Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

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PH
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby PH » 13 Dec 2019, 10:47am

pwa wrote:As the Planet X post does have the oval void it must be the same basic post, except perhaps for finishing. So a good buy. That is a lot of post for not much dosh.

How much was it when Colin posted? It's £19.99 today, this is PX's usual variable pricing. I paid £20 for the black version which is £15 today...

pwa
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby pwa » 13 Dec 2019, 11:00am

PH wrote:
pwa wrote:As the Planet X post does have the oval void it must be the same basic post, except perhaps for finishing. So a good buy. That is a lot of post for not much dosh.

How much was it when Colin posted? It's £19.99 today, this is PX's usual variable pricing. I paid £20 for the black version which is £15 today...

Perhaps they are using some price-matching software. I think Colin's link said £13. I paid more like £21. Even at the higher price it seems to me to be good value. It has a lot of thought built in to it.

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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby PH » 13 Dec 2019, 12:12pm

pwa wrote:
PH wrote:
pwa wrote:As the Planet X post does have the oval void it must be the same basic post, except perhaps for finishing. So a good buy. That is a lot of post for not much dosh.

How much was it when Colin posted? It's £19.99 today, this is PX's usual variable pricing. I paid £20 for the black version which is £15 today...

Perhaps they are using some price-matching software. I think Colin's link said £13. I paid more like £21. Even at the higher price it seems to me to be good value. It has a lot of thought built in to it.

Yes, but at that price it's not a lot different from the J-Tek option and having used both suppliers I have a preference for dealing with SJS.
It may be that the PX pricing is related to interest, I've worked with people that develop such software, it matches the supply and perceived demand based on the page viewings. It might be following Colin's link that put the price up!

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Foghat
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Foghat » 13 Dec 2019, 3:02pm

Your bike looks good. I would also ignore the bottle cage 'advice'!

I'm generally happy with my Spa Ti Touring frame, which I built up as my main year-round-in-all-weathers commuting workhorse with a Columbus Carbon Tusk Trekking Fork.

A couple of things I wasn't amused by, though.

Firstly, as supplied to me, the frame arrived with a horrendously oblique-cylinder standard of head tube (non-)facing. It was unrideable, and the least worst rectification option for me was to buy the facing tool and do it myself; it was surprising how out-of-square the head tube ends were, and how much material needed to be removed at both ends. Fortunately this was successful and I taught myself a new bike maintenance skill in the process. Disappointing that the frame was sent out without being faced......maybe should have invoiced Spa for the trouble.

Secondly, the rear brake bosses are too wide apart and far too high (needing the shoes right at the bottom of the cantilever arm slots). Even with the longest spacers on my Shimano CX70 brakes and brand new thicker Shimano R55C+1 blocks, the wide separation means the brake arm action is way too far into the vertical section of the movement arc when the block gets to the rim wall. This means as the blocks wear, the degree of vertical block movement at the rim is so great that even with the shoe positioned as high as possible without contacting the tyre, it still risks going below the lower edge of the rim during braking. The fact that the highest-possible-without-touching-the-32mm-tyre position in the slot also happens to be the very bottom of the slot results in an absurd lack of range of fixing position.

The too-high too-wide bosses problem also means that, even using NSSLR STI levers, the blocks move hardly any distance at all for a large amount of lever pull, so have to be run incredibly close to the rim...in turn meaning that the slightest out-of-true wheel development that may occur results in rim rub and annoying drag. All this necessitates constant vigilance of brake wear, far more regular adjustments within irritatingly fine tolerances than should really be the case, and constant maintenance of wheel rim trueness within about 0.5mm of straight......across the four wheelsets I have ready to quickly switch in different tyres for different conditions.

Fortunately the fork has much better-positioned bosses, so the front (more critical) CX70 cantilever brake is a lot easier to set up, maintain and operate.

Lastly, the rear dropouts seem unnecessarily and inappropriately thin and delicate, and too cut-out, unlike many titanium frames I've seen, and I question how much they'll stand up to before cracking.....although no signs of that yet, so hopefully it's a groundless concern.

On the plus side:
    It rides well, now the head tube has been rectified
    It's quite well proportioned, and the nice sensible 72.5-degree seat angle affords getting the saddle as far back as needed on a wider range of seatposts
    The welds seem pretty good/neat to the casual untrained eye
    Rack mounts feature M6 threads, which seem far more appropriate than M5 - why don't all rack-capable frame designers specify this?
    The 132.5mm rear dropout spacing means the frame can take 130mm or 135mm hubs easily
    All the cable runs are external, with slotted guides
    BSA-threaded bottom bracket shell, no press-fit nonsense
    27.2mm seatpost diameter - none of the 'stiffer-is-better with higher-gauge seatposts' guff
    Hard-wearing titanium finish resistant to the normal everyday commuting knocks and corrosion possibilities
    Lighter than the steel equivalent (good for commuting, even if less important when used as a fully-loaded tourer)
    OK comfort-wise (noting that all the 'magic carpet ride silky smooth, eradicates road buzz' journalist drivel and marketing nonsense associated with many titanium frames is.....drivel and nonsense)
Overall, I'm reasonably happy with it, but I shouldn't have been lumbered with the head tube problem, the rear brake issue is pretty irksome but manageable, and the frame functions well as an all-year all-weather commuter. My next addition to the commuting stable, though, currently in development, will feature Shimano hydraulic disc brakes to get away from the rim wear/replacement annoyances and constant cantilever monitoring/adjustment and wheel-trueness-checking exercises (and for nicer braking action). The Spa will then be re-assigned to mainly dry day commuting (and stand-in duties for the new commuter if I'm servicing that) to reduce the rate of rim and block wear.....hopefully enough to eke out the current rim-brake commuter rims until I no longer commute.
Last edited by Foghat on 13 Dec 2019, 4:22pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mr Evil
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Mr Evil » 13 Dec 2019, 3:51pm

Foghat wrote:...Rack mounts feature M6 threads, which seem far more appropriate than M5 - why don't all rack-capable frame designers specify this?..

M5 bolts are stronger than you might think. Strong enough to carry the weight of anything you might reasonably put on the back of a bike.

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531colin
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby 531colin » 13 Dec 2019, 4:21pm

Ouch!
A catalogue of disasters.
The brake bosses should be 80mm apart and 285mm above the axle slot (centres)
Head tube should (obviously) be square.
Can I ask if this is an (original) sandblast finished frame or the more recent brush-finish with sandblast graphics?
I will bring this thread to the attention of Spa.

(A point of information; according to Columbus' website the "Tusk Trekking" is 390mm axle to crown race seat, and 45mm offset.
The Spa tourer is designed for a fork 385mm axle to crown and 54mm offset.
As long as you are happy with the handling its all OK)

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Foghat
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Foghat » 13 Dec 2019, 5:52pm

Thanks for that, Colin. The frame is the more recent brush-finished version with sandblast graphics.

The boss spacing is 83mm c-to-c. Fork spacing is 77mm.
The boss-to-axle distance is about 293mm c-to-c. Fork distance is 282mm.

I actually have two Columbus Carbon Tusk Trekking Forks, one with an axle-to-crown distance about 1cm (or a bit less perhaps) longer than the other, but otherwise pretty much identical. Am currently using the shorter distance fork. However, I'm not equipped to measure axle-to-crown distances accurately via the perpendicular/parallel+offset means, so can't tell how close they are to 385mm. That said, the mudguard clearance on the front 32mm tyre is not great (but it is ok), so who knows?

Fork offset - again, not equipped to measure this accurately, so not sure whether they are 45mm or not.

In any case, the handling with the current shorter Columbus fork is fine; haven't tried the longer one yet. Can't ride this bike no-handed, as the steering will just flop to the side if I try regardless of any attempted adoption of normal no-handed riding techniques, unlike my non-touring-geometry bikes - but I almost never need to do that when commuting, so no big deal.

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531colin
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby 531colin » 13 Dec 2019, 6:32pm

I'm very disappointed with those brake boss measurements. 83 is OK ish, not perfect obviously, but 293 instead of 285 is poor.
My opinion of a badly off-square headtube isn't for a family friendly site.

For the fork, in round numbers 20mm difference in axle to crown race seat will give about a degree error in head angle. I can notice half a degree change on fairly stable (touring) geometry bikes.
So in the real world its "good enough" to measure in a straight line from the crown race seat to the axle slot (centres).
In fact, some builders measure that way anyway, and the difference between that measurement and the "correct" way is getting down to the accuracy limits of metal frame fabrication.
I'm fascinated that 2 carbon forks can have different dimensions....must have come out of different moulds!
For the offset (again in round numbers) 10mm is "worth" about the same as one degree head angle, as far as handling (or trail) goes.
(To measure offset. measure BB axle to front axle, reverse the fork and measure again....off set is half the distance, as accurately as it needs to be ….in the real world.)
Going by the published Columbus numbers, your fork should give (equivalent to) more than one degree slacker head angle. I would expect this to result in a bike which will be difficult to ride no hands in that it should want to carry straight on, ie exaggerated angles of lean should be required to get it to deviate from " straight ahead".
Steering shouldn't flop to one side.
This can be due to cables pulling the steering over, that's where I would start.
Second thing, check the front wheel lines up in the forks...https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59332&hilit=string
After that, its stuff which damn well should be right....are the head tube and seat tube parallel?

Brucey
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Brucey » 13 Dec 2019, 6:59pm

Mr Evil wrote:
Foghat wrote:...Rack mounts feature M6 threads, which seem far more appropriate than M5 - why don't all rack-capable frame designers specify this?..

M5 bolts are stronger than you might think. Strong enough to carry the weight of anything you might reasonably put on the back of a bike.


yes but there is little tolerance to even minor faults, and if you have problems it can wreck the trip and often the frame as well.

Re boss spacing; for touring bikes I still favour the 'old' standard of ~65mm spacing and about 25mm height difference to the rim centre. If you use narrow rims with 80mm spaced bosses, the brakes are a good deal fussier than they need to be. No-one will build a modern frame with 65mm spaced bosses though; 'you can't get the brakes', you know. Ironically the CX50/CX70 brakes will work perfectly with 65mm spaced bosses....

Maybe in this day and age it is as relevant as a new and improved abacus, but I wonder if brake bosses could be set into an eccentric mounting or something so that they could be moved into the most appropriate position? I'm thinking of an internally tapered housing let into the stays, paired with eccentric conical wedges with an offset mounting which accepts the brake boss.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Foghat
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Foghat » 13 Dec 2019, 7:31pm

Thanks again, Colin....will look into some of that.

The flopping isn't to any one side - just a very immediate reluctance to keep going straight, and flopping to one side or the other depending on balancing/positioning at the time.

The simplest way to illustrate is to compare wheeling the bike by the saddle with, for instance, doing the same with any of my fast road bikes (with, coincidentally or not, steeper head angles). The fast road bikes are very easy to wheel and steer by holding the saddle (as they like to keep going straight) and just leaning a bit to alter direction. With the Spa Ti Touring that is virtually impossible, the steering just immediately flops round to one side or the other and will not stay straight under any circumstances when wheeling by the saddle (except maybe when doing it down a steep ramp); this can only be corrected by MASSIVE over-correcting leans, making the wheeling-by-saddle enterprise a futile one with the Spa.

This doesn't bother me at all when I'm riding it. Never pulls to one side or the other when one-handed or two-handed, just doesn't like to keep going straight no-handed, which I never need to do on it.

No idea whether the head and seat tubes are parallel - probably difficult to detect by eye....? The wheels seem to be in line, as far as I can tell with mudguards on, and the wheel seems straight in the fork.

Interesting that you consider the boss positioning a long way out of specification.
Last edited by Foghat on 13 Dec 2019, 7:58pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Foghat
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Foghat » 13 Dec 2019, 7:43pm

Brucey wrote:Re boss spacing; for touring bikes I still favour the 'old' standard of ~65mm spacing and about 25mm height difference to the rim centre. If you use narrow rims with 80mm spaced bosses, the brakes are a good deal fussier than they need to be. No-one will build a modern frame with 65mm spaced bosses though; 'you can't get the brakes', you know. Ironically the CX50/CX70 brakes will work perfectly with 65mm spaced bosses....


Having spent many hours closely examining and dealing with the geometry, movement, operation, block-to-rim and block-to-tyre clearances and lever pull effect etc of my Spa/CX70 combination, I think your suggested figures would be spot on for optimum set-up with my brakes.

Spacing in the 80+mm range would seem to be more appropriate for brake shoes with very long shoe-mounting posts, so that the contact point between block and rim for such a wide spacing can be set to occur more within the horizontal part of the arc traced by the block than the vertical part.

In my case with the Spa, the combination of bosses too wide and much too high is a double whammy of constricting and constraining parameters, which is a pain to set up and a pain to constantly adjust by tiny amounts (with big effects) as the blocks wear....and enforcing frequent monitoring/correction of wheel trueness, as well as changing blocks before they are worn down, to get back to the required brake width.

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531colin
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby 531colin » 13 Dec 2019, 10:35pm

Foghat wrote:…….. With the Spa Ti Touring that is virtually impossible, the steering just immediately flops round to one side or the other and will not stay straight under any circumstances when wheeling by the saddle (except maybe when doing it down a steep ramp); this can only be corrected by MASSIVE over-correcting leans, making the wheeling-by-saddle enterprise a futile one with the Spa.

This doesn't bother me at all when I'm riding it. ……....


Its called "wheel flop". https://www.fxsolver.com/browse/formulas/Wheel+flop
It doesn't happen (much?) with conventional steering geometry, eg. the designed geometry of the spa bike; but an alteration to that geometry (which might seem to most people a trivial alteration) can cause significant lowering of the head tube when the steering turns from straight ahead....this, of course, means that the steering will always turn away from straight ahead just as surely as water always goes downhill.
I think its basically too much trail for the particular head angle, but the maths is not for me. :(
I had one bike (Cobbled together from bits and pieces) where there was so much flop I could feel it wanting to turn when riding with my hands on the bars.
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry sort-of infers that it might be rideable no hands if you are going fast enough, because of the "rotational inertia" of the front wheel.
I think the steep ramp business is due to gravity on the wheel pulling the steering straight.

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Foghat
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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Foghat » 13 Dec 2019, 11:15pm

That all makes sense - thanks for the explanation.

Difficult to know without yet measuring my fork whether it's down to the Columbus fork potentially having different dimensions to the designed fork dimensions (given the two Tusks have different axle-to-crown measurements), although it sounds the most likely reason.

In any case, the only 'problems' the flop causes me are being unable to ride no-handed and unable to wheel it from the saddle - neither of which I ever actually need to do when commuting.

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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby Norman H » 14 Dec 2019, 8:55am

Just a thought but are you certain that you actually have the long spacers fitted?

The long spacers on my BR-CX70's measure 18mm. There's an additional 2mm available depending on where you place the 2mm thick washer. With this combination you ought to be able to accommodate 85mm boss spacing with 19mm rims.

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Re: Frameset transplant: Spa Titanium Touring

Postby pwa » 14 Dec 2019, 9:26am

Foghat wrote:Your bike looks good. I would also ignore the bottle cage 'advice'!

I'm generally happy with my Spa Ti Touring frame, which I built up as my main year-round-in-all-weathers commuting workhorse with a Columbus Carbon Tusk Trekking Fork.

A couple of things I wasn't amused by, though.

Firstly, as supplied to me, the frame arrived with a horrendously oblique-cylinder standard of head tube (non-)facing. It was unrideable, and the least worst rectification option for me was to buy the facing tool and do it myself; it was surprising how out-of-square the head tube ends were, and how much material needed to be removed at both ends. Fortunately this was successful and I taught myself a new bike maintenance skill in the process. Disappointing that the frame was sent out without being faced......maybe should have invoiced Spa for the trouble.

Secondly, the rear brake bosses are too wide apart and far too high (needing the shoes right at the bottom of the cantilever arm slots). Even with the longest spacers on my Shimano CX70 brakes and brand new thicker Shimano R55C+1 blocks, the wide separation means the brake arm action is way too far into the vertical section of the movement arc when the block gets to the rim wall. This means as the blocks wear, the degree of vertical block movement at the rim is so great that even with the shoe positioned as high as possible without contacting the tyre, it still risks going below the lower edge of the rim during braking. The fact that the highest-possible-without-touching-the-32mm-tyre position in the slot also happens to be the very bottom of the slot results in an absurd lack of range of fixing position.

The too-high too-wide bosses problem also means that, even using NSSLR STI levers, the blocks move hardly any distance at all for a large amount of lever pull, so have to be run incredibly close to the rim...in turn meaning that the slightest out-of-true wheel development that may occur results in rim rub and annoying drag. All this necessitates constant vigilance of brake wear, far more regular adjustments within irritatingly fine tolerances than should really be the case, and constant maintenance of wheel rim trueness within about 0.5mm of straight......across the four wheelsets I have ready to quickly switch in different tyres for different conditions.

Fortunately the fork has much better-positioned bosses, so the front (more critical) CX70 cantilever brake is a lot easier to set up, maintain and operate.

Lastly, the rear dropouts seem unnecessarily and inappropriately thin and delicate, and too cut-out, unlike many titanium frames I've seen, and I question how much they'll stand up to before cracking.....although no signs of that yet, so hopefully it's a groundless concern.

On the plus side:
    It rides well, now the head tube has been rectified
    It's quite well proportioned, and the nice sensible 72.5-degree seat angle affords getting the saddle as far back as needed on a wider range of seatposts
    The welds seem pretty good/neat to the casual untrained eye
    Rack mounts feature M6 threads, which seem far more appropriate than M5 - why don't all rack-capable frame designers specify this?
    The 132.5mm rear dropout spacing means the frame can take 130mm or 135mm hubs easily
    All the cable runs are external, with slotted guides
    BSA-threaded bottom bracket shell, no press-fit nonsense
    27.2mm seatpost diameter - none of the 'stiffer-is-better with higher-gauge seatposts' guff
    Hard-wearing titanium finish resistant to the normal everyday commuting knocks and corrosion possibilities
    Lighter than the steel equivalent (good for commuting, even if less important when used as a fully-loaded tourer)
    OK comfort-wise (noting that all the 'magic carpet ride silky smooth, eradicates road buzz' journalist drivel and marketing nonsense associated with many titanium frames is.....drivel and nonsense)
Overall, I'm reasonably happy with it, but I shouldn't have been lumbered with the head tube problem, the rear brake issue is pretty irksome but manageable, and the frame functions well as an all-year all-weather commuter. My next addition to the commuting stable, though, currently in development, will feature Shimano hydraulic disc brakes to get away from the rim wear/replacement annoyances and constant cantilever monitoring/adjustment and wheel-trueness-checking exercises (and for nicer braking action). The Spa will then be re-assigned to mainly dry day commuting (and stand-in duties for the new commuter if I'm servicing that) to reduce the rate of rim and block wear.....hopefully enough to eke out the current rim-brake commuter rims until I no longer commute.

Sorry to hear of your problems. I took my frame to a LBS to have the headset fitted and the bloke and I both looked at the head tube ends and could see that it had been machined and appeared good. He later said it all seemed fine, the headset assembled perfectly and the steering is faultless. The canti brakes (Tektro) went on without an issue and I was able to move the blocks up and down to choose which part of the rim to use, so again I think mine is fine in that regard. The drop outs do have decorative / weight saving cut outs that could constitute a weakness, but I don't feel too worried about that at the moment.