Maybe the new bike is helping already

Having changed from the Powertap rear with the Ralatech cover to the new Power2Max Type S I needed to do a new FTP test. I had run the two power meters alongside each other and as expected the crank based meter read slightly higher and as I’ve been holding off doing a test until it was fitted it was time to do it.

New Focus

Not quite finished here!

You tend to forget how much they hurt. I’ve yet to ride the ‘new’ TT bike outside this year as things have conspired against me over the last couple of weeks so it was back to TrainerRoad for their 8 minute test. It’s the test I ‘ve consistently done since the beta version of TR as it’s the one that I think suits me the least and is likely to give me the most conservative FTP estimate. The test seems pretty legit as through last year it gave me a number that was pretty close to my average power in the 25 mile TT’s.

If that’s true again this year I’ll be going a good bit faster than the 57:21 I managed on the Bentley course last August.

To cut a long story short I ended up averaging 312 and 309 W for the two 8 minute efforts giving me an estimated FTP of 279 (which I’ve rounded down to 275 as I know how difficult taking too big an FTP ride in TR can be from bitter experience) 0r at 64kg it’s 4.36 w/kg.

I’ve been pretty fatigued over the last few days and wouldn’t have done the test apart from having to validate it and have a current figure for the new Power2Max so I’m confident of being able to squeeze a few more Watts out when slightly better rested so all is looking good from that point of view.


Hopefully I should get the chance on Sunday to see how the ‘new’ bike goes in the second round of the Portsdown Time Trial League with a 15 miler.

Citec disc in place

Citec disc in place

I say new as I’ve changed most of it. The frame is the same Focus frame and the components are still Campagnolo Chorus as they were all 11 speed bits anyway. I’ve changed the Mavic Powertap rear for a Citec disc and the front for the CXR 60, gone from 10 to 11 speed and have changed the cockpit from a Profile Design T2 Wing and T1 aerobars to a non branded Chinese carbon mold ‘pedestal’ type bars.

It’s looking like it will be cold so maybe not conducive to fast riding but hopefully I’ll see some good improvement as the season progresses from rider and bike.

I managed a swim this morning as well, alternating 400 pull with 8 x 50 hard for 2800m swum

File :

Bike Building – The Argon 18

I’ve been on the lookout for a new road bike frame for a few months after a few issues with the Daccordi. It’s been a great bike but the rear mech hanger has been bent a couple of times and had to be bent back into shape and because it’s a number of years old a new hanger has been impossible to find a replacement.

What I didn’t want to happen was for hanger to go again and to have no road bike and be forced into getting one relatively quickly. It is a real shame to have to replace a bike because of a £15 part but if you can’t get one, you just can’t get one!

What I did have though was my original DCH Viner Gladius from the Outlaw when I first started riding as a donor bike. In truth it was too large for me anyway and has sat in the garage for a while occasionally donating parts to the Daccordi!

So on with the build.

I ended up buying a second hand Argon 18 Radon frame from ebay for £225 and was aiming to buy as little else and keep the bike as cheap as possible.

The new frame

The new frame

The donor bike

The donor bike










I’ve mucked around with most bike parts but one thing I hadn’t done was remove or replace a bottom bracket and crankset so I was a little nervous about the first part of the operation. I borrowed the appropriate Park Tool from a friend (thanks Simon!) and with that it was a relatively easy operation and with a dash of copper grease the Miche Race crank was moved.



Miche Race Crank











Next up were the fork and stem and it was beginning to look a little like a bike.

Argon 18

After that were the brakes and derailleurs. I had to buy a rear derailleur as the DCH bike had already donated it’s RD to the Daccordi and I’d like to be able to sell that as a complete bike to offset the cost of this one. For the front I used a SRAM rival FD I had lying around. It had been attached to the Focus TT frame when I bought that last year. I picked up the RD from Ribble with an added discount voucher.

The brakes were Veloce, again taken from the DCH although I needed another lock nut for the rear brake as this had also been previously donated to the Daccordi! I had a spare from the Chorus brakes I had bought for the Focus.

Veloce rear derailleur

Veloce rear derailleur


From the DCH I used the Cinelli Vai bars and stem and the Veloce shifters and cutting the cables as close as possible to the ferrules I even managed to reuse all the cables.

After the chain was on – a KMC job and another thing I bought – with my Mavic Open Pro Powertap training wheel it was really just a finishing job. I had bought new black bar tape for the bars and adjusted the cable tension for the indexing, moved the Shimano pedals over from the Daccordi and the bottle cages from the DCH.

One thing that was slightly tricky was adjusting the headset properly. It was an incredibly fine line between the fork binding and there being play in the headset. I did check to see if the sealed bearing were oriented properly but they were. The seat post and Specialized saddle came straight from the Daccordi and after a bit of fiddling with the seat (the Argon had a slightly longer top tube and the seat needed to be moved forward a couple of CM) it was ready to go.

Not the best of pictures but the finished bike

Not the best of pictures but the finished bike

It looks really good in the flesh and having ridden it now for 10 days or so it is a really nice ride. It handles well and is a good fit for me. Hopefully it will see me through a few years more riding – I’ll make sure I buy a spare derailleur hanger as well at some point!

Total cost? Well I bought a bit but not too much.

Frame £225 + postage
Rear derailleur £50
Bar Tape £8
Chain £15

Total cost £318

Hopefully I’ll make some of that back as well when selling the Daccordi. I’ll probably sell the DCH/Gladius frame as well. There is a dent in the seat tube from the fron derailleur but it still functions fine. Someboddy might want it as a frame for the turbo. It has seen good duty for me, taking me around the Outlaw and now as a parts donor for the Argon.

RalTech Carbon Wheel Cover Review

Having had them for a couple of months I thought I’d better write a review of the RAL Tech carbon wheel covers I bought a couple of months ago now. They are I believe made to order to fit whichever wheels and hub combination you have and I ordered mine to fit the Mavic Cosmic Carbonnes in which I have my Powertap hub.

Pristine and unused

At the time they cost me £95 plus postage though I think they cost slightly more now. Certainly much cheaper than a full disc wheel and with the ability to race with power is very much worthwhile.

The first thing that stuck me when I got them was just how light they were. I didn’t at the time weigh them but they felt almost weightless in my hand. I’d hesitate to use the word because it probably does the company a great disservice but almost flimsy.

*Weighed since after many requests and mine are 288g including all the fittings and spacers. Obviously they are custom made for each wheel/hub combination so they will all be slightly different.

They fit to each other using spacers and tabs holding them together around the rim and spokes and were easy to fit that way and whilst that held them reasonably I opted to additionally use black electrical tape to fully seal them to the rims. This stopped any slight rotation they had from the spacers between the spokes and also prevents any airflow into the cover. Even with a perfect seal I think that I’d used the tape anyway.

The only issue I have had is getting them to fit without rubbing. Sometimes with a wheel cover the chain can rub because of the extra clearance needed from the spokes and even with the most adjustment from the barrel adjuster I couldn’t quite stop the rubbing. Whilst the chain wasn’t rubbing the inner rivets of the rear derailleur were on the cover.

Filthy after the Marlow mud

One trick that others have used to stop any rubbing is to use duct tape on the inside to bring the cover nearer the spokes but whilst this may work with plastic wheel covers it didn’t with RAL Tech’s carbon version. No type of tape I could get my hands on would stick to the inner side of the carbon.

The bike had never been crashed but to be sure I tried a new rear hanger but still with no joy. The next tack was to use some Mavic ED11 spacers to move the cassette further away from the wheels. One spacer nearly did the job but not quite and unfortunately two brought the lock ring into contact with the frame and stopped it rotating freely.

In the end I’ve put a washer between the rear hanger and the dropout to slightly increase the clearance and with some adjustment to the indexing it’s working pretty well. I will get it properly checked before Wiesbaden to be sure.

The first race I used it in was the Portsmouth Triathletes Spring Duathlon at the end of March. I had only got the covers a few days before the race but wasn’t too worried as I was never going to use the 23 cog on the virtually flat racing track at Goodwood.

I also used it at 70.3 Austria after all the adjustments without a problem – this time I was grateful for the 23 cog particularly going up the Gansbach.

Of course I’ve no way of knowing exactly how much time I save with the cover but there is plenty of research to show that there should be some decent savings. Results wise I’ve certainly nothing to complain about with a second at the dualthlon and qualifying for Las Vegas in Austria.

Importantly as well they do look good that must be worth a few seconds at least!

Vankru bike fit

I spent the morning at the Vankru bike studio in Southampton for a Retul bike fit. Having had a bike fit at Velomotion in Milton Keynes on my old bike last year I thought it would be worthwhile particularly given may long ride two weeks ago.

I had ridden for the better part of 6 hours I put out my peak power for the last hour of the ride for the lowest average speed on a flat, looped route. It hopefully shows good pacing and that I had something still to give at the end of the ride but given that I was on the base bars rather than the aero bars it was just wasted effort for less speed.

It’s a bit last minute but there’s enough effort going into an Iron distance race without wasting any, and that was what prompted the visit to Vankru.

The fit was a really good experience, a flexibility check and the plenty of time to tweak the position. While there were quite a few minor changes to be made the biggest one was to move the front end up. I was very low on the bike in my attempts to get aero, a back angle of around 11° if I remember correctly, and whilst I had been OK to ride for 2 1/2 hours in the Swashbuckler and for up to 4 – 4 1/2 hrs it was probably unsustainable for 112 miles.

Bringing the angle up to around 20° also had the effect of flattening my back overall and making my upper back less rounded, generally making the position more comfortable. Hopefully the results will show in Vichy were I can hopefully say aero for the whole bike and save my energy for the run.

The time spent with Garth was well worth the money spent, nothing was rushed and there was time to discuss all the changes as the morning wore on. There was also the offer of a free follow up appointment a few months down the line for further tweaking if needed so overall I was very impressed.



The Focus TT Bike

I now have a proper TT bike and the Focus frame has been built with a mix of new parts and parts I had bought with the intention of using the Daccordi as a makeshift TT bike. I took it out yesterday for its first ride and it felt pretty good.

It does I think look fantastic and given I got the frame second hand that had only been used a couple of time for £150 it’s a bit of a bargain. The total cost has been (I think!) just over £1000 for all the components without the wheels.

Its full spec

Focus Izalco Tria frame from 2008

Campag Chorus 11 speed compact carbon crank

Chorus 11 speed skeleton brakes

10 speed campag bar end shifters

11-23 Record cassette

11 speed Chorus front derailleur

11 speed Chorus rear derailleur

ISM Adamo saddle

TRP RL790 carbon brake levers

Profile Design T2 Wing base bar

Profile Design T1+ aero bars

The wheels are Mavic Cosmic Carbonne Powertap wheels that I’ve had for a while now with a Record 10 speed cassette that’s being swapped between bikes. The tyres are Schwalbe Lugano’s but I’ve got some Ultremo R1′s for those days you just need to roll faster.

It should get its first outing in anger at the Portsmouth Triathletes Spring Duathlon in a couple of weeks.

I think it looks the dogs danglies!

Next race...

BDCA 100


2014 Training

2013 Training

2012 Training

2011 Training