So I sold my trusty old FM015 last autumn and now as the temperatures slowly rose I started scouring the web for a second-hand replacement. There were lot of good options (Giant, Trek, Canondale) on the local bikes-for-sale sites, but in the end I could not resist an offer for RT-90 frame in the Planet-X sale. I had that 10-speed Sram Force groupo laying around and all I was really looking for was the frame. Yesterday was a new bike day (NBD), yay!
Of course being on sale means the bike is last year’s model and I’m missing out on the latest new developments. Disc brakes for example would have been a nice upgrade, but there were just too many things against it. I just had the rear wheel fixed and jury is still out on what kind of through-axles are going to become the standard. Once the jury is out I will just buy me a nice gravel grinder (like Bish-bosh) to scratch that itch.
While looking I searched the different chinese merchants’ sites, ebay and even Alibaba. The new bikes I was interested in (eg. Avenger R8) were just too expensive. For the 066 I was quoted 400€ direct from China. With the good discount I’m paying just ~200€ extra so it should be worth it. The dumping levy duties and taxes are high (148,5%*123%) and I should be able to get along with the obnoxious green paint highlights and branding. Another reason I chose Planet-x was that I wanted to find out if it is really worth it to buy a frame from a “local” vendor.
In all honesty the customer relationship got to a rocky start. I was asking questions from the customer service and there was some confusion on what size the seat post was. The frame looks great though and it was shipped fast. It took the local post office three days to deliver the package, but that is not Planet-X’s fault. It is just a thing you need to deal with buying online.
I was asked to document the build so I will keep updating this post:
The Flyxii headset popped right in (unlike with previous Hong-Fus). Installing the tight-fitting crown race on the fork required grease and gentle tapping with screwdriver evenly around the ring. I had some trouble installing the cranks as I had left a part of the old GXP bottom bracket on the crank spindel. Good I did not just try to force it in with a hammer as instructed. The internal cabling confused the hell out of me until I realized they had routed the mech cables from the wrong side of the headtube.
There is still stuff coming in and I need to make more orders. A seat post was ordered from Alibaba and took ages to deliver. Campagnolo style non-crimping clamp came fast from ebay. I ordered a new chain, a cassette and new gear cables from Chainreaction sales and the package tracking using Trakpak was horrible. Eventually everything arrived. To be continued…
With the track bike already purchased it seems I will be riding Planet-X mostly this year. We will see if there is any difference to my experiences with frames bought direct.