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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got the object of my desire - a Scalpel frame. It is an '05 painted in the gaudy "race red" scheme of the 1000, but it does not have the "1000" model decals on it anywhere, which makes it even nicer to build up as a custom.

I plan on installing a carbon lefty 110 (whatever it is called this year - speed lefty or something), and building a set of wheels, etc. I always enjoy it when someone posts "time lapse" pictures of their bike build project. Before I take up everyone's bandwidth, I would like to check and see if people are interested in seeing sort of a "blog" of the bike build project? If interest is low, I will save the effort of taking pics. If it is high, I will lavish lots of extra effort on the pics, entertain discussions about component choices, pass out digital grog, or whatever.
 

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LA CHÈVRE
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9,429 Posts
I'd like to see that as well. I'd like to see 3 pictures of every bolt getting tightened (stop to take the picture, not with you in the way) so after, we can make a frame by frame movie of your bike magically building itself up.
:D
 

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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Frame roll out

Well, here is the frame

I have been waiting for Cannondale to make a red scalpel that I like the color of. They made the darker "Blood red" a few years ago, but this years "race red" is what I am looking for. I have wanted a Corvette, Ferrari, fire engine red, not a ruby or orangy or dark red. I also did not want the whole bike to be solid red, and the patterns on this frame work for me. Usually they reserve that kind of red for the Saeco team, or lower end bikes like the 1000 level or lower, it seems like.

The black has a deep red metal flake in it that comes out to dazzle you in the sunlight. I did my best to capture some of it here, but it does not really come across in this picture, it just kind of looks like dust.

Excuse my fingerprints and dust messing up the paint in this picture, the paint really looks soaking wet on the bike. I took this to capture the new for '05 Ti frog link mount bolts. But it looks like the seatpost binder nut is made of matching metal. All of pass the magnet test, but then so does stainless.

Total frame weight is 4 lb 13 oz in this config, or 2190 grams. Looks like a bit of a ringer, weight wise, most Scalpels I have seen have been in the 2300-2350 range. In size M, this includes the seatpost clamp, which is usually about a 25g piece for a nice non-QR model, so for comparison to other bare frames, call this 2165g or 4.75lb, and outstanding weight, I am very happy with that.

Ths Scalpel is a classic as far as I am concerned, but its timing is wrong, market wise. Right now, 5-6" travel bikes are all the rage. It seems like all 3" or less bikes are being marketed as "race bikes" right now. I am not a racer - except maybe once or twice a year, and then I take dead last. But I think of the Scalpel as a 3" trail bike. I just don't need, want, or use more travel and I don't care for the weight and complexity that comes with it. I also really love to get in and out of the saddle to attack short steep stuff, and even with platform shocks, a 5" bike will turn into a pogo stick when you do that. BTW, I am not picking on Prophets here, I have ridden Ellsworth and Specialized all mountain/enduro bikes, and they all have similar rides in this regard.

I get my parts from LBS's, ebay, and mtbr classified, of course. It takes me months of watching, negotiating, bidding, auto-notifys, etc. to get everything I am looking for.

More blog in the coming days, I am really in no hurry to complete the project, believe it or not.
 

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singletrail lover
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42 Posts
Yes, keep on blogging, please. I put a Scalpel together last year, will be interesting to see what parts you choose.

I am using my Scalpel as a light trailbike, two times a year marathon race bike and just as my do-it-all bike. So you're not alone with your trailbike idea. Just did a longer spring tour today here in the mountains and I am in love with this frame again.

btw - i do not see the pictures you mention in the post (?)
 

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Trail rider and racer
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4,691 Posts
Yes, definitely post away. The folks on the weight board would probably be interested too. It might be worth doing a cross post.

Please check the image links you have posted, they don't seem to work.
 

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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Wheel blog

The wheels are next - I will add pics in a future post. The rear is done, the front is waiting on a lefty hub, but I have the rims, spokes, and nips.

I decided to try Stan's Olympic rims. I have been using - and happy with - Stan's system since the days of strapping and electrical tape. The newest Olymics are disc only, perfect. They are designed to not need the usual rubber strip, but rather some new tape, weighing only 5g per wheel, and a 7g valve. When I ordered them over the web, I got a call back from Stan. He explained that the Olympics were out of stock, but he had an "OEM" version Cannondale (!!!) was evaluating. They are about 10g each heavier, and the 10g added strength and durability over the standard Olympic rim. So I went for those. They weighed in at about 360g each, not bad, within a couple of grams of Stan's claims. They are eyeletless and have kind of a messy weld at the seam. The weld is no big - at least they ARE welded, and these are disc only, so who cares about the brake track. As for eyeletless - well, yes that saves weight, but durability will be another issue. I have used a lot of eyeletless rims, and my experience has been that as long as you tension the spokes properly - meaning you don't overtighten - they are fine. Plus, without the eyelets, the wheels are totally blacked out, which looks great. Combine the low weight of the rims and the 14g strip/valve combo over the normal rimstrip of about 60g, and you have some serious weight savings, great if they prove durable. They also have a lightweight rimstrip option - about 35g - that I am trying not to use.

At Stan's suggestion, I am using the newest DT Supercomp spokes, which seem like a good weight compromise for a real world bike. They fall between DT revolution (revos, as I call them) 2.0/1.5 and Competition 2.0/1.8. They are 2.0 at the hub end, with a longer section of 2.0 than the revos. Then they narrow to 1.7, and at the rim end they widen to only 1.8, and with a very short butted section. Nice design. The 2.0 section at the hub is where it belongs, able to protect the wheel from chain drops (depending on hub flange height, of course), which the 2.0 butting on the revos too short for. The chain inevitably lands on the 1.5 section. There is no need for a bigger 2.0 butting at the rim either, so the 1.8 is fine. The end result is only 320g, between the weight of the revos and the competitions, closer to the revo. Another good choice, I think.

The rear hub I am using is the latest American Classic disc rear hub - the kind with the thread off disc mounts, an amazing 227g weight. The non drive side flange has been moved in to eliminate dish so spoke tension is the same on the drive side, and there is no need for asymmetric rims to achieve this. Also, when paired with the front hubs I am not using, all 4 spoke lengths (F&R, R&L) are equal lengths. Very clever, it allows you to buy a box of 72 spokes to build a wheel. The downside is that the flange spacing is very narrow in the rear - narrower than the front. According to AmClassic, equal spoke tension and zero dish more than offsets the narrowness.

Stan does not like the combination I am using - the new AmClassic rear hub with his rims, and he does not offer that combination at his web site. He pointed out the narrowness and the zero dish design of the rear hub, and correctly concluded that spoke tension will be equal drive and non drive side. Most rims in the world should be tensioned to about 100kg, which I measure with a tensionometer. With a non-dished wheel that means spokes are tensioned to 100kg on each side. On a dished wheel, the spokes that are closer to the center of the hub are tensioned to 100kg and the spokes on the other side are tensioned less, whatever is needed to make the wheel dish properly, and that is where the reduced strength of a dished wheel manifests itself. Stan, however, did not like the idea that both sides should be tensioned to 100kg, and insisted that even though his rims are rated for about 100kg, the total of both sides should be added up and total about 160kg, so spoke tension should be about 80kg per side, which would make for a very weak wheel. That makes no sense as far as I am concerned, I have already built up the rear wheel with 100kg on each side.

I have installed a Conti Explorer Pro onto the rim, and the rims are interesting. They are not hook beaded, but they curve around to match the shape of the tire bead. The bead seats with a series of loud scary pops or cracks, but it assures me the bead has set with authority. Indeed, removing the bead from these rims takes considerable pressure, I have great confidence that they will hold securely on the trail.
 
G

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nice ride

i'm building up a 2002 scalpel 2000 myself. i bought the frame recently in really good shape. i'll have to post the pics like you're doing if i can figure it out. i'm trying to get it to sub 22 to race with. first thing i'm going to do is replace the alloy seatstays for carbon and the new frog link. mine has the headshock which is slightly lighter than the lefty. i like the red, but i think my polished frame/fork looks a little better :D
 

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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sounds nice

ALSCALPEL said:
i'm building up a 2002 scalpel 2000 myself. i like the red, but i think my polished frame/fork looks a little better :D
I like the notion that I want a color that is not for everyone, its OK. Some of the polished frames had decals with red trim, I thought those were pretty sharp looking. Besides, a polished frame will be lighter than a painted frame, paint weighs. I rode a polished Jekyll and after a day of sweating on the bare aluminum, the aluminum was dulled wherever I sweat on it a lot. I would have to clear coat a polished frame or use aluminum polish and wax frequently, I guess I am a little vain about my frame's appearance.

If you are making those changes to save weight (duh), look into the Ti bolts, too. There is someone who sells a Ti bolt kit for the Scalpel on eBay periodically.
 

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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A few more parts

The Scalpel project continues. Here it is so far:

I managed to complete a few things. I had the headset pressed in. A headset press is one of the tools I do not have, so my friendly LBS did the work. Cannondale's two cups, bearing, and upper seal weigh in at a nice even 100g. Close inspection reveals a little bubbling of the paint just below the "S" in system, below. Not a showstopper, though.

The rear wheel is complete, read the previous wheel building blog. I will take some pics of the front wheel as I build it. The rear hub is the newest version of the AmClassic hub with the thread off disc mount. The lacing pattern is asymmetric, as a rear disc wheel should be laced. Note that the spokes on the inside of the flanges point in different directions on each side of the wheel. This is to better deal with the forces each side of the hub encounters.

I am quite fond of the new Control Tech components, and I plan to festoon the bike with many of them. The skewer is Ti and features Carbon Fibers QR levers. Too bad I won't be using one in front because of the lefty hub.

The rims have zero side wall to speak of. They also lack eyelets. Combined with blackwall tires and you really get a stealth look to the wheel.

Control Tech post is trick beyond all reason. I love the shape of the bridge/cutout area - supposedly a result of much computer modeling. The seat is the Flite Kit Carbonio. Just in case your buddies did not know you were a weight weenie, a seat like this really lets them know - how many bike parts have their weight printed on them right out in the open where everyone can see it? Also note the carbon rail ends and the clear carbon "window" on top of the seat. Sadly, the seat weighs 158g. LOL. When I started this project I told myself I was going to weigh everything and keep a spreadsheet of the weights, so here is the info since I have it anyway: the post is a miraculously light 153g and that is for 300mm length. The rear hub 227g, the rear wheel 759g, the rimstrip/valve were 14g, the rear tire 530g, r skewer 34g, and I think I went a little over the top with Stan's juice, there is about 80g of it in there, the Supercomp spokes in 258 length are 160g per 32 spokes.
 

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Registered
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731 Posts
Beautiful Bike, Dirt Dad- I appreciate the meticulous description of the construction process and details on chosen parts. Keep up great work ! I look forward to your next post.
 

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Compulsive Bike Builder
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1,512 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A few more parts

Well, it has sprouted a few more parts

I swapped out the Fox RP3 rear shock for a DT Swiss - identical weights down to the gram, 206g each, including frame spacers. I am not a big fan of platform shocks. My last Scalpel had a Fox Float with lockout and no propedal, it rode great. I also removed the remote lockout mechanism from the DT Swiss, I found reaching back there was so easy that the complexity of a remote was just not worth it. Matches the DLR up front that way, too, in that the DLR lockout is via a lever, not ELO.


I am going with old school XTR front derailleur because - you guessed it - weight. New 960 xtr and even sram is nice, but in order to be all things to all people, they have to weigh more. The dual pull models have big levers on them and you only use half of the mechanism. I think they are stiffer, too, but I like a single purpose derailleur, it looks cleaner. Weight difference? Not much. This derailluer is 125g, 960 XTR is 150g. Only about an ounce. But when you build up a bike like this, you can decide to make a difference of an ounce many times and save a pound or so on choices that are pretty arbitrary. BB is AmClassic ISIS, a steel spindle and replacable cartridge bearings for 155g, how can you go wrong?


For me, the carbon lefty is a must on this bike. A fatty may be lighter, but the lefty changes the personality of the bike substantially by upping travel from 80-110 mm. And a weight of 1429g or 3.14lb - there is no equivalent out there that gives you 110mm travel and the rigidity of the lefty at anywhere close to that weight.

The Control Tech parade continues. 25.4 stem and bar because 31.8 offers no advantage in stiffness, I agree with the engineers at Syntace on that one. The same goes for 4 bolt faceplates. And guess which is heavier? 160gram stem at 100mm x 5 degree, and 170 gram bar with a generous 660mm width. A 31.8 stem, 610mm bar combo I have as an alternative weighs the same. You can look at the 25.4 saving weight or allowing you to use a wider bar. This bike is not a race bike, and I prefer the wider bar. I like to remove the top cap on the Lefty steerer - it is strictly cosmetic, adds useless weight, and when people are freaked out over the lefty, I offer them a gander down the a hollow steerer tube, that totally messes them up.
 

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Out riding my Scalpel
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249 Posts
Nice work Dirt Dad!

Nice build of your Scalpel. Looking great! Sorry your not a fan of the RP3. I really like mine. It works great for me. I wanna see it when it's fully done. I'm sure it will be rocking. Nice ride regards.
 
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