Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chinese Frame AC053 - Scott Replica - Custom Painted and Build

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since the last time I posted about my Chinarello. I have now sold my Chinarello and I just bought my second Chinese frame! I love Chinese frames so much. This time is AC053 and it's Scott Foil's replica. I custom painted the frame to my business branding and this time I put ALL-Chinese parts: from handlebar, saddle, bottle cage, etc. The only thing that is not Chinese is the groupset.

My rider profile is as below:
- Height: 170cm
- Weight: 70kg
- Never race and only doing club rides and commute to work every day
- Do about 250-300km a week
- Speed on flat: Solo 32kmh comfortably or 38-40kmh at 86% heart rate and above

Below are some photos of the build:

The build details are as follows:
- Frame: Chinese custom painted AC053
- Wheels: Chinese carbon wheels 60mm rear, 35mm front
- Hubs: Rear is Shimano Dura-Ace hub, front is Chinese hub
- Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace DI2 9070
- Pedals: Time Carbon ATAC XS
- Saddle: Chinese carbon saddle
- Cranks: SRM Power Crank

Total weight:
- With pedals and bottle cages and no accessories: 8kg
- With accessories (eg. lights, tools, bag): 8.7kg

- Front wheel 35mm without tire: 850gr
- Rear wheel 60mm without tire (and Dura-Ace hub): 1370gr

This time I purchase from a different vendor called Miracle Cycles from Aliexpress. I enjoyed this experience a lot better than when I purchased my Chinarello. Why? Because the sales person speaks English very well!

Shipping was as fast as before. I purchased both wheels and frames from them. They all arrived professionally packaged within one week to Perth, Western Australia.

They also sell all sorts of frames and wheels. I guess every Chinese re-seller sources the frames and wheels all from the same source? Anyway, if you're interested in contacting the person simply email miraclecycle@yeah.net. The person name is Crystal.

Again, I didn't build myself but rather I get my local bike shop to build it for me. As I wanted to put Dura-Ace DI2 9070 (11-speed) on it, I instructed Crystal to take off the rear hub because their hub doesn't support 11 speed. I then purchased Shimano Dura-Ace hub instead.

This time the build went a lot smoother compared to my Chinarello. The LBS didn't find any problems at all with assembling the frame. All cables were installed internally correctly and neatly.

So all in all, it was such a lovely experience in building this bike.

I still have my Roubaix S-Works by the way. So the comparison will be against Roubaix S-Works and my old Chinarello. The Roubaix runs Dura-Ace mechanical 7900 and Mavic R-SYS SL wheels.

The Feel - on Flats
So, how's the ride? It still feels bulky (as per my Chinarello) but unlike the Chinarello, standing on the bike is a lot easier. On my Chinarello standing feels dull especially during climbs but not with the AC053! On flats the AC053 still feels as solid as my Chinarello. Body position is as tucked down so I catch less wind compared to my Roubaix.

It has to be the wheels that make the difference but on my Roubaix during flats it feels a bit sluggish and "thin". It takes a bit more effort to accumulate and maintain higher speed. Plus, with the geometry, my body position is more "up" so I definitely catch more wind.

The Roubaix is definitely a lot lighter, probably about 1kg lighter. The Roubaix feels so "thin" and light. It makes climbing easier (doesn't mean I'm faster though) but on flats it feels slow. Maybe due to the rim depth? I don't know.

My AC053 feels solid on flats but obviously feels slower on climbing compared to my Roubaix. Although, the bike still responds really well. In fact my speed on climbs has never been better. I'm sure it's because of my fitness but all I'm saying is, the frame climbs as good as the Roubaix. Every pedal stroke matches the power you put during climbs. I don't feel any sense of flex in any way.

Compared to my Chinarello my AC053 definitely climbs a lot better. I can now stand when climbing without feeling sluggish; while on my Chinarello I couldn't.

With descending I feel very safe on my AC053 but not with my Roubaix. My Roubaix feels thin and unstable. You can argue that it's my descending skills...while that may be true I can only give out my opinion based on what I currently experience.

The Roubaix feels very unstable. It feels as if I'm thrown away left and right by the wind. The AC053 is different. I feel a lot safer on that.

Now this is the part that I love the most. The AC053 is excellent on cornering. It will be the skill that limits you cornering. AC053 simply goes to wherever direction you steer it to. It's very-very nice on cornering.

I just completed a 154km ride few days back. Total ascend was about 1230m. At the end I felt really fine and had no stiff neck nor back problem with AC053 even though my position wasn't as "up" as when I'm on my Roubaix.

I would still choose AC053 compared to my Roubaix and my Chinarello simply because it's the best of both worlds. It climbs relatively well and performs really well in the other disciplines. Over longer ride I will be definitely faster on AC053 simply due to the benefits I get in each discipline.

Weight is to be confirmed.

The wheels - as mentioned earlier - are 60mm rear and 35mm front. Both are full carbon wheels. The rear one is definitely a lot heavier than the front one. I've never ridden a 60mm before so this is a first timer.

The Feel - on Flats
When you first strike your pedal from stop position, the rear wheel feels sluggish. It takes few moments to get it up to speed but as soon as you're on the go, man...the rear wheel rocks! It definitely holds speed very-very well.

The front one feels very good on flats. It feels light and stiff. It is however overshadowed by the rear wheel simply because the rear wheel is heavier hence it feels more "apparent" - if that makes sense.

My Chinarello was on 50mm both rear and front. This one jumps better from stopping position but doesn't hold speed that well. I also feel as if I need  a bit more effort to increase speed.

The only thing that I put negative mark on is when it comes to side or cross wind. The front one is fine compared to my 50mm but the rear one definitely takes a huge hit. When the wind is strong (eg. 30kmh-45kmh), the rear wheel feels sooooo heavy.

In terms of comfort, these carbon wheels are awesome in reducing road buzz. Compared to my Dura-Ace C35 7900 my Chinese wheels are less vibrating.

Climbing obviously feels a bit heavy due to the rear wheel but it is not sluggish in any way. If you can get to a rhythm the rear wheel gives you speed advantage. I think its strength is on maintaining speed. Don't lose the rhythm though!

The front one is a "no-brainer". I love it every second of it during climbing.

I think for a long climb of up to 12% this combination is excellent. I'm still yet to try it on a very steep climb eg. 15%+. So please stay tuned.

I would say braking especially in the wet is not as good as I would like it to be. During dry condition breaking is fine but during wet I have to be more careful. On wet season I have to break earlier.

Quality and Durability
During the 154km ride I just did few weeks ago, there was someone with branded carbon wheels just blew! Mine was fine. After the ride the tension was still as good as before. I've been commuting to work daily on these wheels too and still hold true. So far I've done about 1600km on the new wheels.

The 50mm Chinese wheels on my old Chinarello have done 7,500km and still hold true. Therefore, I can so far conclude that these wheels are pretty durable.

I think I have a good combination of wheels here. The Chinese carbon wheels are definitely so good. There is no doubt about quality and durability.

There is no doubt about the quality of Chinese products. I'm not selling any so I'm not endorsing any of the products. I simply speak of my experience.

With the price I can't fault it. I don't agree with "you get what you pay for" statement because I think I get more than what I paid for.

The top branded frames and wheels will obviously give you lighter stuff but with 1/10th of their price, you definitely get more than what you pay for.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chinese Frame Chinarello (Fake Pinarello) Build and Review Part 4 - Hilly Ride


This is a series:

- Part 1 - Unboxing - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/chinarello-build-part-1-unboxing.html
- Part 2 - Build Experience - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-build-part-2-build.html
- Part 3 - First Ride 60km Commute - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-fake-pinarello-build-and.html

OK so finally on day 2 I decided not to do the 100km ride because it would have taken me ~5 hours which I couldn't afford due to Xmas BBQ that I have planned with friends.

So instead, I took it to a hilly ride rather. It's about 40km in total with total elevation of 539m. Most of the hills were 7-11%. I know for some of you it's nothing but for me, it almost killed me. Anyway, check out my Strava if you're using it, too:


One thing that I found was, for hills that were not that steep ~4-5% max, the frame was great, however as it went steeper, I could feel the "heaviness" of the frame compared to my Roubaix S-Works SL3.

As mentioned in my Part 3 article, standing up felt a bit dull therefore it made it even more challenging. The bike barely moved on a 10-11% gradient. I don't know what it would be like to take it to an even steeper gradient.

Nonetheless, I still love it. It just means that I have to train my legs more. For flat rides my Chinese frame is definitely a winner compared to my Roubaix S-Works SL3. It's more alive and fast.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chinese Frame Chinarello (Fake Pinarello) Build and Review Part 3 - First Ride 60km Commute


This is a series:
- Part 1 - Unboxing - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/chinarello-build-part-1-unboxing.html
- Part 2 - Build Experience - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-build-part-2-build.html

So finally I get my legs pedaling my Chinarello! YEAH! The ride today was commuting from home to work ~60km. The road condition was 30% smooth and 70% rough. There were few climbs along the way and some were as high as 8-11% but very short. Elevation gain is about 272m. Check my Strava and Garmin Connect profile:

Basically I'm not a strong rider. I have improved though since I wrote my other blog articles and I was able to do about 30-35kmh flats today.

Before I go into the actual review, below are some pictures of the weight of my Chinarello vs S-Works Roubaix SL3 2011:

Chinarello without pedals

Chinarello with pedals Shimano MTB XTR M980

Roubaix S-Works with pedal, cheapo MTB pedals

So here it is. I'm a technical IT guy so I may not be good in writing long articles but rather straight to the point.

Before I even write anything let me just summarize my initial impression for today: IT'S AMAZING! I'm not sure if I will ever buy the real thing from this moment on. Seriously guys comparing to my Roubaix S-Works, I will choose my Chinarello at any day. But anyway, let me explain.

Let me tell you, this bike just rolls a lot better than my Roubaix! It's a lot more stable and what's crazy about it, it cuts through yaw and headwind a lot better. At lower speed surely it feels probably the same but by the time I pushed my pedal...man.....this bike truly flies. It may be due to the wheels? Mind you my Roubaix S-Works is using Mavic R-SYS SL which has really bad wind drag.

Anyway, I rode a lot quicker today. In Perth, WA after 12PM the wind is just a lot more crazy than in the morning. In the morning wind speed is about 10-20kmh while in the afternoon it goes up to 30-35kmh. In both occasion (to and from work), I rode quicker than usual and the bike just felt so awesome.

Accelerating is definitely a lot better than my Roubaix. My Roubaix - in car turbo-diesel engine term - has this "turbo-lag". But not my Chinarello! If you have the legs, you push it and the bike just accelerates.

A lot more confident, a lot more stable compared to my Roubaix S-Works. The bike just went to whichever direction you point it to. My Roubaix feels a bit more twitchy and less stable.

Climbing also felt better on my Chinarello. Yes my Roubaix feels a little bit lighter but like I said, I can accelerate a lot better on my Chinarello. I would probably say for a really long climb your body may benefit a bit more from the Roubaix but for short few-hundred-meter climb, I will go with my Chinarello at any day. Again, it's the acceleration strength of the Chinarello that helps me climbing faster.

Going Down Hill
Again, my Chinarello felt a lot more stable than my Roubaix. My Roubaix is very twitchy. With my Roubaix I always have to hit the brakes because I'm afraid that it will skid or lose balance (although I know it won't happen - it's just that feeling of being unstable, you know).

Now, when standing I will choose my Roubaix. My Chinarello felt a bit dull when I stood and tried to push the bike. I felt that somehow my power was "consumed" and "dampened". Sitting down however, was different. Therefore, if I want to push, I will sit down instead. I'm not sure how this will work upon sprinting though?

Comfort and Geometry
The geometry is a racing geometry. I was a bit nervous that I would have neck or back pain after I arrived at home today since I carry ~10kg backpack (containing laptop, charger, clothes, etc). But surprisingly enough I didn't! I arrived at home as healthy as can be. Tomorrow I will be doing a 100km ride and I will find out the true comfort level of the bike. But if I speak purely from my experience today, I had no problem with my Chinarello.

On transferring road buzz, my Chinarello was only transferring a little bit more (and I literally mean: a little bit) of the road buzz compared to my Roubaix. But like I said, it was not to the point which I felt uncomfortable at any stage of the ride.

Maybe my Chinarello Carbon Wheels helped?

My Roubaix S-Works runs Dura-Ace 7900 and my Chinarello runs SRAM Red Black 2012. It was my first time using a SRAM double-shift mechanism so I still need to get myself used to? At this stage I still prefer my Dura-Ace.

I need to re-adjust the rear deraileurs I think because it missed shifts quiet many times today. The SRAM Red felt smooth but it's still brand new, so surely it's smooth. I'll report further when I'm one month into it.

My Chinarello Carbon Wheels just piss over my Mavic R-SYS SL. It cuts wind better, it's more stable, it's stiffer, it's more alive. What else do you need?

So like I mentioned earlier, I would choose my Chinarello at any day compared to my Roubaix. Again this is only an initial impression but it was a good one. I still remembered when I first rode my Roubaix, other than the geometry, none of it was impressive. But my Chinarello was different. My Strava result for today speaks for itself.

Man, I can't keep talking about it....I will keep raving about it because it's that good!

Will I ever buy a real thing? Well if I have the money I would ....but otherwise, I won't! It's THAT GOOD! OMG...I love my new bike!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chinese Frame Chinarello (Fake Pinarello) Build and Review Part 2 - The Build


This article is a series:
- Part 1 - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/chinarello-build-part-1-unboxing.html
- Part 3 - First Ride - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-fake-pinarello-build-and.html

As mentioned to some people already, I get an LBS to build my bike as I'm not a bike mechanic. So finally the bike is fully built! I've been waiting for almost 2 weeks and there was a bit of drama happening.

Anyway, before I go to the actual build process let me tell you the parts I was buying for the build:

Chinarello - http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Wholesale-2012-Pinarello-new-aero-Dogma2-white-black-red-full-carbon-Road-bike-Bicycle-Frame-fork/486623660.html
USD$615 (~AUD$600)

Chinarello Carbon (Pair) - http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/204989547.html
USD$528 (~$AUD$500)

COMPONENTS: SRAM Red 2012 Black bought off Ebay - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/181017863599?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

HANDLEBAR: ChainReactionCycles.com
1 Pro-Lite Abductor Carbon Handlebars - 31.8mm - 42cm - Carbon/Black
66.66 AUD

STEM: ChainReactionCycles.com
1 Controltech Estro Scandium Road Stem - 100mm +/-5 Deg 1.1/8" 31.8mm
77.31 AUD

SADDLE: ChainReactionCycles.com
1 Selle Italia X1 Flow Saddle - Black/Yellow - Alloy Rails
19.98 AUD

BRAKE PADS: ChainReactionCycles.com
1 Fast Forward Carbon Specific BrakePads - 2 Pairs - Shimano
Unit Price: 47.98 AUD

BAR TAPE: ChainReactionCycles.com 
1 Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape - Yellow
33.31 AUD

TYRES: ChainReactionCycles.com
2 Michelin Pro 4 Endurance Tyre - 700 x 23C Folding Yellow
87.96 AUD


TOTAL: AUD$3113.2

My LBS mentioned to me initially that the BB was Italian and not English although the website mentioned English. I even emailed Jerry Wang and he also said English. It ended up being the LBS overlooked it and not paying attention to detail. I forgave them as it's the end of the year and they get very-very busy plus the owner of the LBS (who built my bike) has been quiet well known in Perth for his excellent reputation. So a bit of delay is not a problem for me. Therefore everyone, BB IS ENGLISH

Someone asked me about the number of rivets for the front derailleurs, the frame had 2 holes.

The frame didn't come with any steerer spacers so LBS put some original Pinarello spacers.

Other than that everything else worked seamlessly and LBS didn't find any other problem building it. 


I have not been able to take the bike home on the day I wrote this article because LBS still needs to cut the fork residual (see pics) but tomorrow it will all be ready and I'm going to take my baby home.

My plan for testing is to:
- Commute ~60km on Friday the 15th (reasonably flat)
- 100km ride on Saturday the 16th (reasonably flat)
- 40km hilly 7-11% gradient on Sunday the 17th

And I will then report to you how it performs. Other than that, please enjoy the pics below. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chinese Frame Chinarello (Fake Pinarello) Build and Review Part 1 - Unboxing


This is a series:
- Part 2 - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-build-part-2-build.html
- Part 3 - First Ride - http://mycyclingjournal.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/chinarello-fake-pinarello-build-and.html

Since Bradley Wiggins won Tour de France 2012 I've been a big fan of Team Sky. And not just Brad but the Team Sky line ups such as Mark Cavendish and  Chris Froome have inspired me so much. I'm also that sort of a person who falls in love with a bike brand that is ridden by the winning team. Hence, I also fall in love with their bike: Pinarello Dogma.

The only thing that prohibits me from loving it more is THE PRICE! Man.....when I asked my LBS how much it cost, the frameset itself was AUD$6500! That's when I started to look out for other alternatives. Searching for Pinarello Dogma in Google somehow returned me a lot of results of Dogma replica frameset that is built in China. Initially I wasn't interested until I find out that the price is less than 1/10th of the real thing! The frameset was only USD$615 with free shipping to Australia.

To build a complete bike out of the real thing would have cost me at least $8000 and that's with "crappy" components while with the Chinese replica would cost me around $2-3K. In fact, with $3K would get me Sram Red!


So there I was taking the plunge. I ordered one from this vendor. The frame arrived few hours before I wrote this article. First impression of the transaction was: I was so happy! It took less than a week for the frame to arrive from China to Australia and the vendor replied to my email and requests promptly. His name was Jerry Wang.

When the box arrived I was also thrilled by how good and secure the packaging was. Please check the pictures below for more details.

Frame is full carbon and just simply looked like the real thing! YEAH! I am smiling a lot as I write this article as I am so happy about it and can't wait to start building it.

Unless you really-really look at it closely (what I mean by close is literally close ie. 1-2cm from the frame), you wouldn't be able to tell that this is a replica frame. Paint was a job well done! In fact, there is even a writing saying "Made in Italy" :)

Frame is also very light. I haven't been able to put it to a proper scale but by lifting it, it is only slightly heavier than my Roubaix S-Works frameset. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual weight is not far away from the one mentioned in their website. But let me put it on a proper scale and I'll update you all.

What I get with this is frame, headset, fork and aero seatpost. I'm so looking forward to build and ride it. I think it will just be awesome but until then please stay tuned. I should be able to write some reviews by the end of next week (it is 27th of November 2012 as I write this article). See you soon!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mavic R-SYS SL 2012

Before I go to the actual review please see my rider profile below:

Rider Profile

  • Start riding: 2010
  • Type of riding: Commuting from/to home/work around ~60km a day, endurance and century riding on the weekend.
  • Speed: Slow-moderate 24-28kmh flats, 32-35kmh sprint and peloton riding, 14-16kmh climbing.
  • Road condition: Bike path, rough surface and rarely smooth with a lot of tree drops and branches especially during winter and wet season.
  • Climb condition: Short climb less than a kilometer with 2-14% gradient.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 170cm
  • Weight: 74kg
  • Bikes ridden: Giant CRX-3, Giant TCR Advanced 1 & 2 2010, Merida Reacto 909 2011, Specialized Roubaix S-Works SL3 2011.
  • Riding goal: Fitness, endurance riding.
  • Profession: Website and SharePoint developer and consultant. I carry my laptop everywhere.
  • Location: Perth, Western Australia.
  • Sex: Male

Mavic R-SYS SL 2012 Review

I bought this wheelset as a replacement for my Shimano Dura-Ace C35 wheelset and yes, to be honest with you, the main reasons why I bought this wheelset were:
1. I thought I can go faster especially on climbs.
2. Want VS need.

A lot of people (including fellow riders in forums) have said to me that for the speed that I ride on, I won't see much advantage in changing the wheels. You know what? They're right!

Speed-wise I actually go slower on this wheelset! This wheelset is definitely a lot less aero on flats compared to my Dura-Ace C35. How do I know? I can feel it. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but my very first impression on riding on this, the wind drag is so huge. Even at slow speed I can tell the difference. The difference is that much which an amateur, slow rider like me can even tell.

Climbing is also the same. I don't feel any easier than my DA C35. Maybe it's the aero disadvantage that causes it? This wheelset is around 300gr less than the DA C35 in weight but somehow I don't feel any advantage out of it.

The only advantage that I get from this wheelset is: IT'S SUPER COMFORTABLE. Let me re-iterate, IT'S SUPER COMFORTABLE. Man.....at slow speed especially, this wheelset truly soaks up bumps and road vibrations. At the exact same route that I take everyday to work, on my DA C35, I have to stand whenever I see bumps on the road but with this, I can just sit all day long and I still feel fine.

Braking surface is also very good. It's alloy and even in rain, it still brakes perfectly.

Under head, side and yaw wind this wheelset is also very stable. It's as stable as my DA C35.


Do I love this wheelset? Absolutely! Since I now go slower on this, it motivates me to even train harder to reach the same speed I used to reach with my C35.

Is this an all-rounder wheelset? I would say yes. The comfort is what I wouldn't trade it for anything with. As I love doing centuries, I think this wheelset suits me better.

If you're looking for comfort for long riding, this is for you.

If you're looking for speed and you mostly ride on flats with smooth surface, this may not be for you.

Mavic Ksyrium Elite 2010

Before I go to the actual review please see my rider profile below:

Rider Profile

  • Start riding: 2010
  • Type of riding: Commuting from/to home/work around ~60km a day, endurance and century riding on the weekend.
  • Speed: Slow-moderate 24-28kmh flats, 32-35kmh sprint and peloton riding, 14-16kmh climbing.
  • Road condition: Bike path, rough surface and rarely smooth with a lot of tree drops and branches especially during winter and wet season.
  • Climb condition: Short climb less than a kilometer with 2-14% gradient.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 170cm
  • Weight: 74kg
  • Bikes ridden: Giant CRX-3, Giant TCR Advanced 1 & 2 2010, Merida Reacto 909 2011, Specialized Roubaix S-Works SL3 2011.
  • Riding goal: Fitness, endurance riding.
  • Profession: Website and SharePoint developer and consultant. I carry my laptop everywhere.
  • Location: Perth, Western Australia.
  • Sex: Male

Mavic Ksyrium Elite 2010 Review

This wheelset came with my Giant TCR Advanced 1 2010 Ultegra bike. When I first bought this bike I was so green in cycling. Some people argued with me saying that with my cycling experience and knowledge and skills at the time, the bike was too good for me. I agreed with them however I had this principal that I may as well buy a bike that is good and capable enough so that I don't have to buy another one when my skill increases. I have proven myself wrong by the way. I have now changed my bike twice since.

Anyway, the Ksyrium Elite wheelset was an awesome wheelset. It is so light and after I read more about it, the price isn't that expensive either.

Braking surface is good even in the rain. It is also stiff.

What I don't like from it is how uncomfortable it can become. It transfers road vibrations and bumps quiet much. Maybe it's caused by the alloy rims and spokes?

Under a huge head, side and yaw wind, this wheelset isn't as stable as my other two wheelsets, Mavic R-SYS SL and Shimano Dura-Ace C35, especially when ridden on slow-moderate speed, it wobbles a little bit.

Climbing however feels a lot easier. Comparing to my Dura-Ace C35, this wheelset feels easier to climb with. It doesn't mean that I go faster with the Ksyrium though, it's just I can climb easier hence less stress on my legs.


As I mention in the rider profile, I don't race nor ride fast. I only commute to work and this wheelset is appropriate for that. It's strong, durable and light.