Empella Turbo Tourer

Posted on
of 2
/ 2
  • This will be a bit of a slow project with lots of changes, but I need a kick up the arse to start working on it so sticking it up here should be a good motivational tool.

    The aim is for a 'fast(ish), light touring bike', which I will then overload and ride slowly.

    Frameset: Empella Turbo Cross

    Purchased as below, short rear end so it's a complete blast to ride:

    @Hulsroy very kindly made a few tweaks for me:

    Extended steerer
    Drilled fork crown
    New cantilever studs
    Increased chainstay clearance (33-35c)
    Added a few M5 bosses

    I then took it to Condor to space to 130 and check alignment, who did not seem to understand the concept of old/rad frame, nor material science, so decided to abandon the project and spend £2k on a new bike instead. I will be sure to fit a Chris King headset as recommended.

    It will get rattle canned for the moment just to protect the bare metal bits - I don't want to commit to paint before building/riding for a bit in case I decide I want to add/change some braze ons.


    I have collected some bits already to give me different setup options:

    Wheels: Fir 92 on WI hubs - Aim to go tubeless/dynamo in future but not an immediate priority.

    Brakes: Paul Neo-Retro/Touring or TRP RevoX (don't think this will be a hard choice to make)

    Cranks: Middleburn RS2 or Deore

    Gears: SRAM X0 1x10 - I need to have a think about ratio as I suspect that 42t n/w ain't gonna cut it going uphill loaded with my chicken legs.

    Bars: Thorn comfort or Nitto RM-3


  • This is awesome. Subbed. What kind of tyres will you go for?

  • Super cool frame

  • Amazing frame! My vote goes for the thorn bars.

  • Ha! That condor receipt is so snooty...

    Awesome frame/project though!

  • condor can fuck right off, jeez.
    cool project. always wondered how a split ST frame rides.

  • I handed over my Diamant cx frame to a mate when I found out the head tube was stretched. He then used a beer can to fit a cheap headset. He then used it this year in a bikepacking tour through the Austrian alps. So I am sure it will work for you as well.

  • Are you planing on using rear panniers?

  • condor can do one jesus

  • Handlebars - will probably be Thorn (if not, then at least something that is not dirt drops). I mounted some levers on them don't think the position is suitable for the type of riding I'll be doing on this.

    Rear panniers - Nope. Loose bag plan below:

    Half frame bag
    Small front rack
    Handlebar bag (self supported ie. ortlieb, to allow use of rack)
    Perhaps some kind of 'mini lowriders' for the front.

    Despite carrying mostly on the front, I want to use the massive steerer to try and get keep the frontal area low, because I hate headwinds, and don't want to constantly be cycling into one of my own creation. I'm good at sewing and have designed accessories before, so will probably make the bags where sealed seams are not required myself.

  • Great project, love those bitube frames. Keep in mind that the fork was probably not designed for a low-rider rack both in terms of stability and geometry. Judging by the diameter of the fork blades and the age of the frame I'd be worried about the ride stability and the rake or lack thereof won't help either. I used a tubus tara and ortlieb sport rollers on my bottecchia traveller which has a similar fork and the front end was wobbling quite a lot to the point that riding free handed was effectively impossible. To counter this, I had to put my light stuff in the low riders which kind of defeats their purpose.

  • I have them Thorn bars, I love them. Recommended!

  • Thanks for sharing - I did some half-thinking about this, which is why I'm only contemplating 'mini lowriders' for the moment. I did consider having some more rake put on the fork as the a-c is quite long, but it would result in not enough tyre/fender clearance.

  • I had this 38c Panaracer tyre hanging around, I knew it wouldn't clear the chainstays by measuring, but thought I would try 'just in case'. Just enough clearance at the front for some dusty no-guards summer action though, so it can go back in the cupboard for some months.

  • Great frame, but +1 on what the guys at Condor said - what kind of shop modifies a frame without checking it for alignment.

  • it’s not the fork rake that prevents the bikes from being wobbly but the stiffness of the frame (material used to manufacture tubes, tube diameter and wall thickness). Longer wheelbase will make the bike feel stable but in the case of your bike the tubes have quiet small diameter, headtube is 1 inch and it’s old so it is going to feel like noodles. This is the case with my 1986 Koga Miyata World Traveller, it was designed to carry front and rear panniers. It has long wheelbase (thanks to long chain stays and slack headtube) which makes it feel stable in the corners when fully loaded and gives enough space at the back to let my heels clear rear panniers. But it’s made from old school FM-2 tubing and damn it’s noodly!

  • This has a wheelbase of just under 100cm for a 60cm frame, so the ride is pretty lively already. I'm fairly certain that increasing the trail (with a new fork, not increasing rake to this one) would make some difference though.

    Will have to just load it up and see what works. hopefully the change to ahead will have helped a little. If not... I have an excuse to buy ultralight everything :D

  • Not modified by a shop - I only asked to be able to run modern cantis and aheadset.

  • I got some nice brake levers and might have been persuaded to give the dirt drops a go. I then did the ‘man goes to IKEA and doesn’t need the instructions’ routine and removed bolt out of the wrong side of the SRAM R2C shifter... I definitely need the instructions now.

    1 Attachment

    • 5D7EDE7C-445B-49DD-8F44-18B2D286F7AD.jpeg
  • This Paul brake is doing my f*cking head in... How do I get both arms to move at the same time?

    I have been pissing around with the spring tension for over an hour. The LH arm (Right side in image) doesn’t want to spring back unless it’s tensioned to the point in image.

    1 Attachment

    • 56E33A7F-25DE-41B5-A0D7-C8B7E7120655.jpeg
  • Great project, I look forward to seeing the outcome.

    Good luck with the brakes!

  • Have you tightened the small set screws on the hanger?
    I think maybe you should do that at the end..

  • On the off chance you haven't checked, you do have the spring end bits in the same hole on the canti mount yes?

  • You might have probably read this but if not it might help.

    I believe that the adjuster nut (the one with the L stamped in your pic) should look symmetrical with the one on the other side for the arms to pull the same amount.

  • Spring was the problem. Assume it had been overtigtened at some point by previous owner.

    Although it is still far from the nicest feeling brake in the world... I need to buy a fork crown mount cable stop anyway, so will reserve final judgement for the moment.

    1 Attachment

    • D7E074B8-323A-4BB5-B0D6-D37A1077AE4B.jpeg
  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview

Empella Turbo Tourer

Posted by Avatar for lmananimal @lmananimal