Cino's Ti Build, with just a splash of colour.

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  • Kinda of always wanted a titanium bike , but have been put off by the amount I've seen with cracks , to the point now, that, when ever I get to work on one , I check for cracks first, before starting any spannering. Told the owner of this Dawes Ti tourer a year a go, that his frame had a hairline crack , sure enough, he came in last week saying his bike was making a clanking sound , really

    Despite this , I really want one , just because I've never owned one, as much as anything. Anyway, as I'm dipping my toe into Ti ownership , this is not going to be a top end machine, really looking into building a bike for riding on the better days in the Winter and the crappy days in the Summer. Got enough suitable parts in the vaults , so the hunt was on for a used frame. Despite being old , I'm an ex racer and still reasonably skinny and flexible , so I don't need or want any Audax , endurance style type frame , so modern race geo. Also,as I'm completely paranoid about the frame cracking, I want as new and low miles as possible , and I also want to avoid buying anything that's been ridden by a Billy Bunter type mamil with zero mechanical sympathy, who stomps around everywhere in top gear!
    First thing you notice when you start looking for a Ti frame on the used market, is that the good ones are expensive and the other ones have the immortal line in the description "small hire line crack".
    Amazingly, considering all the above constraints , I have found and bought this;

    It's a Van Nicholas Ventus , that's been hardly ridden. The geo looks perfect for me and I was able to negotiate the price down as I don't need the forks, as I have a pair of full carbon ones , and I definitely didn't want the Sram brakes.
    So whats all this "splash of colour" business then , well, Ti bikes can be , well a bit dull, I fancy added a bit of colour. I'm not going to paint the frame , that would stupid , but intend added a bit of paint elsewhere. Now for a painter I make a good mechanic , so this could be an unholy mess , haters get ready...

  • That’ll be a painted fork and stem then? Raw ti seatpost though?

  • Double post....

  • Yep, along those lines

  • Nice,
    and a colourful king headset too?
    Do you know if the sellet has those forks available still? Could be just what i need for one of my upcoming projects...

  • Is it dull polished or a bead blast finish?

  • Brushed finish , which I like because you can magic scratches away with a fine grade scotch pad.

  • not doing the coloured ano thing on this build. Actually found the frame on retrobike of all places , will PM sellers details if I can find them.

  • That’s what I was thinking, spent a few hours using autosol on my dull polished ti frame last winter and it looked amazing!

  • Time to get creative

    Spray.Bike paint , carbon primer , clear coat and 'Coldharbour Lane' Blue , also a roll of masking tape, the type used for detail work.
    From the start this paint is a lot different than normal rattle can paint , and I'm glad I had an old pair of wrecked carbon forks to practice on. The primer sprays on as per rattle can , but the actual colour paint is a lot thicker , which means you get good coverage and no runs, but it does tend to splatter. Secret here , is to constantly keep shaking the can , and keep the can nozzle clean and free of excess paint . Two coats were more than enough , gave it a couple of hours to dry , then polished with T cut, and finally two coats of clear.

    Front forks , Orbea full carbon, these were bare carbon to start with , but still had graphics under the lacquer , so needed a fair amount of sanding , before masking , paint and clear coat.

    Extra splash of paint at the top of the steerer , visible through the cutout in the Deda 13cm stem , note the Ti spacer sandwiched between the two carbon spacers , detail ,detail.

    Deda stem face plate painted . Also embellished the headtube engraved 'badge'

    To complement the front end, I sprayed the aero bit of this Control Tech aero seatpost
    Next I'll be back into my comfort zone , and cracking with rest of the build.

  • That's lovely! About to start a ti build for the same reasons as you, nice inspiration to make it more personal.

  • How did you like the spray bike stuff?

  • £7 a tin , they reckon one tin will do a whole frame , I've plenty left for touch up's.

  • Found a Rotor chainset in the vaults , the rings and bearings are shagged , but I really like the CNC machined cranks , so thought I'd sort it out . Found some 11 speed rings 50/36t in black which match the cranks well enough. This is a BSA30 version of the 3d chainset , so for threaded frames but with a BB30 style 30mm axle. To save a few quid , I removes the bearings from the rotor cups using a blind bearing puller and a slide hammer.

    Then pressed in new BB30 bearings , job done.

  • Looking good

  • We have a rolling chassis !


    Wheels are my spare 'bomb proof' set , which I think will be perfect for this build. Hubs came from an insurance write off job , so basically free , they're American Classic , I have the disc versions on my cross bike and they have survived 3 hard winters ( I ride in all weathers )and are still perfect , and this pair are as new , really like the large flange retro feel as well. Rims are the new Ambrosio , these come from the far east and not Italy , time will tell if they're as good , but they built up nicely , and I got them on the cheap when the UK importers closed down. Spokes are ACI double butted stainless 32/32. Will probably go with 25mm Schwalbe Durano folding tyres , These are the best winter tyres I've ever used.


    As usual , going with Campag 11 speed on this , update soon

  • I was expecting something more rowdy with the paint but that looks alright!

  • If you fancy doing a Campag build , and you should, I would strongly recommend using Chorus or above for the shifters , the lower versions don't shift as well and wear out a lot quicker and when they start wearing the shifting becomes woeful no matter how you adjust them . As for the derailleurs anything Veloce and above is fine , just make sure if you're mixing and matching models/years that they're fully compatible .
    So following my own advise , I've fitted Chorus shifters , veloce front mech and an Athena rear mech , all are pre 2015, and 11 speed, so will work together.
    The difference between getting a snappy gear change or a mushy lottery of a gear change usually comes down to attention to detail.
    First off , the gear hanger has to be perfectly straight , I checked mine and it was perfect , this in my experience is unusual , they nearly always need a tweak ,even on new bikes, I guess Ti doesn't bend easily.
    Cable choice and fitting is crucial . What you are aiming to do, is reduce friction as much as possible . For inner cables I use and recommend Elvedes slick stainless , and for outers,Jagwire 4mm . You need a nice smooth cable run, on this bike I ran the cable along the front of the bars , then crossed cabled , this gives a nice wide radius arc.
    Right, attention to detail stuff; Before threading the gear inner into the shifter I always put a bit of grease behind the nipple , this is a bit old school , supposedly helps stop nipple snapping off , won't do any harm anyway. After cutting the outer cable to size , it's good practice to file the ends flush , this can help reduce that mushy feel. I don't like plastic end caps , I really like the CNC machined alloy ones that Clarks have brought out , when fitting these I put a dab of grease inside to keep things running smooth, and more grease on the outside so they don't seize in the frame.
    As my frame has no downtube gear adjusters , I've added an inline adjuster for the front mech , not strictly necessary, but will make cable tension adjustments much easier. Lastly I added a seal at the rear mech cable stop.
    Forgot to mention , I've fitted a KMC chain , the basic model, they work really well and don't break . I'm running a 12/28 shimano11 speed cassette, I've never had a problem getting these to work with Campag .
    Now the final adjustments , starting at the rear mech . Firstly I set the high and low screws and then , and this is a pro tip , with chain on 1st gear with the pedals turning I give the rear mech a push to see weather it taps the spokes , if it does screw the set screw in till it doesn't , likewise run the chain across to top gear, then gently tug the rear mech whilst turnng the pedal , if the chain starts to come off and jam into the frame screw the set screw in a touch , I always to this on every bike, saves a shit load of trouble. To index the rear mech , run the chain onto the 5th sprocket and turn the cable adjuster until the jockey wheel sits directly under the sprocket , now drop the chain down to the 11 th sprocket , and give the inner cable a bit of a yank , now go back up to the 5th sprocket you'll probably find it needs another half turn. Make sure the adjuster barrel isn't screwed out too much , they can snap off easily if they are. It's also possible to adjust how close the jockey wheels are to the sprockets , should be 5-7mm , put the chain in 1st and measure , They'res an adjustment screw below the lower knuckle , I set mine at 6mm.
    I fitted the front mech with cage 3mm above the outer ring and with cage straight with the ring.
    Next put the chain in 1st gear on the small ring , adjust the lower screw so the chain just doesn't touch , then put chain on the 11th sprocket at the back and the big ring and adjust the set screw until the chain just doesn't touch the inside of the outer cage plate. Finally I tension the cable by the putting the chain on the small ring , and this is where the inline adjuster really helps, and tension the cable to the point where it starts to move the front derailleur as soon as the shifter paddle is touched.



  • just get shimano m8

  • Too easy , I just prefer Campag , it's not like Shimano's perfect , gear cables snap inside the shifters at an alarming rate, trust me it gets a bit wearing removing bits of cable out of shifters
    on a daily basis.

  • All this attention to get a good shifting and you run FSA chainrings though.

  • gear cables snap inside the shifters at an alarming rate

    For a frame like this, Di2 obvs.

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Cino's Ti Build, with just a splash of colour.

Posted by Avatar for cino @cino

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