On Saturday, I made another sortie to the Local Bike Shop (LBS) to be bought a 50th birthday present, albeit somewhat early.  This took the form of a new time trial frame, and had been generously offered by Mrs Grumpy.  The trip to the bike shop was the third in a week or so during which I had been browsing the interweb and think about several different brands and models.

In the end, the decision was (apart from aesthetic grounds) made largely on whether the frame made use of standard components.  I decided against the Specialized Transition Module because of its oversize BB shell, which would mean I couldn’t use any of my existing chainsets, and its slightly eccentric cable route to the rear brake caliper (I also didn’t like the look when I saw it for real).  I went against the Argon 18 E114 because it had a rather odd system by which the handlebars attached to the steerer tube – this would have meant I couldn’t use any of the existing handlebar/stem setups I have.  I looked at one or two other brands before plumping for a Cervelo.  But a P3 or a P4?  Both were reduced because the 2009 models were about to be replaced by 2010 models.

My final decision was for the P3, which is the cheaper of the two, on the grounds that, while I rather liked the hidden rear brake caliper of the P4, I wasn’t sold on the  P4-specific bottle, which is designed to clip directly into the down tube of the frame.  The P3 just looked cool, is well known as a high quality TT frame, and appeared to use no non-standard components.  Mine looks like the image below, except it is labelled P3 instead of P3C, and the top end of the seat pin looks a little different.

Once I got the frame home, however, a question mark arose.  It hadn’t been supplied with a steerer bung.  This is usually important for the function of the typical integrated headset, as the typical star-fangled nut damages carbon steerer tubes.  Anyway, I excitedly removed various parts from other bikes int he collection as I put that worry to the back of my mind.  On Sunday, I phoned the LBS to enquire if they had a steerer part as needed.  Fortunately, I mentioned that it was for a Cervelo P3 I’d bought there the day before – it turned out that the 3T carbon forks are fitted in a slightly different manner to all others I’ve fitted in the past.

Turns out that the 3T Funda forks have quite a thin-walled steerer tube – after cutting to length, one has to sand the inside of the steerer, then clean it with an alcohol wipe.  Then some supplied epoxy resin glue is mixed an smeared over an alloy tube that fits snugly into the the steerer tube.  The alloy tube has a built in star-fangled nut – it’s then glued into place in the steerer tube and left to set for several hours before the fork can be mounted.

None of these parts or, indeed, instructions had been supplied with the frame, and We had to trail over to the LBS again for them.  With my heart in my mouth (noting the now-usual exhortations that if the job wasn’t done correctly, I would risk accident, injury, or death), I cleanly cut the steerer, sanded it, cleaned it, and glued the tube inside.  The fork will be fitted later today (Monday) after it’s had the best part of 24h to set.

No doubt it’ll take a few evenings to transfer parts over to the new frame.  I can’t wait to have a ride on the finished bike – the first competitive outing will probably be the New Year’s Day ’10’.  The frame is immaculately finished in an attractive paint job, and is damned light and at least looks aero.  I’m keen on the adjustability of rider position that is afforded by the seatpost which (in common with several framesets out there) allows the seat clamp to be positioned in either of two mounting slots.  This permits two effective seat angles to be selected.

More on the bike later as it’s assembled!