2009 Cove Handjob buildup (ex-Big Dan frame)

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Hi all,

A very slow project for me this year has been the build up of my 2009 Cove Handjob frame that I acquired from Big Dan via the RB for sale section back in January. Family life in general (I have two daughters aged 2 and 3 to keep entertained!) keeps bike building time to a minimum, but I was able to get it to the stage it is now (see pics at the bottom) back in July.

We then moved house in August, meaning that the bike has sat in the garage for the past few months, but I am now determined to get it finished in time for Christmas so my brother can ride with me when he visits from Melbourne over the holidays.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story from this point:




Here is the frame in its original orange colour as purchased from Big Dan, along with some of the parts that I had gathered for the build at that stage. I was fortunate to receive some spare frame stickers that Dan had in his possession. I also ordered a sticker sheet from slikgraphics later on to fill in the gaps, notably the ‘Handjob’ stickers.





The frame had a few chips in the paint, and I had my heart set on a white colour scheme anyway after being inspired by a white one I saw on the mtbr forums. I sent the frame away to be powdercoated by Roberto’s Custom Powder in Morningside and here is the finished result.





I can’t speak highly enough of Roberto’s work, the frame came back looking absolutely flawless. I always pictured powdercoated finishes to have something of an orange peel look to them (and was prepared to live with that), but the gloss level he manages to achieve easily rivals that of a spraypainted finish. I have attempted to capture the gloss finish in the photo above to illustrate this.





Next step was the frame stickers. As I was terrified of getting things misaligned, this involved a LOT of planning, measuring, checking by eye, and use of masking tape as a guide for lining up the sticker edges.





All stickers applied. As I couldn’t bear to ride around on a bike with the word ‘handjob’ on it (and neither could Dan, check the first pic!) I decided to rearrange the letters to form ‘Bad John’. I’ll admit that this idea was pinched directly from a bike I saw on the mtbr forum, but I thought it was too clever not to use myself. (And besides, Bad John is really the only anagram you can form from those letters!)





I had purchased an FSA Orbit MX headset for this build, and had the LBS press the cups into the frame. I intended to use the fork from my previous hardtail (Recon Solo Air 100mm), and as the headtube lengths on my old bike and the Cove were pretty much the same, I didn’t anticipate any problems.

However I overlooked the fact that the old frame had an integrated headset and the Cove uses an external cup type, which left too little steerer tube (only 31mm) protruding for the stem to clamp on to. :doh:





At first I considered getting a Superstar short stack stem as a solution, but decided to investigate lower stack headsets instead. I actually wasn’t sure what stem length to go for, and wanted to be able to experiment with some varying length stems (standard 40mm stack height) that I already have.

I was very fortunate to find an FSA Orbit Xtreme headset for sale which has a much lower stack height than the MX, and freed up enough steerer length to allow the use of standard stems (such as the Thomson 90mm one pictured, kindly donated by my brother). I also have 70, 80 and 100mm stems in my parts box that I can experiment with once the bike is up and running. I had a 90mm on my previous hardtail, so am using that as a starting point on this one.





Much better!



This bike is being built on something of a budget (family life will demand this!), so I am building it up with a solid, if not spectacular spec. The forum classifieds and eBay have been my friend here, allowing me to get some decent gear (e.g. SLX, XT) and keep the spending in check.

With the budget in mind, and having white rims in mind for my colour scheme, I settled on a Shimano MT55 wheelset. Even though my current fork is a 9mm QR, I decided to get the 15mm front axle option to ‘future-proof’ the bike as I would like to upgrade to a 120mm fork one day. The combination of white, 15mm axle and 1 1/8” steerer (with required length) is proving to be pretty rare, but I am hoping to find a Float/Revelation/Sektor/etc that will fit the bill.

I also took the opportunity to run a 9mm thru axle (rather than QR) by purchasing the appropriate adapter from eBay and an axle from Superstar in the UK. While a 15mm fork might be a while away for me yet, this should at least be something of an upgrade in terms of stiffness while I run with the Recon.









So here are some pics of the bike in its current state:








Not far to go now, all that’s really left for me to do is:

  • Frame protection film (started this past weekend)
  • Front derailleur
  • Shifters and cables
  • Pedals
  • Chain
  • Trim the zip ties for the rear brake line :biggrin1:

Will post more pics (and a spec list) when it is complete, hopefully very soon! Hope you enjoy.

Matt
 

aanon

Likes Dirt
Sweet build mate, Bad John, I like it.
Have you considered going single chainring with a NW type chain ring and clutch mech .
I reckon it's heaps better than a double or triple.
Either way she looks like a ripper.
 
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ChopSticks

Banned
Great write up Matt
was a pleasure to read !

Have you thought about routing that brake hose through the small rear triangle behind the seat collar? Instead of having it expose on the 'outside' of the frame?
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Cheers guys.

Aanon, would love to try something like that one day. But budget restrictions (as well as spare parts already in my posession) mean I will be running trusty old 3x9 for the time being.

Hadn't thought about the brake hose Chopsticks, but will take a look and try it out soon. I also imagine it would look neater, I just routed it where it is following all the other HJ builds I had seen pictures of (including on Cove's website). Will likely depend on whether I can thread either the brake lever or caliper through that triangle, would prefer not to disconnect the hose and re-bleed.....
 

Doggy

Inconceivable!
I had my 09 V10 frame powder coated what one could say was a fairly loud purple colour and it came out unreal, it was a bit of a newish colour for him so he wasnt 100% sure how durable it was going to be but he was up front about that before he did it incase I wished to change the colour. He even filled in the dings on the frame and smoothed out some rock gouges too. Would happily get another frame done by him in a second
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Nice Matt, its come up a treat eh.
Cheers Dan, I hope I am doing your old bike justice mate. Sorry it has taken me so long to finally let you know what has been happening with it!

He even filled in the dings on the frame and smoothed out some rock gouges too. Would happily get another frame done by him in a second
Did the same for me too, forgot to mention that! There was one minor ding on the downtube (Dan will be familiar with it, haha) that I was pleasantly surprised to find was no longer there when I picked the frame up. Didn't even ask him to do it either, just part of his excellent service.

I too will definitely be a return customer if the need ever arises.
 
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Cúl-Báire

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Nice Handjob; I had one of these a few years ago - they ride nice!!! :horn:

Couldn't trouble you for a link to the 15 / 9mm adapter for the Shimano hubs could you? :thumb:
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Couldn't trouble you for a link to the 15 / 9mm adapter for the Shimano hubs could you? :thumb:
No problem mate, the seller's name is 'mtbtools' and here is a link:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mountain-Bike-15mm-Thru-Axle-to-9mm-Quick-Release-Wheel-Adapter-/251374805174?pt=Cycling_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3a871b20b6&_uhb=1

Note that he calls this item a 15mm to 9mm QR Adapter - he names them according to the diameter of the skewer itself so this one suits the 9mm thru axle. He calls the adapter for regular QR a '15mm to 5mm' as the skewer is actually 5mm in diameter. Take a look at his ad and his other items and you'll see what he is on about.

Total cost to my door was $28.44. This was back in October so may be slightly different now depending on how the exchange rate has varied since then.
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
It's taken me forever but I have finally found time to take some photos of the finished bike and update the thread.

I actually did finish it in time for my brother's Christmas visit so my target was actually reached, it's just taken me a while to get around to doing this, but that's kids and a new house for you.

Have ridden it a few times now and the bike is simply amazing to ride. Coming from my previous hardtail (a Schwinn Moab) it's a revelation, and I don't remember having so much fun on ANY bike. This is my first steel ride, and the feel of it compared to alloy is like night and day. The geometry is fantastic as well, the thing just wants to leap off every jump/ledge without me even having to try. I am used to riding bikes that always want to keep the front end down all the time, and really having to work hard to jump them properly, but this just makes you feel like a pro.

This is definitely going to be the bike I take out the most often, for the near future at least (sorry, Trance!).


Specs:
Fork - Rockshox Recon SL Solo Air (2010), 100mm
Headset - FSA Orbit Xtreme
Brakes - SLX M665
Rotors - XT RT79, 160mm F/R
Wheels - Shimano MT55
Tyres - Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35, Trailstar front, Pacestar rear
Rear Cassette - XT
Cranks - SLX
Rear Derailleur - XT
Front Derailleur - XT
Shifters - SLX 3x9
Bar - Truvativ Stylo T30, 700mm
Stem - Thomson Elite X4, 90mm, 0 degrees
Grips - Jetblack Pro lockon (with alloy end caps)
Pedals - Shimano M520
Seatpost - FSA SL-250, 27.2mm
Seatpost Clamp - Hope
Saddle - WTB Laser V

Haven't weighed it or anything but pretty happy with the way it is. Have plans to change the fork (see below) and about the only other thing I may change is the rear tyre - the Dampf is a bit draggy but I'm having so much fun it's really a minor quibble!

Pics:






Chopsticks I took your advice on the rear brake line - the caliper fitted through the triangle just fine! Definitely looks a lot neater.


Rockshox Sektors that I purchased from Ben-e here on the forum. Need to space the travel on these down to 120mm and will fit them once this is done. Probably a little while off yet as I have a thousand other pressing priorities atm. Will update again when done though.

Hope you enjoy,
Matt
 
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macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Rockshox Sektors now fitted!

Well these past Christmas holidays I have finally been able to drop the travel on those Sektors and fit them to the bike! There have also been a couple of other upgrades over the past couple of years (wheels, brakes, shifters) but now that the fork is on I figured it was a good time for an update.

As noted in an earlier post, I bought a set of 2011 Sektor SL Solo Air forks a while back which came set at 150mm travel. The max recommended for the Cove frame is 120mm (or more specifically, an A-C of 510mm) and I decided to learn to do this myself. On the holidays I read up the SRAM tech docs, watched some videos on youtube, picked up the spacers & fluids (thanks NSD) and got to work. Turned out to be a pretty straightforward process and I was chuffed at having done it on my own. (I'll admit however that I didn't touch the damper!) After putting it back together the A-C is now around 500mm, so I could probably get away with 130mm travel. Maybe next time I have the lowers off I'll pull out the 10mm spacer, but for now I'll see how it rides with 120mm.

Last year I was fortunate enough to come across a set of white Stans Arch rims (on XT hubs) for sale, so the MT55's were quickly sold off to make way! I have also changed the brakes and shifters to XT (both from SLX) and put on a Thomson 70mm stem. Otherwise the specs are the same as before. Oh and I have changed to black ODI Rogue grips, the white ones were a pain to keep clean!

Here is a pic of the old Recon removed (note oil on air spring stanchion, needs a service!) and the new one ready to go on:




And some pics of the completed bike:








Well I reckon it's pretty much as I want it now, spec-wise there's nothing else I really want to do to it. Time now to ride and enjoy. Haven't ridden it yet, but hoping to get out this coming weekend. Can't friggin' wait!
 
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macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Taken it out for a couple of rides now and it's an absolute blast.

Only minor quibble is the front end now wanders a bit more on the climbs than before, may experiment a bit with the 90mm stem and see how that feels.

A pic in its natural habitat:
(Daisy Hill in this case)



Well I guess that's about it in terms of updates, there's nothing more I really want to do to it! Now just going to ride and enjoy. Thanks for reading.
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Thanks Dan. Would love to catch up and let you take a closer look some time mate. Does FRF still happen these days? Never hear about it on MTBDirt anymore......
 

macca_1972

Likes Dirt
Ooooh, nice!

But my question is: still got the old fork surplus?
Yeah mate, old fork still with me. Plan is to service it (with my new-found confidence and skills for this!) and then sell it. Not sure when I'll get around to the service but I was hoping in the next month or so.

PM me if you're keen, since you've asked first I'm happy to direct preference your way.
 
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