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Niner RLT 9 RDO Build

Old 04-16-17, 04:33 PM
  #126  
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Weighed it for the first time just now.

The factory Five Star build I saw at the LBS sat right at 20 lb ready to ride and with ENVE AR 4.5 wheels.

This build is 19.3 lb including pedals, cages and GPS mount though it still needs a chain.

-Tim-

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Old 04-16-17, 07:24 PM
  #127  
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04-16-17

Di2 firmware updated, chain installed and first test ride.

The bike was connected to the SM-BCR2 charger and that in turn connected to a PC via USB. After pouring a fresh cup of coffee I returned to find a Windows notification that the driver for the charger had installed. The latest E-Tube software was fired up and it recognized the charger and offered to update its firmware to the latest version. This took several minutes in spite of the progress bar.




Charger firmware now updated, the software proceeded to recognize installed components and presented the inventory graphically.




Poking around under the "Upgrade firmware" button confirmed that firmware versions were all over the place. These were updated without incident and the process took less than ten minutes.








I had a look around at many of the settings but wasn't really interested in changing much at this time. The only change made was gearing related - setting the chainring and cassette size. This build uses 11-36 cassette unsupported by Shimano and so I chose the closest offered by the software. Learning the rest of the settings will have to wait for another day.




At this point the software was disconnected and the bike went up into the stand.

Continued next post...

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Old 04-16-17, 07:25 PM
  #128  
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...continued from previous post.

A chain was sized by using the "big-big plus two" method. It was run around the big front ring and the big rear sprocket but instead of adding two links I added four. I'm paranoid about ripping the derailleur off because of too tight a chain and wanted to err on the side of safety. A SRAM quick link was used to make the connection.

This is a 105 chain I got with an REI dividend. I also have an Ultegra chain which can go on. SRAM links are not my first choice as some have been tight and there are a bunch of KMC missing-links in my toolbox which have worked much better in the past. The 105 chain and SRAM link will work for the sizing exercise.

A piece of coat hanger was used to make the job easier.






This is what it looks like cross chained small (34) front and small (11) rear...



Small (34) front, big (36) rear...



Big (50) front, small (11) rear...



And this is the big-big combination, 50 ring in the front and 36 sprocket in the rear...



This is new territory for me and any critique or advice on how to move forward sizing this chain would be warmly welcomed.

It shifted OK on the stand and so the most important bolts were checked for tightness and it took it's maiden ride around the subdivision.

It is the heaviest bike I own by at least 1.3 lb but it is also the stiffest and I could feel it in the bottom bracket area when pushing out of the saddle in a big gear. I could also feel the brake levers moving around on the bar and headed back to the garage to tighten them down. It's no Cervelo R5 or SuperSix Hi Mod but I did push it through some tight figure eights and tires impressed me. I also happily rode it across my lawn, through the mulch and pine straw and thought about hopping a curb for a moment but figured that was enough for the day.








-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 04-16-17 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 04-16-17, 07:39 PM
  #129  
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Woohoo maiden voyage!

You already did the most important thing, get the latest firmware and get everything talking. A few poorly (undocumented by Shimano) things I've found in the last few days:

-If you use the Shimano E-Tube app on smartphone...you may need to uninstall and then reinstall it to get the latest version. I found this the solution to my Update Hell problem

-If you use "gear" fields on a Garmin...they get the gearing data including cog-tooth-counts from the Di2 firmware which gets it from whatever you set in E-Tube. This means if you "lie" to E-Tube about what you gearing is (by choice or literally no choice)...the Garmin will readout tooth counts and ratios erroneously. Only the gear-position indicator fields will read properly (aside from battery and shifting mode ofc).

-Synchro vs. Semi Synchro. WTF does it actually mean? In the former, you cease needing to control the FD at all and don't even need FD controls (the FD triggers, and the RD multishifts, based on pre-input combinations you program)...In semi-synchro, you still must manually actuate the FD and the RD will still multishift a predetermined number of cogs to get closer to an equivalent gear. What it boils down to is needing to manually shift the FD, and if you have a want for all 22 gear combinations-or if say 15 is good enough.



You don't mention doing calibration mode....did you? I'm guessing not, expect a few ghost shifts until it is micro-adjusted right. That chain looks a bit long in the small/small crosschain, do you get any rub on the cage from the idle run of chain?

Nice build!
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Old 04-16-17, 07:59 PM
  #130  
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Damn that's sexy.
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Old 04-17-17, 02:02 AM
  #131  
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Can't wait to hear ride review once u do some serious gravel grinding. I'm debating using 50/34 with 11-32 rear on my gravel build. I love to hear how di2 shifts under distress on steep gravel hill.
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Old 04-17-17, 06:54 AM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by BigC_82 View Post
Can't wait to hear ride review once u do some serious gravel grinding. I'm debating using 50/34 with 11-32 rear on my gravel build. I love to hear how di2 shifts under distress on steep gravel hill.
Better than cabled I'm sure. 50t is pretty tall for a true gravel grinder, unless you're riding seriously hard packed, smooth dirt roads.
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Old 04-17-17, 07:05 AM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Miscellany

That is slick. Definitely the best way to deal with that funky routing.
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Old 04-17-17, 07:51 AM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
That chain looks a bit long in the small/small crosschain, do you get any rub on the cage from the idle run of chain.
Thanks.

Yes, looked this morning and it rubs.


-Tim-
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Old 04-17-17, 08:01 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by 50voltphantom View Post
That is slick. Definitely the best way to deal with that funky routing.

Yep, problem solved.

IIRC you are pretty scrupulous about cable routing?

We gotta build each other up with knowledge.


-Tim-
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Old 04-17-17, 09:25 AM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Yep, problem solved.

IIRC you are pretty scrupulous about cable routing?

We gotta build each other up with knowledge.


-Tim-
Scrupulous would be giving me too much credit but I certainly appreciate DIY solutions for details that turn out that nice! I definitely learned some tricks making old center pull calipers to function to my liking on a track frame.
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Old 04-17-17, 11:22 AM
  #137  
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04-17-17

Sized down the chain

Two links were removed from the previously sized chain for a total of three links removed from a brand new chain. This is how it looks cross chained small/small, 34 front and 11 rear...




This is how it looks cross chained big/big, 50 front and 36 rear...




It seems to shift fine but my main concern right now is the B screw and how it interfaces with the derailleur hanger. The photo below was previously posted but it illustrates the angle at which the screw contacts the hanger. The further the screw is turned in, the more acute the angle until eventually the screw simply falls off the edge of the hanger.



The pulley doesn't contact the big sprocket but the screw is barely touching the hangar and I'm not happy with the amount of metal it has to push against. Not sure what the solution is, or if there is a solution, or if I'm just being retentive.

A photo of how it sits now will have to wait until the wheel comes off.


-Tim-
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Old 04-17-17, 11:32 AM
  #138  
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wire coat hanger trick to work on the chain is GENIUS

Looks great, can't wait to see close-up shots of mud caked in the chain stays
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Old 04-17-17, 05:00 PM
  #139  
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04-17-17

Rewrapped the bar.

Lizard Skin DSP... I don't know...

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Old 04-17-17, 08:18 PM
  #140  
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Bike looks amazing!
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Old 04-17-17, 09:34 PM
  #141  
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07-17-17

Riding Impressions

There are still a few thing to be done. I'll post about installing the seatpost battery mount and will likely conclude with converting the tires to tubeless but I did ride it today for about 1.5 hours and thought it appropriate, after all the wrenching, to offer my impressions now that it has been ridden. By "ride it today" I don't mean around the subdivision. A large mountain bike park run by the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) sits about five miles from my home. That's where I took it.

Tires were probably over inflated and it is still running tubes but I headed out on very familiar roads. Most of the time getting to the park was spent listening for odd noises, carving turns and getting used to the balance of the bike, the feel of the tires and familiarizing myself with how it shifts. I did take a small shortcut path along the power lines and almost ate dirt on a steep, loose section when road habits kicked in and I mistakenly stood to climb instead of shifting and staying seated.

The spread between gears was immediately evident and I found myself hunting for the right gear and cadence at times. The best solution was to choose the lower gear and chill.

The mountain bike park features many fire breaks and a few miles of packed dirt and gravel roads which take the mountain bikers to the various loops. I hit the dirt and gravel hard and this was my favorite part of the ride, especially packed dirt - it flew like a road bike on pavement. Gnarly 1.5" or 2" gravel was more of a challenge and got very bumpy on the 35 mm tires - I slowed for turns for fear of sliding. I tried not to slow down for a shallow stream crossing however and even found some mud to get bogged down in. The 35 mm tires didn't like 3" deep mud but I managed to stay upright with with high cadence and momentum. The bike really shines on smooth gravel and dirt.

Then I took it on 2 miles of single track. I wanted to see what it was capable of and I found out. I'll never ride trails like that again. This was heavily rooted and had some rocks but it is one of my favorite trail run loops and I'm very familiar with it. Familiarity was of no value as the pedal hit roots and I could hear the sides of the wheels banging off rocks. I'm sure at least 50% of the problem was due to my lack of ability and the fading light but 1.5 miles in the headset had worked loose. I walked the bike the last quarter mile to a paved road and tightened everything up under a street lamp.

The rest of the way back was on very familiar country roads and I took the long way home with 800 lumen lights blazing. Paved roads put a smile on my face after the singletrack. Riding pavement on this bike had a very familiar feel - same lean into turns as my road bike, same shift points, same knee against the top tube and push down on the outside pedal through tight turns, same upshifting and getting into the drops. It was very effortless for this roadie and it took me a while to realize how effortless it was. That's when it clicked. This isn't a mountain bike. Niner is a mountain bike company but they have managed to produce a really nice road bike.

Roadies will feel very comfortable on this bike. It is a little heavier than some high end road bikes and the wider tires felt slightly more sluggish than my 17.5 lb Fuji with Dura Ace wheels and Graphene tires but it was still fast, well mannered, extremely well balanced and with the exception of the root strewn singletrack never felt jarring. I've been riding road bikes since 1978 and this bike rides really well. Based on the experience today, these manners seem undiminished on packed dirt and gravel.

The "I don't want an adventure bike" thread came to mind.

I know the review above is somewhat subjective but I've tried not to sugar coat anything and hope it answers some questions that were asked.

-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 04-17-17 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:18 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
04-17-17

Rewrapped the bar.

Lizard Skin DSP... I don't know...

That's a great pic!
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Old 04-18-17, 11:56 AM
  #143  
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04-18-17

Battery mount installed and GPS sensors attached.

There really isn't much to the Ritchie Di2 seatpost battery holder. It basically goes around the battery and gets jammed into the open end of the seatpost. Engineers call this an "interference fit." A quick flick of the shifter paddles confirmed that everything was working.

I have a small tube of carbon paste but could not find it. The seatpost doesn't slip but I'll apply some paste just to be sure as soon as the tube turns up.





It fit quite loose up to this point and then had to be pushed in hard.






Wahoo RPM speed and cadence sensors were unboxed and the Wahoo Utility app on an iPhone was used to confirm that the sensors were alive and check firmware versions. The app offered to update firmware on the cadence sensor as soon as it was discovered.



Both sensors were attached to the bike and paired with the Polar V650 GPS without drama.









The wheel was then measured as best as I was able and input into the GPS for proper speed readout. Now I can compete for some gravel segments!


-Tim-
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Old 04-18-17, 12:50 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
04-17-17

Rewrapped the bar.

Lizard Skin DSP... I don't know...
Nice writeup on the first ride impressions. Sounds fun.

Re: the DSP tape. I'll be interested to hear your long-term impressions. It seems like people either love it or hate it. I tried it; it was too cushy for my tastes but that is a matter of personal preference. However, it did not stand up very well to humidity and sweat.

But some people like it and get it to last for years. So I'm curious.
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Old 04-18-17, 01:04 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Re: the DSP tape. I'll be interested to hear your long-term impressions. It seems like people either love it or hate it. I tried it; it was too cushy for my tastes but that is a matter of personal preference. However, it did not stand up very well to humidity and sweat.

But some people like it and get it to last for years. So I'm curious.

A man after my heart. I feel the same way. Too cushy as well as too sticky but some guys love the stuff.

I have a damaged ulnar nerve and was hoping the extra cushion will help a bit. This is the 3.2 extra thick flavor. Time will tell but I'm really not a fan.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 04-18-17 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 04-18-17, 02:39 PM
  #146  
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Bless your heart Timothy, the month+ is surely a record for time spent assembling a bike! Looks good and the thread should provide confidence for other first timers who may question their ability to install parts on a frame.
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Old 04-20-17, 08:09 AM
  #147  
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Tim, thanks for the great detailed build description, it will help make my Trek Domane SL6 Di2 Disc build go a lot easier.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:17 PM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Nice writeup on the first ride impressions. Sounds fun.

Re: the DSP tape. I'll be interested to hear your long-term impressions. It seems like people either love it or hate it. I tried it; it was too cushy for my tastes but that is a matter of personal preference. However, it did not stand up very well to humidity and sweat.

But some people like it and get it to last for years. So I'm curious.
I'm actually ok with the cushy and sticky. What I don't like is the shiny.
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Old 04-25-17, 04:42 PM
  #149  
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A truly admirable build documentation effort! I sincerely appreciate you sharing all this Tim, with the fancy photos and the critically timed jokes. I have an RLT RDO frameset sitting in my study at home, and parts are trickling in... I might even be brave enough to try to do the whole build myself after seeing your work!
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Old 04-25-17, 05:15 PM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by PeaDub View Post
A truly admirable build documentation effort! I sincerely appreciate you sharing all this Tim, with the fancy photos and the critically timed jokes. I have an RLT RDO frameset sitting in my study at home, and parts are trickling in... I might even be brave enough to try to do the whole build myself after seeing your work!
Please post about it. I'd love to hear both plans and results. I'm also available to answer any questions such as I might be able. Don't hesitate to reach out.

This build has just a little ways to go yet.

The 105 chain was removed and put in the closet for use on my road bike when the time comes. It has been replaced with an Ultegra chain and KMC Missing Link (part number CL-555). Removing three links from the new 116 link chain and adding the connector link is the right length for the 50/34 cranks with 11/36 cassette and GS mid cage derailleur.

Someone mentioned the coat hanger. I forgot where I read about it but it makes working with the chain sooo much easier. Somebody could market it and make a boatload of cash.



I've ordered some alloy bolts for the bottle cages and to occupy the mounting holes in the fork. If a Presta attachment for my compressor is delivered this week then I'll switch to tubeless. That should be about it apart from accessories including lights.

Some pictures are at the bottom of http://www.bikeforums.net/recreation...de-pics-5.html.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 04-25-17 at 05:30 PM.
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