New Group in Action!

Hey everyone!  My shop’s owner is currently test riding a new group on some beautiful Pinarello frames in Italy and sent me a few sneak peak photos of a new group coming out shortly.  From the looks of it, you can likely guess who is making it and it has been previewed before, but this provides a nice clear set of photos (logos blurred) of the components.  More to come in this article on how it works and how it performs! Happy Tuesday!

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First Thoughts and Review of the Specialized Turbo Levo Ebike

Hello everyone!  I have some exciting information and photos to share with you on the new Specialized Turbo Levo mountain bike.  One of our guys got to fly out to Moab this past weekend for some press release testing and rides and gave me the low down on many of the specs and what to expect from this new kind of bike.  V__24E7

First off, the Levo gets much of the DNA that exists in the Specialized Stumpjumper.  The bottom bracket is a bit higher though as well as shorter crank arms and chainstays to avoid striking rocks.  It has the shortest chainstays in its class.  It comes stock as a 6fattie wheel setup and can also be converted to a 29er.  The 29er, however, only gains a slight 6 watt gain over the 6fattie.  My thoughts would be that the bike will be most stable with the larger tire.  It also has a low center of gravity to help keep it stable. The rear shock has been specifically tuned to for the additional weight of the bike.

The Levo comes in three configurations.  The SWORKS weighs in at 42lbs and will cost about $10,000, the Expert level weighs in at 44lV__5B4Abs and will cost about $6-7,000, and the Comp level weighs in at 47lbs and costs about $3,500.  The SWORKS and Expert level Levos are equipped with a 504 Wh battery and the Comp comes with a 400 Wh battery.  Both are Lithium ion batteries that use the same cells that exist in the Tesla.  A Tesla has 8000 cells, where a Levo has 40 cells and the Turbo S has 60.  So, that’s a pleasant feature because cheaper cells usually do not react well from vibration (much less from jumps and drops).  The battery weighs 9lbs.

The motor is integrated into the bottom of the downtube and has a 250 watt nominal power with a peak of 530 watts and a torque of 90Nm.  It is definitely the smoothest on the market and extremely quiet with a Gates belt drive.  In order for the motor to engage and apply power, torque must be sensed on the pedals and the rear wheel must have rotation.  The power meter to sense the torque in hidden inside behind the rear rotor.  This is great because if there is no movement, but you are pressing on the pedals, the bike won’t engage and lurch forward.  it will only apply the power once you are moving and pedaling.  This makes a lot of sense because you don’t really need the motor part when going down hill for the most part.V__71EC

Both the motor and the battery are Bluetooth and ANT+ compliant, which removes the need for an LCD screen.  Diagnosis, battery level, and other features of the state of the bike are communicated to either your phone (via the Mission Control app) or through the Garmin Edge 1000 or 520.  The harness for the battery is magnetic and (once the bike is off) can be easily removed and charged on or off the bike.  The motor is also removable and can be diagnosed through the app.

As far as the ride quality, it is top-notch.  A 3-5 hour ride is easily feasible for a single charge, which is mostly due to the mid motor setup versus the hub motor.  The field test rides done in Moab were almost 50 miles together with about 5,000 feet of climbing.  The turbo mode is almost too much power and can cause skidding, but is fantastic to be able to ride to the trails and back.  Most of the effective riding was best done at the Eco mode with a little Trail (more robust) mode here and there.

Climbing is exceptionally great (it was able to clear two foot ledges with ease uphill).  The bike audibly tells you to change gears if the motor is working too hard.  A higher pitched whine from the motor occurs if you are in too low of a gear and a deeper low rumble if you are in too high of a gear.  Like most full-suspension mountain bikes, it is best to be seated while climbing .  Because of the extra power, 3 mile ascents are much easier to handle without issue than with a standard mountain bike.  For descending, it handles great and the extra weight keeps you close to the ground.V__8F0FV__1281

So, additionally, Specialized has gotten together with Strava to create a new ebike category on segments, which will have their own KOMs and leaderboards compared to regular mountain bikes.  In summary, I think this is going to be an awesome bike to let people have a great mountain bike ride even if they are not exceptionally experienced.  It is spec’d really well and I have followed social media of people testing them in Europe for a while, so I would expect that most of the bugs have already been worked out.  More to come when we get one in the shop to build.  I’ll post a good article of the build and closeups of all of the features it has to offer.


SRAM / Zipp Hub and quick release lever recall!!

Hey everyone, we were talking with Zipp this morning about a repair and found out that there is a newly released recall of most of their front hubs (88v6, 88v7, and 88v8) because of a possibly failing at the retaining ring that holds the spokes in the hub.  The description reads: “This recall includes SRAM’s Zipp bicycle wheel hubs. The model names of the affected hubs are ZIPP 88v6, 88v7 and 88v8. The Z logo is printed on the hub. The wheel hubs come in black, silver and falcon grey. The diameter of the clinch nut is approximately 1.46 inches. Some of the hubs were sold as part of wheel sets installed on new bicycles. SRAM will post a list of affected bicycle brands and models on its website at www.sram.com.”

The link for this recall is here

Also, several minutes after seeing it posted on the CSPC site, they posted another recall for their quick release skewers. Only quick releases without a marking at the center of the underside of the lever are included in this recall.  The description reads: “This recalls involves SRAM’s Zipp stainless steel or titanium quick releases. They were sold as aftermarket components or as part of the 202 DB V2, 303 DB V2, 404 Firestrike V2, 202 Firecrest V3, 303 Firecrest V3, 404 Firecrest V3, 808 Firecrest V3 or 808 NSW wheels. The quick release has a curved, black lever. Zipp appears on the lever. Only quick releases without a marking at the center of the underside of the lever, below the Zipp logo are included on this recall.

The link for this recall is here

 

Feel free to drop by the shop with your wheels so they can be processed as soon as possible with the season starting up!

 


SRAM eTap Actual Weights

About a week ago, we finally got all of our SRAM eTap groupsets in the shop.  We got six full groups out of the first batch of twelve to hit the US.  They come with the wireless components (derailleurs and shifters), a Quarq power meter crank, and SRAM Red brakes, cassette, and chain.  Out of the groupsets, two were TT eTap groups, which have the wireless ‘blips’ that actuate the derailleur like the paddle on the shifter.  I will be posting a good installation article that goes more in depth than the initial article I wrote on eTap.  In the mean time, I thought it would be cool to have some photos of the components and their actual weight.  Pretty light stuff and I really think it will be a popular option.

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SRAM eTap Rear Derailleur

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Interchangeable battery for SRAM eTap

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Interchangeable battery for SRAM eTap

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SRAM eTap Front Derailleur

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Left SRAM eTap Shifter

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Both SRAM eTap Shifters

265 grams (Shifters), 160 grams (Front Derailleur), 238 grams (Rear Derailleur) = 663 grams.

So, after seeing the weights, I obviously wanted to see what the comparison was with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070.  Here it is

230 grams (Shifters), 107 grams (Front Derailleur), 214 grams (Rear Derailleur), 50 grams (Battery) = 601 grams.  I am pretty sure that while the wires do weigh something, it’s not hardly enough to make it heavier than the eTap (maybe if you use 1000mm wires for all of the bike, haha).  So, while eTap is slightly heavier, it is not by much.  If you look at cassette, brakes, and cranksets (not a Quarq), chain, and bottom bracket, it is still lighter than Dura-Ace by almost a hundred grams.  This savings is almost entirely in the crank and cassette weights.  Anyways, hope this shed s a bit more light on the newest groupset.  I am also anxiously awaiting more photo leaks of the new Dura-Ace 9100, which looks to be wired, but will have an A Junction that can be updated and adjusted wirelessly.  That is a way more efficient way of easily checking firmware and diagnosing issues.

 

 


DTworks Venge Custom Vinyl Project

Hello everyone!  Happy 2016!  To start into the new year, I would like to showcase a project I helped out with and something that I am implementing into a business with local clients and soon, over the Internet.  A couple months ago, I purchased a vinyl cutter from Silhouette.  It can be used for a variety of things from decals, wraps, custom graphics on clothing, stencils for paint, templates, and sketching.  The model is a Cameo V2, which is an improved design and machine over its predecessor.  My initial goals were to practice with random requests and ideas and get an efficient workflow going with a quick turnaround.  Onto the first real project!

A local restaurant I love in Arlington, VA is called District Taco that started off as a food truck and now has locations all around the area.  The owner is an avid cyclist and has two teams at different competitive levels and loves to sport fresh custom cycling kits and awesome bikes.  He came to a mutual friend of ours asking to custom paint a Specialized Venge in a District Taco theme.  After telling me about the frame, I offered to make the decals to represent the team and give it that extra panache.  He liked the idea and I started up some designs in Photoshop, making a couple revisions to get the final product.  He had a great idea of having the Sworks on the bike, but as DTworks.  After the decals were applied, the frame was clear coated for protection and came out well.  Here it is!

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The paint really was an exceptional finish and good thought went into the accents.  It was outfitted with Enve wheels and cockpit and Dura-Ace Di2 and an SRM.  I didn’t have the pleasure of building it, but it looked very pro.

So, I am open now to all types of new vinyl projects in addition to decals and now completely custom nameplates.  Your team logo with your name or a quote or image — anything is possible.  I am also looking forward to working with businesses in the area for window vinyl decals and panels.  Feel free to connect with me through my Facebook page or by email.  I hope you enjoyed checking out the bike and look forward to expanding these types of projects.  Happy New Year!


SRAM eTap – It’s etapular!

Hello everyone!  I was able to cover and help with our first SRAM eTap build in the shop for our SRAM rep and I will tell you it is a force to be reckoned with.  They have really thought out the design completely and it works very well.  Plus, having only the brake cables running from the bars to the frame is looking so clean and fresh.  Swappable identical batteries are a big plus if you run out of juice (approximate life is 1000km or so).

The build itself is ridiculously easy and the Parlee frameset was made for eTap (no frame fittings except the rear brake).  With only an internal brake cable to route, it saves a lot of time.  Pop on the front and rear derailleurs.  Pop on the shifters. Sync up the system in about a minute or less and you have a working electronic drivetrain.  Pretty awesome.  In addition, it is great to see a derailleur off the bike on the counter fifteen feet away and actuate it while a customer is checking out.  They’ll think it’s possessed!

Here are some photos of the build (what little there is) and then a couple videos of the derailleurs in action.  To shift the bike the left paddle controls shifting the rear to a higher gear and the right paddle controls shifting to a lower gear in the rear.  Pressing both paddles shifts the front up or down depending if you are on the large chainring or small.  Charging the bike takes only about 40 minutes.

Actually, the videos are more interesting than the photos.  Here they are, photos below that.

 

The above three videos are of the derailleurs actuating wirelessly from the the shifters.  Pretty awesome and syncs easily.  Press the small button on the rear derailleur to start sync.  The LED below the button will start flashing.  Proceed to press the same button on the front derailleur and it will also flash.  Last, sync each shifter by pressing the same little black button on the inside of the shifter paddle.

 

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SRAM eTap rear derailleur without battery

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SRAM eTap rear derailleur with battery placeholder

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Front view of the SRAM eTap rear derailleur.  Note the little black button sticking out right at the bottom for syncing the components.

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SRAM eTap front derailleur with battery placeholder

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Limit adjustment screws on the front derailleur

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Rear view of the SRAM eTap front derailleur

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SRAM eTap front derailleurs use a support wedge to stiffen the actuation of the component. Contrasted to Shimano’s support screw in design, but both are easy to install with a set screw anchoring the wedge based on the angle of the cage.

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Wedge screw anchor threads.

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Top view of the SRAM eTap support wedge.

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Most of the brains for the system are housed in the rear derailleur.

I hope you’ve gotten a good first insight into the new SRAM eTap system.  More will follow as we work with it more and any hacks will of course be shared.  Thanks for reading and checking out the videos and photos!

 


Installing and Troubleshooting the Turbo S Wiring Harness

It’s been a little time since I had a good update of info and experience with working on the Specialized Turbo S (in this case, the first gen version) and have had notable experiences that deserve to be logged and written about.  So, here goes.

In my last post, I was working with a Turbo S that had error code LEDs for the 1st, third, and fourth on the battery and would subsequently turn off after about five seconds of turning it on.  I have been working constantly with Specialized on this one and the valuable experience I have gained will be explained below.  In the end of my discussions with the Turbo experts at Specialized, it was determined that the wiring harness was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced.  It was estimated at about a two hour job, uninterrupted and I think that accurately reflects the time it takes for someone familiar with the Turbo.  Below, I will run through the process and how to do it with advice on what to avoid doing or what helps the install go more smoothly.  As of now, this is the first coverage I can find anywhere on the Internet on how to do this, so I hope the documentation is thorough and helpful.

After swapping several of the components with new ones from a known working 2013 Turbo S, I encountered the same errors on a consistent basis (even with two other batteries).  When the wiring harness came last week, I was psyched and ready to dive in.  I took photos of the whole process so you can visually compare when working on this project yourself.

The first part of the project involves removing the old wiring harness first.  This is literally every wire that runs from the handlebar connectors (the brake motor disengage, the mode selector, and the control interface) to the back of the bike.  First, remove the small 2.5mm hex bolts that attach the frame stops/guides for the wires on both side of the frame where the downtube meets the headtube.

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Once this is done (by the way, put these tiny screws in a magnetic parts bowl, because you WILL LOSE THEM OTHERWISE), remove the anchor bolt on the non-drive side of the bike (which holds the main part of the wire harness in place).  It is a 6mm bolt that uses blue loctite.  In addition, this is a great time to replace the rear derailleur cable as the housing where it fits into the rear derailleur housing stop usually is bent and stretched.  Clip the housing on each end clean.  Any exposed housing casing will cause friction in the cable and affect shifting.  In the fourth photo, you will see a tiny 2mm screw right in front of the wire harness in the battery compartment.  You MUST remove this screw (which holds the brake housing securely under the downtube).  More photos below and then the next step.

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When doing this project, I suggest removal of the crank.  While the bottom bracket isn’t necessary to remove, uninstalling the crank is a good idea so you have better angles of working with the bottom bracket access point on the frame.  It’ll make your life a whole lot easier.  I also discovered that you only need to loosen the two hex bolts (5mm) inside the bottom bracket access point in order to successfully route the harness.  Each individual wire (3 of them, black, red, and orange) is easiest to pass through the routing individually.  When pulling the wiring harness center out of the frame, it’s a good idea to take a nice flat tip screwdriver and carefully pry the rubber casing on the harness wires going down the battery compartment before pulling out the main unit.  The connection plug to the front wiring (7th and 8th photos) must be routed through the frame.  Allow some slack ont he wire from the frame stop and push the frame stop perpendicular to it’s mounting position through to the inside of the frame and then the wire connector itself.

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Take a good look at the above photos and then I will explain them.  At this point the bulk of the wiring harness from the front of the bike should be ready to remove.  Now, we take a look at the progression of the wires through the bottom bracket and out to the hub motor and the rear taillight.  The rear wires are encased in  “Chinese finger trap” style mesh once they exit the frame to the hub motor.  As you compress its length, it widens and allows removal.  The new harness came with heat shrink tubing to cover the connections and the mesh harness is used again to protect the wires running into the frame.  The fittings for the red, black, and orange wires are compression fittings into the plastic plug that connect to the motor.  It takes a significant amount of pulling force to remove these, but they do so without much of a problem.  The key is installing the new connectors back into the plug, which  I will cover shortly.  The next few step include literally pulling on the old wires to get them to exit under the pressure plate (the motor and communication wires) and the seatpost light wires (through the seatpost and then through the seat tube).  By the way, I think one of the hardest part of the install is the installation of the seatpost light.  However, that is a sweet feature of the bike and requires considerable attention.  i show a decent way to do it, though I think there might be an even better way.  Here is the next series of photos.

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The next part is great.  This is where the skill comes into play.  Before the installation of the new wiring harness, I suggest using an air compressor with a ‘crack pipe’ disc adaptor to clean out the frame of the dust from usage and age.  My buddy, Curtis, photobombed the second photo pretty well and helps me keep focus during these diagnoses.  To loosen the battery pressure plate mounts so you can route the wires, use a long L-hex 5mm to turn them counterclockwise until you can move the plate from the battery compartment with your hand a decent amount.  Note that the frame routing for the rear chainstay motor wires is quite small.  I suggest you route each under the pressure plate and the chainstay separately.   Route each under the pressure plate and then each through the chainstay (check the last photo above for the entrance point).  The wires are pretty stiff and pass through the frame relatively well.  Once you see each (with a nice flashlight), use a pokey tool to route them out of the chainstay. At this point, slide the mesh protector onto the wires and the shrink wrap from the earlier photos.  This will make your life easier in the next few steps. Apply a tiny tiny tiny amount of  dielectric grease to the brass collars of each wire before pushing into the original plastic plug.  This will help seat each wire in the plug a little easier.  It is tough to push them through.  Use a small blunt pokey tool to push from the rear of the plug.  I did it successfully on the second attempt.   Then I I hit the shrink wrap material with a lighter and tightened to the connector and wires.

 

Once this is done, it’s a matter of connecting everything.  To route the seatpost light wire, I ran a brake wire cable through the tubes and out the seapost drilled hole, taping the connectors in a row to minimize diameter of the hole it had to exit through.

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Once I had done this, I realized the new harness use d a male and female connector for the rear taillight. Well, I rewired the old connector so it fit, and it worked flawlessly.🙂

Here is the last of the install photos.

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I also realized that the control unit docking station wire was malfunctioning, so I replaced that as well from a known working Turbo S in the shop.  Other than a small few inconsistencies in startup, the firmware was updated successfully as well as the battery communication issue software.  I am still waiting to hear back on the error reports from Specialized.  Bike performs successfully 90% of the time, but a final confirmation from them is necessary.  Thanks for tuning in.  More to come.  I am compiling a great Campagnolo EPS diagnosis article that should be up in the next few days.

 

SNC, David Polk


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