The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Di2 on a Cronus CX???

Frankenbikes, Jackalopes, and Velos-Kludges are some of our favorite things. The average mechanic's bike is usually a mixture of old, new, beautiful, ugly, and well-loved items that have been accumulated and curated over his or her career. Coveted items such as Mafac brakes, Dura-Ace 7400 anything, beleaguered Flite saddles, and old Hugi hubs find their way from bike to box, and box to bike until either Sir Isaac Newton enforces his Second Law, or an unexpected rent payment comes due and it's time to liquidate some capital.

Here at the shop, we tend to accumulate old parts from repairs. Usually the customer is either traumatized by what happened, i.e. "the velociraptor what ate my leg also done messed up my shifter, and therefore, I don't want it around, lest I get bad dreams" OR, he or she doesn't want to pay to have the parts fixed. In the case at hand, it was the latter.

One of our favorite customers busted up a brand new Trek that was set up with Dura-Ace Di2 shifting mess of goodies. Out of the wreckage (WRECKAGE, let me tell you now!), we were able to salvage most everything from the Di2 setup except the front derailleur, whose cage was pretty much destroyed.

The frame could fit in a laundry basket. It was a mess!

OK, so we successfully dissected it. What do we do with it? Not much call for a 1x10 road bike these days, and getting all the little aftermarket doodads from shady websites to make it into an allegedly mountain-compatible setup would have been expensive and risky.

Well, Kevin the Boss Man rides his bike furiously and occasionally falls off and breaks himself. He's sort of a "tape-it-and-play" type, so things like sprained wrists and broken thumbs don't really slow him down that much. Truth be told, he has watched too many Civil War documentaries and is afraid that his doctor is going to furrow his brow with his arms akimbo, sigh gravely, and reach for a hacksaw.

His crunched-up hands and wrists tend to limit his range of motion for the big throws required to shift some road groups. So when he got a deadly new Trek Cronus CX rocketship for gravel roadin' and CX racin' and single trackin' and stuff, shifting the bike in the heat of battle was a literal pain. Since we had the busted-up Di2 set sitting around, we decided to try to retrofit it.

"But I don't want to be a Di2 bike, guys!" said the Cronus CX in that whiny "I own you and you will buy me a pony" sort of voice.

"You're gonna be a Di2 bike and you're gonna like it, you lecherous, sponge-bathing, Froot-Loop devouring circus midget reject! That's the problem with kids like you and your roller skates and your dungarees, you don't appreciate quality. It's all ball bearings and transistors these days"

"But I look all stupid with a front derailleur that isn't a front derailleur! I'm a 1x10! Nobody in the entire Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial Jr. High is going to sit by me in the cafeteria! I'll be such a loser in the game of life, and I've only just got started at it!" said the Cronus CX, with an appreciable flow of alligator tears.

"Fine! We'll stuff the front derailleur remnants inside the down tube, will that stop your sniveling? Don't push your luck, or I'll turn this car right around! So help me, I'll fill your shorts with pork chops and make you walk home in this bear-infested wilderness!"

"Oh, look at me! I'm as lithe and supple as a figure skater now!" said the Cronus CX, all 1x10 and electric-shifty.

Will it hold up to the Boss Man's crashing and bashing riding style? Time will tell. All the wires and stuff are tucked up inside the downtube, but the battery is still exposed to the elements. And it will see elements.