Friday, August 3, 2007

The Hampsten Arriveth....and I build it in the 90 degree heat.

So, at around 7:45 AM, there is a knock on my front door and there is the Fedex dude with a nice box waiting for me. I took the box inside and I tear into it like a crazed beast (Please watch the clip Boar Vs. Gator Vs. Lion that is so popular on youtube). It was only 8AM by the time I got the frame all unwrapped. My girlfriend Meg mentioned that my knees were shaking from the excitement and beads of sweat had already started forming on my oily forehead.

I brought all the parts from the basement and I threw in "Alfie" in the DVD player. At times I like to listen to movies as I work on a bike. Although I had this vision of documenting every step of th build, I got lazy and ended up just going straight through the build. The frame was meticulous packed and prepped by Steve Hampsten at Hampsten cycles. The whole process took about 6 months from the initial conversations to the delivery. As expected, the care taken in preparing my frame was more than I could have asked for. I also received a very nice set of socks and a nice hat, but the nicest touch was a completely bad-ass, personally signed print of Andy Hampsten on one of the most epic climbs of the Giro.

Where does one start? Looks wise, I love white bikes so I ended up getting a white Mica paint job, both frame and fork. I also had Steve order me some of the Newer versions of the decals in Orange, which I believe took some time to make, but it was well worth it. The frame is totally trick. I am not even sure where to begin. I will start a new post with the complete specs.

But for now it is build details...

I like to start out with the BB area. The frame was nicely prepped so the BB went in completely smoothly. I am using a Shimano Ten speed dura ace BB, the outerboard design, with a 175mm Dura ace cranks with 48-38 chainrings made by FSA. This portion was very easy and it was a complete success. In the movie, Alfie was hitting on some rich birds.

Next, I put the Front mech and the rear mech, which went on with no problems. Since I specified to have all top of the top tube braze-ons, I ended up using one of those funny pulley things to control the front mech. No problems here.

Next I put the stem, handlebar, and STI Brifters on the bike. I am using a Thomson X2 Silver stem, which I think is one of the best looking stems out right now, mated to a Ritchey Classic OS Shallow bar in size 44cm.

Next I set up the front and rear Mechs using Shimano Dura Ace cable and housing.

...At this point Alfie was experienceing some serious inner quandries and was pondering the effects of his shallow nature on his relationships with his close friends...

Lastly I set up what I consider the most difficult and important part on the Cross Bike: the brakes. In the past I ran Empella Froglegs, but I never liked how stiff the return springs were, so I changed this year to a set of Shimano BR550 cantilever brakes with some nice SwissStop GHP compound brake blocks. These came on the recommendations of Mr. Thorne at, which is a very knowledgeable shop and a great place for cyclocross riders in general. I ended up using Aztec Powerlines compression-less brake housing so that I can get the most responsive brake feel. In the past I have always had mushy mushy brakes. When I ordered the Hampsten, I begged to have an extra stiff rear brake cable braze on, and here is what they delivered...Very nice and stiff, and totally trick and industrial-looking for a steel bike. The shimano brakes are about a .25 pound heavier than the Empellas, but they were about a 1000 times easier to set up and have a much lighter brake feel(more pictures later). Luckily my Reynolds Solitude wheelset and my tubular wheelset have very similar dimensions so I can swap out the wheels without having to adjust the brake blocks. I am OCD about brakes for cross because I feel that, having good brakes is essential since you can go into a corner super hard and brake right before to take the 180 turns. I feel that to go faster, you should be able to brake with more confidence. But then again, no one goes really that fast in a c-race. Also, it is essential to maintain braking in every imaginable weather.

Finally I am waiting to get the steerer tube cut, and to glue in the steerer tube insert which apparently Alpha Q forks require.

Here are some preliminary pictures.. I am pondering which color bar tape to buy. I have ran white in the past, but it may be too much for this bike...

1 comment:

JJ said...

holy crap that thing is beautiful.