Building the Storck

I've been looking for a TT bike frame for a while, and found this awesome looking thing on thehub a couple months ago. I didn't know anything about Storck bikes back then, but a quick google lead me to discover that it's a pretty boutique brand, with some amazing, but expensive high-end bikes on offer. This particular one is the Storck Aero 2 IS model - which is basically the top-of-the-range time-trial / triathlon bike made by Storck. I discovered later that it broke records for being the lightest TT frame when it was launched in 2012. It's also famously associated with the ironman legend Faris Al Sultan who founded the now disbanded Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon.

The frame was obviously off an old team bike, and you can spot the name "Jodie Swallow" clearly marked. When I saw that I was sold - any bike good enough for Jodie is good enough for me. This frame is a piece of triathlon history, and has definitely won a good number of IM events in it's life! This EXACT bike has even been featured in Triathlete magazine - take a look here! So I made the guy an offer and got the frame delivered to Joburg a couple weeks later.

As you can see the frame was in pretty bad shape, apart from a couple scratches from the heavy travelling, the paint job was "melting". Basically, I think the team colours had simply been painted over the original paint without it being removed, so it was kinda slipping off in some areas. The worst was on the seatpost as you can see below.

My plan (or lack thereof) was to simply wing it with regards to groupset. I thought I'd just find some second-hand groupo online and get the bike up and running in a couple weeks. What I wasn't banking on was that it turned out to be a DI2-only frame. Basically it doesn't have any "cable"-pulls for tensioning cables through to the deraileurs. I took the frame to show a couple pro mechanics in Joburg (notably Hunter Cycling and Mikes Bikes), and both agreed that it would be risky to try to rig a mechanical groupo to the bike, and I'm basically stuck with going with Di2 if I want any hope of getting this bike on the road again... Yikes cause I know that Di2 == $$$.

In the meantime I found a nice looking set of Sentiinel Carbon clinchers and had them shipped from Capetown. Turns out they were basically brand-new and used for a single 40km time-trial event. They match the Abu Dhabi colours pretty well! This pic shows the rims on the frame, no tires yet. Unfortunately they're fitted with 10spd freehubs, but I was convinced I could convert them. More on that journey later!

So I left it for a couple weeks, did more research on Di2 and spoke to as many people as possible about options. The Ultegra 6800 series was clearly the way to go - it's the latest Di2 range to be released, and is simply the cheapest option, but only slightly heavier than it's Dura-Ace sibling. The regular Roadie Di2 Ultegra groupo is rare, but fairly available and well supported at all my LBSes. However the TT spec Di2 Ultegra is basically impossible to find in South Africa. I had numerous LBSes on the hunt for a full Di2 TT Ultegra group - and most struggled to even put together a quote for me. There is lots of confusion around the 6700 series and it's compatibility with the 6800 series, especially around the shifters. It turns out that it's all compatible, and only the rear deraileur is incompatible between the ranges (10spd vs 11spd). Good work Shimano!

I realised pretty quickly that I wasn't going to be able to afford the massive cost of purchasing the group at any of my LBSes in South Africa. The mark-up is simply too high, especially as I was planning on building the bike myself, so I ordered an "upgrade kit" on ebay (full groupo except crank, chain and cassette) and had it delivered to my mom who was on her way back from South Africa. It came in under the customs limit, so didn't pay anything extra. Probably saved me half the price going this route. Hey I feel guilty for not supporting my LBS, and I would normally, but the figures just didn't justify the additional price. Maybe karma will come back to bite me!

I got the 6800 crank from a local guy second-hand, and the other bits and pieces either via my LBS, thehubsa and a couple hard-to-find parts (e.g. f:zik bar tape) from ChainReactionCycles.

I got in touch with the guys at CycleArt to chat through some options for painting the frame. My final decision was to return back to stock blue, white and black with original decals. The Storck Aero blue is pretty unique - and the guys at CycleArt were ready to take on the challenge - they simply looked at internet pics of the frame for reference. Cold weather was to blame for a couple delays on the paint setting, but 4 weeks later, the frame and seatpost came back looking AMAZING! 100% thumbs up for the work done by Lillian and Cliff - you guys totally rock. Attention to detail is superb.

So it's well on it's way to being a complete bike again! Still lots to do, but the bolting together starts soon. Watch this space...