Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

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Vetus Ossa
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Vetus Ossa » 19 Oct 2017, 3:11pm

Samuel D wrote:Silver components are essential with such a frame, and I cannot understand why so many people prefer dull black items, leading to the present drought of silver components.

The frame has down-tube bosses. You could consider using them for down-tube shifters, the way I’ve done with my regular Spa Audax. (Chainrings since replaced with properly silver ones.) They simplify cable routing and reduce costs and maintenance requirements.

I think of complete groupsets like complete suits or complete ingredient kits for recipes: cheesy things to be avoided. Better to choose components on their individual merits.


Nice tidy looking bike Samuel D :)

Brucey
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Brucey » 19 Oct 2017, 3:46pm

the Miche brakes are OK but the Shimano ones are probably better; they have a ball-bearing pivot and are pretty good quality. Mind you they should be better than the Miche, IIRC they are a lot more money.

Re campag tools; it depends which parts you buy if you need special tools or not. BTW I think you can 'solve' the campag chain tool dilemma by using KMC quicklinks in a campag chain.

Oddly enough I have a Hewitt version of the same frame that I am gradually building up ('gradually' meaning I have too many projects on... :roll: ...). I have some 2006 model 10s veloce ergos, a silver-anodised campag ST triple chainset etc. I shall either use an 11s 105 mech to run 10s shimano cassette or maybe just go with 8s rear. There are options for shortened cassettes on near-dishless wheels too, and for different shifters too. Rest of the spec is open but probably tektro brakes (from the parts bin), SKS mudguards, a mid-weight 36-spoke wheelset, Mine is in a darker red than yours but I probably won't be a complete stickler for silvery stuff to put on it, it'll be a mixture of silver and black bits I expect; there are too many good bits in the parts bin that are black for it to be otherwise....

cheers
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MikeF
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby MikeF » 19 Oct 2017, 7:56pm

olivermleach wrote:The audax special comes with a 531 fork.

Does it? The page on your link says 525 fork.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

olivermleach
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Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 5:29pm

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby olivermleach » 19 Oct 2017, 10:48pm

- Yes PH, I had noticed that this was a resprayed/rebranded Arvis frame. I did some research and scrolled through the equivalent Tour thread:
viewtopic.php?t=109714

- Have had a look at the GB cycles website and a lot of the campag parts appear to be out of stock.

- The frame is 2.35kg (58cm), the fork with uncut steerer 950kg.

- My mistake on the fork steel, 525 not 531.

- I think I would be more likely to stick with the power torque BB for stiffness and weight saving. Do I really need to get the frame faced to accept the Campag BB with English thread?

- Downtube shifters are certainly an interesting suggestion. Dura-Ace can be found easily online for around the £50 mark.

- Tektro R539 seem to be about half the price of the Shimano R650s that people seem to prefer. Are they any good?

- Samuel D clearly feels the same as I on issues sartorial. I wonder how he feels about the 105 5800 silver groupset as I am starting to wonder if I'm disappearing down the rabbit hole and should just sacrifice my principles; a complete 105 groupset can be easily picked up online and all the Shimano kit would be transferable. It would certainly be a lot easier. Trouble is it just doesn't look quite right to me.

Brucey
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Brucey » 20 Oct 2017, 12:21am

frame facing is a good idea. It might be OK without, but it won't hurt to get it done.

The tektro brakes are OK but they are not as well made as the shimano ones. In particular the plated parts on tektro brakes usually go bad after one winter if you don't wash your bike. I'm fitting a pair because I happen to have them kicking around, not because I think they are especially good or anything.

Re buying a 5800 groupset; the chainset is fugly (and limits your gearing choices), the brakes won't reach and you might not like the STIs either. That doesn't leave much left, does it...?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

english john
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Joined: 25 Sep 2011, 7:54pm

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby english john » 20 Oct 2017, 10:37am

Samuel D wrote:Silver components are essential with such a frame, and I cannot understand why so many people prefer dull black items, leading to the present drought of silver components.

The frame has down-tube bosses. You could consider using them for down-tube shifters, the way I’ve done with my regular Spa Audax. (Chainrings since replaced with properly silver ones.) They simplify cable routing and reduce costs and maintenance requirements.

I think of complete groupsets like complete suits or complete ingredient kits for recipes: cheesy things to be avoided. Better to choose components on their individual merits.


Can you tell me which Brake levers are on your bike?
Are they the Shimano ones

Samuel D
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Location: Paris

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Samuel D » 20 Oct 2017, 10:41am

olivermleach wrote:Samuel D clearly feels the same as I on issues sartorial. I wonder how he feels about the 105 5800 silver groupset as I am starting to wonder if I'm disappearing down the rabbit hole and should just sacrifice my principles; a complete 105 groupset can be easily picked up online and all the Shimano kit would be transferable. It would certainly be a lot easier. Trouble is it just doesn't look quite right to me.

Doesn’t look right to me either, especially on a steel frame. The silver is a strange hue and the cranks are not to my taste for reasons including the non-standard chainring bolt holes. I preferred your Athena idea.

Aren’t rabbit holes the principal point of building up a bicycle? You’ll have to explore the 57 mm-drop-brake rabbit hole whatever you do. You might solve that problem as a starting point. Current STI brake levers pull too much cable to work as designed with BR-R650 and similar callipers (there may be the odd exception; data is scarce), and recently designed callipers don’t come in 57 mm drop. This was one reason I went with down-tube shifters, which free up the use of whatever brake lever you want (i.e. one with appropriate cable pull). I use the Shimano BL-R400 that Sheldon Brown called the best brake lever ever made and see no reason to doubt the great man.

Ironically, Campagnolo Ergos may work better with the Shimano BR-R650 than any current Shimano STI.

Samuel D
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Samuel D » 20 Oct 2017, 10:49am

english john wrote:Can you tell me which Brake levers are on your bike?
Are they the Shimano ones

They’re the Shimano BL-R400. I like them. They’re still in production (for now!), so replacement hoods are still available. They’re reasonably priced, as are the spare hoods. They perfectly match the cable pull of the BR-R650 (“Super SLR”). All the important bits are metal (unlike STI brake levers that pivot on plastic). The design allows stronger braking from the hoods than any STI I’ve tried. They’re also slim and comfortable for me, though I have heard some people say they prefer the bulky feel of STIs – best to try for yourself. My impression is that many people have their saddle quite far forward nowadays with the result that they bear a lot of weight on their hands. I don’t do that, but I can see why you’d want a broad surface to rest weight on if you do.

Jezrant
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Joined: 14 Dec 2007, 8:11pm

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Jezrant » 20 Oct 2017, 11:09am

Speaking one aesthete to another, Shimergo has always seemed slightly unfelicitous, but on my most used road bike (Woodrup) I have the R650/R400 combo with d/t levers too (the cranks and mechs are Camagnolo Racing Triple). Che peccato, Campagnolo never made a long reach skeleton brakeset.
Last edited by Jezrant on 20 Oct 2017, 11:13am, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Brucey » 20 Oct 2017, 11:13am

BL-R400 have always seemed to be built the same way as other shimano brake levers, i.e. with polymer pivot bushings. I have replaced said bushings with metal ones on many occasions, when they have worn.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AndyK
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby AndyK » 20 Oct 2017, 11:14am

olivermleach wrote:The frame is 2.35kg (58cm), the fork with uncut steerer 950kg.

- My mistake on the fork steel, 525 not 531.


With a weight like that, it's more likely made of neutronium. :D

My 5-year-old Genesis Equilibrium came with Tektro R539 brakes and they're great - no problems at all and plenty of stopping power. Perhaps not as elegant as some of the Shimano/Campag ones but they do the job. I like the idiot-proof quick-release lever too.

They aren't as pretty as the Shimano RX100 callipers that have been working flawlessly on my otherwise Campag-equipped Audax bike for more than two decades, though.

Talking of which, I gave up on the Campag chainsets some time back and started fitting the Stronglight Impact chainsets mentioned further back in this thread. Again they're not a patch on the Veloce PT chainset looks-wise but they work fine with my 9-speed Campag kit and are cheap as chips. (Well, gastropub chips maybe.)

rotavator
Posts: 59
Joined: 6 Jun 2016, 9:50pm
Location: North Wales

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby rotavator » 20 Oct 2017, 11:49am

Samuel D wrote:Silver components are essential with such a frame, and I cannot understand why so many people prefer dull black items, leading to the present drought of silver components.

The frame has down-tube bosses. You could consider using them for down-tube shifters, the way I’ve done with my regular Spa Audax. (Chainrings since replaced with properly silver ones.) They simplify cable routing and reduce costs and maintenance requirements.

I think of complete groupsets like complete suits or complete ingredient kits for recipes: cheesy things to be avoided. Better to choose components on their individual merits.


Samuel D: I like the look of those handle bars on your regular Spa audax, especially the drops. Could you tell me which they are please?

Samuel D
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Joined: 8 Mar 2015, 11:05pm
Location: Paris

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Samuel D » 20 Oct 2017, 11:59am

Brucey wrote:BL-R400 have always seemed to be built the same way as other shimano brake levers, i.e. with polymer pivot bushings. I have replaced said bushings with metal ones on many occasions, when they have worn.

I meant the housing or body or whatever it’s called. There was a lot of flex in the plastic body of the various low-end STIs I’ve used, whereas there’s less in the BL-R400. Wouldn’t surprise me if the high-end STIs are better in this regard – I’ve never checked. Do they reinforce the plastic with glass or carbon fibres on those?

This I can say: I haven’t felt brakes as nice as mine on other people’s bicycles out in the real world, and that includes Dura-Ace short-reach stuff that you’d think should be far better. Of course half of this is in the cable preparation and detailed set-up, but people are always impressed at the light action and lack of mush on my brakes. I can pull a stoppie braking from the hoods with two fingers. Granted, I’m light and this ability doesn’t gain me a great deal! (In emergency stops I’ve generally braked too hard, so there may even be an argument for less powerful braking.)

rotavator wrote:I like the look of those handle bars on your regular Spa audax, especially the drops. Could you tell me which they are please?

40 cm Ritchey Classic, so-called NeoClassic shape. There was an earlier Ritchey Classic with a more pronounced ‘compact’ shape than the present round shape. Mine is the current model.

Brucey
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Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Brucey » 20 Oct 2017, 1:40pm

one of the reasons for nicer feeling brakes with separate levers (rather than STIs) is that the STIs have a much stronger spring built into them, because most STIs are not very well mass-balanced; there is a lot of weight hanging out front on them and the brakes may come on by themselves when you go over a bump unless a strong spring is used.

Later/current STIs that don't have this feature have NSSLR cable pull, which is wrong for most DP brakes and pretty much all longer reach DP brakes (including BR-R650). The brakes feel wooden and ineffective with these STIs if you don't have matched (high MA) NSSLR calipers, which are only available in short reach.

It is quite maddening that the major component manufacturers don't acknowledge that folk might want to use tyres of ~32 mm with mudguards, and therefore might need effective brakes of over 52mm reach.... :roll:

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Samuel D
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Location: Paris

Re: Spa Cycles 631 Audax Special

Postby Samuel D » 20 Oct 2017, 2:17pm

Good point about the spring action that is indeed light in the BL-R400.

Shimano has made a small concession to the wide-tyre trend by extending the nominal reach of most of its callipers from 49 mm to 51 mm and reshaping the arms a little. Perhaps they see that as adequate. The main push is toward disc brakes, of course.

Still, for a company as meticulous as Shimano normally is, it is odd indeed to keep selling the BR-R650 alongside a range of STI brake levers designed for a different cable pull. When New Super SLR was introduced, I thought Shimano would replace the BR-R650 with a NSSLR version. When that didn’t happen, I thought the BR-R650 would be discontinued. Years later that still hasn’t happened, leaving the present conundrum.