Projekt Archetype-X R002 (Test Session III)

13/04/14
The Projekt Archetype – X Bike concluded its third testing session of the R-002
on Saturday, April 12th. Weather conditions were fairly decent, with temps in
the 60’s, dry roads, partly sunny skies and a light wind.

I headed for roads with rolling terrain, flat stretches, small climbs and a few fast
twisty sections. I deliberately drove the R-002 hard in to the corners and kept pushing
the front end much more than the previous two outings, with the end result being a
less ‘twitchy’ response. Front end grip is good and the steering feedback does not
seem quite as vague as it had initially felt.

The 39 mile test ride has returned significant results on setup as I continue to gain
confidence riding the R-002 Supersport at increasingly faster paces. I was able to attack
much harder through both technical, tight and sweeping corners- subsequently, I have
garnered a first place  and a second place in two very fast segments of esses I often ride.

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This third test session has allowed me to adapt to the chassis a bit better and capitalize
on the bike’s potential, after making two modifications from the previous tests. The first
change made was to lower the headtube-stem stack height 5mm’s. (replacing the 10mm spacer with a 5mm spacer)

The second change implemented was installing a 90mm stem in favor of the original
80mm stem. (which equates to a +11.1% increase in stem length) Though often it only
takes slight changes to effect two-wheeled vehicles. These modifications have narrowed the distance from the center of the bar to the front axle, which prior to the changes had been 5-5/16″ or 134.93 mm’s. The measurement is now at 5-1/16″ or 128.58 mm’s. (a decrease of approximately 4%) These two key changes have provided the R002-SS with a bit more stability, which lends itself to a higher level of confidence and a more content rider!

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For those not too familiar with two-wheeled dynamics, you might question what stem length or height has to do with steering of a bicycle. Well, it turns out (no pun intended!) that stem length has a subtle effect on the radius of the turning arc. The longer the stem, the greater the length of the arc. And it is the opposite for a shorter stem. The end result is that the steering ‘feels’ a bit slower with longer stem length and quicker with a shorter length, which some, (myself included) might describe as a ‘twitchy’ feel or response)

So, after 3 official test outings and 8 total rides for approximately 182 miles, I am becoming somewhat satisfied with the bike. The setting changes and data I am extracting is proving to be valuable for a good compromised setup. My aim to is to continue refining the machine to get the maximum comfort and performance out of it for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

The Lake and the Duc | Test Day 2

Bernards, NJ – 05/04/2014

Nothing remotely exciting, just more of the same…some moderate riding around the
Ravine Lake loop to sort out the R002 – SBK.  The second test session gave me still a
bit more feedback and I was able to push a bit harder on the descents and tight corners, with slightly more confidence. I now have a good idea as to what changes I need to make
to the bike in order to dial it in a bit closer to my liking.

 


parked next to the 848 Evo..

R002 – SS | Rollout and Shakedown Run

The official rollout and shakedown run of the Black Blade R002 Supersport took place
on Wednesday, March 26th at Valley Park circuit. First ride, though short provided a
limited amount of feedback, but the 2014 machines chassis setup and geometry seem
decent enough to work with going forward. This was the first time that the bike had
turned it’s wheels in any significant way. As expected, there were the obligatory teething problems. Again, this was anticipated but that is what testing is all about.

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My saddle, brake lever/hood  settings were loosely based off of my previous bike, so
I knew that dialing these settings in would take a bit of time. First few pedal turns I could
tell that the saddle height was nearly perfect, but the fore/aft setting was a bit too close to the center of the bars. That perception was confirmed up once I measured my knee to the ball of my foot ratio with a plumb bob. So, after moving the saddle slightly rearward about 1mm from the center of the seatpost and aligning the brake hoods to my liking I put a few more miles on the bike.

The range of adjustments with the saddle fore and aft, saddle height, stem length
and rise, though limited will all play a significant part in getting the setup as close to correct as possible. While balancing  the overall ‘fit’ and ‘feel’ of the machine. Initially, the steering feels twitchy, not sharper but ‘nervous’ and certainly not as comfortable as my previous Pro-Lite Galileo, which is extremely stable on high-speed descents. It will take some time to sort out this issue and get used to the feel of the R002 – SS chassis.

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I am confident that I will be able to improve upon the inherent performance of the
R002 – SS and find a good compromise with the setup over the next few weeks.
Another longer test ride is planned for the following week.

Projekt Archetype – X (Build update V)

Build-a-Bike: The Chronicles of Archetype – X, building a road bike from the frame up…

And so it was in early 2013, I began researching and mining information on “open mold”
carbon bicycle frames direct from China. For those not in the know, this is a growing and
future trend. Why? For one, the frames are much less costly and two, most of the
manufacturers are making frames for the big-bike companies out of the same factories.

So, after months and months of scouring through forums, youtube reviews and ebay feedback, I felt I had enough data to take the next step. Thanks to my very generous and long-time best friend, most of the build cost would be covered. Mainly because he could not believe one could build up a carbon fiber bike cheaply and two, because he wanted to see what type of bike you could build for less than 2k…

So, let’s go back to October of 2013, this is when I had first ordered the R-002 carbon road frame from UIS-Zhongwei Composites in Shenzhen. Cost of T-700 carbon frame and fork? $360 USD. Now fast-forward to over 5 months later, the build has finally come together- though fraught with many teething problems. From incorrect sizes being sent to blemished parts, then defective and even some broken pieces that had to be sent back for return/replacement…the project has been very trying and revealing indeed.

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As I mentioned earlier, this project would entail building the bicycle up from the
carbon fibre frame and fork. I procured all of the ancillary parts via ebay and Amazon.
From the 38mm x 23mm Ekay Composite wheelset, to the Ultegra 6700 drivetrain down to the anodized bolts. Since I had never assembled a bicycle before, I knew there would be some stumbling blocks along the way. Well, stumbling blocks is an understatement. Most of the build went okay, attaching the brake calipers, the derailleurs, the crank and the bars were straight forward. But as the build progressed, things became more difficult.

Routing the cables was a chore, due to the bottom cable guide being, well a piece of
crap. First discovered that the internal nut that the bolt threads into was broken.
So, out came the crankset…more disassembly. After about a half hour of trying to jam
a small screwdriver to ‘hold’ the nut in place while trying to tighten the bolt was a royal
pain in the ass. Some thread locker applied and it seemed to hold, but it’s broken.
Which sucks, because it is absolutely a QC issue. I will say, for all the positive aspects
of the frame and the cost, UIS’s QC is lacking in several areas.

So back went the crankset. Then I discovered that the front derailleur cable was binding
in the plastic cable guide! Un-fucking believable. After several attempts, no dice.
The shifter would not budge. So, out came the fucking crankset AGAIN! Oh man…
was I aggravated. I had to file the guide opening in order to get the cable to slide back
and forth. The whole debacle with the bolt and the nut were rehashed…then back went
the crankset one more time.

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The last bits of the build were down to adjusting and dialing in the derailleurs. The
front went fairly easy, but the rear was a different story. My friend and I wound up
working on it most of the day last Saturday, at the end of the day, we figured out that
the derailleur hanger was just slightly ‘out’ of alignment. The good news was that there
was a spare hanger that was included with the frame. So after swapping it out, it was
back to adjusting…between setting the High and Low settings,  the B tension and the
barrel adjuster, it proved quite a task to get the shifting right. Finally then, on last Sunday morning the bike was nearly complete. All that was left to do was to apply the graphics that I had made up by bikenames.com. Total cost for the bike as pictured was $1,748.00 and weighing in at 16.92 lbs. That works out to an amazingly low figure of $103 per pound (cpp)

R-002 SS Specs

I still have not yet ridden the bike beyond a block yet. I’m hoping to get a shakedown run
in soon, to be able to dial the bike in. There’s getting the saddle position just right, the fore/aft and the tilt. Then the aligning the shifters-brake hoods on the handlebars and some other small details that really make a huge difference when riding. I’ll follow up with an unveiling video and an official test ride report.

Archetype – X | R002 – SS Build (part IV)

Well, work has finally begun on the R002 supersport build. I began by cleaning up all the
openings in the frame and taking off the rough edges on the head tube, seat tube
with some light grit sand cloth and a scotchbrite pad.

Then I made sure the bottom bracket threads did not have any aluminum shavings.
I gave it a quick cleaning with a nylon (not metal) tube brush, ensuring the FSA
MegaExo BB cartridge would thread on with no issues.

This coming week, I will install the crankset, chain, then the headset, stem and bars.
There is an issue with the seat post and the frames seat tube. For whatever reason,
there is some ‘play’ between the two. It looks like I will have to shim the seat post.

The last step will be routing the cables, putting the finishing touches on and buttoning
the bike up for the first test ride…I’m hoping that will be around the 21st or 22nd.

Ciao!

“I think it moved…”

Arrivee’ today! Oui….

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No, not THAT! Geez, the bike man, the bike.

Finally, my frame has made its way state-side! It shouldn’t be long now…
before the R-002 arrives on my door step. Stay tuned for the build…

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And in some related news, I have also signed up for the Revolutionary Ramble.
I chose the 100 mile, 6k of ascent option. I cannot wait to put the R-002 to the test
on a long ride.
Ciao!