Monday, March 27, 2006

Tuning Brake Pads

Tuned koolstop brake pads
So for my lightweight carbon brakes, one way I got the weight extra low was to tune the brake pads. This was fairly simple to do, and I was able to shed a good amount of weight doing so, lets check it out...

[Edit: perform this tuning at your own risk. This is a story of what I have done, but I am an idiot for grams. Drilling, dremeling and tuning in general is dangerous, proceed with caution.]

So first off, I used road pads. Yes this isnt a road bike, so why the road pads? Well, for starters they're lighter than any mountain bike style brake pad out there. And secondly, its nearly impossible to find mtb style pads that work with carbon rims (not that I currently own any carbon rims--boo!) Lastly, I didnt invent this, if you went to the MTB section on Weight Weenies, or (save some weight section) all the WW mountain bike guys have done this already, I'm just applying some mtb theory to our great sport.

So, I went to my local bike shop and bought the Kool Stop pads. The Dura Ace pads would have worked too, as well as the Jagwire's. Basically, you want a brake pad that has that conical washer on it. V brakes style pads all have this, but not all road pads do. Having this conical washer will allow you to toe in the brakes to some degree. Not only is it the addition of a conical washer, but the back of the pad is rounded to match the conical washer.

Next, I drilled out three holes in the back of the pad. I dont know how much weight this removed, but at least some grams. I also ground off the little wing thing, on the bottom of each pad. I dont know what this is for, and I dont care. It seems like a stupid part to me, and its dead weight--gone.

Now its time to rethink how this pad mounts to the brake. I flipped it around from stock. On the stock setup, there is a steel T bolt coming out of the pad, then one steel washer, then one steel allen nut. The word "steel" is like music to a tuning- gram- freak's ears. Steel is so easy to replace with lighter options (ti, aluminum, plastic)

What I did next was bought an M5 aluminum button head bolt (although I would probably use ti for the front brake--this is a rear brake) and an M5 aluminum nut. I had to grind down the nut so that it would fit inside of the pad carrier. Also, I bought a nylon washer from my hardware store to replace the steel one. I needed to grind down the nut in the right way so that it wouldnt turn within the carrier but also that Iit would just fit. You'd understand if you saw it.

I was able to take the pair of pads that came in at around 50 grams, and get them down to 24 grams for the pair. The only cost to do this was about 30 mins of time and $5 for the bolts/nuts. So a pretty good deal in my eyes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

More homemade projects

So, recently ive been working on a few projects. These include gutting out a Dura Ace STI lever and making my own carbon saddle.

But until I get those projects done and up on Plus One Lap, I'm going to link to some other sites who have completed some pretty cool homemade projects.

Timbo's got some pretty cool stuff he's made from carbon including a saddle/seatpost combo, a bottle cage and a carbon flightdeck case. The only critique I have about his mods are it doesnt sound like he can actually use them. Functionality would increase the cool factor. Timbo's site.

Samu's Kitchen: Samu has some very cool projects that he's working on including a carbon time trial bike. Other projects have included saddle/seatpost combo and a standard seatpost. Samu's Kitchen

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

LightWeight Cyclocross Bike #11: Robert's OCCP

A new frame manufacturer for Plus One Lap--this time OCCP. Robert sent me a Campy equipped cx bike that came in at just over 17 lbs or 7.74 kg's. I even got to practice my non-existent German to translate his spec list, I dont mind that much. Google image search worked really well. Anyway, check his bike out.

Build Sheet:
Frame OCCP Team Issue 60cm 1648g
Fork 4ZA Python 379g
Headset FSA Orbit MX 1 1/8 92g incl.
Top Cap Assembly FSA Expander 40g incl.
Stem Syntace F99 120mm, Titanschr. 101g
Handlebar Ritchey WCS 42cm 228g 61,
Seatpost USE Alien Aluminium 270mm, 27.2 159g
Saddle Selle Italia SLR TT 149g
Crankset: Campagnolo Chorus 04 175mm 514g, Carbon ring guard 22g, TA 42 tooth chainring 58g
BB bolts Campagnolo Chorus 32g incl.
Bottom Bracket Campagnolo Record 102mm 190g
Rear Derailleur Campagnolo Chorus 03 214g 91,
Front Brakes: Empella Frogglegs 150g
Rear Brakes: Empella Frogglegs 150g incl.
Shifter Campagnolo Record 174g
Brake lever Campagnolo Record 110g
Top Levers Tektro RX 2.0 89g
Nokon Housing
Nokon cable 43g, Campy Cable 14g
Cassette Campagnolo Centaur 13-26 272
Lockring Campagnolo Titan 10g -
Chain Campagnolo Record 258g
Front wheel: American Classic/Sapim Laser/Ambrosio Crono 571g
Rear wheel: American Classic/Sapim Laser/Ambrosio Crono 742g
Front tire Dugast Typhoon 32mm 391g
Rear Tire: Dugast Typhoon 32mm 399g
Front QR Campagnolo Record 100mm 58g
Rear QR Campagnolo Record 100mm 63g
Pedal Crank Brothers Eggbeater SL 272g
Spacer Syntace Carbon 5g -
Front Der Xtreme Dogfang 11g
Handlebar tape FSA kork 50g

Total weight verified on scale: 17.06 lbs or 7.74g

If you have sub 18lb (sub 8.16 kg) cyclocross bike, we'd all like to see it. Email me it to me at:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

LightWeight Cyclocross Bike #10:Timo's Kinesis

Timo's got a 15.9 pound (7215 gram) cyclocross bike that he finally got some pictures of. A fairly stealth rig with some high end Euro boutique parts on including Lightweight carbon wheels.

This is the current specs list. I do not have separate weights for all parts:

Frame: Kinesis Extralight cyclocross ; 56 cm (black anodized)
Fork: Advance cyclocross full carbon
Headset: Chris King Ahead ; 1 1/8" (black)
Stem: Syntace F119 ; 120 mm ; 6° ; Ø 31.8 (will be switched for F99 ; Ø 26.0
Handlebar: Ritchey Pro ; 460 mm ; Ø 31.8 ; shortened (will be switched for WCS ; Ø 26.0 ; shortened)
Shifters: Campagnolo Chorus Ergopower 10-speed (right) / non-Ergo Campagnolo Record (left)
Ribbon: BBB ; black ; carbon look
Cables: Campagnolo (black)
Front derailleur: -
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Chorus 10-speed (short cage)
Chain: Campagnolo C-10
Cassette: Campagnolo Record 12-25
Crankset: Storck Powerarms; 172.5 mm w/ TA Hexoa 42t (black) and Stronglight carbon guards
Bottom bracket: Tune AC38 JIS ; 113 mm
Brakes: Spooky carbon cantilevers w/ BBB cartridges and Lightweight rubber
Pedals: Time Atac XS carbon/titanium
Hubs: Lightweight w/Tune skewers (black)
Spokes: Lightweight
Rims: Lightweight
Tubes: Tufo T30 Pro, 30 mm
Seatpost:Thomson Elite masterpiece; 330 mm ; Ø 27.2 mm (black)
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR (black)

Weight (digital hanger scale in my bike shop): 7215 grams

I think Timo did a really nice job of picking a color scheme and sticking with it. The bike has a theme which I think leads to a nice overall visual package. Also, it kicks ass. Thanks Timo, good work!

If you have a sub 18lb (8.16 kg) cyclocross bike, email it to me at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Cyclocross specific Excel Spreadsheet

So I've found that using an Excel spreadsheet to help assist in the build of a lightweight cyclocross bike has been very helpful. Using a spreadsheet can help to plan what you own, what you'd like to own, what parts weigh and even the cost of the items in your build. I have created a cyclocross specific excel spreadsheet that you can get by clicking here. Also, this download will be located on the bottom of the left column of Plus One Lap. When you send me your sub 18lb bike, putting the parts into a spreadsheet like this would be appreciated, although not necessary at the current time. You can tweak the document by adding columns for a "dream part" column, a price column or a comments section. Have fun.

Setting up Cantilever Brakes

Cantilever brakes were replaced in the mountain biking world because people believed they didnt stop as well as a V brakes (and later disc brakes). However, they never really budged in the cyclocross community due in part to their ability to modulate speed. This post isnt about whether cantilever brakes are the best option for cyclocross, that's already been decided. Verdict: they are. This post is about how to set up your cantilevers.

Keith Bontrager used to have a very good article on how to set up your canti's. That article has been taken down by Bontrager Inc., but going to the internet archive machine, I found it. Unfortunately, when sites get archived they usually lose their pictures. This lack of photos is unfortunate because Keith wrote the articles based upon the pictures he took of Gumby and cantilever brakes. That article can still be found here:

In it he said, "I've heard riders say things like STX brakes suck, or these pads rule. These claims are not based on good science of course, and they are usually wrong. STX brakes work well, pads and all, when they are set up and maintained properly. You need to have the cables set right, the overall adjustment right, and you need to have reasonably fresh clean pads in them. That's all. Your bike may not have come with straddle cables that can be set up to perform well, and it may be up to you to improve it if you want good brakes."

Also, I will link to the Man himself, Sheldon Brown. His article titled, "Traditional Center-Pull Cantilever Brakes" does a great job of showing how to set up a pair of canti's.

Among other things, he states, "Squealing brakes is a common problem, and there's no one simple solution to it. It's caused by the friction of the brakes against the rim flexing the brake arms, which then slip back, grab, slip back, grab, etc. This process happens at such high speed that it often causes an audible vibration. All brakes do this, but with luck the pitch (frequency) is too high for human hearing. This is generally annoying, but not a safety issue. Unlike automotive brakes, bicycle brakes that squeal are usually in good functional condition."

Cantilever brakes arent easy to set up. But they are easy to set up once you know some basic principles of what youre doing and what works. The two articles above explain these principles and hopefully help all those out there whom need some assistance dialing in their brakes.

photo courtesy of Harris Cyclery

Monday, March 13, 2006

Specialized Tricross build is going strong.

So, I guess I never reported about the details of my new Specialized Tricross Sworks frame/fork. Well I've got it, and weighed it as well as some other parts that are going on this build...

The Tricross cyclocross frame came in at 1412 grams for a 56cm frame (which I'm very happy with). My older Specialized M4 CX frame weighs 1650 grams for the same size. The anodizing on the new TriCross helps with the weight a good deal, also it looks really cool, and there is never any paint to chip off. The fork really isnt worth mentioning, but with that said, I'm going to dedicate a ranting post on it another day.

I've also received my FSA Superlight cranks. The weight of these came in at 373 grams for just the arms in a 172.5 length.

The KMC-SL gold chain came in the mail last week, this is a ti-ni coated chain which gives it that gold coloring. (its possible that im getting a matching aluminum gold cassette to match, which would be a pretty sweet combo I think, for the race only wheels)

My pedals for 2006 will be the Triple ti Eggbeaters by Crank Brothers. I've really enjoyed my Candy sl and candy ti pedals for the last year or two, and am excited about trying out the Eggs. The weight for these was 180 grams (72 grams less than my Candy Ti's)

I'll start putting these parts onto the bike over the next week, and updating Plus One Lap as I do, stay tuned (or better yet do the free Bloglet subscription located in the right column and it'll let you know when I do).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lightweight Cyclocross Bike #9: Marco's Colnago C50 is 13.16 pounds

Heres part two of the "one-two punch". Yesterday, I posted what I am touting as the lightest brakes ever made. Today, I'm posting what could be the lightest cyclocross bike ever made. Marco's 13.16 pound (5.970 kg) Colnago C50!!!! This thing is the essence of sweet. Its blingtastic even. Keep reading for specs...

At just a hair over 13 pounds, this is a fairly incredible bike. And although some very slight upgrades could still be made to this bike to lighten it under 13 pounds, this bike is so very cool.

I got this email from Marco:

Dear friend,
I’m an Spanish CX racer. I’m every day thinking about make CX bikes as light as possible. I now have 5 CX bikes. Today my 5th bike was presented to the public, called “Team Monte Cerrao Evo V”. It’s a Colnago C50 cross frame with lighter parts. As you can see in the scale this bike weighs now 5.970kg. You can find two photos attached to this email.

Spec list:

Frame: Colnago C50 cross 54cm
Fork: Colnago cross
Headset: Extralite 1 1/8
Stem: Ritchey WCS 110mm titanium bolts
Bar: Schmolke Carbon 44cm
Shifter Right: Campagnolo Record
Brake lever left: Campagnolo Record (tuned)
Wheels: Extralite UltraClimb SPZ
QRs: Tune
Tires: Tufo Elites 32
Crank: Storck PowerArms 175mm with Fibre Lyte 39 tooth ring and Fibre Lyte Carbon Ring guard
Pedals: Crank Bross Egg Beater Triple Ti
BB: TA Axix Light Ti
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Chain: KMC X9 SL Gold
Cassette: Extralite 12-27 9v
Brakes: Spooky Carbon
Seatpost: New Ultimate
Saddle: San Marco Apside Carbon

Total weight: 13.16 pounds or 5.970 kg.

Thanks Marco, great contribution to the site! Wonderful work.

If you have a sub 18lb (8.16 kg) cyclocross bike, email it to me at

Friday, March 10, 2006

My Carbon brakes are done! 63 grams a pair!

So, I think I did it. The lightest cantilever brakes ever? Well these came in at 63 grams for the pair, with all hardware. In the end, this pair of Custom Carbon Cantilevers (3C) came out looking pretty good I think. And for the weight of 63 grams, it is lighter than any cantilever I have ever seen before. One way I was able to get them so light was to tune the brake pads. As you might have noticed, I used road brake pads. I dont see why one wouldnt use road brake pads. If you look at any of the top 10 bikes on, you'll see that they are all using tuned road pads. Also, a number of mountain bike riders on Weight Weenies are using road pads on their mtb bikes. And I did tune these pads too. Aluminum carrier bolt, I fabricated a small aluminum nut to place on the inside of the carrier and some nylon washers later and the weight for the pair of my pads came in at about 23 grams. Compare this to a pair of kool stop v brake pads which weigh 56 grams (just for the pads) And my brakes are as if there is nothing there. Also, the titanium springs lightened the load a little more. Although, most of the weight savings came from the carbon arms themselves, which combined weigh less than 1 Paul NeoRetro brake arm. Lets just hope they stop me as well. I am going to put these on my rear wheel to test at first, and if they hold up will make another pair for the front. For the front wheel, I'll probably go with a titanium carrier bolt instead of aluminum. Ride report still to come...

Tektro's got a carbon cantilever now

So I guess Tektro copied my idea. Just kidding ofcourse, but it seems Tektro is making a carbon cantilever brake made much like their Oryx brake. No weight info at this point, but it does look pretty cool. At $68 a pair, not a terrible price so long as the weight is low too. No other info can be found than that it is for sale but not available at

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Improvements made and planned...

So, I've made some small changes to Plus One Lap over the last month or so and I want to continue making positive changes that improve my reader's enjoyment of the site.

As you might have noticed, there is now a page dedicated to the Lightweight Cyclocross bikes that have been sent in here. I am always interested in posting new bikes on the site and have no troubles in updating your lightweight cyclocross bike, if youre not sending in your bike because its "not quite perfect" right now. It willl never be perfect, thats why you come here and obsess like I do and look for cool ideas and new technoligies that are emerging. So send in your sub 18 pound cyclocross bike now and when you make it a little more perfect send me some pics and I'll update it then too. I'm always happy to see improvements made to already sweet rides.

Also, I've added a subscription option through Bloglet, this is also located on the right toolbar (it is a free service). By entering your email address, you will get an email announcing when a new post has been made to Plus One Lap. This email will also contain a small snippet of what the post is about. The idea behind this subscription is so that you wont have to come check back to see what additions I have made to the site, Bloglet will let you know that. Because this site is updated at the most 3-4 times a week, your email bin wont get flooded.

Some concepts I have for the future are to accept other cyclocross bikes that people have. One such idea that has come to mind is handbuilt steel rides under 20 lbs. As I think sub 20lb steelies are still fun to look at, and the 20lb weight limit will still keep with the lightweight idea in some regards. However, this site will never have a gallery for stock 23 lb bikes, as I think this exists a great as it is already. Also the idea of cyclocross factory tours or independent frame builder's tours is also a doable and interesting idea. I'd like to have some editorial from some other people on Plus One Lap. Such as a TOTAL beginner's "diary" about their racing experience. Or an A category/pro rider's perspective on race preparation and racing in the world of Cyclocross.

Really, I want this to be THE cyclocross website out there one the web, the one where everyone comes to for the latest cyclocross news,events, technology etc. I am always looking for new information related to cyclocross in any way, so if you have an idea of something you want to see, some information to share with me, or any other inqueries, email me at (remove the IHATESPAM----thats to fool the spam bots).

However, in that pursuit to be THE source, I am not interested in replicating something someone has already mastered out there on the web. I have had thoughts about a classified ad section, or a forum, but this exists as it is and I'm not sure what improvements I could make to the status quo. Perhaps when the traffic on this site is high enough, something of that regard will be understandable.

This site is designed to be viewed with Firefox. Explorer is crap compared to Firefox. Youre only excuse is that youre on your work computer and thats whats installed at the jobsite, everyone else, go here and download it. At least give it a try, it'll import all your favorites, blocks pop-ups very well and is less susceptible to hacking and spam than Explorer.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I've Moved

So, the reason I havent posted in the last week, is that I just moved...and in with my girlfriend. Also, we dont have internet access yet, although we just got our phone, so DSL will be here shortly. Until then, I'll be using this dial up. Dial up is crap. 9% of the viewers of this site have it, and I cant imagine life in the slow lane like that. What I have learned about having dial up is that those with it probably dont see any of the rad photos I post up here. Something like craigslist is the best type of website for a dial up person (all text). And no, thats not the house we moved into, my MegaMillions lottery ticket didnt have enough numbers to net me the $165 million.