Lugs To Lightweights – Episode 25: One Year OnWritten: April 26, 2012
Lugs to Lightweights - Baum Diary
It’s been over a year in fact – it was (I think) March 31st last year that I took delivery of the frame. I’m pretty sure of that because it was the following day when I posted the bike up as that weeks’ Friday Bike Lust (there might have been a little April Fool in there too).
So how is it going?
Well I still giggle to myself that it actually belongs to me, it’s still a dream to ride, there’s very little about it I’d change or do differently from when I built it (or it least when it was finally, properly ‘finished‘) and it still sparkles every single time I ride it.
Still every bit the dream bike it was intended to be then. Perfect.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one minute suggesting its not changed at all – as you well know I was playing with saddles for a good while, and whilst the custom painted Superleggera is still the saddle I most like on it my arse has grown too lardy for that to be comfortable anymore. It will probably find it’s way back onto the bike as (if) my weight drops again, but until then I’m on a Fizik Kurve Chameleon (although my air freight has now arrived from the UK and I feel I need one last stint on my Tune Komm-Vor to make a final decision on which of the two really is most comfortable and stays on the bike!).
I also had a frustrating return of my shoulder problem which led to a couple of minor positional changes. Firstly, 10mm came off of the ISP to give me room to nudge my saddle height down a bit. I also switched to one of Zipp’s new ‘super short reach’ Service Corse bars to bring the reach to my hoods back 15mm (without having to shorten my stem) and switched to a ‘beyond black’ Zipp stem to give me a couple of mm extra height due to the change in angle over the Tune stem. Lastly the headset was changed to a Chris King ‘Sotto Voce’ to make use of the full stack available on the fork without having to use more than 10mm of spacers.
Overall my drop was reduced from 90mm to 65mm, and the 25mm difference has helped my shoulder settle down again (and with a very slightly lower saddle I feel a little bit more powerful too). As things improve with my shoulder most of this – headset aside – will be reversed, and I’m already back to just a 5mm spacer. Eventually I should even be able to revert to the Tune stem, and should even be able to ‘slam that stem’ onto the top cap of the Chris King headset. Woo, and indeed, hoo.
For the moment this does mean (shock, horror) that The Bike Tart is not running matching colar and cuffs. Ohhh the shame…
Due to a need to be a bit frugal at the moment, coupled with another fragile Vittoria tyre the bike is currently running a set of skinwalls – it doesn’t look too bad for it but black ones definitely look better, although the more I look at it the more they grow on me…
The Di2 has been faultless from day one, and I’ve still only charged the battery three times – one of which was precautionary as I didn’t know how long I might be without the charger after moving to Sydney. Yes I prefer the lever feel of EPS, but for one thing the EPS brain wouldn’t fit where the Di2 battery mount is on this, and secondly there’s no red on Di2 which means the only time the colour red appears anywhere on this bike is on those tyre logos. That’s rare for a road bike so to put EPS on this with those red ’11′ logos all over it would be bad news, not to mention the fact that red clashes with the purple so is best avoided. Oh yeah, and there’s the small thing that EPS is nigh-on FOUR THOUSAND QUID.
Much as I liked the ‘Baum-ness’ of the King cages the bike came with I’m not sad I switched to the Arundels – I think they suit the bike better and it’s no secret that I think they’re awesome cages. Likewise I’m pleased with the Tune cranks that I finally settled on, although I am tempted to try Q-Rings on them again now that these rings are getting worn.
The only other thing I’ve considered changing is the brakes, believe it or not. No, I’ve not fallen out of love with the EEs – I still believe they’re the only really good light weight brake on the market. It’s just that I picked up a set of the new TRP 979EQs before I left the UK thinking they’d go on Project Baum, but I’m too intrigued about the new SRAM Red brakes not to give them a go on that. Consequently I’m tempted to see how the TRPs look on this! Sure, they won’t be as special as the EEs, but they might make the bike look cleaner…
The one frustration is that the BB is already knackered. not the end of the world as I got a spare set of PressFit30 bearing cups with my Tune chainset, but less than one year for a ceramic BB that doesn’t come cheap is bad news in my book. I just need to find a local LBS that has the PressFit drift tool to remove the current BB so I can press the new one in.
In the past I mentioned how if I did this bike again I might not run the ISP. Now I truly believe if I did this bike again I’d do everything EXACTLY the same. It’s beautiful. Incredible. It rides like a dream and could never be replaced. I think my ‘Project Baum’ Ristretto will perfectly compliment it and I look forward to seeing how it compares, but I know it’ll never match the original even if – by some incredible fluke that even I won’t rule out – it happens to ride better.
With the things Darren did to the geometry this bike gives me more confidence than anything else I’ve ridden for descending to a point where I’m even beginning to leave the brakes alone at times! It also makes for a bike that carves beautifully through fast, flat corners. Being able to describe to Darren exactly how I wanted the bike to be a bit slower handling and why, and for him to translate that into this machine makes all the frame changing I did up to getting this – which in turn enabled me to understand how I like a bike to ride – totally worth the expense and hassle.
If you’ve got a custom bike in mind, do it – you won’t regret it. If you’re able to describe to your builder how you want the bike to ride, and if he’s able to transform that conversation into a bike that rides as perfectly as mine then so much the better. Whatever you do, do it YOUR WAY. Make sure your custom bike is right for YOU. That’s all that matters. Just be prepared to never look at an off-the-shelf bike or frame with such desire ever again.
Honestly, as far as bikes go there’s nothing like it…
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