There's nothing quite like the enjoyment of building your own bicycle. Sure, rolling out of the bike shop on a brand new bike is pretty immense, but for ultimate satisfaction you can't beat building one yourself.
Because you see, building your own bicycle opens up a world of possibilities. You are free to build your dream bike, and that is the reason so many people are fond of going down this route. Pick every single part, piece it together with a measured and considered approach, and slowly your perfect bike starts to take shape. And, when it's finished, you've got a completely custom bike that is unique. Now, who doesn't want some of that?
I must confess, I love building my own bikes. I've built a fair few road and mountain bikes up from a pile of parts over the years, and I'm about to embark on another. I just can't help myself. The driving force behind this latest project it to build a race bike; one stiff and responsive enough for crit and road racing. But it also needs to be good for long rides, so lightness is a key factor (I'm not so good on hills) to save me energy. And comfort is important too.
The frame I've chosen is the Cannondale Evo SuperSix. Lifting it out of its box, pulling aside the protective wrapper, its lack of weight is noticeable. And so it should be. This is one of the lightest production frames in the world. On my Park Tool scales, the 56cm frame (with the press-fit bearings installed) weighs 900g. The fork is 340g with the lower bearing race fitted. That's pretty damn light.
It's an elegant looking frame with traditional round tube profiles giving the Evo nice clean lines. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of some of the funkier tube manipulation that occurs in many frames. Call me a traditionalist if you like. Cannondale are really pushing at the limits of carbon fibre technology (as we saw at their 2013 product launch). The frame is made from BallisTec carbon, with high modulus fibres, with three sections to create a lightweight and stiff monocoque.
There are no metal inserts at the BB30 bottom bracket. Instead, the cups are moulded carbon. It's the same at the head tube; the headset bearings drop directly into the carbon cups. The slim chainstays are among the skinniest I've seen this side of a Cervelo R3, and should give the frame the desired comfort.
It should be a light bike once it's built. Considering that a sub-5kg bike with top-end parts is achievable, I'm hoping my more modest build, while not being in the eye-popping arena of low weight, should still be reasonable.
Watch out for my next update soon as I start the build...
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.