Project: Axiom SLX (over thinking the bike thread)
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  1. #1
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    Project: Axiom SLX (over thinking the bike thread)

    After a few years of thinking about doing it, I'm pulling the trigger on a new bike with Seven. I've been riding for seriously for over a decade and like to think that I've learned a thing or two about what I really like, but its almost harder to decide on a custom bike when you have more experience. I've poured over the numbers, become a quick study on frame geometry and it is still pretty intense.

    I'm very close to the stage where the design gets "signed off" for production. I anticipate some anxieties but know that it is going to be a great outcome. It would just help at this point to not over think the whole thing a bit.

  2. #2
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    You had a great start. With over a decade of experience, you pretty much know what you want so, I would say, you have covered the bases.

    I know a few getting a Seven only after less than a month of experience just because they can afford it and most ended up at eBay.

  3. #3
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    Little update to share... the geometry is all set and signed off on. The handling characteristics were pretty easy to decide because my riding strength lends itself more to climbing and sustained efforts where light weight pays more dividends than stiff responsiveness, which adds weight.

    Components have been nearly all sorted out. I arranged a few good deals on used items to contain some costs but in the 11th hour I'm hotly debating between Ultegra and Dura Ace. I've run DA on my previous bike for ~13 years and have another bike with Ultegra for about the same duration, so I like to think I know the difference. Still, it is never easy to decide.

    At some point this week I'll see if my mind or heart prevails. The mind says to be practical and get the Ultegra. My heart says that I'll have this setup for another decade, so go big.

  4. #4
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    Project: Axiom SLX (over thinking the bike thread)

    Well.... if its going to make your decision easier, the 11 speed Ultegra 6800 is scheduled to be available by this summer which will make the 10 speed 6700 outdated by the time you get delivery
    With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important.

  5. #5
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    I finally decided to go with Dura Ace Di2, mostly because I see 11 speed as the emerging standard. I have no illusions that the extra gear in back has any performance effect, but having 3 bikes on 9 speed right now I know the frustration of sourcing parts. In a few years we will see 11 speed everywhere. My wife is updating her bike in the next year and for the two of us standardizing on compatible components makes sense. In another year it would be an odd compromise to limit her to 10 speed, so there it is.

    The bike is slated to ship around the second week of June. I've pretty well settled on all the components now with a remaining small indecision about whether to go with the Thomson X2 stem (in black, matching the Thomson Masterpiece seat post) or to do an Enve stem to match the fork and bars. Either way it is great setup, but the Thomson is a good deal more affordable. If a used Enve pops up the right size (110mm) I may pick it up.

    There isn't that much left to over think about it now... just the anticipation of something very good to come.

  6. #6
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    Sure enough, I had the panic moment that many people speak of. You think you have it all dialed in and out of curiosity you look over the specs and then start to wonder if somehow you have the whole thing wrong. I pulled out the measuring tape to compare the seat tube and head tube length of my current rig with the spec and the panic set in. The changes are good and modest, but are they right? Will I look like a clown on this new bike? Do I know what I'm doing here and have I been advised well?

    On and on the thoughts go. I did what made the most sense. I called Seven and asked to talk with the person who did the specs and let him know I was getting a little irrational and needed "talked down from the ledge". He was very cool and in the course of the discussion we made a minor but sensible change in two lengths of tube just to be conservative.

    I share this here in case others have a similar experience.

  7. #7
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    The bike is now in the machining phase, which is the step prior to welding and just after cutting and butting of the tubes. No anxieties or doubts, but it is very exciting.

    Since being decided on Di2 for the group, I've been pondering how to keep the look nice and clean. The battery is going into a Thomson seat post but I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the junction box. I don't care much for the wrap around ties on the stem (no bike computers or gizmos on the cockpit for me), but the following is the cleanest setup I've seen:

    image9.jpg

    I think in time we'll see some stems with space integrated for the junction box, but today this looks like the most practical solution.

  8. #8
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    The frame has shipped! Things are getting really exciting now. The next week will involve dialing in the fit and hoping that there are no rainy days. I'll be sure to post up some pictures when it is all put together, but I may wait until the fit is dialed in and the steerer is properly trimmed.

  9. #9
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    Exiting part. Yes, pls post pics.

  10. #10
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    Meant to do this a bit sooner, but I took it very cautiously to give time to make sure the bar position was right before getting the steerer tube trimmed. Even so, I'm leaving a full cm on either side for a while longer, so don't give me a hard time about not slamming the stem because I have a good 15cm drop from saddle nose to bar tops already.

    1062007_10151643379897088_158698390_o.jpg
    During a ride in the mountains recently

    1040418_10151643911752088_1838832805_o.jpg
    Obligatory, but nonetheless beautiful, shot of head badge

    1001296_10151643915447088_991126150_n.jpg
    Almost got that pedal arm level.

    1040704_10151643912297088_834591235_o.jpg
    Internal routing for Di2

    1048134_10151643912052088_490539105_o.jpg
    Junction for Di2 under the stem

    The full spec of the setup is:

    * Axiom SLX frame with Di2 internal routing
    * Enve 1.0 fork
    * Thomson Masterpiece seatpost
    * Thomson X2 stem
    * Selle Itallie SLR saddle
    * Enve 40cm standard bars
    * King headset, sotto voce decal
    * Dura Ace Di2 (compact crank, 11-28 cassette)
    * Ti King Cages
    * Rolf Prima Elan Alpha wheels

    So, how do I like it? I'm coming from a ~13 year old Trek OCLV that fits me well and I like very much, but this bike is a revelation. The geometry is very similar (top tube is about a cm shorter) so I didn't go with this bike to fix a fitting issue. I put priority on lightness, but asked them to keep the rear triangle stiff. Compared to my previous bike it is lighter, stiffer and more comfortable. I might have expected nailing two of those, but not all three.

    It took a week or so for it to feel like "my bike" but it definitely does now after three weeks and about 800km of riding. I could gush on about it more, but others have done a better job of this me, but I find myself riding with a silly grin on my face because it feels so right. Is it art or engineering? I don't know, but I feel blessed to ride such a machine.

  11. #11
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    Wow, that turned out very nice!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dajianshan View Post
    Wow, that turned out very nice!
    That is very nice!
    it looks quite light with the Enve 1.0 fork. What does it weigh? Size?
    how does it ride?

  13. #13
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    Nice part selection. Thomson, Enve 1.0, and Rolf. I will be interested too how much it weigh.

    If I have to guess the size, it is ~72 deg seat angle, 54cm ST, 56cm TT, 12.5cm HT, and 72 deg HT angle?

  14. #14
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    Thanks. I have been meaning to get it on a scale. I actually wanted to put all the individual components on a gram scale but some other stuff prevented me from doing so. I do know it is a good deal lighter than my Trek 5200 carbon bike.

    The angles and lengths are:

    Seat tube length (c-c): 54cm
    Top tube length (effective): 56cm
    Head tube angle: 73.5
    Seat tube angle: 72.5
    BB height: 6.9cm
    Chain stay length: 41.3 (just enough for 25mm tires if desired)
    Head tube length: 14cm
    Fork rake: 43

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by blitespeed View Post
    That is very nice!
    it looks quite light with the Enve 1.0 fork. What does it weigh? Size?
    how does it ride?
    It rides telepathically. If I had one word to describe it, I would say neutral. After an initial acclimation period of about 250k of riding, it feels like it is molded to my body and I can't tell where my foot ends and the pedal begins. As a tall (183mm/6.0f) skinny climber type, I'm not known for strong cornering or descending skills but I've had confirmation from others that I've improved in both on this bike. Mind you, this is after decades of riding (race & club level) and only after a few weeks of acclimating to the new bike.

    The titanium is quite a revelation. I feel the road just enough to know its surface, but not enough to get worn down by it. The Enve fork is likely doing a lot to help on the front end, but having ridden Steel, Aluminium and Carbon here is how I compare the effect:

    1) Carbon mutes the road. This makes it comfortable, but it also dampens your sense of what is happening. It is like listening to music with ear muffs on. You hear it, but not really.
    2) Aluminium is stiff, but often beats you up with its transmission of too much road detail. There are some great advances on this front (the CAAD10 in particular), but inherently Al is like listening to music with the treble balance too high. You hear it, but it will aggravate your ears long term.
    3) Steel is comfortable and transmits the road without hurting you. It is most like Ti, but with a weight penalty and it is less tune-able for stiffness. It is like listening to a guitar with a tube amplifier.

    I could invert this table by picking one attribute that *really* matters to me at a given time and make a case for why any material is the-one-true-material-for-bikes. My point here isn't that Titanium is better, but just how it compares. Besides, I'm probably preaching to the choir on this sub-forum.

    The bike rides as if someone measured my dimensions, interviewed me to know what I wanted in a bike and custom made it around those parameters.

  16. #16
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    Nice build and geometry!! Congrats!

    I like how you went with the classic road bike geometry... I'm guessing the TT slope is 0 degree? My Axiom SL has 5 deg, which is small when compared to the field, but I still wish it were less than that.

    How does the springiness of Ti compare with the other materials you've ridden? I have a Fuji aluminum that is worlds apart from the Axiom. The Al feels more "deadweight" whereas Ti is somehow "alive".
    Last edited by ijuf; 07-07-2013 at 09:34 AM.

  17. #17
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    Thanks. The top tube is zero degree. At first they diagrammed it with a 2 degree slope. I checked with them and there is no stand over height issue with no slope, so I requested to eliminate the slope. I think it keeps the look more classic, although you probably wouldn't even notice 2 degrees. I also felt like as a tall person I already have a lot of seat post showing, so a horizontal top tube helps keep that in balance.

    I don't know that I would describe the Ti as springy as much as it just transmits the road in an informative, but not tiring way. In another message upthread I did a comparison against the three other materials I've ridden, but one can't generalize too much about materials because so many factors come into play. Seven can build a Ti bike that feels like Al if you want it.

    The shop I worked with told an interesting story about a Seven they set up a few years back. The buyer was a past track specialists on the USSR team. When filling out the ride characteristics bubbles he put 11 for stiffness in the rear triangle. Seven thought he was confused, but he was serious so they did a special build with internal lacing of Titanium in the tubes. It made it heavy but it was a sprinters dream. If someone rode his bike and tried to make judgments about how Titanium rode they would probably get the wrong impression how it rides for most people.

    That is what I think is so cool about the Seven process. I think it works really well for someone who has been riding long enough to know what they want/like and can commit long term to the sport.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Duane Gran;4362408]Sure enough, I had the panic moment that many people speak of. You think you have it all dialed in and out of curiosity you look over the specs and then start to wonder if somehow you have the whole thing wrong. I pulled out the measuring tape to compare the seat tube and head tube length of my current rig with the spec and the panic set in. The changes are good and modest, but are they right? Will I look like a clown on this new bike? Do I know what I'm doing here and have I been advised well?

    I had this feeling also but I am no expert to bike fit. I have been riding my carbon bike for 3 years and been doing competition but I couldn't say that I am a guru when it comes to fit. I therefore entrusted myself to the bike fit of seven. Mine ended up with a 9 degree slope on the top tube. I don't know how will that look or how will it make me feel. I am just looking forward to a more comfortable long rides....no more shoulder and back pains I hope.

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