Project Aithein: Specs & Photos

Frameset: Kinesis Aithein 53cm / Full carbon Aithein fork

Bars: ZIPP Service Course Alloy 40cm
Stem: Deda Zero 1 Alloy 110mm
Headset: FSA Integrated
Bar Tape: Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape 3.2mm

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Groupset: Shimano 5800 105 11-speed

Seat: Ritchey Pro Streem V2
Seatpost & Clamp: Unbranded carbon post / Superleggera clamp

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Wheels: 2015 Fulcrum Racing 3
Tyres: Continental GP 4000S 23mm

Other: Elite bottle cages, Shimano A520 SPD pedals

Weight: 8.0kg (17.6lbs)

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#happydays

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Project Aithein: Job done!

I did it! I managed to build up a road bike from a bare frameset without totally messing something up! It’s even come in slightly lighter than expected. With two bottle cages and pedals it weighs bang on 8kg (that’s 17.6 pounds in old money).

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With a bit of care and attention to detail it’s actually not that hard a task. Not to say some jobs weren’t without their issues, but the key is to take your time. The two most difficult tasks were;

1. Installing the press-fit bottom bracket. Most sources say you need a specific BB tool to press in the bottom bracket cups, but I didn’t fancy buying one and was fairly confident I could do it at home. I rigged up a makeshift press using my bench vice with wooden supports, then slowly and carefully pressed in one cup at a time, making sure to keep everything lined up perfectly. It was actually a relatively easy task.

2. Cutting the carbon steerer. This was a little more nerve inducing! Once again there’s a specialist tool for this job but with a little patience and a steady hand it’s easily taken care of at home. I measured (more than once) and marked the steerer, wrapped some masking tape around the area and re-marked my cut line. The masking tape reduces the chance of the carbon fraying when you cut it. Using a pipe clamp as a cutting guide and a brand new hacksaw blade I carefully cut around the steerer. The result was a perfectly straight and professional looking cut! I even impressed myself with this one.

I didn’t need a lot of specialist tools to complete the build, but there are some that make life a lot easier. A quality set of Allen keys are essential and a torque wrench is highly recommended, especially when working with carbon fibre components. A sturdy cycle workstand will make life a lot easier. Everything else you probably have in your garage or shed. Actually the only tool I had to buy was the new hacksaw blade.

Full specs to follow…

2015 Women’s Tour of Britain

This morning I rode out to see the Women’s Tour of Britain. Today’s final Stage 5 started in Marlow town centre, before heading into the Chiltern Hills and finishing with a fast descent into Hemel Hempstead.

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Because of the road closures I chose to take a clockwise route out towards Henley and up into the hills around Fingest, where they were due to pass after the initial climb of the race. I managed to get a little bit of footage on my GoPro as they rode through.

Unfortunately Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armistead had both retired from the race earlier in the week (Armistead from her horrendous finish line celebration crash after winning Stage 1 of the Tour).

There hasn’t been much publicity surrounding this race, which is a real shame as I believe it should attract the same attention as the men’s race in September. The women are all phenomenal athletes and don’t get the media coverage or recognition that they truly deserve.

Project Aithein: Groupset Choice

Choosing a groupset for the Kinesis Aethien was a bit of a tough call. My criteria was that it had to be either Shimano or possibly SRAM as per my other bikes and that preferably I would stick with 10-speed to match.

I didn’t really want to “upgrade” to 11-speed, I don’t see a huge advantage to one extra gear, but the new Shimano 105 11-speed was available at a really good price, too good to pass up. It worked out even cheaper than sourcing individual parts on eBay or forum sale ads! It does get great reviews online and in magazines and the weight penalty is less than 200g over the much more expensive new Ultegra.

For less than £300 for the entire groupset you can’t really go wrong (I think Shimano price it so aggressively to push more people into the new tech).

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I had to buy it with an Alpine conquering 11-32 cassette as they were out of stock in other combinations. That’ll be interesting seeing as I can get up most climbs in my current 39/27 bottom gear! I’ll be switching out the cassette for a much closer range one later on. Now, where did I put my Allen keys?

Five cycling pet hates

Sometimes it’s best not to take anything I say too seriously. This is one of those times. Here’s a little tongue in cheek list of five things that annoy me when I’m out cycling. Some may seem reasonable, others are totally irrational, all get on my nerves to some extent. But remember, this is just a bit of fun… ;-)

1. Creaking bikes. If you’re chain is squealing or your pedals are squeaking, then don’t sit on my wheel. Actually don’t even ride near me. That rythmic “eeek, eeek, eeek” is spoiling my ride. All I want to hear is my own laboured breathing and the hum of my slick tyres whizzing across the blacktop as I crush another Strava segment.

2. Non matching kit. You wouldn’t leave the house without looking presentable (would you?) so take the time to make sure your kit matches before you head out too. I’m not talking full team kit here (that’s a whole other post) but the colourways of your jersey and bib shorts should at least go together. Extra points for matching them to your bike.

3. Tyre logos not aligned with the valve stem. It serves no real purpose except for maybe saving you a second or two when locating the valve, but it just looks right. It’s neat and cleans up the lines of your bike. Just do it. In fact, if you’re reading this and know your tyre logos aren’t aligned, stop now and go correct it. Like, NOW!

4. Phones on the stem or bars. Nothing ruins the fine looks of a road bike more than a big fat iPhone strapped to the bars. Even worse if there’s a Garmin AND a phone bolted to your cockpit. How much tech do you need to keep those pedals turning?

5. Headphone while riding. Can you not bear to be parted from your music for the entirety of your ride? Can you not just take in the sights and sounds around you instead? Can you not just keep all your senses aware to what’s happening around you? Can you not just be a little sociable on the group ride? Can you not hear that speeding 18-wheeler bearing down behind you? Hmmmm.

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What would you add?

Project Aithien: Because metal ain’t dead!

Introducing my new project, the Kinesis Aithien! After hankering for one since they came out I finally found a frameset at a price I was happy with.

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Yes – It’s an aluminium frame rather than carbon, but the Aithein is one of the lightest off-the-shelf alloy frames available at the moment. On my digital kitchen scales the frame weighs in at 1145 grams, only around 100g heavier than a full carbon 2015 S-Works Venge frame (although obviously less aero). It’s not the weight that I was drawn to though, rather the much racier geometry perfect for a fast thrashing!

aithein-green1I was hoping to score one of the strikingly bright orange colour schemes but settled on the anodised black. On the plus side not painting the frames saves 200g or so! One caveat if you’re thinking of an Aithein is that the frame does come with a rider weight limit of 85kg. Luckily I’m a fair way below that mark.

It’ll be a bit of a budget build, re-using some components from my current road bike and buying components as and when I see them at a good price. Don’t expect a UCI rule flouncing featherweight, but if I can snag some quality kit I’ll be happy enough if it ends up hovering around the low 8kg mark.

Stay tuned! :-)