As I’ve fallen more and more in love with the sport of triathlon, it’s become clear to me (though perhaps not my wife) that I was in need of a triathlon or TT bike.
It was also clear to me that I was not going to drop $5000-$10,000+ on a brand name bike built of a Chinese-made frame and off the shelf Shimano components. While these brand name frames are undoubtedly very slippery and of high quality, until I get my dental certificate, I’d prefer to buy a frame inspired by the name brands, for a fraction of the cost, directly from China and bolt on the same components myself.
So, I started looking on Alibaba and stumbled upon the MC-095 from Miracle Bikes.
I contacted “Jenny” and we began talking about the frame. She sent me CAD drawings with dimensions and I compared the frame to my body dimensions. As best I could tell, this was a good fit.
Next, I went to eBay to secure the components for the bike. I’m not entirely sure how Shimano’s pricing structure works, but for one reason or another it’s SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive to purchase their components on eBay instead of from your local bike shop. As in >50% less expensive. On the bright side, I had a bunch of unused things laying around which I sold, allowing me to pay for the components with sales dollars.
I ended up going with the following:
1. Brake Levers – Shimano Ultegra Di2 ST-6871 11-Speed TT Brake/Shift Levers
2. Bar-End Shifters – SW-R671 Di2 TT Bar-End Shifters
3. Crankset – Ultegra FC-6800 53/39t 165mm
4. Rear Derailleur – Ultegra RD-6870 Di2 (medium cage)
5. Front Derailleur – Ultegra FD-6870 Di2 braze on
6. Chain – CN-9000 Dura Ace Chain 11s
7. Cassette – Ultegra CS-6800 11/28
8. Bottom Bracket – SM-BB9000 Dura Ace BB – BSA English
9. Front Wire Junction – SM-EW90-B Di2 Junction-A 5 port
10. Connecting Wires – EW-SD50 (lengths 100mm, 300mm, 550mm, 700mm, 950mm)
11. Rear Junction Box – SM-JC40 (for EXTERNAL)
12. Battery – SM-BTR1 Rechargeable Battery
13. Battery Mount SM-BMR1-LB LONG, EXTERNAL (for water bottle cage mounts)
14. Charger – SM-BCR1 (110V-220V) with power cord (for SM-BTR1)
15. Cable Set – BT-9000 Dura Ace Road Brake Cable Set
16. EWW011 Di2 Wireless Transmitter Unit
17. Ultegra PD-6800 Carbon SPD-SL Road Pedal Set w/ SM-SH11 Cleats
18. TRP TTV brakes front and rear
19+. The ISM Adamo saddle and Zipp wheels from my road bike and other assorted odds and ends
All my worries about shipping damages was for naught, the frame arrived undamaged and as described as did the components.
Having never built a bike, I spent a few minutes on YouTube learning how to install various components. Once I was confident that I could do the job, I jumped right in. So much so that I didn’t bother taking any picts of the process. Though you’re not missing much. The build was almost completely plug and play.
The only spot where I had to think for myself was figuring out how to mount the bottom junction box. Thankfully, there was a hole in the frame behind the rear brake fairing which was meant to run the manual front derailleur cable. I was able to tap and use a screw to mount the junction box to this hole. If someone really wants to see how I did it, let me know.
In order to get my 10-speed Zipps working with the 11-speed cassette, I found a guy in Taiwan that machined a freehub conversion kit. This kit saved me a ton of money by not needing to re-dish the wheels and buy a new hub.
It didn’t take long for me to get used to the new bike and start breaking PRs. Unfortunately, it also didn’t take me long to go too fast. I only got about 260ish miles on the bike before I crashed it. After a month of healing I was up for a look and I’m happy to say she’ll live to see miles 261 through 10,000.