My Nordest Albarda was built on a budget in the fall of 2019. I used a Nox Composites wheelset that had previously been on my red Volagi Viaje. The braking system and 2x11-speed SRAM Red eTap HRD drivetrain were borrowed from my Ritte. In 2020, I purchased a SRAM Red AXS groupset for the Nordest and moved the eTap HRD parts back to the Ritte. In the spring of 2021, I asked 47° Nord to lace a pair of Chris King R45D hubs to a set of Light Bicycle 650B WR35 carbon rims. That’s how I’ve ridden the bike for the last two and a half years, sometimes swapping out the wheels using the Nox with grippier tires during the winter months.
Some cyclists replace their bikes every year and never bother to change much. They may replace tires, brake pads, chains, and maybe even a cassette. Besides that, a new setup only comes with a new bike. I prefer to hold onto a bike if it’s fun. I also enjoy to keep tuning it. Sometimes, the job at hand is only about replacing old and/or worn parts. Other times, it’s about changing fit and function altogether. The complex interaction between a bike and me depends largely on my own variability. As I’m aging, my physical capabilities are the largest factor in that intricate person-machine relationship. A bike setup that felt right just a few years ago may no longer be right today. Upgrading the machine is, therefore, often about keeping the machinist smile.
My human motor was more finely tuned and performed best when matched to a 2x drivetrain with a tightly spaced cassette just a few years ago. Thanks to the latest addition to my bike stable, the Marin Gestalt X12, I discovered that my 54-year-old diesel engine runs quite smoothly when allowed to power a simple 1x12 drivetrain. I love simplification. Getting rid of the front derailleur has lots of benefits. It’s one less battery to keep charged. From a mechanical point of view, a front derailleur is a pretty crude method to move a chain from one chainring to the other. It causes both the chain and the chainrings to wear out faster. Also, I rarely use the smallest three cogs in the big ring (48T). With a 1x12 drivetrain, on the other hand, every cog gets its fair share of work. So, the time has come to match the Nordest Albarda to the preferences of this new old guy.
Starting in the fall of 2023, it’s equipped with:
- Crankbrothers Eggbeater 3 pedals
- Easton EC70 SL 31.8mm, 440mm carbon handlebar
- Fouriers 31.8mm seat post clamp
- Rotor Aldhu 5-bolt 110BCD spider
- Rotor Aldhu standard 30mm road axle
- SRAM Force FlatTop chain
- SRAM Red XPLR AXS rear derailleur
- SRAM XPLR XG-1251 10-44T cassette
- Wheels Manufacturing BSA-68/73-30 bottom bracket
- Wolf Tooth 42T oval chainring
- Wolf Tooth 6mm chainring bolts
That said, there’s a chance I’m sending the Nordest Albarda frameset into temporary retirement and move all its components to a new frameset in 2024. A frameset with a nearly identical wheelbase, less BB drop, more reach, and a slightly steeper head tube angle caught my attention. If I do, you’ll read it here.