Having ridden it a couple of times now and all seeming OK in the run up to Mallorca, the new ADR Nero frame I bought a couple of months ago is good to go.
When I was looking for a new frame I wanted to stick to a ‘traditional’ frame rather than some of the more integrated options that are now available. I like building and being able to easily maintain my own bike and having one with integrated brakes and proprietary stems and other components makes that difficult.
Maybe those parts make a bike marginally faster but for me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. It gives me the choice of components and the ability to switch them between frames if I change which is what I’ve just done. Over the winter I had changed TT bars, wheels and crank on my Focus TT bike and most of those have made the switch to the new Nero.
The ADR Nero fitted the bill for me. It’s pretty light, not essential for a TT bike, but good for me especially as the races I tend to do are often hilly rather than the DC trials I’ve used in training, it wasn’t hugely expensive and it matched the geometry of my Focus reasonably well on which I’ve been riding comfortably and well.
After a few emails back and forward I ordered the frame in the small size in matt carbon which looks great in the flesh. One thing I wasn’t looking forward to was cutting the stem and seat post to size on the frame which has an integrated seat post.
I cut the stem first starting with an inch or so off the top to get the feel of it. I had bought a pack of fine toothed hacksaw blades and used a new one for each of the cuts I made.
As a guide I used an old stem and a spacer and wrapped tape around the carbon to reduce any splintering. It took a while as I worked my way around the stem but I made it through and moved on to the final cut. It perhaps wasn’t as critical as it might have been to get the right height as I’ve been using TT bars which have pedestal spacers under the arm pads so the base bar was always going to go as low as it could on the forks.
That done I cut the post – somewhat more critical than the stem! Like the forks I cut a centimetre or so off the top to get used to cutting the post as being aero shaped was slightly more tricky than the round forks. That would also double as an extra spacer should I need to raise the saddle at any point or I accidentally cut too much off!
Making the initial cuts for the final cut was nerve wracking but once underway there was no way back so the process went on. The cutting was fine and as it turned out, possibly inevitably, I was ever so slightly cautious with the cut and my position now is marginally higher than I had on the Focus but after a few rides it feels fine to ride and I’m reluctant to take it apart again to remove perhaps half a centimetre.
I had an Adamo Road saddle on the Focus but I want to use that as a dedicated turbo bike now as it’s a bike that’s been good to me over the past couple of years so I needed a new one and I went for an ISM Adamo TT saddle.
On to the other bits and pieces. It’s my first use of a carbon steerer on a bit and thus I needed an expander bung rather than the more usual star nut used in other steerers. I ended up buying a Deda Expander Bung as it had some decent reviews and was longer than most which should widen the area on which pressure is applied to the steerer. It was a little tricky to fit and managed to come apart a few times inside the tube and I had to shake the bits out and reinstall them but eventually got it snug.
Over the last winter I had bought a Power2Max power meter which I’d used through the summer replacing my Powertap and wheel cover and I moved this over frames. Again it wasn’t quite straightforward as once the bottom bracket and Rotor 3D plus aero crankset was installed it was too tight to turn properly. After a bit of Googling I realised that I needed to back off the preload nut and re tighten as presumably the width of the BB shell was slightly different and I managed to get the cranks turning properly.
The cranks themselves are 165mm which I moved to from the 172.5’s I had used beforehand on the Chorus crankset I had been using and are standard 53-39.
For the stem and headset I went for the Ritchey WCS series, it was an integrated headset and a stem with a 17 degree angle so I could keep it horizontal with the smallest frontal area and to keep the TT base bar as low as possible.
The TT bars I had also bought over the winter and was using on the Focus frame were also transferred over. Very light, they are an unbranded Chinese open mould product which use spacers under the bar pads to pedestal the TT bars over the base bar which is generally more aerodynamic. The only change I made was to buy some Cee Gee pads for the bars as the ones supplied were really thin. They had been OK for shorter TT’s but were impossible to use comfortably for anything longer than a 25 so the Cushy bar pads were a must. I had some on my old Profile Design bars but as my bars were unbranded I bought one ones that were the closest in dimension to what I needed which turned out to be for the Giant Trinity. Much more comfortable.
Groupset is Campag 11 speed, all of which made it over from the old bike, mechanical 11 speed shifters, Chorus RD and skeleton brakes with an older Veloce 10 speed FD. I needed braze on for the aero frame and had one on an even older frame I had and it seemed silly to buy another one. Just new cables and outers needed – the internal cabling was pretty easy on the Nero with the outers just threading through routes in the frame.
Finally the wheels went on. I bought new wheels last winter and knowing I was doing IM Mallorca this year I wanted some decent braking for the fairly technical descents, especially if it was wet so stayed clear of carbon braking surfaces. I also wanted to stay with clinchers which limited my choices somewhat.
After a bit of research I ended up with a Citec 8000 disc, a light clincher disc with an aluminum braking surface and a Mavic CXR60C front wheel which has the Exelith braking surface which has been great. The grip of the Yksion tyre left a lot to be desired in the wet though and I’m pretty sure that was a major contributing factor to my crash in the Worthing Triathlon which put paid to me finishing the Outlaw in July so I swapped it out and am running a Continental GP4000S front and rear. The rear cassette for Mallorca will be a Miche Superlight 11-27 to give me a range of gears for the hills.
Overall I’m really pleased with the build. On the first ride the headset came loose in a Club 10 so I cruised the final 4 miles and still finished in the same place I usually do in the Club 10’s on 25W less than I normally ride and in the BCDA 100 it was fine to ride the distance and I rode 5 minutes slower on 30W less than I rode on the ECCA 100 so I’m a sure as I can be it’s a faster bike.