I needed a project. Something to do in the evenings instead of watching TV. I decided
to build a new road bike from scratch. There's nothing wrong with my Cannondale Synapse 5.
It's a great bike, very sturdy and very comfortable. This would be an additional bike...
for entertainment purposes to see if I could build it.
After a lot of research on the internet, I discovered almost all carbon fiber bike frames
are manufactured in China or Taiwan and then imported. Laws being what they are, if 60% of
a bike is assembled in a given country, it is allowed to carry a label that it was made
in that country.
Lots more research and comparison shopping... I finally settled on a Pinarello Dogma2
carbon fiber frame**. I liked the styling, the color scheme, and the reputation of the seller.
I ordered it direct from China. They had my size (54cm) in stock and the shipping took
less than two weeks. But that's just the frame, seat post, front fork and headset. I still
needed all of the components, like a seat, handlebars, pedals, etc.
I did a lot of comparison shopping over the internet and then someone on an internet forum
referred me to Colorado Cyclist.
They have customizable packages of components that literally include everything except the
pedals. Even cables and handlebar tape are included. I settled on the SSFBASG1 package
that consisted of all Shimano Ultegra 6700 components, Mavic Open Pro wheels, and your
choice of seats, tires, etc. The entire package is several hundred dollars cheaper than if
I purchased the same or similar parts separately. They custom-built the wheels and shipped
the entire set to me.
Now it's up to me to carefully put it all together! Trust me, I'm spending a lot of time
looking at YouTube videos for guidance.
This has been a great experience! I really learned a lot about how a bike is put together and what makes it work. One of the biggest surprises was that it looked like a lot of parts but turned out to go
together quite quickly, even though I was definitely not hurrying. Each night I did a little bit of work but it honestly took more time to take the photos and upload them than it did to do any of the work.
All things considered, I wouldn't hesitate to do this again and probably wouldn't do anything differently. It all worked out pretty well.
Initial Observations from the first road test: The carbon fiber frame is stiffer than my Cannondale's aluminum frame. It's most noticeable when standing up to really put some power in the pedals. During the first ride,
I took it down a road that is paved with composite material. It's generally not fun to ride on but not bad enough to avoid it. The carbon fiber frame did an excellent job of absorbing the vibrations from the road. The Ultegra
shifters seem to have a slighter shorter, faster throw than the 105s on my Cannondale. I liked that. The Ultegra gears, shifters, and brakes all performed flawlessly. I'm quite pleased with the outcome!
**EDITED - One reader pointed out that a frame from the Pinarello Company in Italy would come with an Italian bottom bracket and since this frame came with an English bottom bracket, it was obviously a knock off. I'm sure he's right.
This probably is a knock off frame. However, it's of high quality construction with great detail paid to the fit and finish of the final product. I'm quite happy with it. A long-time bike shop employee recently spent
two and a half hours with this bike during a professional fitting and he couldn't tell the difference. Several employees and customers remarked on it and one customer tried to buy it. It looks great, rides like a dream, and I'm very happy with it.
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