the rider and the bike so much cleaner. I didn't want to use mudguards that are fitted separately to the frame, as they don't look so nice, and tends to rattle.
High end carbon road bike frames with mudguard mounts are hard to find! I shortlisted two of them, namely the Giant Defy and the Focus Paralane. After checking out both of them at the shops, I decided to get the Focus Paralane, as the frameset is much lighter. One of my requirement is to have a lightweight carbon frame, as the Fabike C3 frameset was relatively heavy for a carbon frame.
Finally, I got the Focus Paralane frameset from Bikes and Bites, which is the same place where I got my Cervelo Aspero frameset. Although they don't bring in new Focus bikes anymore, they still had the older 2018 Focus Paralane model in stock, in my size.
Focus Paralane frame! Actual colour is Racing Green, but it looks black here due to the indoor lighting.
My other choice of colour was bright orange, which I felt was a bit too bright for me.
In the end I chose the Racing Green frameset, although it is yet another green bike, after the Cervelo Aspero and the Bike Friday Haul-A-Day.
Size 51, with a tall stack of 561 mm and reach of 370 mm.
Frame is made by this OEM
The head tube is very tall, as you can see here. German engineered as Focus is a brand from Germany.
Two cable holes at the front, for the rear brake hose and the rear brake cable or wire.
Looking inside the head tube. A rubber tube is already inside the frame, which I think is for the rear brake hose to run through, to avoid rattling inside the frame.
Cable port on the down tube, covered by an aluminium plate, but I probably will not need it.
View of the bottom bracket. Only a small opening for organizing the parts inside.
Bottom of the frame looks complicated, if you are using normal inner cables for the rear and front derailleurs.
There is this white tube on the non-drive side chain stay. Not sure what it is, but I could not pull it out as it seems to be fixed somewhere inside the frame.
Front derailleur mount is bonded to the frame, so it cannot be removed.
Hole for the front derailleur Di2 wire is located at the back of the seat tube, while there is also a hole for the inner cable to pass through the frame between the chain stays, if you use a mechanical front derailleur. Both have been plugged with rubber covers as they will not be used.
Seat post clamp is a standard type that goes around the outside of the round seat tube. This would prove to be problematic later on.
Flat Mount rear brake caliper mount, which is the standard nowadays for road hydraulic brakes.
The frame thickness is 20 mm.
From this table, a bolt length of 33 mm is needed for a frame thickness of 20 mm.
Using the plastic tool to double confirm the bolt length. The tip of the bolt should rest in between the two steps on the yellow tool as shown.
Rapid Axle Technology (RAT), which is a cool thru axle design that requires only a quarter turn to tighten or loosen. More details later.
One of the requirements for the frame is to have integrated mudguard mounting points. Let's take a close look at the design.
Threaded insert behind the bottom bracket, for mounting the mudguards.
This is a threaded insert as well, at the rear axle area.
The mudguards are actually included with this frameset, as the mudguard stays are special. The ends are straight, and stick into the frame through a hole, as illustrated by the gold coloured Allen Key above. Then, the mudguard stays are secured to the frame with set screws, that tighten against the side of the mudguard stays. This is supposedly to give a cleaner look, which I agree. However, I planned to change to my own SKS mudguards, and the threaded inserts from the side conveniently allows this to be done. More details in later posts.
Frame weighs 1005 grams, inclusive of thru axle nut, seat post clamp, rear dropout, and bottle cage bolts.
Although the frame is not as lightweight as the Canyon Endurace CF SLX (807 grams), it is still significantly lighter than the Fabike C3 frame (1296 grams). Just by swapping from the Fabike C3 to this Focus Paralane frame, almost 300 grams can be saved. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to get a new frame, instead of using the Fabike C3 frame, since I no longer needed a belt drive compatible frame.
Press fit bottom bracket, with the same specifications as the Java Freccia carbon mini velo.
Bottom bracket frame width of 87 mm is slightly wider than the nominal width of 86.5 mm.
This frame requires a press fit bottom bracket, which is clearly not my preference, but I don't really have a choice these days. Given that carbon road bike frames with mudguard mounts are already so rare, I cannot be too picky.
Finally, I measured the hole sizes for all the cable entry and exit holes. This is because the frameset did not come with the rubber grommets, so I need to find my own.
Exit hole at drive side chain stay is oval shaped, measuring about 7.5 mm at the narrower side...
...and about 9 mm at the longer side.
Entry hole at the head tube is round, measuring about 8 mm in diameter.
This post is long, as there are so many pictures of the frame that I need to show. Each frame has its quirks, and this is no exception. Much more info to be shared for this Focus Paralane bike over the next few posts!