Lemond Zurich build gets underway

The paint touch up on the frame and fork is finished, and as usual Duane at chestercycles.com did a superb job.

Started assembling the parts for the build.  Rob has talked me into using Shimano Dura Ace on this build, which will be a big change as my other builds have all been Campagnolo.  Part of the fun with a build project is searching out the proper parts for the build and it will be a learning curve on this one.  Not too painful, I hope.

First, I picked up a set of Dura Ace 7400 hubs on ebay for a reasonable price.  The rear hub came with a 12-21 8-speed cassette on it.  I’m looking for a Dura Ace 7700 group, the last of the 9 speed groups from Shimano.

Well, plans changed – mainly because I found a very nice Dura Ace 7800 group on paceline forums, and will use this group for this build.  This is a 10 speed group rather than 9 speed, so I’ll need to be sure that the hubs will work for 10 speed cassettes.  Most of the reading I’ve done says Dura Ace 8-9-10 speed cassettes are interchangeable, so they should work.

I picked up a set of H+Son TB14 polished rims that I will lace to the DA hubs.  I’ve used these rims before, on my Lemond Alpe d’Huez build and they’re very nice.  Nice polish, machined brake tracks for good braking and easy to build.

A 10-speed cassette (Ultegra CS-6700 11-28 came with the group, but it won’t fit the DA freehub I have.  Mine is a Ultraglide (UG) freehub, meaning that the hub is a 7401.  I need a 7403 freehub so that I can use 10-speed cassettes.  The 7403 freehub is UG/Hyperglide( HG) compatible, and has the single narrow spline that will work with 8-9-10 speed cassettes.  Separately, these freehubs are basically unobtainum.  I was lucky enough to find a 7403 hubset on ebay, so I will swap the 7403 freehub over to my original hubset.  Well, they CAN be swapped but require some special tools to remove and service the freehub.  Down into the rabbit hole I go.  Luckily, a BikeForums member had a set of these freehub tools that he was willing to part with, so I picked them up.

Installed a new set of Ultegra BB cups for the Hollowtech II crankset, easy enough to do with the proper BB wrench, which I borrowed from my cycling buddy Rob.

Installed the crown race on the fork, then pressed the headset cups in.  Installed the fork and found that the steerer is about 3mm too long.  The top nut bottoms out on the threaded part, leaving about 2mm of thread exposed above the toothed washer.  I saw two options: first, add a couple of toothed washers to take up the space, or second, cut about 3mm off the steerer.  I’m leaning towards cutting the steerer, mainly because that allows the headset to fit properly, but it is irrevocable.  Once cut you can’t add length back so it’s a one-way process.  I haven’t  yet made the final decision.

Stay tuned as this build progresses.

An experiment

I’ve made some fit changes to the Merckx, looking to improve my position on the bike and to be more comfortable on long rides.  It seemed that I was consciously shifting back to get to the proper position on the saddle, so I moved the saddle forward about 10mm.  That did help, but after a couple of rides I decided to swap out the stem for a shorter one.  Another improvement.  One of the guys on the Wednesday night shop ride suggested I might want to lower my saddle a bit, so I lowered it about 5mm.  This seemed to be better still, so I’m going to leave it as is for now.  After a few more rides, I may tweak here and there, but I want to get some miles in before making any more changes.

I’m also considering trying a new crankset on the Merckx.  The main change is to try 160mm crankarms, 10mm shorter than the 170mm Campagnolo crankset that is on the bike now.  The chainrings are the same tooth count, so the chain will work, and the front derailleur should only need a tweak or two.

Curious to see how the shorter crankarms may work for me.  I have enough info from previous rides to try and make an objective assessment, but the seat of the pants may be telling as well.

The new cranks use a square taper BB, so it’s not a direct swap.  Still, not too difficult to do – I’m thinking an hour or less should be enough to swap them around.  I’ll need to raise the saddle 10mm or so and probably forward just a bit from the present position.  Since the weather is improving too, good opportunity to get some road miles in and see how they feel.