Job done

The bike is fully assembled. The gears and brakes have been tuned and appear to be working fine. I’ve taken the bike out on two 20+ milers and I’m absolutely delighted with how it rides. Extremely light, comfortable and responsive. Joyful.

The bike is also very beautiful. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s a classic manufacturer and a classic looking bike. I intend the keep the bike for a very long time and I expect it to date gracefully (hoping the rider does too).

Given that I’ve fully assembled the bike myself I will take great pleasure in keeping it serviced/maintained from home. I’ve already taken to cleaning it after every ride, but that can’t continue… can it?

Thanks for reading.

Final price list

Since the previous shopping list I’ve added a few items. Mainly finishing touches like cable adjusters, 3T carbon stem top cap, red inner tube valve caps etc. Other items include a new FSA headset and a replacement chain. With this in mind I’ve revised the original shopping list below.

The final total is £1572. I’ve made a rough calculation of all the components bought at regular retail prices and this stands at approximately £2200-2300. A significant saving. Furthermore, buying the De Rosa Milanino fully assembled with (inferior) Campagnolo Veloce groupset and (inferior) Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels by the likes of Wiggle comes in at approximately £1700.

Component Price*
De Rosa Milanino frame £460
Campagnolo Centaur carbon crankset £148
Campagnolo Power Torque bottom bracket £18
Campagnolo Centaur cassette 12-27 £57
Campagnolo Centaur Red front derailleur £17
Campagnolo Centaur Red short cage rear derailleur £70
Campagnolo Centaur 10 speed chain (x2) £44
Campagnolo Zonda clincher wheelset £254
Continental Grand Prix 4000s tyres (x2) £52
Continental Race 28 inner tubes (x2) £10
Fizik Antares Kium saddle £63
3T Arx Pro stem £32
3T Ergosum Pro handlebars £48
Campagnolo Centaur Red carbon shifters/levers £106
Campagnolo Centaur Red brakes £37
Time RXS First pedals £32
3T Palladio Pro seat post £38
FSA Orbit CE Plus integrated headset £12
3T Pro handlebar tape £11
De Rosa water bottle (x2) £18
Carbon bottle cages £25
Token downtube cable adjusters, inner cable end caps, 3T carbon top cap and Token red tyre caps £20
TOTAL £1572

*prices include postage

Handlebar tape completed

The final bit of kit to install, handlebar tape. As I mentioned in the previous post, I had already placed my cables in on the handlebars in a comfortable position and used electrical tape to keep them secure.

3T Ergosum Handlebars pre-cabling and taping

3T Ergosum Handlebars pre-cabling and taping

I purchased 3T Pro black handlebar tape from Wiggle (approx £11). This includes two rolls of tape (one for each side), plugs/stoppers and two short strips of 3T branded tape to finish the job. The finish of the tape is like faux-leather. Hopefully it will be comfortable as well as stylish.

I was wary about doing the handlebar tape. It’s one of those jobs that you have to really get right first time or end up buying more tape. With this in mind I did plenty of researching about the best techniques.

Couple of good video tutorials: Evans and Global Cycling Network.

The technique is roughly as follows:

  • Cut some tape to fit behind the levers. This is to prevent gaps when wrapping. I found with the 3T tape and the Campagnolo levers that I needed two strips for each lever.
  • Start wrapping the tape at the bar ends all the way up to the stem.
  • Wrap outside to in i.e. clockwise.
  • Leave a little excess tape overlapping the bar end to tuck inside the bar at the end.
  • Keep the tension high when wrapping by continuing to pull tightly throughout.
  • Make diagonal cut in the tape when you get to the stem for a flush finish (see videos for better explanation).
  • Push excess tape into bar ends and put plugs in. Finish off stem ends with tape (3T provides some branded tape for this job).
3T Ergosum handlebars complete

3T Ergosum handlebars complete

Fairly pleased with job but not totally perfect. It seems one of those skills that will simply improve with experience. Still, they seem very comfortable and look great.

Cabling done

Much to my surprise, the cables came with the levers/shifters. Which kind of makes sense if you think about it, but I was unaware and the levers were not advertised as including them. So a surprise, but a nice surprise. Initially, I had priced the Campagnolo cables separately at approximately £35.

Campagnolo Centaur Red levers/shifters and brake/gear cables

Campagnolo Centaur Red levers/shifters and brake/gear cables

Rather than trying to fudge the installation with pliers or scissors I decided to invest in some proper cable cutters. I opted for some X-Tools cutters from Chain Reaction Cycles, approx £15.

X-Tools cable cutter

X-Tools cable cutter

Before undertaking the job in hand I did plenty of reading. This guide on Bike Radar was particularly useful.

The inner cable for the gears came already attached to the levers. Before cutting any outer cable housing I installed the inner cable for the brakes. This was a case of pulling the brakes open and then feeding the cable through a hole inside. The idea is that you push through and the cable emerges from a designated hole on the main hood. This was quite fiddly, but I eventually got each brake cable threaded.

All guides offered the same advice when measuring the cutting the cable housing. Size the cable housing, size it again, then cut. When sizing, feed the inner cable through, position the outer housing, then mark with electrical tape. When you’re happy, you can then make the cut where the electrical tape is.

The Campagnolo cable housing set comes with three pieces for brakes and three pieces for the gearing. The brake cable housing is slightly thicker than the gear cable housing, so distinguishing between the two is straightforward.

The brake cable housing comprises:

  • section from right lever to front brake
  • section from left lever to top tube
  • section from top tube to rear brake (very short)

The gear cable housing comprises:

  • section from left lever to down tube (for front derailleur)
  • section from right lever to down tube (for rear derailleur)
  • section from chain stay to rear derailleur (very short)

When sizing the housing, remember to take into consideration a full turn (left and right) of the handlebars. Make sure there is enough “give” in the length to accommodate this.

The final consideration, once the cable housing sizing was correct, was to position the cables in a comfortable position on the handlebars. There will be a brake and gear cable running under the handlebar tape on each side of the handlebar. It’s important to position these correctly so it’s comfortable.

Some handlebars have internal routing or grooves fitted to accommodate these cables on the handlebars. The 3T Ergosum does not come with such features.

I opted to run the cable and brake cable on each alongside each other (so they are touching). Also, position them on the handlebar so they would sit under my middle knuckles on my hands if I was holding the bars squarely on the tops. This felt the most comfortable option for me.

The cables were taped (again, using the electrical tape) firmly in position on the handlebars ready for the handlebar tape itself.

Token downtube cable adjusters

Token downtube cable adjusters

The inner cables were fed through their housing around the bike frame, affixed to their component (brake or derailleur) then cut. I obviously did a test to see if the brakes and gears were working as they should. Thankfully everything seemed to be operating fine. Not perfect, but fine tuning could come later.

Black inner cable end caps

Black inner cable end caps

To finish the job off I had purchased some black downtube cable adjusters and black anodised inner cable end caps. These gave the installation that final bit of polish.

Chain installed part two

Round two!

With the bitter experience of my first chain installation attempt I felt trepidation but also some confidence. Getting the new chain to the correct length was easy, I simply measured it against the old one. Also, I now had a good “feel” for how the rivets went in and out of the chain links using the chain tool.

Campagnolo Centaur Red drive train

Campagnolo Centaur Red drive train

Thankfully it went fairly smoothly. Using the regular chain tool therefore is very possible, even for a novice like myself. Not straight-forward, but possible. I think perhaps only a bike mechanic could justify £100 on an official Campagnolo chain tool.

At the new link where I’d joined the chain felt stiff after installing the master rivet. Some sideways bending of the chain sorted this out. It now feels like any other link on the chain.

Sorted.

Campagnolo Centaur Red drive train

Campagnolo Centaur Red drive train

I obviously had a little play moving the rear derailleur manually while turning the pedals. It all feels very smooth. Looking forward to getting this thing cabled up and operational.

Chain installed part one

My first significant setback.

After undertaking some thorough research I felt ready to take on the next step in the bike assembly, the chain. There are plenty of good resources out there:

It became apparent from some early reading that installing a Campagnolo 10 speed chain was not straight-forward. I’m noticing a theme here with Campagnolo.

Official Campagnolo chain tool

Official Campagnolo chain tool

Many people, including Campagnolo themselves, recommend using the official Campagnolo chain tool. At approx £100 I was hesitant to say the least. There are plenty of people who say it’s fine using a regular chain tool, and my cynical side thinks “well Campagnolo would say that wouldn’t they?”. So, I would persevere with the chain tool that came with my tool kit.

There are two tasks involved in installing a chain:

  1. Finding correct chain length
  2. Link the chain together using master pin

There are seemingly lots of ways of finding the correct chain length. I’ve read that you put the chain on the big rings (front and back) but not through the derailleurs and size it that way, use a mathematical equation to find out correct number of chain links, put the chain into smallest chain rings (and through derailleurs). In the end I opted for the latter.

The idea is to thread the chain through the derailleurs and onto smallest sprocket on the rear and smaller chain ring at the front. Pull the chain together and when the rear derailleur starts getting some tension you’re there. Make a note of the chain rivet you need to remove (remembering to break the chain at a male/female point so it fits back together), then use the chain tool to pop out the rivet.

This all went fine. Installing the new pin was tricky using the regular chain tool but I got there in the end.

I then began giving the chain a spin using the cranks. It was pretty noisy around the rear derailleur and then I noticed my error. There was no gap between the chain and the bottom jockey wheel, so the chain was rubbing against the rear derailleur as it moved. Obviously not good.

In effect I’d made the chain too long by one chain link. I removed the master pin, made the chain shorter by one chain link and it was great. The problem was now that I’d reused the master pin, it wasn’t as snug in the chain link (you’re not supposed to remove this pin once installed).

So I needed a new chain. Bummer. I ordered one straight away from Wiggle for £25. A setback. But I wasn’t naive enough to think that I wouldn’t have at least one setback when building my first bike. On the plus side, I pretty much know now exactly how to install the chain. Also, I have a correctly sized chain to compare and cut the new one too without too much fiddling about. Hopefully the new chain will arrive really soon and I can fit it while all this is still fresh in the mind.

Crankset re-installed, front derailleur installed

I had about a week between not being happy with how the crankset was spinning and getting the correct tools to remove it. During this time I did a fair bit of investigation into  what the problem might be. Nothing was glaringly obvious. The cranks don’t make an unhealthy noise. Excessive force is not necessary to turn the cranks.

The cranks aren’t difficult to turn, they just don’t spin like one of the wheels. I was still unsure if this was an unrealistic expectation.

There are plenty of people who insist that it takes a few miles for a new crankset to spin properly, “new cranks are often stiff initially”. I was starting to think (hope!) that this was what I was experiencing.

After removing the non-drive side crank arm I tried spinning again. No difference. I removed the non-drive side bottom bracket cup and tried spinning again. No difference. I removed the holding pin in the drive side bottom bracket and tried spinning again. No difference. I even tried removing the main crank arm, re-greased it and tried again. No difference!

This at least gave me confidence that I hadn’t installed the bottom bracket and crankset incorrectly.

I decided to get myself some of the official Campagnolo grease and try re-installing with this. I’d read it was good quality. The bearing on the crank arm came with some Campagnolo grease already on it and it seemed “thinner” than the Park Tool grease I’d been using. Worth a try.

Campagnolo grease

Campagnolo grease

With the new grease I re-assembled the bottom bracket and crankset. The spinning was a little easier, not significantly so, but a little. I’ve concluded that the crankset is probably fine and my OCD got the better of me. I’ll obviously keep an eye on how the cranks operate and if they seem to move more freely after I’ve done some miles.

Campagnolo Centaur Red front derailleur installed

Campagnolo Centaur Red front derailleur installed

With the crankset re-installed I could attach the front derailleur. This was very straight-forward. There is a guideline sticker attached to the component which makes life easy. Besides, if this is incorrect it’s quite easy to adjust later on.

I did think about adding the pedals at this stage but will wait as I thought they may obstruct me while undertaking the next logical step, the chain…

Crankset removed

The stuff from Ribble Cycles finally arrived (8 days after ordering it!). This meant I could attempt removing my crankset and do some investigating.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was loathed to spend £50 on a Park Tool Power Torque adaptor kit (pictured below). My cheaper attempt was buying a Campagnolo crank adaptor (approx £15) and crank protector (which is essentially a bit of cardboard – amazing to think it normally retails at £10. Thankfully I only paid £1.50).

To give you an idea of the process I’m undertaking, take a look at this youtube video which demonstrates a Power Torque removal using the full Park Tool kit.

Park Tool Power Torque adaptor kit

Park Tool Power Torque adaptor kit

After removing crank nut on the non-drive side and inserting the Campagnolo adaptor it soon became evident that the Park Tool bearing puller wouldn’t extend far enough to reach it. The puller is designed specifically for the elongated Park Tool adaptor (pictured above).

Campagnolo Power Torque crank with adaptor inserted

Campagnolo Power Torque crank with adaptor inserted

At this point I was getting quite annoyed with the lame tactics of both Campagnolo and Park Tool. It’s almost like they are trying to “out proprietary” each other with their equipment.

I decided to improvise. All I really needed was something strong, cylindrical (to fit into the puller) and of the right length to bridge the gap between the Campagnolo adaptor and puller. It dawned on me that I could use one of the hex bits that I’d already purchased. I decided to go with the largest of those, the 14mm, which I bought to remove the crank nut.

And it worked. Like a charm.

I’ve added the dimensions of the cardboard crank arm protector in an image below. Would be quite easy to make a DIY version of this component rather than potentially spending (a, quite frankly, insane) £10 on one.

Kit required to remove Campagnolo Power Torque crank

Kit required to remove Campagnolo Power Torque crank

After inserting the adaptor, slide the cardboard protector behind the crank arm, add the hex bit into the puller and then position centrally with all screws holding the puller firmly in position (see image below).

Removing Power Torque crank using bearing puller

Removing Power Torque crank using bearing puller

Once everything is in place it’s just a case of turning the bearing puller and the crank comes away from the spindle. Once the crank is removed, the rest of the crankset is disassembled very easily.

Dimensions of Power Torque crank arm protector

Dimensions of Power Torque crank arm protector

With the crank arm removed I could now begin investigating why the crank isn’t spinning as freely as I think it should…

Seat post, saddle and brakes installed

While continuing to wait for crank removal adaptor from Ribble Cycles (!!!) I decided to install whatever else I could. The only things available at this point were the seat post, saddle and brakes.

Fizik Antares saddle with 3T Palladio Pro seat post

Fizik Antares saddle with 3T Palladio Pro seat post

These components were all very straightforward to install. Like so often, the difficulty was ensuring I had the correctly sized components. Fortunately, my preparation was spot on.

Campagnolo Centaur Red front brakes

Campagnolo Centaur Red front brakes

I’m at the mercy of Ribble now. Once the delivery arrives I can hopefully resolve the crankset issue. This will allow me to continue the build, i.e.

  1. install the front derailleur
  2. install chain
  3. cable up the gears /brakes
  4. apply the handlebar tape
  5. attach pedals

Levers/shifters installed

Still awaiting my crank removal adaptor from Ribble Cycles (!) so it’s not possible to install the chain or front derailleur yet. Despite this, I decided to attach the levers to the handlebars. I know I can’t complete the cabling just yet, but no harm in getting the levers correctly positioned on the bars.

The levers have a ring which connects them to the handlebars. This is tightened/loosened from the front via T25 torx screw. Getting to this screw is not straight-forward. The hood needs to be pulled right up from the front and the back. The torx bit can then slide under the hood. See photo below.

Attaching Campagnolo levers to handlebar

Attaching Campagnolo levers to handlebar

As you can see, it’s essential you get a T25 torx bit with a long neck. I got one of these from ebay for about £5 (see below, T30 on left, T25 right).

Torx bits T30 & T25

Torx bits T30 & T25

Despite loosening the ring as much as I could it was still impossible to attach the levers onto the bars. This was due to the shape of the levers themselves. I had to remove the ring(s) completely, slide them onto the bar, and then re-attach to the levers.

I tried to position the levers so the top of the handlebar and hoods were in a seamless straight line – almost as if the levers themselves are an extension of the handlebar. I’d read numerous times that this was the ideal position.

Using a tape measure it’s possible to ensure that both levers are positioned at equal points on the handlebars. More details of this can be found on a great Bike Radar tutorial.

Campagnolo Centaur Red levers/shifters

Campagnolo Centaur Red levers/shifters

The levers look and feel awesome. Can’t wait to cable them up and get the handlebar tape on.