As a commuting bike, the Focus Paralane is nearly perfect, as it is a fast road bike with high end components. However, since I use it a a road bike for group rides as well, I find that the gear range is not quite enough. This is most apparent when riding down slope, as the highest gear (Front 40T and rear 11T) is 98 gear inches, which is not enough when riding fast down the slopes.
Therefore, if I am using it as a road bike for group rides as well, I need more gear range. There is already a wide 11-36T cassette on this bike, so I cannot use a wider range cassette without sacrificing the close gear steps. Best way is to install a front double system with two chain rings, to get the wider gear range and yet with close gear steps.
When I installed the Dura-Ace R9100 crank arms onto this bike, the chain rings were kept aside. Now, what I need to do is to just reinstall the chain rings onto the Dura-Ace crank arms.
Before that, I needed to check if this frame can accommodate a front derailleur properly. The stock Curana fenders had a cutout to avoid interference with the front derailleur, so with the SKS mudguards, there might be some issue.
Attaching the Dura-Ace FD-R9250 Di2 Front Derailleur to the front derailleur mount to check it out.
The derailleur body is close to the mudguards, but there is no interference. This is good news.
Since I already had all the required parts, swapping from the front single to front double setup is not a problem. This time, I used the new press-fit BB installation/removal tool from Toopre, which is really awesome. Traditional tools to remove the press-fit bottom bracket requires a lot of hammering to push out the bottom bracket cups from the frame, but this new tool does not need any hammering. Check out the other post to see how this tool works.
With the bottom bracket removed, so that the front derailleur Di2 wire can be routed through the frame and connected to Junction B.
Front derailleur installed and tested to be working, now to reinstall the bottom bracket.
I found that the clearance between the chain ring bolt and frame to be very very small, and a scratching sound can be heard when I spin the cranks.
A scratch can be seen across the letter "U" of the word Focus, caused by the chain ring bolt.
Solution is to add a spindle spacer, to push out the right crank arm slightly. I used this 1 mm plastic spacer from the Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket which is used on the Cervelo Aspero.
All seems well, until I started spinning the cranks. There seemed to be quite a bit of friction and rubbing sound, but I could not find the problem. The chain ring bolts were not rubbing against the frame any more.
This rubbing sound only occurs when I tighten the plastic crank arm fixing bolt on the non-drive side. If this bolt is slightly loosened, there is no sound.
After a lot of troubleshooting, I found the this friction and rubbing sound was caused by the plastic spindle spacer that I just added.
The plastic spindle spacer is slightly larger than the internal bearings. This causes the spacer to rub against the outer cups of the bottom bracket which is fixed to the frame.
After identifying the source of the problem, I needed a smaller spindle spacer which does not cause interference. This modification is turning out to be more complicated than I expected.
Luckily, I found an extra spacer from the Ascent Revolution bottom bracket, which is exactly what I needed.
1 mm thick spindle spacer from the Ascent bottom bracket.
Fits nicely on the spindle, with a smaller outer diameter to avoid interference with the bottom bracket.
Healthier clearance between the chain rings and the chain stay.
However, this was not the only issue that I faced. During alignment of the front derailleur to the chain rings, I found that no matter how I adjusted the front derailleur, I could not make it parallel to the chain rings.
Once I tightened the fixing bolt, the front derailleur will tilt to one side. Time to troubleshoot again!
The top left corner of the derailleur mount is interfering with a portion of the front derailleur.
The mount seems to extend too far to the left, so I had to manually grind away the top corner of the mount as shown to avoid interference with the front derailleur.
After the interference was removed from the front derailleur mount, I was able to align the front derailleur to make it parallel to the chain rings. Although I was only installing the crankset and the front derailleur, both gave me problems. Luckily I was able to find solutions for these issues.
Dura-Ace crankset and front derailleur installed!
With a fresh KMC EPT chain installed, as a longer chain is needed due to the larger chain ring.
Just enough clearance between the mudguards and the front derailleur.
Happy to see that it fits well! Cutout on mudguard not necessary.
2x11 speed drivetrain! 50/34T crankset with 11-36T cassette for a wide range.
With a front derailleur installed, the Di2 system display now shows a L and T for the smaller and larger chain ring respectively.
Di2 wiring layout, with the addition of the front derailleur.
Random testing at the gravel track around Pandan Reservoir
This road bike on the gravel track rides just as fast as the Cervelo Aspero gravel bike. The terrain is smooth enough that wider and softer tires are not required to go fast.
Great view of the 2x11 speed road drivetrain on the Focus Paralane.
Actual wet weather usage with wet components after getting caught in the rain.
Not necessary to clean or dry the components, as all the parts are either rust-proof or very rust-resistant.
With the new setup, the gear range has been expanded to 25.5 - 122.7 gear inches, which is a really wide range. Not only do I gain 2 faster gears, I also gain 2 lower gears compared to the previous 1x11 speed setup.
This makes the bike even more versatile, as it can climb steep slopes as well as go fast down slopes.
Wide gear range with 50/34T cassette and 11-36T cassette.
With this upgrade, the weight has been increased slightly, due to the addition of the front derailleur, the double chain rings, and a slightly longer chain.
Weight without pedals and mudguards is 7.2 kg, which is pretty good for a disc brake road bike.
This is a good setup for all purpose road riding! It's basically a fully qualified road bike with mudguards for wet weather riding. Other than the slightly heavier setup and slightly more air resistance due to the mudguards, it is 100% a proper road bike.