Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sarto Tenax 650b Complete Bike Review at - Part II

Part II - The Builds

Hoops n' hubs - Chary and I were slated to test the two Tenax frames in production for us in Italy and we knew this would soon turn into a clandestine competition of gram shaving. We were in agreeance that we'd both go with our faithful standby, Stan's Notubes ZTR Crest 650b rims and DT Swiss 240s hubs (15mm front and 12x142mm axle rear). I knew he'd have something up his sleeve to try and beat me in this upcoming full fledged war of weight savings, therefore I snuck an order through for some DT Swiss Aerolite spokes. Hey, call it a mulligan due to my disadvantaged goofy large sized frame!

Without question we planned to outfit these capable Italian racing steeds with Formula's R1 Racing Brakes and their ThirtyThree 27.5 100mm travel forks, Chary and I were left scratching our heads with the drivetrain choices. Simplicity and a quiet drivetrain were at the forefront of my mind, meanwhile my colleague wanted to try something new, new and very light in weight.

I have long missed those days of riding my ol' silent singlespeed downhill accompanied only by the sound of the dirt being compressed beneath my tires and the chatter of my own teeth. Additionally, being that I was in love with the classic lines of the Sarto, I didn't want to complicate the build with extra cables and gears. Sram's XX1 1x11 setup with their roller bearing clutch Horizon rear derailleur was my choice, although I thought I might mix it up a little. The 10-42 X-Dome cassette is no doubt innovative and a machining masterpiece, but I much prefer the thought of turning over a larger front chainring to maintain higher speeds / wattage rather than shifting into higher (smaller) gears down the cassette. Sure, call me a cross-chainer.. I'm guilty! Knowing that I'd be stuck pushing some hard gears up some steep grades due to the lack of a 42t cassette, I opted for Rotor's QX-1 chainring and the largest 11-speed cassette I could acquire from SRAM, the WiFLi 11-32t. The macho man within me figured I could handle a 36t QX1 chainring, however the realist inside of me (and not to mention my tempermental knee) figured I might end up needing Rotor's 34t QX1 gear. Regardless, I'd build it with the 36t for initial bragging rights and also to ensure the initial chain cut would provide for enough chain slack.

Chary, always striving to be different and knowing he'd need to rely on a truly light weight double chainring setup (due his fondness of the granny gear), selected the German manufacturer Acros with their A-GE hydraulic shifting group. Acros' A-GE system provides for a fantastic friction-free shifting experience that allows for an uber consistent and maintenance free shifting experience. Without the need for heavy steel return springs, shift cables, and steel wound cable housings, Acros is able to achieve a sub 500 gram total weight. Outfitting his Tenax frame with a Rotor 3D+ mountain crankset and matching Q-Rings required alittle fabrication and an adittional 10grams of weight for the Acros A-GE front derailleur to cooperate. Regardless of that, setup was accomplished without a hitch.

With the help of New Ultimate cockpits and Fizik saddles, we were ready to hit the scales...before weighing down these bodacious bikes with dirt and dust.