Author Topic: Steel Audax build  (Read 2265 times)

Steel Audax build
« on: September 04, 2019, 12:54:41 am »
Hi all,

We've just moved from Brighton to Leeds and with summer coming to an end, I'm thinking of building up a steel bike to get me up hill and down dale year round. I'm thinking in terms of this being a forever bike, so I don't mind spending a fair bit, but am not able to go bonkers. I'm thinking 2k max. Any advice on bits and pieces would be really appreciated and i'll put up pics as I go. I don't have the greatest knowledge and haven't built a bike for a few years so don't worry about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.

Frame

As we are in Leeds, I'd love to use a local frame, so that really means Bob Jackson, Spa or Woodrup, right? I don't think I've got the budget for a Woodrup and Spa frames don't excite me too much, so I'm thinking in terms of a BJ end to end. Is the only difference between that and the club Audax the tyre clearance.

Wheels
As I'm going for classic, I'm also thinking of Pacenti Brevit wheels. Any possible alternatives?

Groupset
I've seen a lot of people discussing mixing and matching of parts, but is there any reason not to buy an entire groupset? I was thinking of Campag centaur in silver, though I can't find anywhere to buy it (why is that?). I've never used Campag and prefer SRAM to Shimano, but would like to give Campag a whirl.

Saddle
Brooks B17

Other than that, I haven't thought of much more so if anyone has any suggestions for other bits and pieces, or suggestions on what I've planned, that would be great.

Thanks!

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2019, 09:33:04 am »
I know this will offend one of the Campag fan club in some way but anyway...

A few years ago I was in a similar situation to you and tried Campag Centaur as a full groupset.  However, after a few years I sold all my Campag kit.  The reasons were

 - The Centaur groupset for that year was pretty bad, it had plastic rachets in the shifters.   Both shifters broke within a couple of years and could not be repaired
 - The choice of hubs for Campag is less than for Shimano, particularly if you favour 36h rear wheels
 - The BB design they used then needed all kinds of additional tools to service and wasn't weather proof
 - All kinds of other stuff was more expensive if it was Campag compatible.  For example extra narrow chains

On the plus side the chainrings were made of superior stuff and showed no wear over 2yr (usually I destroy Shimano rings in that time) when the shifters weren't broken they worked great.  And Campag looks cool  8)

If I ever get Campag again (unlikely) I'd get Record grade stuff.  It is extremely expensive but the lower grade stuff seems to be a bit of a lottery
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2019, 09:39:41 am »
Bob Jackson Vulcan. Jackson have bought the rights to the Curly Hetchins, or so I was told, and sell it as the Vulcan.

Fancy lugs, curved seat stays, curved chain stays. Jacksons include for stuff like lug lining , contrasting head tube etc in the price because they know the frame looks so nice with it.

I've got one. It's so pretty.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2019, 09:45:28 am »
Local custom manufacturers: there is also Ellis Briggs.  Personally I wouldn't go BJ as I've heard too many stories about bad customer service and long lead times.

Groupset: Campag have two levels of shifter internals, Ultrashift and Powershift.  As Vorsprung says, Powershift isn't much cop - I managed to break two before sourcing some Ultrashift levers on ebay.  Current groupsets that have Ultrashift are SR, Record and Chorus.

I don't have any experience with their chainsets but they have two BB systems, Ultratorque and Powertorque.  Word there is that Powertorque - you guessed it - isn't much cop either. 


Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2019, 09:54:56 am »
Got a custom built BJ in 1985 - they were pretty offhand then. When it came to restoring it a couple of years ago they were positively obstructive. Wouldn't deal with them again.

Also, as mentioned up thread original Campag Centaur shifters were made of cheese but when mine broke they were replaced without quibble and free of charge. They've worked perfectly ever since and look really good too.
Hear all, see all, say nowt

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2019, 10:05:35 am »
He isn't local to you, but Richard Hallett has just built me a new bike (complete bike, not just the frame as I've done in the past).  We had long discussions about parts and I've ended up with the usual mix'n'match:  Spa triple with a reliable old-fashioned square-taper bottom-bracket; Shimano/Sunrace gears; a Suzue hub he sourced from somewhere. 

It has 650B rims with big tyres and rolls along very comfortably.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 01:38:59 pm »
Hi all,
Wheels
As I'm going for classic, I'm also thinking of Pacenti Brevit wheels. Any possible alternatives?

I don't know if all Pacenti rims are the same, but I had 2 sets of pacenti rims, and they were really shit. I split the back rim on both wheel sets. Have replaced with H+son Archetypes for the narrow set. Am having another set made with Ryde Andra 321's for winter tyres.

Quote

Groupset
I've seen a lot of people discussing mixing and matching of parts, but is there any reason not to buy an entire groupset? I was thinking of Campag centaur in silver, though I can't find anywhere to buy it (why is that?). I've never used Campag and prefer SRAM to Shimano, but would like to give Campag a whirl.

Consider availability of parts, especially if you're intending to travel with the bike. One TCR rider went through 3 countries trying to find a bike shop that had any campag parts to help fix her bike last year. This year she ran shimano...

Quote

Saddle
Brooks B17

Other than that, I haven't thought of much more so if anyone has any suggestions for other bits and pieces, or suggestions on what I've planned, that would be great.

Personally I'd say make sure you've got nice wide tyre clearances. Being able to run 32mm or even wider has been great. On a recent audax, I had 32's and was riding with a group with 23, 25, and 28. The moment the road surface deteriorated, I just flew past them, much more controlled, comfortable, and faster over the rough surface. I also am a big fan of disc brakes, as they allow you to run a wider variety of wheels.

No doubt someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong shortly.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 02:12:29 pm »
No doubt someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong shortly.

J
You described your experiences (and that of a TCR competitor), so no one should suggest you are wrong

Good feedback actually as I have been thinking of running some wider tyres - though 28's, I hadn't even considered going up wider than that.  Makes allot of sense, especially over the winter on the roads i ride on

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2019, 02:15:25 pm »
No doubt someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong shortly.

J
You described your experiences (and that of a TCR competitor), so no one should suggest you are wrong

Well yes, but someone always does...

Quote
Good feedback actually as I have been thinking of running some wider tyres - though 28's, I hadn't even considered going up wider than that.  Makes allot of sense, especially over the winter on the roads i ride on

Now conti GP5k are available in 32mm, I struggle to see the argument for designing a bike to take anything less.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2019, 02:16:29 pm »
I have a Spa Audax (steel/medium). It has the following equipment:
Campag Centaur Ultrashift levers (2010?)
Campag Centaur 10s rear mech
Campag Record Triple front mech (New, old stock)
Shimano 105 9s rear hub
Shimano 9s cassette
Shimano RX100 brake calipers
Spa chainset 46/34/24. (Paid an extra £10 for that combination)
Mavic Open Pro rear wheel
Ambrosio Excellight front wheel (schmidt hub)
San Marco Rolls saddle


I'm happy with the choice of kit. Didn't cost me a fortune either. I use 28 mm Michelin Pro Endurance tyres.

Carlosfandango

  • Yours fragrantly.
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2019, 02:30:48 pm »
I had a couple of Pacenti rims break as well. My wheel builder replaced them under warranty and hasn't restocked.

He says that they are built at another factory now, so newer versions may be ok.


bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2019, 02:40:33 pm »
I have a £1,100 (reduced from £1,700) 853 steel road bike which I've used for audax, touring, and cyclocross which I reviewed at https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=111306.0

Since buying it I got a new set of wheels for £225 https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=112882.0


I agree with QG, wider is the way to go. Personally I ride 31mm Vittoria Terreno Dry which have been fantastic for audax and dry conditions cyclocross. Discs are absolutely the way to go for me these days too. I specced mechanical discs in my original requirement but I think I would be so brave as to go for hydros now, especially if you are setting a net budget of two bags of sand.

I think you may be interested in the Genesis range. You could get a bike in the c. £1300-1500 range and then get some really nice wheels to go with it. https://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes?categories=Bikes

Or (I think I'd do this) get the Croix de Fer 30 for £2k. It probably comes with OK wheels https://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bike/croix-de-fer-30-2020

Fits 37mms which I expect would accommodate 33s with mudguards.

If you sit on your hands for a while longer there may be bargains around October/November. That's when I got mine in a sale. But then god knows what the pound will be up to at that point....

If you're determined to build it yourself, Genesis also sell just frames.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2019, 02:50:12 pm »

Now conti GP5k are available in 32mm, I struggle to see the argument for designing a bike to take anything less.

J

I ran 32mm conti 5000s (with tubes) for PBP this year, they were fast enough and comfortable enough that I'll stick with them for Audaxing and general long rides. You can play with pressures if you want the sweetspot of comfort / speed for different surfaces or just jeave them at 60psi (105ish kg of bike, rider and kit) for everything and be happy.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2019, 02:51:21 pm »
No doubt someone will be along to tell me I'm wrong shortly.

J
You described your experiences (and that of a TCR competitor), so no one should suggest you are wrong

Well yes, but someone always does...
You're wrong!

But I agree with you on Archetypes, wider tyres and disc brakes.
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2019, 02:59:57 pm »
I'd look at Shand, for some more modern steel designs. Shand Stoater looks like a decent option for audax, complete bike available for £2000.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2019, 03:06:57 pm »

Now conti GP5k are available in 32mm, I struggle to see the argument for designing a bike to take anything less.

J

the main reason is that close clearance bike frames are snappier, more responsive, feel faster and more fun to ride - it is simply not possible to make a large clearance bike to handle that way.  if i know the roads will be decent (which they are for 90% of all the riding i do) i nearly always opt for a racing bike with 25mm tyres.
wider tyred bikes can be fun too, particularly on poorer road surfaces.

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2019, 03:10:01 pm »
Short of buying some 32 tyres, how would I be able to check that the GP5000 tyres would clear my rim brakes and frame?  (I've got an old-ish Ti Enigma Etape with rim brakes)

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2019, 04:11:25 pm »
Short of buying some 32 tyres, how would I be able to check that the GP5000 tyres would clear my rim brakes and frame?  (I've got an old-ish Ti Enigma Etape with rim brakes)

Get someone to measure the dimensions of GP5000 tyres in 32mm on the same rims, though if they live close enough meeting up and trying to fit the wheel would be even more accurate.

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2019, 06:20:02 pm »
Short of buying some 32 tyres, how would I be able to check that the GP5000 tyres would clear my rim brakes and frame?  (I've got an old-ish Ti Enigma Etape with rim brakes)

I've got an older Etape with disc brakes, 28mm tyres and mudguards but the tyre clearance on the mudguards is only a few millimetres and I'm constantly getting little stones caught in them.  Enigma changed the geometry a year after I bought mine and they now sell it with 32mm tyres as standard.  Not sure whether the 32mm tyres would work with your calipers though, but you'd only have to buy one tyre to find out, if it works then get the second. :)

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2019, 06:23:20 pm »
Got a custom built BJ in 1985 - they were pretty offhand then. When it came to restoring it a couple of years ago they were positively obstructive. Wouldn't deal with them again.

Mine was a  off the shelf job - all I had to do was choose the paint scheme. Delivery was quick and painless.

If the OP wants a long lead time,  Mercian is the place to go...
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2019, 07:47:04 pm »
This is my BJ Audax Club
if you like the 'classic' look
It will take 28mm tyres but no mudguards will satisfactorily  fit the front fork with the campag brakes
https://photos.app.goo.gl/9Dsahw3n1BsBaUBY8
so the End to End is better for you but you will need long drop brakes, and I doubt campag brakes will fit.

The Spa Audax is an excellent option, sloping top tube.

I've gone for the Spa tourer as it will take 37mm with mudguards for rough roads
I'm really pleased with it as its still just under 11kgs with racks and guards, it's very comfy.
with 28mm it's a fast tourer too.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/QR9ZG8aRrCZHhXBp9

hope this helps

sorry about the links I've never mastered posting images on the forum ! :)

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2019, 10:35:37 pm »
Hey. Thanks for all the replies. Really helpful.

I've heard the horror stories about Bob Jackson. But in terms of what I'm after, I think it might be worth a roll of the dice. It will be an off the peg frame as my budget won't stretch to custom and if they get it right, I think it could be ideal. Since I live locally, I also won't have to faff with shipping etc.

In terms of how I'm going to use it, it will really just be long day rides and if it's touring, it will be a short credit card tour, so I'm not worried about having to replace parts or using tyres bigger than 28 I'd say.

Ian Gaggiaport, your BJ is pretty much exactly what I'm after! even down to the colour of the frame. I do want mudguards though. Would you mind giving me a break down of the parts and how you have found them? I really do want to go for the classic look so want silver kit over black.

Thanks again all. 👍

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2019, 12:11:00 pm »
Short of buying some 32 tyres, how would I be able to check that the GP5000 tyres would clear my rim brakes and frame?  (I've got an old-ish Ti Enigma Etape with rim brakes)

I've got an older Etape with disc brakes, 28mm tyres and mudguards but the tyre clearance on the mudguards is only a few millimetres and I'm constantly getting little stones caught in them.  Enigma changed the geometry a year after I bought mine and they now sell it with 32mm tyres as standard.  Not sure whether the 32mm tyres would work with your calipers though, but you'd only have to buy one tyre to find out, if it works then get the second. :)

Really useful, cheers

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2019, 02:51:29 pm »
Really liking the new Panaracer Pasela PT 32mm, at lower end pressures, on my bike.  They roll nicely on-road, but I also do a fair few bridleways and rough tracks (vv tiles bagging), and so far no issues or p*nctures (since mid June).  Reasonably light for 32mm too.  I wouldn't get the likes of GP5000, cos they're pricey & they're not amber walled.   ;)  Carradice SuperC Audax (or lighter version available) is good on the very convenient classic rack, with B17 saddle.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Steel Audax build
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2019, 03:30:49 pm »
Hi
Ok 1st the frame:
Audax club: off the peg 19.5" but I had 2 attempts to get the brake bridges and forks to fit the wheels.
The problem was resolved but then paintwork developed rust pinholes after 1 year.
I had Argos respray it 3 years later.
The colour is Celeste Cosmos metallic .
It is however very nice to ride, and I'd get another if I had to.I think the end to end is similar but the seat stays have different attachment to the down tube
.
2nd components:
Stem is 110mm Nitto CycleBasket.co.uk
Handle bars: Nitto Noodle Planet X
Seat post: Deda
Saddle: Fabric radius
Shifters: Athena 11s *Athena is discontinued
RD Athena 11s
FD Athena 11s
Chainset and chainrings. Spa 50T 36 T
BB Shimano square taper 110mm
Cassette: 105 11-28
Brakes: Centaur skeleton..End to End will need Shimano long drop brakes
Wheels: Ultegra hubs, son archetype rims, DT spokes., althought with Chrina rims & gator skin 25s I could get mudguards on if they were cable tied at the brake bridge

I'm happy to ride ride Michelin Pro4 28mm endurance on the wider archetype rims , no need to go wider for me.
*Campag now make the Potenza groupset for people who like shiny thingsthe shifting is Powershift but I'm ok with that.There were some Campag bargains at Planet X not so long ago.