New Albion Homebrew build
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  1. #1
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    After a fair amount of leg work comparing frames, I recently purchased a New Albion frameset to build up. The model is called Homebrew. I ordered them through a shop that is primarily an internet retailer, but has a local brick and mortar location nearby. Here are the photos via the New Albion site.





    I really didnít know much about New Albion going in, other than they are now affiliated with SOMA, who I know make good steel bikes (Iíve owned a Stanyan previously). Since there isnít much about New Albion here, I thought Iíd share a little about the build process.

    The frame set arrived well wrapped and in excellent shape. Tange Champion 2 tubes on the frame. Tange Prestige for the forks. The red is what I would describe as a candy-apple or a Ferrari red. The welds are clean.

    I have a can of ProGold on the way to treat the frame and forks before I start building anything up.

    After that, first up will be a GXP bottom bracket and a Velo-Orange headset...

    More to come.


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 01-05-2018 at 08:27 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  2. #2
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    In preparation for the headset, I took a trip to the hardware store for a DIY headset press:

    1 piece of 1/2Ē threaded rod
    2 copper female adapters (labeled 3/4Ē X 1Ē, but they measure 1 1/2Ē at the widest point)
    8 fender washers (1/2Ē X 2Ē)
    2 nylon washers
    2 nuts (1/2Ē-20, coarse thread)

    The copper adapters, in theory, are supposed to help hold the headset cups square as theyíre pressed in. Weíll see how it goes. The total was about $20 because I already had the threaded rod. I could probably have an LBS do it for that price, but if this works Iíll have it to use on other bikes down the road as well.


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 07-26-2019 at 12:52 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  3. #3
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    Tip: Only press in one headset cup at a time. It may look cool to press both in simultaneously, but invariably they get cockeyed and you try to force them in with way too much pressure. I'm always concerned I'll wind up ovalizing one end of the head tube.
    So it's one cup at a time, at least for me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    Tip: Only press in one headset cup at a time. It may look cool to press both in simultaneously, but invariably they get cockeyed and you try to force them in with way too much pressure. I'm always concerned I'll wind up ovalizing one end of the head tube.
    So it's one cup at a time, at least for me.
    Good tip! Thanks.


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    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  5. #5
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    So... the frame and forks are now protected with two coats of Pro Gold rust protector.

    I got the headset today from Velo Orange. The install went pretty smooth with the DIY press. It took a few false starts before I figured out that starting each cup with some light taps from a rubber mallet seated them squarely in the head tube. That made pressing them the rest of the way in smooth as silk.



    Next up is the bottom bracket.


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 01-11-2018 at 05:37 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  6. #6
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    Some new 1X bits are on the way. I decided to go with an Apex 1X11 drivetrain. 42t ring and an 11X42 cassette should give me all the range I need.

    BTW... drinking and Amazon are not a good combination.


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 02-10-2018 at 06:32 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  7. #7
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    Itís starting to look remarkably like a bike.



    Still waiting on the 1X crankset so I can set saddle height and position. Pedals and chain are ready to go.

    The New Albion site listed 33c as the max size for tire clearance. I decided to see if the Kenda 35s I had would clear, and they do. If I were running fenders it might be a tight squeeze but like this itís no problem. Those big tires give it an enduro vibe.

    The Apex derailleur and cassette are in as well as a V.O. seat post.



    The stem and bars are on. Levers are in and everything is cabled. The splash tape is just a bit of cushion. It will get covered with some fizik tape in red.



    Yeah, itís the V.O. Cigne stem (a.k.a. the limp-dick). Deal with it.
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    Last edited by Opus51569; 02-18-2018 at 11:57 AM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  8. #8
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    Ready for a shakeout ride once the ice melts. I was able to take it up and down the street a bit to get the fit a bit closer. As much as I dig the Cigne stem, I think itís just too tall for this head tube. So... back to the parts bin I went



    Fortunately, I hadnít cut the steerer tube too short to leave room for a plain old high-rise stem. This gets me a little closer to the 0 drop Iím used to.

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    Last edited by Opus51569; 02-25-2018 at 03:49 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  9. #9
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    Got to take it out for itís first ride today. 21 miles of small tube steel goodness. Thereís something deeply satisfying... and a little terrifying... about bombing down a hill on a bike you have assembled from the frame up.

    Discovered that while the Kenda 35s do fit, there is the tiniest bit of rubbing out of the saddle. I think Iíll put some 32s on it in the near future just to be on the safe side.

    The only thing left is to ride it for a while and see if I want to go with a rear rack or a porteur rack up front.





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    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  10. #10
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    A few more rides under its belt now that itís finally warmed up a bit.



    I threw on a set of Panaracer Paselas I had as backup tires. I think the tan sidewalls work with the old-school vibe. They are 28s. Ideally, Iíd like a set of 32s.

    The bike rides and handles great. The 11-42 with a 42 ring covers everything I need gear-wise. So far, so good.


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    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  11. #11
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    Rack Ďem up...





    Part of what I wanted for this bike was versatility. Yesterday was a rainout, so I thought Iíd see how the Homebrew could work as a bagger/tourer. It took a bit of finagling (as racks sometimes do) but both fit fine and are very solid. It helps that the frame and fork have plenty of bosses. The back is an older Bor Yueh Iíve had for a while. The front is a new State Bicycle Co. rack that had to be repaired before it would fit on any bike.

    I rigged up a mount for the headlight on the underside of the porteur rack flipping it upside-down. And if youíre keeping score at home, I added in some Lezyne bottle cages to tie in to the black tubing of the new racks.

    It is a heavy beast with all the extra bits, no doubt about it. But for most of my flat land riding, once you get it up to speed it cruises right along. Momentum is a good thing.




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    Last edited by Opus51569; 06-24-2018 at 10:04 AM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  12. #12
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    I invested in a set of cheap 32c Kendas and 32 seems to be the magic number. I discovered the 35s rubbed the brake arms ever-so-slightly when pedaling out of the saddle.

    Otherwise, the bike feels fantastic and performs flawlessly. I discovered a nature trail nearby, mostly crushed limestone and pea gravel, that is a blast to ride

    The whole experience has convinced me that from now on I'd like to build any future bikes from the frameset up. I think I'm done paying good money for a bike that has some parts and components I like... and others that were obviously there to help the manufacturer make a profit. From here on out, I'd like to pick my own components. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but the end result will be exactly what I want on the bike, and nothing I don't.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

  13. #13
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    New Albion Homebrew build

    The New New Albion: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cigne Stem



    Itís... itís too Fredly... even for me. Platform pedals, 1X drivetrain on a road bike, thatís Fredly enough... but that stem. Itís so... high.

    Yes it is. But if youíre a Tyrannosaurus Rex like I am all I can say is Ďdamn is it comfortableí. 50k on it today and riding on the hoods feels like pedaling a beach cruiser. In the drops Iím about where I would be on the hoods with a slammed stem.


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 07-26-2019 at 12:56 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy you better leave something in the tank for the turn...

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