PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : KCNC Components: Bike Remodel

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KCNC Components: Bike Remodel
There are some great new bikes to be had this season and you’ll see a few here shortly that pretty much completely ignore the world financial picture. But this winter I wanted to see how I could shed some weight and add some bling to bring my custom Lynskey.


It’s not like it was anything short of fairly attractive in it’s current trim level, but with the still stunning paint and because Ti isn’t exactly done after a season or two, it was time to freshen up the Lynskey Custom



A call in to Fairwheel Bikes about one part pretty much always leads to talking about 2 or 3 others and that was the case this time around as I was hunting things for a NAHBS project.

Part of the problem with Fairwheel bikes is that they not only know their bling but also unfortunately keep a stocking supply of funky, tricked out parts that most shops would struggle even to special order…

While that doesn’t sound like it should be considered a “problem”, for guys with the self control of a 6 year old (me) it is absolutely a bad thing. And sure enough, as the conversation turned from getting bailed out on a part for a project build to sprucing up my Lynskey, the talk of bottle cages turned into this…



The funny part is that this was actually a show of great restraint because I resisted the several other things KCNC produce…

QR

Since I’m stupid, I start with what’s simple… About the easiest thing to operate on a bike is called “quick” in the first place and the QR’s from KCNC are a really nice, exceptionally functional piece of hardware, especially considering the weight.



KCNC claim 46 grams but they cheated us out of two grams of material somewhere…

Some light weight wheel clamps don’t function as smoothly or for as long as I like. I am frequently swapping wheels and just can’t hack some of the weight-first designs on the market, but these simply perform like fatter clamps. A ball shape on a smooth surface I guess does the trick with smooth actuation and lots of surface area despite the size.



These also have a pretty reasonable closing ratio, taking up plenty of slack as you close them so finding so they’re not what I would call “finicky”. It’s easy getting them on without 3-4-5 slight adjustments to find the right spot for secure closure.

And they come in a slew of colors…




Brakes

Aftermarket brakes have become a pretty popular item over the past few years and KCNC getting in to the game was really no surprise.

What was a bit of a surprise was how inclusive the package was, especially given that these brakes come in at a lower price point than several competitive offerings.



Most companies have standard metal clincher pads included but KCNC also toss in carbon wheel comp pads…



Another nice touch is that they have a few different sized mounting bolts included rather than assuming (incorrectly) that all fork and rear brake bridges are the same…



While some aftermarket brakes are pretty interesting to set up (read pain in the ass), the KCNC set bolts on as easy anyone’s stock brakes. Simple as can be. And the Pad and cable bolts are a convenient same size 4m…



The one part that stands out most on the brakes for me is the QR (wheel release) lever. It’s BIG. It also takes a little more force to open and close than I would think it needs but it does an excellent job of blowing open the brakes themselves which at days end is what it needs to do…

The pad holders themselves are very nice and plenty light, with KCNC machining away loads of excess weight.



Judging braking function for this set is in the eye (er hand) of the user.

These will stop similar to something like Zero Gravity Ti brakes so there is more squeeze range and they don’t translate as much initial force as some others (pad compounds being equal). But the action is smooth and consistent and you won’t get any surprises along the way with these.

Some people like a brake with a bit more room to play before clamping with lock up force and skidding and some folks like loads of power. If you’re a fan of the first, you’ll like these. Larger riders might like other things like Negative G TRP 960 and M5 for their aftermarket fix…

The other kind of flex for brakes comes isn’t felt in braking force but in the form of arm twist. People feel this in the form of rim chatter and pulsing and it’s more evident using some rim and pad combinations than others. The KCNC are again not the stiffest in the class here but are not the worst either. I’m a mid weight guy and it was only at lower speeds on carbon rims that these performed less than optimal. Again they’re close to Zero G Ti brakes in this kind of flex.

One little complaint comes at the back of the brake where there is a channel that functions to keep the brake arms closing at the same rate (which works really well actually…).



It works just like it should but it gums up with dirt really easy and requires a good cleaning less you want to just flat wear it out with grit and grease grinding away.

The weight of these is supposed to be a feathery 168 grams and again I was cheated, this time by exactly 1 gram of material(167 grams for this set and a clean 112 grams saved over the stock SRAM Force set). The weight of all the parts here is a good sign that KCNC pay attention to something that is important to their target audience and are virtually right on weight spec.


They also come in a few colors as we showed at Interbike…





Get Cranken

The biggest visual bang came from KCNC’s Ktype Cranks…

As standard they come in a pretty appealing black on black.



But I tend to play around with color (not necessarily to everyone’s taste, but, well, screw you…) and because Fairwheel Bikes are pretty big on tinkering, the box popped open and as they say in the Parisian part of Arizona,

“Waah Laah, bitches”



The SRAM Force set originally on the Lynskey initially sat right at 782 grams on the scale. The KCNC full set came in a bit below at 700 dead even (6 grams less than claimed. So there’s an easy 82 grams…

Install was, as was the theme for basically everything I’ve done with KCNC) a snap. Everything lined up properly and the install was straight forward with nothing special to do…

The machining on these is as everything is with KCNC; tight clean and nice to look at.



The arms look solid but a closer peak reveals how KCNC get the weight down in these metal arms. There are a couple of Weight Weenie tunnels of love that get sealed off …



The BB it’s self is a pretty simple design with a shaft, sleeve and external bearings that come together for a very simple and snug fit.



Different folks require different things from their cranks and the statistic of the day is the same here as it seems to be on the frame side… The stiffness to weight ratio.

An interesting stat though is that the amount of deflection for cranks is pretty minimal all in all. Toss out the stiffest and the least stiff and there might not be more than one tenth of an inch under 250 lb load… Still there is a difference and if you’re other gear is suitably stiff, cranks can flex enough that you feel it.

That said, these are not the top of the line cranks when stiffness is the measure and when tossing legitimately high performance watts into these, they will flex a bit on you. With that being the case, for people completely focused on performance and possessing the abilities to push cranks to the limit, these might not be your logical first or second choice.

But looking at a show like NAHBS recently, There are a lot of folks out there that are looking for something not only beautiful but also more than enough for the most aggressive recreational riding. These absolutely fit that bill.

So what was the conversion like?

Of course I tinkered a little more with parts and a set of custom finished wheels from Ligero Wheels helped cap it all off…



And I couldn’t think of skinning these in anything but Vittoria natural color Corsa’s.

And I already have a few KCNC cassettes that also dressed things up.

The topper was a Saddle change to Prologo’s swap top type “Choice” saddle.



I finally went with a Red top and white base and Gold cap, but your choices can obviously vary here…

The end result was a pretty nice change from a bike caught between modern and more classic….



I guess it’s still caught between modern and old school, but it has a bit more lean toward classic now.



The total bill (not including custom Gold color for the cranks) isn’t bad. Retail for the Brakes is $330 bucks, the Cranks are just $375 and the QR’s are an afterthought at $72…

Not bad given that I dropped more than a half pound out of the bike while dressing it up, but then “not bad” is a relative term…


All of this kit and waaaaay more can be found at FAIRWHEEL BIKES.

If you’re not a fan of this style there are plenty more ways to go broke…


Have Fun,

Charles Manantan





Thanks for looking. We’re happy to bring you lots of large pictures instead of making you click a bunch of extra pages. We would rather make things convenient and entertaining for you than artificially inflate our page views…

Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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