Saturday, November 2, 2013

Disc-Brake Road Bike (Part 2: Frame Received)

As I outlined in part one of this series, I'm building up a disc-brake road bike -- the FM145 from Yishun Bike specifically.

The frame shipped out within a day or so of my "two week" estimate (wasn't built yet) and I received it exactly one week after it shipped (EMS).

The Frame

In short, the frame looks great (as I was expecting it to)!
The weight for the 60cm frame (with hardware) turns out to be 1080g (a little under the claimed 1100g).
This is a raw UD matte carbon finish.  As such, when you get closer you can see the layup seams for the UD layer (I assume this is just a superficial layer).  This is also true for my UD carbon wheels and perusing other raw carbon finishes from bigger names (e.g. Canyon is notorious) this seems to be normal.  It definitely gives it some "character", though.

I'm not sure I love this carbon aesthetic, but some people do; I'm sure it'll grow on me or I won't care.  (I realize now that my Motobecane Le Champion CF frame must actually be painted a matte black, as it has a completely uniform -- no seams -- finish.)  You can see the additional port there under bottle mounts; I assume that's for Di2 wiring, so won't be applying to me in the near future.

Looking down into the head tube you can see some artifacts from the construction process.  Inside the seat tube and BB junction the tubes look very clean, but this shot reveals a little about how the sausage is made.

The caliper post mounts look clean.  I have read of issues with lining up the calipers on some frames; obviously I haven't gotten that far yet.  These is configured for a 140mm rotor (and I would guess that a larger rotor would not clear chainstay).
The derailleur hanger arrived without incident and looks to be well-secured (I have left the rubber guard on it).  Quite an sharp angle there from the chainstay to the dropouts.  I know some comments on the FM166 frame (which seems very similar if not identical) suggest needing to take out the skewer to remove wheel.  Even if that proves to be the case, I don't anticipate that being a problem.
You can see the guide for the derailleur cable sticking out there.  I imagine it's standard practice, but I'm glad these are included! :)  I don't know much about internal routing, but it seems that some frames want you to route solid housing and others, such as this frame, want just cables in the frame; there are stops for the housing and only room for cables in the guides under the BB.

I received this frame with some expectation that there would be some imperfections. The first one (and only one so far) that I have had to deal with is the right-side grommet for the derailleur cable inner routing.  At first it appeared it just wasn't all the way screwed in:
Some more careful study revealed that the hole in the grommet wasn't lining up with the hold for the screw in the frame.  There was more material on one side of the port, so I took a file and evened it out.
After evening out the port, the grommet snaps in and the screw lined up perfectly..

While I had it on my work bench, I went ahead and measured the rear dropout spacing.  I wanted to confirm that it was 135mm, since the schematic had listed 130mm (definitely *not* what I want for a disc-brake hub).  The sales rep had assured me it was 135 and that the drawings were wrong, but I still wanted to confirm.
Well that looks to be just about exactly 135mm, so that's great.

The Fork

This appears to be the same fork that is sold with the Hongfu/Dengfu FM166/FM079 frames.  Including the somewhat tacky sheet metal cable guide.  While the fork seems very solid, I'm planning to buy the Whisky 15mm thru-axle fork instead.  I'll just sell this later to perhaps offset the rather hefty price tag of the Whisky No 9.
Weight came in at 448 grams (claimed weight 440g) -- not super light, but not bad for a disc-brake fork.  (For comparison, the Enve road disc fork has a claimed weight of 435g.  The Whisky No 9 is 375g.)

I think the finish on the fork is excellent.  Unlike the frame, the seams are not obvious.

Of course that sheet-metal cable guide is a little tacky.  Painting it black would be a good first step.  (If I were keeping the fork, I would give this more thought.)
Here are the UD seams inside the fork legs.
And the disc caliper post mounts.  (This is for a 140mm rotor; 160mm will need an adapter.)

So, on the whole I'm very pleased with the frame.  Next step in this process is likely going to be building the wheels.  More to come on that topic once I've received all the parts.

(Update: continue on to part 3 for overall build & impressions.)