Fabike C3: Assembly Part 1 - Component Installation

With all the components gathered, this new Fabike C3 commuting bike is now ready to be assembled! As already shown in the previous posts, there are many new components, such as the front wheel, brakes, handlebar, seat post and etc.

Before installing the components, I want to cut the fork steerer tube to the correct length. This will enable me to fix the handlebar position, which will then allow me to fix the shifter positions. Only when that is done, I can connect the Di2 wires, and also set the correct length for the hydraulic brake hoses.

I wanted this Fabike C3 to have the same geometry as my Canyon Endurace road bike, which is why I measured and used the same setup for the handlebar height, using the bottom bracket as the datum. Once this is done, I can cut the steerer tube to the required length, as it is definitely too long.

Cutting the carbon steerer tube at this blue line. After that, a spacer and top cap will be placed on top of the stem.

With the handlebar position fixed, all the Di2 wires can be connected, and the hydraulic brake hoses can be measured and cut to the required lengths. For this setup, the Junction B will be stored internally, within the down tube.

Wrapping the Junction B in sponge to prevent rattling, before stuffing it inside the down tube. The other bundle is actually the wire from the Di2 battery in the seat tube, which has a Di2 wire that is too long.

After running the Di2 wires internally, I can install the eccentric bottom bracket, followed by the crankset. This Dura-Ace 7900 crankset is the exact same one which I removed from the Avanti Inc 3, and I plugged it straight into this new frame.

However, I noticed that the Gates front chainring was rubbing against the frame, on the right side chainstay! There is insufficient clearance on this frame...

No clearance between the chainring and the frame, on the right side chainstay.

On the previous setup, the chainring was located on the INSIDE of the crankset, in order to match the chain line from the Alfine 11 Di2 internal hub at the rear. However, this is not possible on this frame due to interference.

In this case, I have to place the chainring on the OUTSIDE of the crankset, in order to avoid interference with the chainstay. This causes the chain line to be a little bit offset from the rear sprocket, but hopefully it will be OK.

Switching the chainring placement to the OUTSIDE of the crankset. Looks better in this case.

With the chainring located on the outside, there will be about 2mm of clearance with the chainstay, which is good.

Next, the rear wheel will be installed, and it will involve using the special rear dropout design described earlier.

First, the non turn washers will need to be slotted onto the hub axle. Then, the hub axle needs to be rotated so that the flats on the hub axle matches the opening on the frame.

In this orientation, the non turn washers cannot slot into the dropout. Therefore, the frame needs to be widened by a few millimeters, to allow both the hub axle and the non turn washers to be installed. Check out the pictures below.

Orienting the hub axle to slot it into the frame. Frame needs to be spread open slightly to allow the non turn washers to be slotted in at the same time.

After the hub axle is in place, rotate the hub axle, so that the profile of the non turn washers match the profile on the inside of the frame dropouts. Then, slot the non turn washers into the frame, to close up the frame.

Not sure if you are able to understand or follow the steps, but it is a very troublesome method, as many areas need to be aligned at the same time, for both left and right side of the hub axle. Also, note that I did not install the rear brake caliper yet, as spreading the frame will mean that the brake caliper will move to the side, and possibly bend the brake rotor.

Removing the rear wheel will be similarly tricky, as the non turn washers need to be pushed out from its slot on the frame, followed by rotating the hub axle to come out through the opening in the dropout. If I ever get a rear wheel puncture on this bike, I am not sure if I will bother to fix it at the side of the road, or catch a transport home to fix it later.

Anyway, that is probably the most difficult part of setting up this bike. With that settled, all other issues should not pose a big problem.

New Gates Centertrack 113T belt is needed for this frame, as the chainstay is quite short. I could not reuse the other longer 115T or 118T belts that I already had.

Once the belt is installed, it can be tensioned by rotating the eccentric bottom bracket as shown. One of the rare occasions where this tool is actually used!

Adjustment of this eccentric bottom bracket is not as straightforward as it seems. It is important to make sure that both sides of the eccentric bottom bracket are aligned, to prevent the crankset spindle from being tilted. However, since the adjustment is only done at the left side, it is necessary to make the right side follow the adjustment closely.

This synchronized adjustment is only possible if the 3 bolts on the eccentric bottom bracket are tightened, to minimize the play between the left and right side eccentric bottom bracket. However, if the 3 bolts are too tight, it will be clamped onto the frame and cannot be adjusted. This makes adjustment quite tricky. Once done, the 3 bolts are tightened to clamp both the left and right side to the frame, to fix the position.

As mentioned earlier, the change of front chainring position will cause the chainline to be offset slightly to the side. However, based on my testing, it seems to be OK as the belt is still able to roll on and off the chainring without any problems.

There are some other issues which I noticed during the installation of the components, which I will highlight below. These are not critical issues, but something that can definitely be improved upon by the frame maker.

Slight touching between the Di2 motor unit and the inside of the right side seat stay. Can be solved by changing the angle of the non turn washer, or creating more clearance on the right side seat stay.

Once the hub axle angle is fixed by the non turn washer, the angle of the Di2 wire points downwards by 45 degrees, instead of being horizontal. This is not as neat, and can be solved by changing the angle of the non turn washer.

Rubber grommets at the head tube for Di2 wire and hydraulic brake hose do not fit well. The Di2 wire grommet fits too loosely into the hole on the frame, while the grommet for the brake hose becomes too big, and cannot be fitted into the hole on the frame. Can be solved by sizing the hole and rubber grommet properly.

When the wheels are installed, there is quite a small clearance between the tire and the frame. To be fair, these are 28C tires which come up to 32mm wide on these rims. Hopefully the mudguards will fit in this small gap!

Same for the front, there is small clearance between the tire and the fork. Need to fit the mudguard into the small gap without rubbing the tire.

Mounting point for front mudguard is hidden at the back of the fork, which is neat. Slight peeling off of the paint here, but not a big issue.

More to come in the next post!


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