Il Progetto: Nederaap CX-V

Building a frame has been, since childhood, a dream which always seemed a little bit out of reach. Aside from not being sure how not to do it wrong, I’ve always assumed that, in addition to nunchuck and computer-hacking skills, my lacking of welding skills would render any would-be frame unridable at best and lethal at worst. Not to mention the associated downgrade to my living conditions, based on the assumption that a house is less comfortable after being burned down in whole or in part, and that said burning would terminate abruptly and with little warning the relationship with my VMH.

Unbeknownst to me, @Cyclops has harbored a similar dream. Fortunately for him, having only one eye doesn’t give depth perception in foresight, and as such he wasn’t hampered by my aforementioned concerns. Instead of dreaming, @Cyclops took action: he bought himself a book, a welding set, some cheap tubing, a fireproof suit (I assume), and busied about practicing the basic skills required to build a frame. Once he was sure he had it pegged, he picked up a good set of Columbus tubing, and set about building his first official frame.

For reasons that I hope don’t include “if it falls apart, a face-plant can’t make him uglier”, @Cyclops decided to pay me the great honor of building his first frame for me, serial number FS0001. I had no idea, of course, until I got an email saying he was shipping something to me and would I be home to receive a package. Yeah, sure, no problem, whatever – @Cyclops is a bit of a craftsman and sends me his creations occasionally. A few days later, I get a considerably more worried email, saying that bad weather delayed the package and it would arrive a day later – would I still be home. No, sorry, can’t be – I’ve meetings that I can’t move – one must occasionally do their job, after all.

Worried emails turned into worried voicemails until eventually @Cyclops seemed intense even on a scale adjusted for his usual intensity. But thanks to UPS being late in delivery, I was home by the time the box arrived and I sent a text message saying all seemed well. I opened the door to find a bike-sized box on my porch, and my curiosity was piqued. It’s a funny thing, how used we get to seeing boxes that contain bike parts; my first thought was, “Oh, that looks like a frame” but immediately dismissed the notion as impossible. When I dragged the box inside, my VMH’s reaction was similarly tuned, “Did you buy a frame you didn’t tell me about?”

As I unpacked the box, I migrated through a confused web of impressions and apprehension as removal of packing and wrapping material revealed first an orange frame and then a custom orange frame bearing the designation Nederaap – a play on “DutchMonkey” combining the Dutch words for the Netherlands (Nederland) and Monkey (Aap). Further inspection revealed a beautiful, steel cyclocross frame with carbon wishbone seat stays, handbuilt by @Cyclops himself.

The amazing thing about this frame is how absolutely Fantastic it looks, despite being built by a crazy person. Anyone looking at the frame would have no idea that some dude in Idaho bought a book and blowtorch and built it from scratch.

I’ve been planning on getting into CX for a few seasons, but among the various reason’s I’ve not done so is the fact that I’ve not been able to track down a frame in a geometry that I’m satisfied with. But ‘Clops had a master plan there as well, as he matched the dimensions on the frame to those of my beloved Cervélos – adjusted for CX. Problem solved.

In addition to this being an incredibly kind gesture – and one I really don’t know how to (a) explain or (b) repay, @Cyclops has breathed new life into my dream to someday build frames myself. I look forward to the day he becomes my Framebuilding Sensei, just as Oli recently became my Wheelbuilding Sensei. What a cool, generous community we have here.

With that, I officially start Il Progetto: Nederaap CX-V. For various reasons including that I’d like to move Bike #3 from Shimano to Campa, my plan is to move my 7701 group over to the CX-V. In addition to wanting the same kit on all three road bikes, I like the idea of the ultra-reliable 9-speed Shimano group being the one to be dragged through the mud and the crud. The next order of bidniz is to figure out what finishing kit goes on. 3T Rotundos and Fi’zi:k Arione are no-brainers for the contact points, but the rest is pretty much up for grabs. I’ve always been a fan of Alpha-Q forks, though @Cyclops designed the frame with a Richey in mind. Alpha-Q’s are still available if you know where to look; but surely there are other options, and I like the idea of getting the fork for which the frame was designed. There is the question of wheels as well – do I build up a set, buy complete, or repurpose wheels I already have? Then there are the matters of brakes, chainrings, seatpost, and stem. I can’t think of a better way to spend the next several months but pondering these serious problems at length.

Check out @Cyclops’ framebuilding site for documentation of the process, and start making plans for your first Factory Five frame. @Cyclops: thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/Nederaap/”/]

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147 Replies to “Il Progetto: Nederaap CX-V”

  1. @frank
    That is a sublime piece of awesome. Love it.

    @Cyclops
    Chapeaux. Strong work like that make my recent anti-v worryings about bar wrapping seem somewhat shameful.

    Did you make the CF wishbone rear as well?

  2. That thing is so damn sick. Awesome work cyclops! Love love love the orange.

    I took a welding class at a community college one summer, it was really fun. Someday when I have a house and shop I’d like to get back into it…

  3. It should be no surprise some guy in Idaho could get a book and and a torch and do something eloquent. Remember, that’s where they found Randy Weaver. Strange folk in potatoe land.

    All kidding aside, that’s a beautiful frame. @cyclops should start showing his wares around Portland. Some shops would pick that up for sure.
    Nicely done, and great gift.

  4. Absolutely awesome! I’m a big fan of wishbone seat stays for their aesthetic appeal and the carbon just pops next to the orange steel. Of course it goes without saying the lugged tubing is a heart stopper and essential design element on any steel frame. Nice job!

  5. @Cyclops
    Just out of curiosity, and I think you still have my e-mail addy if you don’t want to post up publicly; how much did the materials set you back? I’ve been thinking about doing some frame work (that’ll never get posted here), but wonder if it’s cost prohibitive.

  6. @Cyclops
    Its in there twice, Clevis Pin! Even with the caption:

    Useful for sending a message to those behind.

    I know how those decals work; I’m not sure how you got the V inside the cog so perfectly.

  7. @Chris
    I had the same question about the seat stay. My guess is no but Cyclops’ talents are boundless so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

    Clarification (warning: pedantry and hairsplitting to follow): Rear carbon seat stays, not triangle. The chain stays appear to be steel.

    As someone who has been involved in high-level discussions with frank about his CX purchase, I must say that in all of our discussions, something this ideal never entered the fray. You couldn’t have done a finer and more perfect job, Cyclops. Well done. I can’t wait to see it built up (the 9sp dura ace should be about perfect)

    Put me on the list for a frame too, if you’re taking orders that is. Excellent article and stupendous progetto.

  8. Way to go Cyclops! Awesome job! I think Frank owes you massive quantities of your beer of choice for a year – at least.

  9. @frank

    @Cyclops
    Its in there twice, Clevis Pin! Even with the caption:

    Useful for sending a message to those behind.

    I know how those decals work; I’m not sure how you got The V inside the cog so perfectly.

    Whoa, that was weird, the first time I went through the slide show those weren’t in there. I didn’t see the seat cluster or head tube lug shot either.

  10. Also while we are over-analyzing, any estimate on the final weight of the build?

    I have not ridden a modern steel bike, but I understand now that they can rival the weights of most other modern bikes to a certain extent?

    I also think steel is a smart choice for a bike that will most certainly be involved in some crashing, even if it is just Frank running into a jump obstacle with the front tire and catapulting himself 20 feet through the air…

  11. Wow! That’s is well beyond awesome. Just imagining how you must have felt when you pulled it out of the box brings a huge smile to my face.

  12. @Cyclops
    why is the head tube so long? or are my eyes deceiving me? and I am a bit concerned about the rear drop out, if the derailleur gets into the spokes or something, this beautiful frame is ruined.

  13. @JC Belgium

    @Cyclops
    why is the head tube so long?

    Because @Frank is extremely well hung.

    @JC Belgium

    @Cyclops
    …and I am a bit concerned about the rear drop out, if the derailleur gets into the spokes or something, this beautiful frame is ruined.

    Steel is real, baby!

  14. @Cyclops
    Oh ok, like most Nederaap, he is tall…
    I was not too sure, I am from the alloy-carbon generation. you just bend it back in position?

  15. @cyclops I bet the pix do not do it justice, the colour of a freshly painted steel frame pops in the daylight. This I know. Did you have a steelone when your idea met your expectation? I salute you. Is this tinkering or are you going on with this? NAHBS?

  16. @Cyclops

    @frank

    @Cyclops
    Its in there twice, Clevis Pin! Even with the caption:

    Useful for sending a message to those behind.

    I know how those decals work; I’m not sure how you got The V inside the cog so perfectly.

    Whoa, that was weird, the first time I went through the slide show those weren’t in there. I didn’t see the seat cluster or head tube lug shot either.

    Not likely, since I haven’t touched the pics since publishing the article. I’m hope you’re better at welding than you are at running a photoalbum, clevis pin.

  17. @Cyclops
    Strong work, Cyclops! Building frames is something I’ve always wanted to do but never gotten around to learning, so it’s always really cool to see a noob just get stuck in like you have – especially when something so beautiful is the end result.

    @frank
    You’re a lucky man! I look forward to the first ride report, but if I hear the words “laterally stiff but vertically compliant” I’m going to be mildly irritated…

  18. @mcsqueak

    Also while we are over-analyzing, any estimate on the final weight of the build?
    I have not ridden a modern steel bike, but I understand now that they can rival the weights of most other modern bikes to a certain extent?
    I also think steel is a smart choice for a bike that will most certainly be involved in some crashing, even if it is just Frank running into a jump obstacle with the front tire and catapulting himself 20 feet through the air…

    Its not heavy, 4 pounds I think – ‘Clops can tell you, I’m sure. But I bet the whole weight will depend more on the finishing kit than the frame’s weight. Wheels, etc, will make a more significant impact. One thing I’ve learned from having a lightweight carbon bike, a steel frame, and an alu frame that I ride side-by-side is that the bikes weight isn’t such a big deal, so long as you’re below 90 or 95 percent of your threshold. Even a frame’s flex doesn’t matter that much until you’re about to pop a lung out and start pedaling squares – if you’re pedaling nice and round, the forces tend to balance out pretty well and you don’t get too much flex.

    Now, if you’re riding á bloc and at the limit and you’re giving up smoothness in an effort to pull the last bit of power out of the guns, now you start to see a difference.

    My guess is that when I’m done with the build, it will be 17.6 pounds.

  19. @zalamanda

    @cyclops I bet the pix do not do it justice, the colour of a freshly painted steel frame pops in the daylight. This I know. Did you have a steelone when your idea met your expectation? I salute you. Is this tinkering or are you going on with this? NAHBS?

    Indeed, the pics don’t, although I managed to take advantage of the sunny day we had last week to snap those shots of it. The sun was out for like 40 minutes and happened to also go through my window, so I leapt at the chance. Also, its covered in dust because the frame is all staticy from being wrapped in styrofoam and our house is dry (winter with heaters going) and is making the case worse. The second I wipe it down, it gathers more dust. In reality, the finish is 100% smooth.

    I tried to capture the twinkle of the sunlight under the coating of the frame in this shot (also in the album):

    @zalamanda

    I s’pose you could say: staal is echt!!

    A+1

  20. @zalamanda

    I hope that it turns into at least supplemental income. I have a vision. While I’m all for free enterprise and capitalism I believe that without a moral compass these turn into greed and lead to the economic straits that the world currently finds itself in. I think that if one is building in a small garage with virtually no overhead other than materials there is no reason to charge $3500 for a frame. I’m thinking that my frames, without the carbon seat stay and no fork should run in $1000 – $2000 range depending on the materials used. Or another way to look at it is if it takes me two weeks to build a frame and I net $1k that seems fair enough. You get a custom frame for about half the going rate and I get money to spend on bike parts. Everybody is happy.

  21. @frank

    @mcsqueak
    My guess is that when I’m done with the build, it will be 17.6 pounds.

    I smell a special-edition VSP race: guess the final weight of Frank’s CX rig.

  22. I am absolutely flabbergasted. I’ll share a little secret–I’m a corporate litigator. In that line of work, it is so very, VERY rare for me to witness anything approaching this type of unselfish generosity from anyone (except of course from my VMH, who is truly a unique soul). The fact that this community is made up of people who will do things like this for one another is simply an incredible and rare thing, and I am honored to be at least a small part of it.

    Truly, chapeau to you, Cyclops.

  23. @all
    Ok, yeah, yeah, beautiful frame, yeah yeah. Whatever. Down to business. How am I building this up? I need opinions on kit so I have something to ignore when I get around to making decisions.

    SO. Do I build wheels? I’ve also been wanting to go with Firecrest wheels for the #1 (maybe tubbies) and then could move the 404’s to either Bike #3 or the CX bike – if I move the 404’s to the CX bike, that frees up the Ksyriums on there now for Nederaap.

    How does wheel strength figure for CX? Or, I build, since I assume I’m a badass wheel builder now. Seems kinda fitting, too, with a handbuilt frame to run handbuilt wheels. On the other hand, deep-section wheels seems to be very sensible for CX as it helps keep the shit off the cantis.

    Which begs the next question: which cantis do I go for?

  24. @Cyclops

    I don’t know which I find more awesome, that you could build it or that you would give it away. In either case, I’m totally impressed. Well done!

  25. @JC Belgium

    @Cyclops … and I am a bit concerned about the rear drop out, if the derailleur gets into the spokes or something, this beautiful frame is ruined.

    Indeed. I had this happen to my prized Seven Alaris custom Ti frame. I had a shift malfunction on a climb – I was going to the sur le plaque on the cassette – (and yeah, I know I’m going to hear it from you assholes on *this* usage) when the chain jumped over and sucked the deraileur into the spokes. The hangar is integral to the frame, and it bent the shit out of the driveside dropout, and cracked the deraileur. The frame had to go back to the factory; they treated me fairly. I did ask them if a frame mod was possible to make it a replaceable hangar that would have just sheared off, and they claimed they don’t offer the option, and I was about the only person that had the problem.

  26. @frank

    @The OracleA-Merckx, man. A-Merckx. I was similarly flabbergasted. And because I can’t resists: You know its really cold outside when you see a lawyer walk down the street with his hands in his own pockets.

    Luckily, it’s been a record-warm winter here!

  27. @eightzero
    Yeah, Ti has memory, so once you bend it, it will keep sucking. Staal is echt, maak het maar recht! (That’s Dutch for, “Steel is real, so just bend the fucker back.”)

  28. @frank
    I vote handbuilts if only for the story you get to tell. That said, how do the Nemesis rims go for cx.

  29. @frank

    @allOk, yeah, yeah, beautiful frame, yeah yeah. Whatever. Down to business. How am I building this up? I need opinions on kit so I have something to ignore when I get around to making decisions.
    SO. Do I build wheels? I’ve also been wanting to go with Firecrest wheels for the #1 (maybe tubbies) and then could move the 404″²s to either Bike #3 or the CX bike – if I move the 404″²s to the CX bike, that frees up the Ksyriums on there now for Nederaap.
    How does wheel strength figure for CX? Or, I build, since I assume I’m a badass wheel builder now. Seems kinda fitting, too, with a handbuilt frame to run handbuilt wheels. On the other hand, deep-section wheels seems to be very sensible for CX as it helps keep the shit off the cantis.
    Which begs the next question: which cantis do I go for?

    I am a newbie too at this Frank, and running gravel roads ready for midwest gravel grinders/races. I subscribe to the ‘if you don’t finish, its no good’ no matter how lite or fast. So I run some mavic classics on my cross ride, they are traditional open pro type rims, mavics indestructable hubs and all. Hit some hard enough downhills on it with pot holes and washboards that it flexed my frame and surly steel fork and it all made it fine. so in essence, those ksyriums are the toughest set IMHO and would dish it out in cx

    The firecrests and tubbies will be all that if your running masters stud class, so i would save my do-ra-me for those babies.

    your a lucky dog!

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