I’ve been hankering for a Ti long travel hard tail for a while now but either been out of my price range or just not long travel enough i.e. 100-120mm. So when I saw the initial prototype of the SYNC I fell in love. I had ridden a 29er before, namely the Orange Gyro, and although takes a little more work to get going, flew down some of the Welsh trails very well. The larger wheels do seem to roll over technical trails better so when I saw the SYNC medium and large frames were 29er flavor (small 650b) I wasn’t put off (having only ever owned 26ers previously).
So here she is from frame and bits to a full build (using the upgraded FF29 build pack). I thought, having never blogged a full build up before, it was about time I did. One of the best bits for me with a new bike is to build it up myself. You get to know every aspect of the bike when you build it yourself and if something is wrong you have only one person to blame ;). But seriously at least if something ever goes wrong you prob know how to fix it. So here goes – The SYNC build – Obviously this the way I build and I sometimes cut a few corners so this isn’t a textbook build but it works for me after building all my bikes for the last 7 years..
Firstly I mount the frame on a decent work stand. Saves your back and allows you to work around the bike. I try to use an old seat post to clamp to; saves scuffing up your new one until you’ve finished. Regarding torque settings, most are written on each item or in the supplied instructions.
Just love the head tube…… Next LOL.
Best to clamp to the seat post as you’ll prob scuff the new one but more importantly don’t clamp it to the frame as later on you might need to use a bit of force on the bottom bracket and you don’t want to ding the top tube etc?
Next off is to push the fork crown race on. Now if you’re careful you can lightly tap it down with a screwdriver or piece of wood (there is a crown race tool but can be expensive) just do it gently after greasing the steerer.
Grease and pop on the 1.5″ bearing.
After greasing the top tube pop in the top bearing.
You can assemble the front end (including the centering sleeve and dust cap) the and use an old rear light seat post clamp to keep them clamped together if needs be before you assemble the collar, stem, bar and top cap (esp as you will need to cut the steerer eventually (the stressful bit!)
You can use a star fangled nut hammered inside the steerer but I prefer to use a steerer bung as you can remove them easily and replace them after cutting.
Assemble some of the collars and stem and clamp down to keep the forks from dropping off.
You are free then to loosely clam the bar on.
Mount the shifter pods and brakes loosely but be careful not to twist as you may scratch the bars.
Loosely mount the brake calipers front and back making sure the hoses correctly go through the parts of the frame or you’ll have to repeat.
Note: best to run the hose inside the rear triangle (not as below) on the SYNC.
Mount the front mech (doesn’t matter about being precise at this point).
Mount the rear axle and hanger and tighten the retaining screw to locate it into the right position.
Mount the rear mech and tighten.
Praxis PF30 bottom bracket next. Slide rubber washer to the non-drive side and grease. Slide on the outer plastic collar, grease each end and then place into the ND side of the BB.
I used a headset press with a couple of old sprockets to push the cup n’ collar into the frame. You could gently tap it into the gap is taken up (without compressing the rubber washer) with a rubber hammer and a piece of wood across at a push.
If you are using the hope Truvativ/SRAM/GXP system you’ll need to fit the non-drive side converter collars before you push the bearing in with the seal beneath.
Next screw in the drive side cup and tighten with a std Hollowtech II spanner till tight (as in instructions) – you will need a second HTII spanner on the ND side to stop it spinning (sorry could take a pic as not got 3 hands 😉 ). Next grease the axle and insert.
Pop on the crank and tighten to specified torque settings.
Wheels next. If you don’t want to go tubeless skip this bit. I used Roval rim tape to seal the rims (2 layers) starting 1 inch before the valve hole and finishing 1 inch after.
Using a blade I make 1/8th cuts into the hole.
Push the valve through the tape and push down hard and tighten the collar (valves supplied).
Mount the tyre leaving a small gap to put some tubeless sealant into the inside of the tyre, turn 180 degrees slowly then mount the tyre fully. Rotate the wheel so the valve is at the top, push down repeatedly whilst pumping up the tyre and should inflate easily (easy with the Bronson TRT). Shake the sealant around to seal the bead and any tiny holes in the sidewalls.
Next you will need to convert the Maxlight rear wheel from 135 to 142mm 12mm axle – this is easy – just put spanners/sockets on each end cap and unwind and replace with the appropriate caps supplied.
Next fit the rotors (lettering outside) – tighten alternate sides and rotate with a final tighten to specified torques (to prevent warping).
Grease the freehub body.
Mount the elements of the cassette using appropriate spacers in between (for the SRAM 1050).
Tighten lock ring with lock ring tool and torque wrench.
Mount the wheels front and rear and then you can alighn (centre) the rotor and caliper (often helped by braking at the same time as tightening) then making fine adjustments if there is and rotor rub.
Mount the chain on the biggest sprocket and biggest chain ring then add on link (with any quick links attached) – this defines the rough length for a hardtail.
Extract pin using a chain pin extractor and then re-thread the chain through the rear mech (note correct side in the cage) and then join with the quick link.
You can now adjust the height of the mech so that the cage when push out is about 3mm or so about the teeth of the outer chainring.
You can then align the inside of the cage parallel to the chainrings and tighten grub screw.
Next is the cabling – often people hate doing this but it’s one of those measure twice cut once things. Use sharp cable cutters, helps so much.
I use a small sharp braddle/hex key to open the ends up a little after cutting to prevent drag before putting the end caps on.
Offer up the uncut cable to each segment and I usually add a little bit on the end – better too long than to short – if too long just cut a few mm off until you are happy there is a smooth curve to any bend etc. The rear mechs have a better entry now but check the length of the outer as full extension of the mech.
Use smooth curves will reduce friction.
For the internal routing pull the cable guides through from the rear until they stop in the cable stops in the frame and cut on where they exit.
You may want to include some old cable in first just in case you lose the guides etc. Better to be safe than sorry.
Once you have cabled up and inserted the inner cable pull it tight and then loop through the mech correctly and then tighten the clamp bolt (you will need to do this a couple of times as the slack it taken up after shifting).
You can adjust the low limit screw was you rotate the crank until it is smooth running.
Do the same for the front mech.
You can set the inner limit screw first when on the granny ring and biggest sprocket and then shift up to the outer chainring and set the outer limit screw when on the smallest sprocket. When you have the rear and front indexed property so they shift correctly (combination of taking up the slack with the clamp bolt and fine tuning the shifter barrel adjusters) you can then adjust the high gear limit screw on the rear mech.
When you’re happy your pretty much indexed you can cut the inners shorter.
Then crimp on the supplied cable ends.
Make sure you use the pedal washers supplied in between the crank and pedal (stops seizure and deforming the crank arm) and use anti-seize on the threads.
Tighten up but don’t over tighten as they will tighten with use.
Now to cut the steerer. I usually ride up and down the road whilst the headset is a little loose just to find a rough position of the cockpit. At this point you need to remove from the stand and install the seat post and seat (make use the seat is level and flat in my experience). Take a fair amount of adjustment and pootling around to get the right fit. But once you are happy mark the steerer (measure twice cut once 😉 ). I always cut a bit less than I think – better too little than too much. Can always go back and cut some more off. I find a pipe cutter perfect for the job, cheap and accurate.
Just file off the rough bits.
Install the appropriate collars so there is a drop to the steerer beneath and then install the SFN or bung and torque up the top cap bold to preload the bearings (not too tight).
Sequentially tighten the stem bolts to the correct torque.
Align the controls (I found mounting the brakes outboard best), tighten the clamp bolts and then adjust the reach of the brake levers with a hex key.
Loosen the 15mm Syntace QR grub screw and alight the arm correctly after the axle has been tightened up.
All that is left is to make sure everything is tight and then put some helicopter (clear vinyl) tape in the bits of the frame you need to protect like the chainstay (unless you are using a neoprene one).
And cable rube areas such as the front down tube, head tube…..
and the seat tube.
So there she is – build time usually about a day for me being careful.
I’ve only ridden the SYNC for about 20km so far and pretty much got the cockpit setup (I take a tool on each ride with me in my pocket and stop every so often to adjust).
The SYNC is a great looking bike with lots of features such as the ability to use a direct mount hanger with Shimano mechs and also the ability to use an eccentric bottom bracket for single speeding. It also has frame mounts for a dropper post (which I shall be investing in at some point I think).
My initial impressions are of a very stable riding bike, very stiff back end (climbs superbly) and carries speed very well on and off-road esp with the Bronson 2.2’s. With 35psi in the tyres and a slightly softer fork setup I think we are becoming very good companions ;).
I took the SYNC out on a local trail with my DSLR and captured some ‘new’ bike shots below.