5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

An amazing weekend of perfect weather here in Paris, more like summer than fall.  Here’s all the goodness that went down this weekend!

1) Friday Evening Delivery and Visitors

After a fairly busy day, I wrapped up things with a delivery from Wattbike.  You’ll remember I got an initial Wattbike Atom back in August, as they launched this new indoor model (which has done crazy well in sales by the sounds of it).

However, they ended up making some minor tweaks to it after that initial unit, so they wanted to get me a final production unit in my hands so I can complete my in-depth review and ensure it’s done on the final hardware.  Thus, they gave the delivery truck to an employee Friday morning and told him to drive to continental Europe from the UK as his task for the day.

2017-10-13 18.02.25

He arrived Friday evening and we quickly pulled the existing bike from the DCR Cave (not an easy solo job up the steep and tight staircase), and then unboxed the new unit on the sidewalk.  The whole thing basically comes out as a single piece, save the aerobars and power cable.

2017-10-13 18.04.59

The whole transaction only took a couple minutes.  And I’ll be able to finish the setup on Monday in just a few more minutes.  Super quick and easy.

And it sounds like the guy delivering the unit got a pretty good deal though – being able to enjoy the city of Paris for the weekend for free.  Not too shabby!

Speaking of visitors to the DCR Cave and Paris, two DCR Readers swung in just before Wattbike man and checked out the cave.  I regrettably don’t have any pics of it – one of these days I’ll remember to start doing that for anyone who stops by!  Doh!  Thanks for stopping by Sarah and Eric!

2) To The Pool With The Peanut

Saturday morning we headed to the pool with a bunch of friends and their babies which are all roughly the same age as The Peanut, to get in a bit of a swim.  We’ve been doing this on and off since last fall, along with swimming on getaways and vacations in various pools.

She enjoys either jumping off the edge of the wall into my arms, and of course captaining her boat.

2017-10-14 23.53.12

She puts up with going underwater, however it doesn’t seem to be the highlight of her visit to the pool.  But she doesn’t cry or get upset.  Just sorta looks at you like: Umm…why you do this?

In unrelated news, we probably need to get her a bigger swim cap.  We realized this upon entry (since it’s required in the pool), and the one we have from before was basically from about a year ago.  At least the boat still fits.

3) Deciding on new bike build parts

Despite constantly tearing apart bikes to put on new power meters or test electronic group-sets, I’ve never actually built a bike from scratch.  Just never really had a specific need to.  And realistically, I still don’t have a specific need…except for the idea of doing it sounds interesting.  Thus, that’s good enough for me!

I started pulling together a parts list for a new road bike.  Why a new road bike?  Because.  Again, do I need a reason?  As you know, N+1 and all.

Actually, my reasoning is simple in that while I have two core bikes I use in testing (one road, one tri), I’m finding more and more often a third bike would be ideal to deal with newer power meters.  Sure, swapping things like pedals is quick – but less so cranksets when they might have different bottom brackets – which I don’t often have as much control over as I want.  But sometimes I get a unit that’s a bit longer lead time (months) before its announced and I want to be able to ride it sparingly over that period while still using the bike for other products/photos/video.  This summer was a mess of exactly that, complicating many photos.

In any event, I’ve got a whole separate post on the bike build-up.  But since I’m just about to start ordering the parts, I figured I’d post the parts list here in the hopes that someone might point out some incompatibility or missing component.  Note the only thing I’ve already purchased is the SRAM RED eTAP (I already have a different bike on Di2) and bar tape.  In fact, I purchased the eTAP setup a year ago and it’s been sitting on my desk since then.

First up, the parts table:

DCR 2017 Bike Build Components

PartSKU/Product NameLinkage
FrameCanyon Ultimate CF SL Frameset ElectricSource/Link
CranksetQuarq Dzero Carbon 110BCD HB GXP 175MMSource/Link
ChainringsSRAM FORCE 22 11-SPEED CHAINRINGS 50TSource/Link
ChainringsSRAM FORCE 22 11-SPEED CHAINRINGS 34T*Source/Link
CassetteSRAM PG1170 11-SPEED CassetteSource/Link
PedalsGarmin Vector 3Source/Link
ShiftingSRAM RED ETAP ROADSource/Link
Shifting ExtrasSRAM RED eTAP BLIPS PAIRSource/Link
ChainSRAM RED 22 ChainSource/Link
Wheels + PT HubPowerTap G3 AMP 50M Carbon ClincherSource/Link
TiresContinental Grand Prix 4000s IISource/Link
TubesWhatever was sitting in my big bin of tubes-
SeatFizik Aliante VSXSource/Link
HandlebarsCanyon H17 ERGO AL Handlebar Black/WhiteSource/Link
Handlebar TapeSRAM Supercork Bar Tape (already have it)Source/Link
Bottle CagesElite Custom Race Cage Black (x2)Source/Link

(Note: There’s a distinct chance that if you’re outside the US, when these links locale automatically behind the scenes to Amazon’s locale country links, they won’t find them. Unfortunately Amazon inventory outside the US is pretty low comparatively.)

A couple of quick notes to pre-answer some questions:

A) I selected Canyon because it’s relatively inexpensive here in Europe, it’s available immediately, and I like the look of it.

B) I selected that specific frame because most of the higher end frames are way more than I want to spend on the frame.  Also, the higher end frames all come with aero handlebars which have oval/custom upper bars, which is basically a waste of money because I’ll immediately replace them with standard round ones.  Far too many gadgets arrive on my doorstep for testing with regular handlebar mounts.  I simply have to be able to to use these round handle-bar focused mounts (action cams, bike computers, aero sensors, lights, bike mounts, and so on).

C) This is less about building the coolest bike out there, and more about building a functional workhorse of a test bike that I’ll still enjoy riding.  But future/current testing requirements are driving much of what I have on this bike.

D) I’ve ridden some Canyon bikes at a few test events over the last few months and I’m happy with them.  At the same time, as one who’s constantly riding different bikes, I think I’ve become immune to it at some level.  As long as it fits and doesn’t feel sluggish – I’m usually pretty happy.  And since it gets photographed and videoed a ton, I’d prefer it not look ugly.  This frame seems to fit those requirements and doesn’t break my bank.

E) I’m not 110% sure on the bottom bracket piece, I’ve gotta reach out to Canyon on that.

I think that’s it.  Again, I really want to stress this – this bike is heavily about being a test workhorse/platform – so it needs to be quickly swappable on various components.  For example, the ‘default’ power meter will be a Quarq DZero.  But if 4iiii or Shimano sends over a new power meter to test, then the Quarq temporary gets the boot.  I use the PowerTap hub on the wheels as a good baseline across everything.

With that – go forth and tell me what I’m missing!  Since bike parts can be a pain to get same-day here, I’m hoping to avoid any hold-ups on assembly day.

4) Riding to the farms

This weekend had astoundingly beautiful weather here in Paris.  It was upwards of 80°F (27°C), which basically means it was summer again.  I headed out Sunday morning to the countryside, starting in the city.

Apparently there were numerous fitness events scheduled for Sunday in the city.  First up was a 5K (maybe it was a 10K?) race in the city center around the Louvre and related gardens.  Either way, I cycled through shortly after it finished and the roads were kept closed to traffic but open to cyclists and pedestrians.  This same section is used for the Tour de France finish loop.

2017-10-15 11.06.01 HDR DCIM\174GOPRO\GOPR5947.JPG

Then I continued on past the Eiffel Tower, where the Paris Roller Marathon was just about to start. Situated on the bridge spanning from the Eiffel Tower across the river.  I don’t have a great pic from before-hand, but here’s what it looks like later on as I came back into town.  The roads for the 5K/10K race were then transitioned to support the Paris Roller Marathon – so doubling-down on the same road closure.  Kinda logical.

P.S. – Those cobbles on skates look miserable.


Soon I was climbing one of the larger hills in Paris(ish) and into the forests.  Where yet another event was occurring, this one a cycling ride of some sort.  I’m sure hundreds of cyclists went by in the opposite direction in the few kilometers our paths overlapped.


Eventually I got to Versailles and then wandered out away from it:

2017-10-15 12.04.23

My goal was this short stretch of closed farm roads. It isn’t open to traffic on Sunday, and thus they are just desolate and beautiful to ride:


From there I turned back towards Paris and worked my way into the city.  I stumbled upon the newly converted highway to bike path, which was also being used for the Paris Roller Marathon in sections.  But nicely, the bike lanes remained open to bikes:


This used to be a two-lane roadway along the river, now it’s a single lane road with protected bike lanes.  It’s awesome.


Then I followed the river all the way back home, which the Roller Marathon was also doing.  Good stuff, and certainly a beautiful day for the event.  As a side note, I did think it was interesting just how many athletes were wearing a backpack (not a hydration pack, but a backpack).  Did they not have bag storage, or is there something I was missing?

5) Getting some product photos done

I know, probably not the most exciting thing.  But neither is doing the never ending stream of e-mails.  In any event, I got through a pile of photos of the Apple Watch and other reviews.

Also, I spent considerable time and effort at McDonald’s, because that’s the only store nearby me that actually has a functional NFC/contactless payment reader (and that I can buy super cheap items testing from a self-service machine).  In doing so, I learned The Peanut doesn’t mind a Speculoos McFlurry (if I’m stuck ordering food at McDonald’s to test things, it’s highly unlikely to be a burger or fries).

2017-10-15 18.19.59

With that – thanks for reading all!

Have a great week ahead!


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  1. Daniel


    Yes, thats the one i ride, too. It´s a very good frame for a reasonable price. You´ll like it!
    Have fun building your new bike!

  2. Yannick

    Hey Ray,

    Looks like a great bike build in progress.
    Not looking for a bike with more tire clearance? (as in, hop on the Gravel bike hypetrain?)
    Just in case you might need it, since your other bikes can’t take much bigger tyres.

    Just replying for the BB thing.
    BB86 (Canyon always sticks to BB86/92) + Sram BB86 pressfit GXP BB + GXP Sram crankset.
    All should be good there!
    What are you doubting about?

  3. Harald

    “Speaking of visitors to the DCR Cave and Paris” – we are visiting Paris again 27-31.10., might stop by :)

    all the best from Hamburg

  4. Bavo

    Hi Ray, any hints as to whether you’re working on reviews for the new Garmin Forerunner 245/645?

  5. Robert

    “As you know, N+1 and all…”

    So happy to realize I’m not the only human on the planet saying things like “N+1” for “the one after”. It *does* drive my wife up the wall, however.

    • ReHMn

      The N is determined by purpose. I end up at 5, but not thinking about +1 yet…

      1 – everyday commuting, in rain, snow, every season, because I must get to work. I do not mind crashing on it, scratching it, tires must be resistant to broken glass
      2 – full suspension MTB – riding out of civilization, when you go crazy and jumping
      3 – triathlon – speed, aero, competition, etc
      4 – road – because it is not the same as triathlon bike
      5 – cargo bike, because sometimes things needs to be moved

      any justification for +1?

    • Patrick Utrecht

      1) fully pimped bike just for looks & shows (because you can)
      2) vacation holiday/travel bike, basically a sturdy mule bike that can stand whatever any environment can throw at it, easily fixable & low maintenance.
      3) tandem bike, cuz it’s fun to ride with 2 ;)

    • Fred2

      Well, in TrainerRoad Podcast 120 they suggested having disc brakes for the descents in the Levi’s GranFondo. I don’t plan on doing that and the roads here are pretty flat, so I can probably hold myself to the 5 bikes in my garage.

    • Mike Richie

      That’s the point of +1, it needs no justification. Once you get it, you will find a justification for it. And then it is N+1 again.

  6. Some minor things that I don’t see listed that usually can make you say “How did I forget to order this?”. Just in case…

    Brake cables, if they are not included with the SRAM pack. With the cables ends and such.

  7. Andre

    Hey Ray,

    I miss seatpost and stem… maybe included in Canyon frameset? Also skewers, but I am sure you should have plenty…

    I just would like to give you a different perspective on frame selection… a press-fit BB will make changing cranksets harder than necessary… if you put the GXP bb for PF86, you will be able to use only the GXP Quarq on this bike (I can’t remember any other GXP PM), unless of course you remove & install (press-fit) a new BB.

    Of course, finding a bike with a BSA BB these days probably means custom & metal (non-CF) frame. One option that is probably more expensive than the Canyon, but could make changing BB’s much easier in the future is a Pinarello Gan. It has an Italian BB (not BSA, but also threaded), and can fit anything except a “true BB30” (short spindle) crankset. It also looks good.

    Hope that helps.

    • Yeah, the whole pressfit thing is messy. I don’t mind occasionally swapping out bottom brackets, as I’m kinda used to it now. But still, I like to avoid it. I agree that I wish I could keep it just threaded and simple, like my Cervelo. So much easier and faster.

      The Gan is certainly nice looking, but almost three times the cost of the Canyon frame. :-/

    • Andre

      Well… if you are brave enough you could try a direct order to one of the custom Ti manufacturers in China (I have one from Walty). You can customize anything… even build a travel bike… for maybe less than the Canyon.

  8. wouter

    Bottom bracket pieces can be so confusing!

  9. Sean

    If you haven’t already bought the brakes, do yourself a favor and pick up some DA 9100 brakes or eebrakes to pair with the eTap groupset. Even with the longer pull, the modulation is amazingly better than the Red brakes and makes a huge difference.

  10. Milt MacFarlane

    Speak to someone really smart say a Dan Empfield kind of guy about the 175 cranks…think consensus is now the shorter the better…my only input is I’d spent probably 15 years on 172.5 then went up to 175’s and took 5 years struggling now I spent most of my time on a MTB with 170’s and my knees feel a whole lot better

  11. Re the new bike: if the rims are compatible, go tubeless, you won’t regret it!

  12. Kyle

    What’s wrong with fries from Mickey Ds? Granted they’re no waffle fries from Chik-Fil-A, but still…

  13. Jeff K

    Here’s my vote for a disc-brake bike with thru-axles. I really want to hear your take on thru axle compatibility with trainers and other potential issues with power meters. I just started using a disc bike with thru axle this year, and I’m sold on the power and modulation of the brakes. I’m pretty sure they’ve helped me avoid a couple close ones. Maybe your etap is incompatible with disc. Have fun with the build!

    • My initial plan was definitely disc-brake with thru-axle. But as I did more part planning, things started to unravel.

      The SRAM eTAP kit I bought a year ago was for road with mechanical brakes, so while it doesn’t have brakes itself, it’s designed for mechanical brakes versus the Hydro disc side. The downside with thru-axle as well for me is inability to swap wheelsets around. Though, I’ve come to realize I don’t do that a ton, except to ‘loaner/rental’ bikes, in which case I already have both a PowerTap wheel in 10 speed and 11 speed configurations anyway, so I’d still have those.

    • Eli

      Would also be your only bike with that setup. Would that change your views on trainers? Point out which work out of box and which don’t in the reviews

  14. 6co

    it was a 10k race indeed.

  15. ReHMn

    I admire folks who are riding bikes equipped with a Fizik saddles…
    My TT bike, the Cannondale Slice came with a Fizik Arione and I just rode it from a shop to home. It was a torture from a Spanish inquisition! Top quality materials and excellent craftsmanship built on a saddle which is a pain…
    Since then I changed it for a Selle Italia SLR Superflow 143mm (L3). And I am so happy with it, that on a road bike I built in 2015 I used the same type of saddle.
    And just ordered a Pro Stealth 142mm to my everyday commuting bike (not arrived yet), but looking forward to compare it with the SI Superflow…

    • Sean

      Yeah, the Fizik saddles didn’t work for me either. I rode a Selle Italia SLR Flow for a long time and loved it. Switched to a Cobb SHC saddle on a recommendation and it ended up being too narrow for me. Settled on the S-Works Power saddle and absolutely love it – now I have one for each of my bikes.

    • Scott E

      +1 on the S-Works Power. Looks a little wonky, but boy something to be said about research driving design.

  16. cycloscott

    Don’t forget the corollary to the N+1 rule. It is applicable only as it approaches D-1, with D being the number of bikes that will get you divorced.

  17. Charlie Anderson

    Looks like you selected a compact BCD for your cranks. It’s probably ok, but I could see problems if a spider based power meter sends you a standard 130 BCD set.
    You might be fine with the Force level chain vs. the Red level. Not much difference and the Force may be more durable (for the workhorse)

    • Yeah, I tend to like the 110 compact, especially if I’m in the Alps. I haven’t had any issues with requesting 110BCD’s in most cases, and those that do tend to just ship me the whole crank setup anyway.

      Good call on RED vs Force chain, I’ll do some pondering there.

    • DJ

      I’d go further and recommend ultegra chains and cassettes. I run them on all my bikes, including SRAM, and they shift better and last longer. Looks like a fun project!

    • Roady

      SRAM chains all the way! I use the PC1130 on both of my Shimano setups. Then again I do consider chains a consumable riding all weathers so value/cost is one of my deciding factors…

    • Eli

      KMC last the longest for me and come in more colors. Easier then ultegra and not screwing up the direction. (ok, not that hard but still…)

  18. Sean

    I just built up a new bike this summer and the one things I was very happy with was a bottom bracket from Wheels Manufacturing. I built a Cervèlo and was able to forgo the Press fit with one of their threaded adapters. Haven’t had one sound/creak etc. from the bottom bracket. Expensive but worth is especially if you will be removing the cranks often.

  19. Niklas

    Why don´t you build your own wheels, while you already going to build your bike? link to sheldonbrown.com

  20. Mikkel Holme

    You need some tools (carbon saw blade and saw guide) to shorten the steerer tube. They’re always way to long on new framsets.

  21. Eric

    Hey Ray – thanks for showing us around. Was great to chat with you. Parts list looks good to me – though you may want to think of ordering some of the small stuff (chain keeper, spare rear der hanger, carbon pads if they didn’t come with the Sram Reds) if you don’t have any laying around. And don’t forget to order some more custom name decals for your frame! Gotta keep it pro.

    P.S. Link below in the news this morning – relevant given our chat on living with Seattle. Are you sure you don’t still want to come back? :) See you on zwift.
    link to seattletimes.com

  22. Clark

    Others have hinted at it but I’ll be more blunt. Why build another road bike when you could build something more versatile? Build yourself something with clearance for wider tires like the 2bliss 700×32 and then set them up tubeless. That opens up terrain that you can’t ride on standard road tires. As for disc brakes, TRP’s mech / hydro setup would work just fine. They will not be as nice as a set of true hydro brakes but the’re far better than the all mechanical discs.

    • Yeah, if I was near such terrain – I’d definitely be branching out. But the reality is that I live in heart of a massive city. Almost all of my riding that’s nearby is road-based. Weekday rides rarely venture beyond the borders of the city (to one of the various closed parks for cyclists), and weekend rides still have at least 30-40 minutes getting out of the city, at which point it’s mostly just rolling country roads.

    • gl00

      yup, I live in Paris too and can confirm that.

      Nevertheless, another advantage of tubeless is puncture prevention: I recently converted for the winter (schwalbe g-one) and what really convinced me was the day I got home with a 5mm shard of glass in my back tyre. I did at least 20Km with that thing in there. I noticed I had rolled though glass but didn’t feel any loss of pressure, so kept going… and probably could have gone on forever like this if I hadn’t removed the piece of dried sealant when cleaning the bike !

      Anyway, doing the repair at home definitely beats having to stop on the side of the road and it probably would take me just a couple minutes once I get used to it.

      These are great as winter tyres, and they might stay even even a bit longer since I’m a bit lazy and don’t notice a big difference with the Contis 4000GPs I normally use…

  23. Gregory S

    You forgot the bike bell…duh

    • Holy cow, while looking for a funny bike bell to post back, I just found this totally awesome gigantic shark bike bell: link to amzn.to

    • Gregory S

      I personally like the ones with the attached water bottle full of compressed air. Sounds like a stadium volume air horn. Watching some youtube videos on air zound will make you laugh

      however, the shark or hamburger bells work well to

    • gl00

      Airzound… a friend had that, and I tried something similar (Hornit) for a while. we both gave up. Remember that arrogant car driver who accelerates and honks when he feels others should give way to him? that’s you with one of these devices. I don’t think it’s really nice to scare old ladies, and many pedestrians just don’t care anyway. A few become quite vindicative, cars are definitely not impressed… I figured these systems are in fact quite counter productive.

      a loud freewheel is just as efficient around pedestrians, and when it comes to emergency situations, brakes are definitely more efficient.

  24. MitchD

    So did you answer the question as to what pedal based power meter you think is best? (Referencing your choice of the Garmin Vector 3)

  25. shoreline

    What I like most about European cities is how quickly you can get out to the countryside. When people live 5,000, 10,000 or even 20,000 to the square mile, the city just doesn’t sprawl out as far. You sure see that with these photos and this blog post.

  26. garrop

    Why not try to look for your frame and some other parts on troc-velo.com? You can save quite a lot and make the build quite a travel experience.

    Be aware it gets adctive and puts you on the road to n+2

  27. NGEco user

    From one of the pictures I noticed that you are still using p2m NGEco? If so, have you got any Low Battery warnings on head unit related NGEco battery? I have got couple of times even the battery is new (got from original battery and then with the new battery what I replaced). Head unit is garmin edge 820 what I’m using.

  28. DLinLV

    Ray, not sure if it matters to you, but what if the 3rd bike were a gravel or CX model? Would allow for testing out wider tires and/or riding pretty much anywhere that a regular road bike might not be practical. I cannot tell if the Ultimate has good tire clearance out back, tho the front fork looks about the same as their Inflite CX bike from a tire clearance perspective.
    Been a loyal C’Dale rider (was sponsored decades ago), then Felt and am now looking at ordering a Canyon Inflite as a daily ride to take on/offroad. Looks like a good ride.

  29. stefan

    Do you plan on taping the build for your YouTube channel?

  30. Kyle Polansky

    If you don’t have extra saddle bag/flat kit for the new bike, I’d consider picking up a new one.

    It’s less to worry about switching each ride, and it’s much harder to forget all together. (And of course, flats always seem to happen when you forget your flat kit).

  31. Dave

    I love how the new bike section is likely a copy of the reasons The Girl was given in justifying the new bike.

    “Think of the time I’ll save in the long run not having to swap bits over all the time!”

  32. richard braginton

    Hi there is a great frame from the UK produced by Bowmans called the palace R it is aluminium but the great thing is it uses a threaded BB and also gives the option of running the cables concealed or exterior ( both these changes in response to customer requests !!!!!!) the name comes from evening criterium run at the Crystal Palace


    Atom is made in Taiwan Giant!

  34. Johnny

    That’s quite a nice list of bike components!

  35. Masha

    I like your website.

  36. Kevin

    Are you going to have an unboxing and show us the steps for putting your new bike together?

    • I’m not 100% sure on the plan, but right now I’ve got a pile of boxes that came in today, and a few more tomorrow (mainly the frame left, and the wheels maybe tomorrow). But I think everything is here.

      I’ve left all the components in their original box, save eTAP which I consolidated a year ago from 9 boxes down to 1 box (original one box). So…still sorting it out. :)

  37. Duncan74

    Really impressed by the way the frame comes with a torque wrench. Things I’ve missed in the past.
    1) Tools for installing headset.
    2) Magnets for speed / cadence sensors
    3) Speed /cadence sensors requiring disassembly of one of n-1 fleet.
    4) Bar end caps
    5) Cable crimp ends (as inevitably I assemble then find I need to re-cable for some reason. Ended up buying a bag of 100 of the things.
    6) carbon paste (again supplied with – that’s a nice touch), electrical tape, copper slip
    7) bottle cage bolts
    8) and the worst one of all, not relevant now, but the under BB cable guide thing. That was a nightmare that meant I was able to ride my bike for the first time 20mins before the start of a half ironman.

    I’m a bit taller than you and a few years ago went for 177.5 cranks. Must admit that coupled with a couple of serious ankle injuries then I’m struggling to get back to my target cadence. Only really an issue on zwift where it doesn’t let you target to 80 or 85rpm, but locks you to 90rpm +/- 5. So for my new build I’ll be back to 175mm cranks.

    • Good list!

      I think I’ve got everything there, save additional cable crimps. I know I’ve got enough for this, but if I screw some up (totally valid possibility), then I’ll have to find more. I agree with you, should have just ordered a 100 of them off Amazon for a few bucks.

      Will find out shortly, UPS is set to arrive in the next hour or so with the frame and the rest of the random parts I ordered via Canyon. In theory, that means I’ll have all the parts. In reality, I’m ready to be disappointed with forgetting stuff. :)