Sunday, July 28, 2013

Project Orca - Episode 4: Ready For Adventure!

the rotor 3D+ cranks with the Power2Max spider
In which we finish what we started in episode 3 - building the bike up. Now we have the cranks - the final piece of the puzzle.

Once again, if you want to get the background, check the previous post or go back to the first or second episodes. We're still at the Soon Watt Orbea shop on Changi Road in Singapore for the final stages of the build and getting it set up for me. Bike fit at this stage is a fairly rudimentary one using measurements from my current workhorse racing machine plus a couple of tweaks. This because I'll be getting a serious bike fit analysis done soon which will feature in a later post.

inserting the press-fit bearing rings into the bb housing

This is the point at which the level of newness really ramps up. Firstly because I'm using a crank-based power meter for the first time. Secondly, I'm using a BB30 system which the Orca is designed for which ostensibly brings the cranks/feet closer together and gives a better line from the chainrings to the rear cogs. I'll also be using Speedplay pedals as a departure from the Shimanos I've used for the past 15 years or so. Verdict on all this to come!

getting the bb bearings tightly into place

chainrings onto the spider
 I had decided to initially not include the obvious choice of the famous elliptical Q Rings for the Rotor cranks. This being a better way to get a direct comparison in feel for the new drivechain without adding too many exotic elements. I used instead a set of Dura Ace 53/39 chainrings off another crankset.

would maybe look sexier in all black...

non-drive side with spindle goes on first...

...then the drive side

precision :)


The battery is a slightly odd one - a CR2450N - larger than the usual type. Easy enough to install, it goes into the triangular casing with the '2' on it which is just a question of undoing 3 small screws. The battery supplied is by a Swiss brand named Renata, and I have heard that other brands don't work as well - which could be a problem - but I'll look into that. In the meantime, if anyone knows where I can get hold of these, let me know.

chain on....

fd adjustment

rd adjustment

adjusting height, length, position...

As Mave puts it, doing a bike fit for someone who's been riding as much as I have is a question of transferring the dimensions of my previous ride to this one, since I will probably have an effective position already dialed in. Then making any possible minor adjustments if needed.

We took the measurements from centre of BB to the saddle rails, from the flat point on the hoods to the floor, tip of saddle to the centre of the bars, and horizontally from the BB centre to a plumb-line from the tip of the saddle. Then we replicated these as far as possible on the new machine.

Once we got this done it was a question of riding it for a while to see how it felt. Sine the frame is bigger than my old one there were a few things that felt different. We thought we could use a 100mm stem, tried a 120, and then settled for a 110. Took a plumb-line from the bone protrusion at the top of the tibia just under the knee down to the pedal. Ideally this would be directly above the spindle of the pedal, and in my case it was - adding weight to Mave's claim.

cutting the steerer

We left 1cm of leeway at the top of the fork steerer. Just being conservative in case we needed to raise the bar position later.

At this point, a nice sunny day had suddenly transformed into an unexpected downpour so the first ride was postponed for a couple of hours. When I did finally get out on it, it's maiden voyage was rather a wet 45km at rush hour on a Friday evening. May not have been the most auspicious start, but it couldn't dampen my mood. The bike felt super solid and responsive, especially at the front end. But more on that in the next chapter.....

Next Chapter: The Ride

not super-light, but then the crankset and wheels are the main culprits

the finished article!


  1. That CR2450N is pretty difficult one to find. The only place in Singapore I have found that particular cell is House of Times in Lucky Plaza. It's actually one of the Polar service centres in Singapore. Sure there is others as well.

    The bike looks stunning! Very very bling! :)

    1. Great - I will have a look there. So it's used by Polar as well? That's a good reference point. Thanks!

  2. Did a search and a forum thread suggested the following shop for the CR2450 Battery. Just as suspected, Sim Lim Square. Do call them first before you make your way over. Interestingly, it's next to a sex toy shop. ;P

    UNICELL International Pte. Ltd.
    1, Rochor Canal, #02-70
    Sim Lim Square Singapore 188504
    Tel: +65 6337-6548 Fax: +65 6333-0276

  3. i love ur ride.. how much did it cost you?
    the frameset? what about the crank?

    1. Thanks. The frame was around $5000 Singapore dollars. The cranks with P2Max around 1100 Euros.
      However, you may want to read my most recent posting wherein I tell the story of this frame cracking on me.