New-to-me Bike Day!

The Focus Mares gravel bike I bought from a gentleman in California was delivered today.  I’ve unpacked the box and I saw no obvious damage.  I’ll go over it carefully tomorrow while I strip it down to the frame.

This bike is the one I’ll ride in the Unbound Gravel 100 mile ride in June of this year, presuming that I get a starting place.  I’ve already registered for the ride, and the drawing for start places is at the end of January.  Maybe I’ll get a place, maybe not – but I didn’t want to wait until I had a place to find a bike and get it ready – we’ve all seen that bikes and components aren’t in stock as they were previously.

There are some scratches in the clearcoat and I want to polish them out or touch them up, then clean and wax the frame.  Once that’s finished, I’ll start reassembling it from the ground up.  No cables and housings on this one, just DI2 wires and hydraulic hoses for the disk brakes.  I have some familiarity with DI2 after the Parlee setup, but I have zero experience with hydraulic disk brakes.  A learning opportunity presents itself.  Also, the wheels and tires on this bike are tubeless, so another learning opportunity awaits.

Parlee Z3, upgraded

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022!

As I mentioned before, I wanted to swap the 11-28 cassette for an 11-32.  The downside is that the Shimano 9070 rear derailleur is only recommended for cassettes up to 28t cogs.  There are some workarounds available to increase the capacity, but the shifting quality reportedly drops off noticeably.

I ordered an 11-32 11-speed cassette by Sunrace, partially because of price, and partially because it was actually available.  Shimano Ultegra 11-32 cassettes are difficult to find now, as is the case for many bike components.  Even if the quality isn’t as high, I can still determine if the cassette will work and what changes are necessary.

When the cassette was delivered, the quality seemed quite good.  When I installed it, the lockring wasn’t sitting square with the end of the freehub, and as a result the 11t cog was wobbling a little.  I swapped the Ultegra lockring back on, and everything is lined up properly and without a wobble.

After reinstalling the wheel and relinking the chain, I stayed in the high end of the cassette while I tested the shifting.  It shifted but not quite as well as the Ultegra cassette.  The Ultegra chain was sized to fit the 28t cog, and wanted to replace it with a new one that was still at full length.

Anticipating this, I picked up a new DuraAce chain, and sized it to big-big plus 2 rivets, broke the link, and installed the quick link.  This way if I were to shift into the big-big combination, the rear derailleur and the bike frame would not be damaged.  If the chain is even one link too short the damage could be catastrophic (for the bike) and painful (for me).  Definitely not worth the risk.

On the workstand, the first shift up to the 32t cog was uneventful, but the top jockey wheel was making contact with the 32t cog.  This was expected.  I turned the “B” screw in 2 full turns and it was quiet.

Since the weather was good (for the moment) I took a short ride to check it out.  The 32t cog was quiet and worked well.  But the next smaller cog was noisy, indicating incorrect alignment.  One notch of micro-adjusting toward the high end of the cassette and that noise is gone.  Good shifting up and down the cassette now.

It will take a longer ride to be sure that everything is adjusted properly, but the initial results are better than expected.  I still have 2-3 turns left on the “B” screw, but I don ‘t think those will be needed.

Now that this upgrade is in place, I’ll call the Parlee finished.  Now to take advantage of the next opportunity to ride.