LOOK 585 Pro Team Rebuild

2009 LOOK 585 Pro Team, completely rebuilt w/ Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 components & wheels

2009 LOOK 585 Pro Team, completely rebuilt w/ Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 components & wheels

I had waited for this day for almost three months—the completion of the rebuild of my 2009 LOOK 585 Pro Team! I got the call Thursday evening and picked it up the next day—I couldn’t believe what a beautiful bike it was. This is the last of three major bike jobs over these past three months—it had been almost 10 years since I had done anything major (the 585 frame was a warranty replacement for the original frame bought in 2005) and my stable needed upgrading badly. A busted fork on the 585 last October was the last straw, and I got my wife’s blessing to have my KG486 frame repaired (expertly by Calfee Design) and rebuilt with components from my 585, replace the fork on the 585, and build it back up with all new components, including full Dura-Ace 9000 11-speed drivetrain, wheels, and pedals. The only components already on the frame that I kept were the slick, new white/red Fi’zi:k Arione saddle and LOOK Ergopost 2Ti seatpost that I installed last August (moving the old to my 2004 Cannondale CAAD7) and the white Easton EC90 stem installed the year before. Thompson Road carbon handlebars, red shift/brake cable housings, white/red Elite bottle cages with matching Castelli bottles, and white Fi’zi:k handlebar tape completed the build. Total weight with pedals is a scant 15 lbs 13 oz!

LOOK HSC5 fork, custom paint and LOOK branding by Calfee Designs.

LOOK HSC5 fork, custom paint and LOOK branding by Calfee Designs.

The fork was actually the hardest part to replace. LOOK has moved on from the HSC5 fork that was used in the 2009 model frames, and the newer forks do not have backwards compatibility to older frames. We finally located a fork, but it was painted silver. That simply would not do, so we shipped it to Calfee for painting. I had wanted to paint it to match the original, but the lack of good photos of the detailing and a rather high estimated price for doing that caused me to reconsider. In the end, I decided that all black would match up nicely with the black headtube, and adding white LOOK branding would tie into the otherwise white frame in a simple and elegant manner.

Dura Ace sub-compact crankset, 172.5 mm, 52x36

Dura Ace sub-compact crankset, 172.5 mm, 52×36

For the 15 years that I have been a serious cyclist, I have ridden a standard crankset on all of my bikes—i.e., a 39t small chainring for climbing and soft pedaling and a 53t large chainring for high gear. Usually I paired this up with a 12-25 cassette (although I did run an 11-23 on my time trial bike). I had been talking to people recently, however, about the new “sub-compact” cranksets that were becoming popular. These feature a 52×36 chainring combo, with the 36t providing considerably lower gearing than a 39t for easier climbing, but without losing much on the top end because of the single tooth difference in the big chainring (52t vs. 53t) compared to a standard crankset. This latter feature negates one drawback of true compact cranksets, which max out at at 50t on the big chainring but nevertheless have become popular among amateurs looking for easier gearing in more mountainous regions. I decided to go subcompact, pairing it up with an 11-25t cassette. Obviously this provides easier gearing, but the 52×11 high-end combo still provides more top end than a 53×12! More low end, more top end, less weight… seems like the best of both worlds!

White Elite bottle cage w/ matching Castelli water bottle.

White Elite bottle cage w/ matching Castelli water bottle.

I’m a big fan of aesthetics, and I like my bikes to not only ride fast but look fast as well. I just about fell over when I found these white Elite bottle cages with red highlights—a perfect compliment to the bike’s white motif and red saddle stripe. I fell over again when, as I searched for the perfect bottles to place within them, I found these white bottles with red Castelli branding in classic ‘bidon’ size!

Red shift/brake cable housings and white Fizik handlebar tape.

Red shift/brake cable housings and white Fizik handlebar tape.

White handlebar tape was, of course, a requirement—I’ve talked about this before (I won’t consider anything else these days!). Fi’zi:k makes a really great bar tape that, unlike other brands I’ve tried, doesn’t seem to get dirty very easily and cleans up nicely when it does. I was also going to go with white shift/brake cable housings to keep with my “all things white” theme, but when I found out that Shimano was now offering their benchmark PTFE housings in red (no other housing can compare to Shimano, in my opinion), I jumped at it to complete the subtle red highlights at each point of the main triangle.

Sleek lines beg to go fast!

Sleek lines beg to go fast!

How does it ride? Well, I’ve ridden over 100 miles and climbed over 7,000 feet in the two days since picking it up, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this fast on a bike! We were careful to take measurements before removing the old parts and installing the new, so I didn’t have to worry about any fit adjustments—it was already dialed in perfectly. Obviously it’s light as a feather, but what has really surprised me is the effect of the subcompact gearing—not so much in just having lower gears available for steep climbs, but rather in the ability to stay in the big chainring more consistently on rolling/mildly hilly terrain. The slightly higher cadence allows me to power through small rises and use the cassette to fine tune rather than having to drop to the small chainring when the load became too heavy. Of course, the lower end also allows me to spin faster while climbing without bottoming out and even accelerate if I need to. After 15 years, I may have to completely rethink my approach to cadence and gear selection!

Fizik Arione saddle points the way forward.

Fizik Arione saddle points the way forward.

My thanks to Chris at Big Shark for the expert rebuild, not only on this bike but for stripping it down and using the parts for the KG486 rebuild as well and his very helpful discussions on component choice for the 585 (see below). With fully functional 9-speed, 10-speed and 11-speed bikes now in my stable, I should be set for whatever ride I want to do for the next 10 years!

Type Brand Model
Frame LOOK 2009 585 Pro Team, size M, white
Fork LOOK HSC5 carbon
Wheelset Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C24 Carbon Clinchers
Shift/brake Levers Shimano Dura-Ace ST-9000 11-Speed STI
Crankset Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000 11-Speed, 172.5 mm, 52×36
Bottom Bracket Shimano Dura-Ace SM-BB9000
Cassette Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000 11-Speed, 11-25
Chain Shimano Dura-Ace CN-9000 11-Speed
Front Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace FD-9000 11-Speed
Rear Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace RD-9000 11-Speed
Handlebar Thompson Carbon Road
Stem Easton EC-90, white
Saddle Fizik Arione, white w/ red stripe
Seatpost LOOK Ergopost 2Ti
Pedals Shimano Dura-Ace PD-9000 SPD
Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace BR-9000
Brake Pads Shimano BR-9000 Cartridge
Shift/Brake Cables Shimano Road PTFE, red housing
Headset Look Integrated
Tires Vredestein Fortezza TriComp, 23 mm

Ted C. MacRae 2015

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The 40,000-mile chainring

I have been enjoying the heck out of my newly rebuilt LOOK KG486. There is nothing like a “new bike” to re-motivate (actually, the frame is 10 years old and most of the components only one year younger)—in the five weeks since I picked it up from the shop I’ve logged just over 1,000 miles on it despite it being the dead of winter! I don’t think I’ve never been as ga-ga over a 10-year old bike. From the beginning, however, I noticed trouble with the drivetrain. I already knew the chain was worn, and since I would need to replace it I also decided that a new cassette was in order—something with gears more suitable for flatland terrain rather than the old Shimano 105 12-27t cassette I had gotten for my latest trip to France and had slapped on when the previous cassette had worn out. I ordered up the chain, paired it with a 12-23t cassette (both Ultegra—no sense in paying top dollar for expensive Dura Ace components that will only wear away), and anxiously awaited their arrival. In a few days, I had them on the bike, hit the road to enjoy my new lease on a crisply functioning drivetrain, and CRUNCH!!! I hadn’t even thought about the chainring also being worn, but when I looked closely its teeth looked suspiciously small. The next several days confirmed the problem—no chain slip in the small chainring no matter how heavy the load, but whenever I was in the big chainring I had to really take it easy, or else CRUNCH!!! I ordered up the new chainring (and a small one as well, no sense in mixing old and new), and when they arrived I took of the old and this is what I found—teeth worn to nubs! I guess I can’t complain, since I probably logged around 40,000 miles on this chainring (for what it cost to buy a new one, that works out to about 1/5¢ per mile).

After 10 years and 40,000 miles, the teeth on this chainring are little more than nubs.

After 10 years and 40,000 miles, the teeth on this chainring are little more than nubs.

I had a bit of a scare when I was taking off the chainrings. The first four bolts came off fine, but the fifth just spun around as I turned the hex wrench—the nut spinning freely along with it. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve changed a chainring, so I had forgotten what to do when this happens. I jumped on Google, looked it up, and found out that I needed a chainring wrench to hold the nut in place while I unscrewed the bolt. Great—now I have to wait until tomorrow, go to the bike shop, and buy a chainring wrench before I can ride again. I decided to go out to the toolbox and look for something… anything… that might serve as a chainring wrench in a pinch. As I was fumbling through the toolbox, what do you think I found? A chainring wrench! I don’t remember ever buying it, but I was sure glad I did. That problem solved, it was a quick matter to remove the last bolt, switch out the new chainrings, and voila… a “new” bike with brand new chain, chainrings, and cassette. Check out the teeth on the new chainring below!

The teeth on this brand new chainring will give fresh bite to my stroke.

The teeth on this brand new chainring will give fresh bite to my stroke.

© Ted C. MacRae 2015

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Too dark to ride… oh wait!

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Bullshit didn’t ride excuse #1: The sun sets too early.

I totally figured I wouldn’t be able to ride today due to an all-day seminar, but I got out at 4 pm, felt the mild temps (mid-40s), looked at the sun still hovering tantalizingly high in the sky, and decided if I raced back to the office and changed I could be on the bike with enough daylight left. Of course, things always take longer than you think they will, and by the time I was rolling it was a little before 5 pm with sunset looming at 5:18 pm. Okay, so this was my chance to seriously test out the sleek, stylish Lezyne headlight that I got for Christmas, which to this point I’d not had the courage to try beyond flashing mode during early dusk. Heading out at dusk felt a bit weird—like I was doing something naughty—but the crisp air was invigorating and my legs quickly showed themselves to be on good form. I got to the Spoede/Clayton turnaround right at sunset, and as I trialed back along Clayton I watched the western sky morph from light yellow to burnt orange to fire red! Things started getting seriously dark as I approached Hwy 141, and I switched the headlight from flash to continuous mode. At that point 400 lumens seemed quite bright enough, and with my crazily flashing tail light all cars coming from behind seemed to have no problem seeing me and moving over well before passing me. Just as the darkness started spooking me I turned down Baxter and away from all the traffic on Clayton. The dark solitude of the empty road was a completely different experience, and I almost automatically I got in the drops and started pushing hard on the smooth, brightly lit pavement in front of me. By now darkness had completely taken hold, and I switched the headlight to overdrive (800 lumens), which was more than enough to see the road in front of me and not feel like I was flying blind. One last effort up the Highcroft climb produced not only a nice PR but nabbed 3rd overall before the final stretch back to the office. I think now that I’ve experienced night riding, I’ll try doing some of the lightly traveled country roads out where I live and see what real night riding is like.

© Ted C. MacRae 2015

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LOOK KG486 Resurrection

LOOK KG486 w/ Dura Ace 10-speed components and Reynolds Assault carbon clincher wheelset.

LOOK KG486 w/ Dura Ace 10-speed components and Reynolds Assault carbon clincher wheelset.

After hanging in my garage for six years with a cracked top tube, I had my 2005 LOOK KG486 frame repaired by Calfee Design. (You may recall that I crashed this bike in the 2008 Missouri State Time Trial.) Calfee did a beautiful job, and the frame looks brand new. All three main tubes were clear coat carbon finish in the middle fading to black at the junction points, and the crack on the top tube was right at the transition from the clear coat to black finish with a LOOK logo on the top tube right at the break point. Replicating the original finish with logo would have been quite expensive, so I opted to just have the whole top tube finished in black without a logo, while the down tube and seat tubes remain in the original condition. I think it looks great and cannot tell where the repaired area is or that it’s not the original finish.

The repaired section of top tube is right in the middle of this photograph.

The repaired section of top tube is right in the middle of this photograph.

I had the bike rebuilt as part of a larger project to upgrade my 2009 LOOK 585 Pro Team by transferring the Dura Ace 10-speed drivetrain from the 585 to the 486. I also had the rear rim of my 2013 Reynolds Assault carbon clincher wheelset repaired and put these on the 486. These aero wheels and the aero shaping of the slightly heavier 486 frameset will make this a nice ride for milder, open terrain and the occasional time trial. My 585, on the other hand, is getting all new Dura Ace 11-speed drivetrain with DA-24 carbon clincher wheelset. Über light frame with light, low profile wheels will make this an awesome bike for the hills in my area. I’ll have pics as soon as that bike is done, but first I need to send the replacement fork to Calfee for repainting (original LOOK forks are hard to find, and when came across a silver one I grabbed it!).

© Ted C. MacRae 2014

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My first dog bite

It was another cool (58°F) but gorgeously sunny day with little wind. I felt awesome from the start and could tell I was going to ride well, and the stats prove it – PR on 4 out of 7 climbs, and on the other 3 I was within 3-7 seconds of my best time. I wanted to add the Allenton Loop but turned left at Six Flags because I was worried about being late to my nephew Jack’s confirmation party. Bad choice, because coming back along Melrose between Manchester and Ossenfort I got bit by a dog! I didn’t see him until he already had a beat on me, so there was no time to grab the pump. I kicked him away from my right side, but he crossed in front of the bike and circled around and came up behind me on the left and then clamped down on my calf. I’ve got two deep punctures and a lot of flesh trauma. I’ve been chased by a lot of dogs, but I could tell there was something different about this one and that he meant business. Police, ambulance, fire truck, the whole she-bang, but after they field dressed the wounds I decided to ride the rest of the way home, get cleaned up, and drive myself to urgent care. The owner kept saying, “He’s really not a mean dog.” I beg to differ. Turns out the owner normally keeps him penned but had let him out while he was mowing the grass – he never even knew what had happened until he saw all the emergency vehicles on the road. He got a summons and the dog was taken by animal control for 10-day quarantine because his rabies and other shots weren’t up to date – of course! What a bitch of a thing to happen when I was having one of my best rides of the season.
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© Ted C. MacRae 2014

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The day everything changed

The following is an entry dated October 10 from my 2003 Training Log. It was my normal 22-mile lunchtime ride from Chesterfield to Frontenac along Conway and back to Chesterfield along Clayton and Baxter. I was near the end of the ride when my  world was (literally) turned upside down:

Solo ride on a beautiful day. Today, however, everything changed. I was descending at ~30 mph down Baxter just N of Clayton. There’s a sewer grate about halfway down the hill – I look back and I see this landscaper’s type truck behind me. He wasn’t real close, so I signal left, take the middle of the lane until I pass the grate, then move back over to the right. I hear the trunk revving up – he passes me fast and close and then veers hard into my line – that’s when I realize he’s also pulling a trailer! The trailer broadsides me before I have a chance to react, and I go down hard. I remember hitting the back of my head on the street and tumbling over several times. As soon as I stopped, I crawled over the curb onto the grass and just layed there face down. People were there to help me within seconds, including several witnesses. The driver left the scene, but one of the witnesses chased him down and got his license. I spent the next 8 hours in the ER at St. John in a neck brace. Eventually, x-rays cleared me and they let me go with a bruised back and shoulder, a wrenched knee, a few stitches, and lots of road rash. My helmet is destroyed – big cracks all over the back half with chunks of foam missing – it saved my life!

No broken bones makes it seem like I got off easy, and considering I was still alive I guess that was the case. However, it would be ten weeks before my knee heeled and I could get back on the bike (a loaner from Mike W—my Kestrel was destroyed). Here is the entry from my training log dated December 12—the day I first got back on the bike:

Solo ride on cold, gray day. FIRST ride back after being hit by the truck. Not surprisingly, I’ve lost a lot of strength and stamina. I winded quickly and had to use very low gears on the hills, and my butt really hurts! My knee twinged a couple of times on me – it still has some pain – but overall it held up fine. I’ve got a long road back – which is depressing, but it was really great to be on a bike again. The cold didn’t bother me even though the last time I rode I wore short sleeves. Mike W. gave me loaner to use for now – a Cannondale CAAD7 will full DuraAce and Ksyrium wheels. It’s an all out racing machine – quick and super responsive. The frame is much stiffer than my Kestrel (may she rest in peace!), so I’m not sure how much I’d like it for long training rides.

 I didn’t know it at the time, but that ride was the first small step towards what turned out to be my breakout season as a bike racer.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2003, 2013

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2003 Missouri State Time Trial—my first state TT

I’ve been reading through some of my old training logs and found this entry dated June 8, 2003—almost exactly 10 years ago—for the Missouri State Time Trial Championships in Jefferson City. I was a 2nd year racer and had just moved up to Cat 4, and by this time I had done only a few very short time trials and was still racing my old Kestrel with standard wheels and clip-on aerobars. Despite all this, for some reason I had the feeling that time trialing was something I would enjoy. After reading this entry, considering how excruciatingly painful an experience I describe it being, I’m almost amazed that I ever did another time trial. However, I guess that first tantalizingly close taste of success was enough to light the fire.

ABSOLUTELY THE HARDEST RACE I HAVE EVER DONE!!! The course was along Hwy 94 in the Missouri River bottoms north of Jefferson City – 20 km (12.4 miles) straight out and 20 km straight back. I raced Masters 45-49, got an early start time (#8), did a 45 minute warmup with three progressive intervals, and arrived at the start line about 3 minutes before I was set to go. Awesome tailwind going out, but I pushed as hard as I could anyway to try to make up as much time as possible. I passed #6 just before the split (25:51, 29.4 mph), made a nice, sharp, quick turnaround and started back into a BRUTAL headwind! I held 22-23 mph the first 2-3 miles and passed a tandem (#7). Then the winds became excruciating – I struggled to keep it above 20 mph. I started playing mind games to force myself to keep cadence and not shift down a gear – counting pedal strokes, counting my breathing and matching it to my pedal strokes. I passed #5 with a decked out tri-bike. I switch my computer from avg speed to distance traveled and counted down the 1/10th miles. I hummed Slayer’s Angel of Death. The last 4 miles I thought I was gonna die – my thighs were on fire, I couldn’t get comfortable on the saddle, my mouth was dry but I couldn’t risk interrupting my cadence to drink. I was going about 17. 5 mph. Then, finally, I could see the finish line. I had nothing extra to give – no standup sprint or anything. All I could do was just keep doing what I was doing until at last I crossed the line. My time was right at 64:04 (23.2 mph). At first, I was a little disappointed, but as more and more people came back and I heard them talk, it looked like times were off by about 2 minutes from last year (which was a straight crosswind out and back). Everybody was saying this was the toughest TT they’d ever done. I started feeling pretty good about my time. Then the officials came back, and I learned that I got 2nd place. I got a silver medal that says “State Championships” on it. The winning time was 62:35. I would’ve also gotten 2nd place had I done the Men’s 4/5.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2003, 2013.

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