Sunday, August 28, 2022

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace 12 Speed Assembly Begins

With most of the new 12 speed components in place, I am now ready to upgrade the Focus Paralane from 11 speed to 12 speed! Check out the Focus Paralane - 12 Speed page for all the juicy details of the 12 speed components.

2x11 speed Focus Paralane, before disassembling it for the upgrade. Mudguards and accessories have been removed. Weighs 7.6 kg in this bare configuration with pedals.

Ended up stripping nearly everything off the frame, except for the stem and handlebar.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Cervelo Aspero: Bike Servicing after Dusty Gravel Ride

This dusty gravel ride was actually done last year in 2021, just that I didn't get around to writing about it until now. For those who do not know, the trail around Pandan Reservoir is made of light gravel, with small stones that are doable for most bikes.

Using a gravel bike is nice, but it is actually not necessary. Road bikes with wider tires (> 28 mm) are fine as well as I have tested with my Focus Paralane. That said, it is a good place to test out gravel bikes with some fast riding, as it is an unbroken stretch of gravel that you can ride round and round.

Approximate distance for one round is about 6 km, which is easily done on a bike but takes some effort if you are jogging.

One quirk of this gravel trail is the dusty conditions. When the trail is dry, it actually generates quite a bit of dust as you ride over it. The result is a bike that is entirely coated in a fine layer of dust, as you will see below.

Tungsten All Weather Wax Lube and Chain Preparation

I have been reading a lot on bicycle chain lubrication, and it is quite fascinating to learn how the different chain lubes have such big effects on the chain efficiency and durability.

For my "dry" weather bikes, such as the Cervelo Aspero gravel bike and the other folding bikes, I have been using the Prolink chain lube since a long time ago. Not sure why I chose it, but it has worked well so far.

As for the wet weather bikes, such as the chain drive version of the Fabike C3 and the most recent Focus Paralane, I have been using the KMC EPT chain, which is extremely rust resistant. For that chain, I used Finish Line wet lube, which is water resistant and does not get washed away by rain. However, the wet lube does pick up quite a bit of dirt that makes the chain dirty easily.

From Zero Friction Cycling, I came across this new type of drip on wax lube, which is almost as efficient as the full molten wax dip, and yet is easier to apply as it is a drip on type.

Which is why I decided to get this Tungsten All Weather Wax Lube to test it out for myself and see if it is really as good as it says.

Here it is! Let's give it a try and see how it goes.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace Wheelset Sub-Assembly

Time to set up the wheelset! I will be transferring the Continental GP5000 tires and the XTR RT-MT900 brake rotors over from the existing Ascent Zenith Elite wheelset. This new wheelset will then be reinstalled onto the Focus Paralane for a 12 speed setup.

GP5000 tires installed! No issues faced during installation, looking good so far.

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace C50 Wheelset R9270

For the upgrade to the Dura-Ace 12 speed system on the Focus Paralane, the next component to arrive is the C50 wheelset.

Technically I could use the new 12 speed cassette on the existing Ascent Zenith Elite wheelset that I have, because the new 12 speed cassette is also compatible to the conventional freehub body. However, I decided to wait for the new wheelset and change it all at one go, so that I don't have to reinstall the cassette and brake rotors again.

The latest Dura-Ace wheelsets are available in C36, C50 and C60 versions, with the numbers indicating the rim profile. The C50 is the middle ground for all-round usage, while the C36 is better for climbing and the C60 is better for high speed.

Let me show you the details of this brand new C50 wheelset!

Here is the new wheelset! Not sure why I took a picture with the edges cut off...

Set of front and rear C50 wheels. 24 spokes on the front and rear wheels.

Focus Paralane: 12 Speed Di2 Battery, Wires and Charger

Other than introducing the new 12 speed components for the Focus Paralane, there are other parts that are essential for the whole system to work. 

Being a semi-wireless electronic shifting system, there are still Di2 wires running inside the frame. The shifters themselves are wireless, but the rear derailleur and front derailleur are connected to and powered by the central battery inside the frame.

Basically, the battery will power the rear derailleur and front derailleur via two Di2 wires. The rear derailleur communicates wirelessly with the shifters. Front derailleur is activated indirectly, via the rear derailleur to battery to front derailleur. Di2 wiring layout is shown at the end of the post.

From left to right: Charging cable, Di2 battery, and two Di2 wires.

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace 11-30T 12 Speed Cassette R9200

Another key component of the new Shimano 12 speed road drivetrain is the cassette. Not only is there one more sprocket, it now incorporates HG+ shifting, which provides fast and smoother outwards shifting. This feature comes from the MTB side where it is well appreciated by riders.

This cassette will be used on the Focus Paralane bike, to convert it from a 11 speed to 12 speed drivetrain.

How it looks out of the box. It has a cassette holder to hold the loose pieces together, and also make it easier for assembly to the freehub body.

Dura-Ace CS-R9200 12 speed 11-30T cassette weighs 223 grams, which makes it heavier than the equivalent 11 speed cassette with the same 11-30T gear combination (206 grams).

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace Hydraulic Brake Calipers R9270

In this new generation of Dura-Ace and Ultegra, there are also new hydraulic brake calipers. One of the new feature is 10% wider pad clearance, to minimize the chance of rotor rubbing. The bleeding procedure has also been revised, to make it easier since the bleed port has been moved to the outside surface.

For Dura-Ace, the caliper body is now made from a single block, instead of two halves that are bolted together like on the previous generation of Dura-Ace and Ultegra. This Mono-Body construction is similar to that used on XTR BR-M9100.

I really like the single body construction, as it is lighter in weight, more rigid, and also looks cooler. I bought the brake calipers as a J-Kit set together with the Dura-Ace Di2 shifters.

These brake calipers will be installed on the 12 speed Focus Paralane, check out the other articles here.

Pair of new Dura-Ace hydraulic brake calipers, BR-R9270.

Focus Paralane: Dura-Ace Di2 Front Derailleur R9250

Next component to introduce for the 12 speed Focus Paralane would be the Dura-Ace Di2 Front Derailleur, FD-R9250. There are some noticeable differences with the previous 11 speed front derailleur, we shall see what they are.

2x12 speed Di2 front derailleur

Here it is! With 2-piece chain guides that are riveted together.