Focus Mares, part 2

A slight detour was necessary after the last post.  While I was going over the rear wheel and checking spoke tensions, I saw that some of the bladed spokes were twisted at the nipple end by the rim.  Knowing where I will be riding this bike and the distance I’d have to walk if I had spokes break, I decided to relace the rear wheel with new spokes and nipples.

I ordered spokes and a tool to hold the bladed spoke while tightening the nipple, since these are straight pull spokes and the hub end can easily spin around until the tension increases.  Waiting for them to be delivered, I removed the rim tape and the old spokes and nipples.  They arrived in just a few days and I checked the spoke lengths – spot on.

It is quite easy to lace wheels with straight pull hubs, since the spoke literally points directly to the proper position on the rim.  The only change from a J bend spoke is the need to use the spoke holder to prevent the spoke from twisting as you tighten things up.  Before tightening things up, I checked the specs for the rim and found the proper range of spoke tension.  I use a Park Tool TM-1 to monitor spoke tension, so I checked the conversion table to see what the proper tension would equate to on the tool’s scale.

The wheel came up to tension nicely, no hops, and almost perfect lateral true.  A few tweaks to the dish and the lateral true, and the wheel is finished.  Next is rim tape, a valve stem, and tire mounting awaits.

Focus Mares, part 1

Now that the frame and fork have been cleaned, polished, and waxed, it’s time to apply some protection to the frame.  I used a strip of 3M paint film 2″ across on the bottom side of the downtube, from the BB shell opening up to the headset.  On the top of the DS chainstay, I used a piece of 3M 2228 rubber tape to protect it from chain strikes.  You have to know the paint film is there to see it, and the rubber tape is unobtrusive as well.

Now to begin the reassembly.  The fork is first.  Cleaned the bearings, reapplied grease, and put a thin layer of grease on the fork near the bridge and also where the top bearing will sit.  Greased the inner and outer races of both bearings and inserted the fork.  The cap goes on next, followed by the spacers and the steerer-mounted junction “A” mount.  Then the stem, and the nice orange anodized stem cap from WolfTooth Components.  A little aligning, tightening, rechecking alignment, and the fork is back on.

I reinstalled the disk brake calipers but didn’t tighten them down.  They’re going to be replaced by a set of Hope RX4+ 4 piston calipers, but I don’t have them yet and I didn’t want the existing calipers banging against the frame or fork.

The handlebars went back on next, and the angle of the drops is at least reasonable, I might wind up tweaking the position after a ride or two.  The shifters are back on and set as best I could estimate.  There’s a distinct possibility of changes to the lever position after a couple of rides.  The bar wrap will wait until everything is in a good position and the brake hose replacement is complete.

I added a Shimano BT module to the DI2 system in the seat tube, just as I did on the Parlee I finished a month or so ago.

The 46/36 chainrings were cleaned up, along with the crankarms and spindle, and they’re back on with the bearing preload set.

I’m considering replacing the FD and RD with GRX versions, but haven’t made a final decision on that purchase yet.  They aren’t cheap, so I’m wembling a little on this purchase.  People that recall the HBO show Fraggle Rock will recall what wembling means.

Two bigger jobs remain, both of which I have no experience with.  Replacing the calipers and brake hoses, then filling and bleeding the air from the braking system.  The second is mounting tubeless tires and putting sealant in the tires.

If you see a photo of me covered head to toe in sealant you can surmise that the tire mounting was not entirely successful.

Focus Mares, the teardown

Started taking components off the frame and fork.  The previous owner did a great job packing the bike for shipment, even removing the front and rear derailleurs and the crankset.  There wasn’t a lot left for me to remove after the packing material and pipe wrap were gone.

The protective film on the underside of the down tube proved a real nuisance to remove, because the film came off but left the adhesive on the downtube.  That adhesive was tenacious.  A little heat and some patience (which I don’t always have in abundance) finally took care of it, but not before I wound up with blisters on both thumbs from working to remove the adhesive.  I also removed the protective rubber on the top of the DS chainstay, but I’ll replace that after the frame is polished and waxed.  Polished and waxed makes it easier and faster to clean when it gets dirty.

I’ll use polishing compound on the fork first, just because it’s a smaller job than the frame.  There are a couple of scratches on the fork that I think will need to be fixed before the final polishing and wax.  Not bad though, I’m just particular about maintaining my bikes.  Ask anyone that knows me – they’ll say it’s not a surprise.

Next I went over the frame, cleaning and seeing scratches and rubs that will need to be polished out and/or repaired.  I only found a couple, so I’ll handle those at the same time as the fork.  It will take a few coats of lacquer over a couple of days to get them built up to the level of the clearcoat.  Then some 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper will clean them up nicely.

Change of plans – I’m not going to touch up the scratches, or a couple of paint chips either.  It’s just not worth doing on a gravel bike that will get ridden on gravel.  More scratches and paint chips are inevitable, so I’ll save myself some time and polish the frame and fork, then wax them and move on.

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 was able to find a new DuraAce chain, and sized it to big-big plus 2 rivets, pushed out the pin, 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.