Going Custom: Part Two, Decisions, Decisions
Yesterday I wrote about the decision to get a new frame, and I briefly spoke about why I felt the Gaulzetti Interclub was the perfect frame for me. What makes a frame special, and what features work for me? Here’s a little of what I was thinking when I decided.
Frame material is a big consideration when deciding on a custom bike. The feel of aluminum has always been one that I have liked. My CAAD10 was the best bang for the buck I have ever spent on a bike, and it rode like a dream. It was comfortable to ride all day, but it also had a certain twitchiness to it that I just loved the feel of when I had it. I would still be riding that if it fit a bigger tire, but I knew I wanted 28’s for most riding on my daily ride. Jay, who bought the bike from me still likes to remind me of how great a bike it is. Thanks, buddy!
Aluminum is also the most cost-effective material, so you trade the cost of materials with the custom maker costs. If I pursued a steel or carbon frame, I would be unable to afford a custom build. The lightweight aluminum frame made for me will surely outperform a middle of the road stock carbon frame. I believe in the quality of a well-built aluminum bike, and I really feel that for a “race” bike it will be as good as anything I can buy carbon or otherwise. Actually, I think “as good” is not completely true, I think it will be far better.
One feature I am looking forward to in the Interclub is the threaded bottom bracket. I have always suffered from a little squeak in my BB30 (Cannondale) or BB90 (Trek) frames. I admit that sound is annoying, but even more annoying is the fitting and refitting of new bottom bracket bearings.
When I got the All-City Mr. Pink, I needed to buy parts. When I installed the threaded bottom bracket, I was extremely impressed. It took no time. It cost me less than $30 for quality Ultegra BB. It was almost idiot proof and encouraged me to replace it any time it started to stick. That still has not happened, but I would not hesitate to swap it for a new one at the first sign of stiffness. I wish that my Cannondale CAADX had a BSA threaded BB, because I would replace it a lot sooner and more often.
With the recent announcement of the switch of Trek frames to threaded bottom brackets, I see more and more coming into the market again. The Italian threaded BB on the Interclub is a welcome feature that will play nicely with Shimano or Sram GXP cranksets that I own. I am not 100% sure of the difference between BSA and Italian, but I am told it is a good system. (I think lots of custom bike types ride Campagnolo, so maybe that is reflected Gaulzetti’s choice).
Another thing I am looking forward to are the direct mount brakes. I really like the direct mount Ultegra brakes that are mounted on my Trek, and when you get the brake where it should belong it should be a perfect setup. Direct mount brakes, as they are attached at two points, provide a lot better braking power almost but not quite delivering disc brake like stopping. If you are a rim brake purist, you owe it to yourself to investigate direct mount brakes. If I did not have two great rim brake wheelsets, I may have gone full disc, but for the most part these brakes are all I need. We really do not have many big descents here.
Because I will be using the eTap 11-speed, there is no need for a lot of cabling. I am going to be looking forward to the clean looks of internal cables. With only the two brake cables, the bike is going to look fantastic. There is nothing better than a nice clean looking frame.
Lastly, the Interclub will provide me with the ability to run my 28 mm preferred tire width. I know, I know, I will stop.... but you know I love big tires. They are exceptional on a road bike, and you can and should read elsewhere on this blog to find out what I have already said about them.
Next time, I will let you know exactly what Craig and I spoke about in our initial consult.