Luminous Vernon Barker Super Bike Project

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  • This build comes already six months into a painful saga of trying to build a nice lightweight steel racer. I faffed with a 653 frame that turned out to be rusted through. With a heavy heart I decided to abandoned it.

    Then the stars aligned and I and bought an even better frame from from @Jingle_Jangle, this Vernon Barker in Columbus Neuron tubing:

    I also have a Vernon Barker tandem which is zipping along nicely, so this frame will continue a theme in my garage. Only I don't really have a garage LOL.

    The aim for this build is just to build the whippiest, zippiest, lightest bike I can manage, in a MGOOF format.

    And it will have a ridiculous fluoro paint scheme.

  • I carried the frame straight from Jingle Jangle Towers to Varonha Frameworks where Winston Vaz set to work straightening the frame - @Jingle_Jangle and I noticed it was almost imperceivably off straight. Winston's jig confirmed that the top of the head tube was 3-4mm too far left.

    Then it went to the blasters, and then back to Varonha (upper floor) to Mario Vaz, le painteur (except he's not French, actually Tanzanian).

  • Paint is now finished and I'll collect later this week.

    Parts box currently holds a Chorus 10 speed groupset, CNC/Ti brakes, some carbon wheels, Cinelli Grammo stem and a carbon railed Romin.

    The head tube on the frame is slightly longer than I'd normally use so the only option is, naturally, a very low stack Dura Ace 7600 headset that I have languishing on a mystery lo-pro frame:

    That frame is actually still available for cheaps so HMU.

  • subbed, who doesn't love some fluoro, I'm already stoked

  • I shall be watching this with interest and envy.

    Great to see this frame getting some love.

  • I've now built this bike! I've done maybe 4 or 5 decent long rides on it and it's a joy.

    So if I backtrack a bit... First I took the frame directly from @Jingle_Jangle to Mario Vaz at Varonha Frameworks. You should be able to guess which frame is mine...

    The fluoro effect does not come out in photos. And the colours are way off. But at least you can see half of Mario's workshop! To the left, out of shot, is a spray booth.

  • Then I carried it home (very carefully) and built it.

    The frame is a tiny bit tall for me, but the TT is perfect. So I had to ensure lowest stack possible on the headset. As such, I did my measurements against a nice low stack Tange headset and then sawed off ~7mm of steerer. Measure thrice, doubt self, measure again, cut once.

  • This is the only picture which comes close to capturing the paint hues, a close up while half-built:

    The CNC brakes set the tone for the build - I was aiming for sub-8kg whilst still using original steel fork. So swapping out Chorus brakes (300g) for CNC brakes (200g) was an easy way to drop 100g but gain a headache with setup. They do now work, praise the heavens.

  • The finished article:

  • Very nice! The paintjob reminds me of my Serotta :)

  • I mentioned before that I saved 100g by switching from Chorus brakes to the Planet X CNC brakes. I have carried the same weight weenie thinking into every component. Marginal gains only add up if you have plenty of them..

    WHEELS: I've cobbled together a ~1400g carbon wheelset.
    CASSETTE: I found a Record 10s cassette on eBay which has 9 of 10 sprockets machined from titanium. But it's 12-23 so a bit demanding! Still, it saves 100g over my heavier 13-26 steel cassette (Veloce or Centaur maybe).
    PEDALS: - The pedals are Wellgo MG-8 magnesium SPD pedals, bought off someone on here for a bargain. They save 100g over a normal set of SPDs. I could go hyper-modern with carbon Look pedals or something but I just like SPDs, and I like my SPD shoes.
    SEATPOST: Good old USE Alien carbon, only 150g, at least 100g less than an alu post.
    STEM: The Grammo stem (Ti) saves 40 / 100g against a steel tube / forged alu stem.
    SADDLE: I've found a carbon version of my preferred Romin saddle, saving 50g.
    SKEWERS: I've settled on the lightest skewers that will work, a KCNC Ti front and a Ultegra rear (the KCNC rear skewer slipped on the chrome dropouts). Just that front skewer alone is saving around 30-40g.
    TYRES: I have chosen 23mm tyres over 25mm because they save 50g/pr.

    Even smaller savings were found by carefully selecting bottle cages (and bolts!), cables, rim tape, etc.

    So all up, the bike in this configuration is 7.95kg. Mission complete.

  • Yes! I used a Serotta posted on here to describe what paint scheme I was after.

  • The bike fit nicely inside a bike box:

    And is now getting some sunny kilometers in Rwanda:

    (I'm eating a banana, it is hidden inside my giant hands.)

  • Rwanda is the "land of a thousand hills". For this trip I've used my heavier cassette, a steel 13-26t rather than the titanium 12-23. And so, in my lowest gear of 34 : 26 I can sit and spin up any hill 8% or less. Though an 11% hill this morning did require some standing towards the end.

    The seatpost is also just a cheap alu post, because the USE Alien was slipping - probably because it was a 25.0mm shimmed out to 27.2. I am hunting for a post in 27.2mm which will match the look of the Grammo stem, and is ideally sub 150g. Do holla if you have any leads.

    I am fighting the urge to swap out the fork for a carbon one. Weight savings across the fork/stem/bars would add up to 0.5kg, but I keep reminding myself that Vernon Barker didn't build that fork just for me to hang it on the wall.

  • It’s not the first time that paintjob served as an inspiration. A friend of mine painted his Duell in the same colour scheme (but flipped) and he chose to extend the fade to the forks. He also opted for white decals, gotta say they work really well with the white tape and saddle on your build.

    Any chance you want to share some photos of those rwandan mountain views?

  • Lovely bike, very tutti fruity. Makes me want to do a mgoof. Have a good trip!

  • The fade on that Duell fork looks excellent - I think it was a great choice.

    I always try to match the colour of decals with bar tape and saddle. So this tends to be white/white/white or black/black/black. But I once managed yellow/yellow/yellow on an old Gitane SS conversion for this happy customer (when I worked for Mottainai Cycles in Melbourne):

  • Rwanda views are available in my Daccordi thread:

    That was taken this time last year.

  • Glorious! I remember that thread :)
    Yeah, matching the tape to the decals is usually the best option, although I don’t mind coloured tape with a black saddle - that’s why I have green tape and a black saddle on the serotta. As for the seatpost: a record titanium would be the obvious (kinda) lightweight and matching choice - but they’re hard to come by for a reasonable price these days...

  • I used a Serotta posted on here to describe what paint scheme I was after.

    If it was mine, Mario had such a miserable time painting it I thought he was sworn off fluoro fades for life lol.

  • Nice! I also am after that colour scheme in the new year on my serotta-ish bike. Any issues? Happy with result?

    I also have the 10 speed chorus set to go on which I got from yourself.

  • Another option is to get the Grammo anodised black to match a nice modern seatpost.
    I got some cranks done last year and it was extremely effective and surprisingly cheap. If you're worried about the obvious sacrilege of anodising a Grammo, you can also rest assured that it's extremely easy to remove.

    I think black components would look great on this.
    It's an awesome bike : )

  • Also, who knew that Rwanda was such a popular destination for Neo Retro touring?!

  • Wow, this is an amazing build. Bravo

  • Thanks for the compliments. I agree, black components would look pretty badass.

    I had been tempted to paint the Grammo but had not thought of anodising. Where did you get this done?

    For seatposts, I am struggling to find much that is lighter than the KCNC Ti Pro Lite Scandium (it's actually aluminium). At 35cm they are 165g and I could chop it down to 25cm and 133g. Black would obviously work. The silver one would almost match the current Grammo look.

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Luminous Vernon Barker Super Bike Project

Posted by Avatar for Ndeipi @Ndeipi