The new axe

I got myself a new guitar. I mean anvil. Piece? Whip? Ride? Look, clearly I’m not down with whatever the kids call these things but I do have a new bicycle. Or at least a new frame – the rest of it has been taken off the old frame, which died on Weir Road.

This is, of course, the continuation of the Bianchi Mono-Q that I got back in August 2009. Which is, heaven forbid, three and a half years ago. I weep for my lost youth. That frame was defective and broke about a year later and in September 2010, it was replaced under warranty with a 2010 Mono-Q, which serve me very well until it, too, gave up the ghost. Sadly, I couldn’t do a warranty on this one because I’m not in Japan any more but Steve at Elite Racing Cycles (where I now occasionally work) did me an excellent deal on a new frame, so I now have a new Sempre Pro frame, as ridden by pro teams such as Androni Giocattoli.

So the Sempre Pro carries a little of the original Mono-Q: the seatpost, handlebars, stem, lever and chainrings are the only original components that have survived (the original brakes live on on my time trial bike) but is already sentimentally important because it’s the first bike I’ve built up myself. I brought my bike stand in to Elite Racing Cycles and spent last Thursday hiding out the back of the shop building her up and nagging Andy, Matt and Steve for advice and instruction on how to do it.

Here's the Mono-Q at the start of disassembly.

Here’s the Mono-Q at the start of disassembly.

Can you even see the crack where the seatpost meets the bottom bracket?

Can you even see the crack where the seatpost meets the bottom bracket?

I had spotted that crack quite a long time ago but had hoped it might just be in the gel coat. I had no reason to think otherwise until the frame went all wobbly underneath me. It always seems odd that such a small crack can remove the whole frame’s stiffness. And look at that oldy worldy bottom bracket with its screw-in cups. There will be none of that with BB30.

Old on the right, new on the left.

Old on the right, new on the left.

The original Mono-Q had a full carbon fork. The one above had alu-carbon and the Sempre Pro returns to full carbon and feels much lighter for it. It also has a tapered steerer, which I reckon helps make handling much zippier.

The new bottom bracket: BB30!

The new bottom bracket: BB30!

Look at that bottom bracket – just shove some bearings in there and she’s good to go. I don’t know if it’s just that the bearings are new (and I didn’t even put fancy ceramic ones in there) but turning the pedals feels so much easier on this bike than any other one I’ve had. I’m quite a fan of BB30.


Getting closer to completion. I gave everything a good scrub and screwed it back on.

Getting the cables back in place took longer than you might have thought as I fluffed about with the internal cabling. Eventually I got everything on; Stevie tuned the gears for me and she was good to go.

And here is the Sempre Pro camouflaged against the shop's celeste wall.

And here is the Sempre Pro camouflaged against the shop’s celeste wall.

I think the Sempre Pro’s geometry is pretty much the same as the Mono-Q but it has better quality carbon fibre, a tapered steerer and a fatter down tube. All of this makes the bike stiffer and it seems to corner better, too. It went well on the shop ride on Saturday and I took it out for 100km in the hills on Monday. I was pretty tired because I’d gone pretty hard in the time trial on Sunday and I struggled into the wind but it was still a delight to ride around.

Here's a nice, quiet road in the hills.

Here’s a nice, quiet road in the hills.

Here's how the view looks from down by the handlebars.

Here’s how the view looks from down by the handlebars.

And here's a nice little descent.

And here’s a nice little descent.

It’s not all smooth sailing, though. I managed to break the chain while doing sprint intervals in Kings Park this morning. Closer inspection reveals it was the joining pin that I put in when I was building it. Oops. Everything else seems to be working properly though. I’m looking forward to many happy kilometres on this frame.





About Bruce Rollerson
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5 Responses to The new axe

  1. Chong says:

    She certainly does look nice. I wonder if the BB30 is your gateway to even more expansive bottom brackets:

    The only time I’ve had a broken chain was also the first one that I joined. Thankfully, like you, I didn’t hurt myself physically, although the shame is permanent. Overall though I got a good sense of achievement when I built up my commuter bike and also transferred parts onto my old frame for my brother to use. Next trick for us to learn is to build a wheel.

    • Rollo says:

      Looks like we can predict a future of ever-increasing bottom bracket beefiness. I have in fact put quite a few new chains on and all the rest of them have lived to old age. Looks like I failed with this one, though. Let’s hope I don’t make that mistake again. Maybe a wheel jig can be my next workshop purchase. We can experiment with all sorts of lacing patterns and spoke lengths.

  2. Damian says:

    It’s ok, but these bluey-green Bianchis really need a set of Mad Fiber wheels on ’em before they look any good.

  3. Aaron says:

    My bianchi has just started cracking…I think I need to get a cannondale,

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