Si’s Custom Canyon Aeroad Hill Climb Bike

Si’s Custom Canyon Aeroad Hill Climb Bike


(dramatic music) – This is my Canyon Aeroad CF SLX, and yes you have seen it before many times, but then that’s not a surprise cause it’s over three years old now and
it has even been the star of its own video on two prior occasions. But it has changed quite
significantly recently because it has been tailored
for a specific purpose. And can you guess what that purpose is? Yep! Hill climbing! Ha! Perhaps
not all that many of you were expecting that answer.
But all will be revealed in a forthcoming GCN
video. But to fill you in, basically I’ve been
trying, unsuccessfully, to set a new personal best up
a climb that is local to me. And so I’ve done what all
self respecting bike geeks do, and turned to my bike.
I have upgraded it, yes, with the help of Chief
Boffing, at CeramicSpeed Jason Smith, and also David Morse who is an advanced
development engineer at Zipp. This bike is now in full
hill climbing beast mode. Basically it’s about as tweaked
and as modded and as fast as I could get it. So let
me talk you through it. Now the Aeroad frame design
has actually been around for over four years, but
despite that, when you look at various data sets or
independent testing that you can find online, it’s actually
still really competitive in the wind tunnel. A lot of
that is down to the design of the basic frames and
the aerodynamic tube shape. Super narrow front end
which even has its own custom bearings in there to
keep a really low profile. But also things like the
aerodynamic seat post and the one piece bar and
stem. Which yes, has a lot of spaces underneath and every
time this bike is featured in a video one or two of you
will kindly tell me that I need to slam that stem, but
before you do, take a look. There is already quite a lot
of saddle to bar drop going on and I also have to confess
that I do really like the look of aerodynamic spaces under
an arrow stem. No I know. For me it’s got that kind
of weird retro modern thing going on, but
anyway. We’ve not come here to discuss aesthetics.
We’ve come here to discuss performance, and yes, it is
probably an unorthodox choice of frame for a hill climb.
But again, when you look it’s still competitively light, just
940 grams for a size medium frame, which this one is.
I could of course save 2 to 300 grams perhaps with
a different choice of frame, but then I would lose
that arrow advantage. When you look closely,
which I’m sure you’re doing right now, you can see quite
a few scuffs and scratches as befits a bike that’s three
years old and done as many kilometers as this one has.
So all things considered, I think he’s holding up
pretty well. Certainly better than me if you look back
three years, and man am I glad that we don’t get many close
ups on presenters in videos. As you can see the SRAM RED
eTAP groupset is still on here. I believe this is one of
the first production samples that came off the line that
I managed to get my hands on two and a half years ago. I
do still have the Dura-Ace direct mount brakes on
there, so it kind of pains me slightly that it’s not
a complete groupset. SRAM have now started making
their own direct mount brakes but I haven’t managed to get
myself a pair of them yet. But, you know, I’m slowly
coming to terms with it. I mean, one or two days go
by every month where I don’t think about the fact I’ve
got a mismatched groupset. But anyway, hopefully over
time I will come to terms more and more. Anyway,
those are the things that have stayed the same. What
about the changes on there? Well I don’t think you can fail to notice the derailleur cage and the chain so I think we should start there. The cage is a CeramicSpeed OSPW which is Oversized Pulley Wheel System.
So basically, you replace your derailleur cage to
allow you to fit those giant 17 tooth pulley wheels. The
theory being that the larger radius means that the
chain needs to bend less which makes it more efficient,
it generates less friction. The core spin on ceramic
bearings as well, so that reduces the friction even further.
And then, this chain. So this is a CeramicSpeed
UFO chain, and it’s not talcum powder, as you
probably expect, it’s actually Teflon powder that gives
it that white look. And so, CeramicSpeed take an
ordinary chain and then they strip it right back to bare metal, then they polish it up to reduce friction and then they add their
special coating to it. Elsewhere I’ve got CeramicSpeed
bearings in my bottom bracket to further reduce
rotational friction and indeed the wheel bearings as well. And all of those bearings
have been treated with the super fast time trial specific
lubricant that CeramicSpeed have kindly shipped over
as well. Now onto wheels. Many of you might be scratching
your heads and wondering why on earth I’ve got super
deep Zipp 808 NSW wheels on a bike tailored for hill
climbing. But, I deferred to the experts. Basically,
Zipp have got this super clever software that can predict an
outcome based on certain known parameters. Which kind of
makes it sound like they can see into the future,
it’s not quite that advanced, but it is uncannily good at predicting time trial performance. So
basically, according to maths, Zipp worked it out that you
get more of an advantage by using a slightly heavier
but more aerodynamic wheel. So, on go the 82 millimeter
deep 808’s, 27 and a half millimeters wide, and
they also feature what’s called their showstopper brake track,
so it’s kind of got like a ridged brake track that
improves braking performance. Not terribly important for
going up, I’ll grant you, but nice and reassuring
for the way back down. Now they are, of course,
heavier than your usual climbing wheel although still
competitive at 1,700 grams for the pair. But I could, should I wish, saved about 500 grams
by swapping to say a set of 202 tubular wheels, but
again I’ve deferred to the power of maths and have gone for this. I’ve also taken the slightly
unconventional step nowadays of running 23 mil wide
tires that are a little bit lighter, they’re also a
little bit more aerodynamic. I’ve run them relatively
soft at about 85 PSI. But once again, these are
choices that have been guided very firmly by maths. Oh yes. And while many of you may be
thinking that with all this talk of wider tires perhaps
running narrow tires again may well cause something
like the sky to fall down, actually it was really
nice. I had forgotten how nice 23 mil tires can really be. What then about this
gear ratio at the back? That will probably have some
of you scratching your heads as well. So I won’t ruin
the surprise, you will have to watch the GCN
video, but rest assured that too was guided by maths.
Lots and lots of maths. Up front I’ve got my Quarq
power meter so I can record all that data, therefore
able to prove that I have indeed, hopefully, done
what I set out to do at the end of the day. And
then I’ve also got a 53/39 chainrings on there. I must
confess, I’m a massive fan of a 39 tooth in a chainring,
I appreciate that’s quite geeky, but I do just
prefer the way it rides over a 36 or a 34. I don’t
really need a 53 outer ring anymore but, well, there’s not
much to lose from running it. Now despite all this amazing
new kit on here, there’s still quite a bit of old
stuff as well, like those Look Keo Blades that are
now in their sixth year. God knows how many
kilometers they’ve done. They were with me for my last
year as a professional cyclist and every year since.
I’ve also not changed the Fizik Arione Saddle that came
as stock, I mean why would I, given that it’s my natural choice anyway. The other thing that might
be quite peculiar to you is that also that’s the bar
tape that came with the bike. Yes three years old and indeed,
unwrapped carefully whilst the shifters were changed
from Shimano to SRAM, and then reused, oh yeah might
be slightly disgusting but I think you should
recycle where possible. Finally then, up front I’ve
also got my wahoo element but haven’t got an aeroad
mount for it on this bike. You need a specific mount
for those bar and stem. But I did add a cheeky little adapter that allows me to use it on there. As you’ve seen, weight hasn’t
been of the utmost priority with this bike, but I am
quite intrigued to know what our scales tell us. So are you ready? 7.5 something. I will also let
you listen to my free wheel cause it sounds like
a swarm of angry bees. So that is my very modded
and hopefully very fast hill climbing bike. As
ever, I would be fascinated to know what you think
about it so make sure to get involved in the comments section. I will be down there as
well, hopefully answering any questions that you might have about it. As I said the video to which
this accompanies will be up on GCN shortly, if indeed
it’s not up now. If it is then there will be a link on
screen. If not, do make sure you subscribe to GCN and
if you already do make sure you’ve tapped this little bell
icon that’s just down there, that way you’ll get a notification of when the video goes up.