Sunday, March 18, 2018

Canyon Endurace: 4iiii Precision Power Meter on Dura-Ace R9100 Crankarm

In recent months, I decided to get a powermeter to use on my bike, in order to gauge my effort numerically. Although I can generally feel the resistance, and roughly tell whether it is a "strong headwind" or me having an off-form day, it is more accurate to have a powermeter to show the actual wattage used during the ride.

The speedometer can tell you the actual speed, but it cannot indicate how much effort is used to travel at that speed. When you are moving fast, it can be due to you pedaling hard, or it is just the benefit of having a good tailwind. On the other hand, when you feel that you are moving slowly even though you are putting in considerable effort, it can be due to tiredness or something else (such as slight uphill, slight headwind or rubbing brakes, for example).

With a powermeter, it will be easy to tell the power required to sustain a certain speed. Most people use powermeters for training purposes, so that they can gauge their effort and stick to their training plan. However, I only intend to use it to collect some data, not for training.

There are many brands and types of powermeters available, such as pedal type, chainring type, rear hub type, crank arm type, etc. I decided to get a simple one-sided powermeter, as I don't need the accuracy of a dual-sided powermeter.

For one sided power meter, Stages and 4iiii are the more popular ones available, with a similar cost. Stages came out with the left crank arm powermeter first, but they have been having some quality issues from what I heard. Therefore I decided to get the 4iiii power meter which is also a left crank arm type.

Installation is as straightforward as it can be, as you basically just replace your existing left crank arm with the one from the 4iiii factory, which has already been fitted and calibrated with the strain gauges on the left crank arm. It is also possible to send in your existing left crank arm for them to install the power meter, but that may be too much trouble especially if you are located halfway around the world.

4iiii Powermeter, which claims to be the lightest left side powermeter.

Set up instructions are printed on the inside of the box.

As I plan to install the powermeter on the Canyon Endurace road bike, I got a crankarm that matches the groupset. As already done earlier, the Dura-Ace R9100/9170 groupset has already been installed on the bike, therefore I need to get the model that uses the Dura-Ace R9100 left side crankarm.

When I ordered the powermeter, the crankarm was not in stock, so I had to wait about a month before I received it. Here it is!

Dura-Ace R9100 left side crankarm

Super glossy surface finishing as seen here

4iiii sensor glued to the back of the crankarm. Most of the bulk is actually taken up by the coin type battery.

Relatively low profile, should clear most chainstays, unless your bike has a special chainstay profile.

165mm length to match the right side crankarm

Battery cover taken off to show the battery. Easily replaceable when it runs out of power.

Weighs 182 grams including the sensor! The regular crankarm without the sensor weighs 173 grams, so the sensor weighs just 9 grams. Super lightweight powermeter indeed.

Sufficient clearance between the sensor and the chainstay. 

Installation is easy, just use this crankarm with powermeter instead of the normal one that comes with the crankset. After that, link it to your cycle computer via ANT+, then calibrate and zero the powermeter as per the instructions.

From the data, I can see that it takes roughly 130 watts to pedal at 30km/h on the Canyon Endurace, on flat ground and no wind, and without drafting. To go at 40km/h will require about twice the power! I can only sustain this power over a short stretch.

Pro cyclists regularly cycle at over 40km/h, which means that their power output will normally be 200 watts or more. This is already accounting for the drafting effect when riding in a group.

In a way, having this data helps you judge your pedaling effort and how much more you need to go faster. For example, if I want to sustain 35km/h instead of 30km/h, I will need to raise my power output from 130 watts to 180 watts! That is a big jump and it will take a lot of training to sustain this power for a meaningful amount of time.

However, if you are drafting, you can save about 30% of your energy if you do it correctly. Therefore, if you are drafting behind somebody, you can go at 35km/h while using about 130 watts. In other words, if you can output 130 watts, you can ride at 30km/h solo, or 35km/h when drafting.

The best part about this powermeter is that it is super low maintenance and fuss free. The battery lasts a long time, and there is no need to calibrate or pair it every time you ride. It is also very lightweight and small sized, and is hardly visible on the bike.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Canyon Endurace: Installation of Dura-Ace R9170 Components

Finally, after taking a detailed look at each of the new Dura-Ace components, and also the Canyon Endurace frame, it is now time to install everything onto the bike!

From a bare frame, it takes quite a bit of work to assemble all of the components. The most tricky and troublesome part are the hydraulic disc brakes, which takes some time and also requires other people to help with the bleeding of the brakes.

Full Dura-Ace R9170/R9150/R9100 groupset that will be going onto the bike!

Dura-Ace R9100 11 speed 11-30T cassette installed onto the rear wheel

Front hydraulic disc brake caliper with adapter

Dura-Ace bottom bracket, press fit type SM-BB92

New 11 speed chain CN-HG901. I did not reuse the stock 11 speed chain as it went onto the Dahon MuEX along with the cassette, rear derailleur and crankset.

There are no photos of the installation process, as my hands are usually working on something, or is greasy or oily. What you will see here is the final result of the full bike assembly.

Integrated handlebar and stem, with shifters installed, bar tape wrapped and Garmin in position.

Front view

Comparing the geometry to my other hydraulic disc brake bike, the Avanti Inc 3, the reach is actually a little bit shorter!

Junction A located at the front of the downtube, in an unconventional place.

Rear hydraulic disc brake caliper with adapter for 160mm rotors

Front hydraulic disc brake caliper, also with adapter for 160mm rotors

Big and chunky Dura-Ace R9100 crankset! 50/34T compact size, with 165mm crank arm length.

Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur

Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleur, with Shadow construction for a low profile

Overall view of the 2x11 speed Dura-Ace drivetrain

Fresh bike build with no accessories such as bottle cages or lights installed. With all components being black in colour, the frame colour really stands out!

Clean cable routing, with the cable or wires visible only in between the stem and the head tube. Relocating Junction A away from the stem did make it look a bit neater, but not by much.

Outdoor full bike shot, with all the usual accessories installed

Full bike specifications and weight

The theoretical full bike weight (without pedals) is about 6.9 kg, which is a bit different from the actual weighed value of 7 kg. Not a big issue at all, as this is still a lightweight bike! More so given that this is a hydraulic disc brake setup, which is roughly 300 grams heavier than a mechanical brake caliper setup.

The only place where significant weight can still be shaved will be from the wheelset, where a tubular wheelset can reduce maybe another 300 grams. Weight savings from other components will be minor and not really cost effective.

With such a nice road bike setup, the limiting factor is not the bike but the rider, as it is most of the time. Although I am not a pro rider or even a high mileage rider, I can still appreciate riding a good road bike.

Some people have this theory that if you don't ride so often, you don't need such a good bike. However, I feel differently. If I don't ride so often, then every ride is precious and I would like to ride a good bike on these rides! Life is too short to waste on riding lousy bikes, so if you can, get a nice bike that you can afford and ride it well.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Canyon Endurace: Customizing Dura-Ace Di2

After waiting patiently, the time has come. I have finally gathered all my Dura-Ace components that will be installed onto the Canyon Endurace. Before that, I will connect up all the Di2 components to test it out, before installing it. At the same time, I will take the chance to update and customize the Di2 components. In this new generation of Di2 components, there are some new features that I have not tried before. Let's check it out!

Full Dura-Ace R9170 groupset! Hydraulic disc brakes with Di2 electronic shifting.

The new EW-JC130 Di2 wire with a Y split junction. This comes in 3 different lengths, and is designed for internal handlebar routing.

Just for future reference, this Y split Di2 wire weighs just 8 grams

Wireless unit EW-WU111, which installs inline along the Di2 wire route, and is much smaller in size compared to the previous version SM-EWW01.

Super light at just 3 grams

The Y split Di2 wire is used to link the two Di2 shifters together, and connects to the inline wireless unit.

As you may have noticed, this is not the usual wiring layout that is used on road bikes. Normally, there are two separate wires that link the two shifters to Junction A, which resides underneath the stem. From there, a long Di2 wire then links Junction A to Junction B, which is usually at the bottom bracket area.

However, I wanted to hide Junction A instead of having it underneath the stem. Hopefully, this will give a cleaner wiring layout. If the handlebar was suited for internal wiring (with holes for Di2 wires to enter and exit), I would have got the Junction A for drop bars (EW-RS910), but since the stock Canyon aero handlebar cannot run internal wiring, this is the next best solution.

The custom Di2 wiring layout that will be used on the Canyon Endurace

In this custom layout, Junction A will be located at the seat tube area, and wired in between the front derailleur and Junction B. As this is not the officially recommended layout, I had to test it out before installing it on the bike.

Junction A which comes stock on the bike. The bracket on the left is the original one from Shimano, while the one on the right (with countersunk hole) is a special one designed by Canyon to mount Junction A under the stem.

Junction A with original bracket and rubber strap. Weighs 13.5 grams.

Di2 internal battery, with a custom bracket designed by Canyon to mount it inside the downtube of the frame. Weighs 62 grams including the bracket.

Junction B as it comes stock with the bike. Wrapped up in foam tape to prevent it from rattling inside the downtube.

Weighs about 6 grams with the foam tape

All the Di2 wires that will be used on the bike. About 36 grams in total.

Note that almost all the Di2 wiring is already present as the bike came stock with Ultegra Di2. Since I am reusing the Di2 wires, Junction A and B and also the internal Di2 battery, I can also see how it was mounted from the factory.

Wiring up everything to test it out. It works perfectly! The Garmin Edge 510 has also been connected to the Di2 system using the wireless unit.

Using the SM-PCE1 PC Linkage Device to update and customize all the Di2 options

With the new Di2 internal battery and the latest firmware update, synchronized shifting is now possible!

As shown above, there are two synchronized shifting modes available. Semi-synchronized shifting mode means that when you manually shift the front, the rear will automatically move up or down to compensate for the big gear jump at the front.

As for full synchronized shifting, it means that only one shifter is needed. As you shift along the rear cassette, it will reach a point where the front shifting will occur automatically, and at the same time, adjust the rear derailleur to ensure that the next higher or lower gear ratio is selected.

Gear mapping for full synchronized shifting mode.

Looking at the green and blue arrows, you can see that the shifting points are different for upward shifting and downward shifting. These shifting points can be changed as you like, making it truly customizable for the individual.

With this full synchronized shifting mode, you can get 14 distinct gears out of this 2x11 speed drivetrain, using just a single shifter.

These are interesting modes of shifting which I can try out, after I have installed the components onto the bike.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Canyon Endurace: Actual Weight of Frame, Fork, Handlebar

Even before I got the Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2 bike, the final plan was to upgrade it to the latest Dura-Ace R9170 groupset, which has hydraulic disc brakes and Di2 electronic shifting. However, at that point in time (July 2017), the latest R9170 groupset was not available yet, while there was a 20% discount on this Canyon bike which was very enticing. Therefore, I decided to get the full bike that was equipped with Ultegra Di2 and hydraulic disc brakes first, before upgrading later.

Now that my Dura-Ace R9170 groupset has arrived, I can begin upgrading the bike! Since I will need to disassemble 90% of the components from the bike for the upgrade, I might as well disassemble it 100% to check out the actual frame weight. This is a good chance to compare and see how it differs from the claimed weight on the Canyon website.

This is the top level Endurace CF SLX Disc frameset, which is designed for Di2 shifting. The mechanical shifting version of the frame is slightly different to account for the cable routing required. Without further delay, let's take a closer look at all the frameset components!

Beautiful Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc frame, in an eye-catching Kerosene Red colour.

It comes in at a lightweight 807 grams for a size XS frame. Includes weight of seatpost clamp and rear dropout hanger. Claimed weight is 820 grams for Size M.

Mounting point for the rear Flat Mount disc brake caliper is located on the left side chainstay.

Bearing cups for the headset (both top and bottom) are molded into the frame to save weight

Internal view of the downtube, viewed from the bottom bracket shell opening.

The inside of the left and right chainstays, as viewed from the opening under the bottom bracket shell.

Weight of headset bearings (top + bottom + plastic compression ring) is just 37 grams.

Front fork with carbon steerer tube

Even the crown race for the lower headset bearing is molded as part of the steerer tube

Actual weight of the front fork is 361 grams, quite a bit heavier than the claimed weight of 325 grams.

Integrated carbon handlebar and stem, comes with this Canyon bike.

No holes on the handlebar for internal routing, but there are cable channels on the underside of the handlebar.

Total weight of 90/400mm handlebar +  stem and the clamp (which presses on the steerer tube) is 327 grams. Claimed weight is 335 grams for the 100/420mm version.

Headset top cap and special shaped spacers weigh about 49 grams. 

With these numbers, the frameset (frame + fork) weighs 1168 grams, which is a really nice weight for a road bike frame. There are of course lighter framesets such as the Trek Emonda, but the cost of one of those framesets can almost buy my whole bike.

As for the one piece carbon handlebar (327 grams), it is not actually lighter than a separate handlebar and stem combination. For example, if I use a FSA K-Force Compact Road Handlebar (204 grams), with the Controltech Alloy Road Stem (80mm, 112 grams), the total weight is 316 grams which is actually lighter and cheaper than the one piece handlebar.

Anyway, the objective is not to build a super lightweight road bike. If this was the objective, the starting point would be very different. With this endurance frame, the idea is to build a road bike with hydraulic disc brakes and Di2 shifting, while ensuring that it is comfortable to ride without being too harsh. Of course, if it can also be fast and lightweight at the same time, that will be the best.