Readers’ Rig: Something a bit different this week: A full on time trial machine. We take a close look at British and World Transplant Championship winner Graham Strugnell’s Dolan Scala TT machine. Nothing off the peg here – Equipment selected for aero efficiency and functionality. It’s fast and it looks good too!
Frame: Dolan Scala
Seat pillar: Dolan
Saddle: San Marco Aspide Tri
Cockpit: PDQ ‘bars
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace
Chainring: Digirit 54
Chain: Shimano Dura Ace
Cassette: Shimano 11-28
Rear mechanism: Shimano Di2
Roller cage: Digirit
Brakes: front, integral to forks; rear, Tektro.
Wheels: Unbranded Far Eastern composite, tri front, disc rear.
Tyres: Veloflex Record
Bottle cage: Specialized carbon
‘Mature’ guys aren’t into carbon frames or any of that new-fangled stuff; give those boys a steel frame, spoked wheels – and why would you need more than five gears anyway? Plastic saddles? Pah! Right?
Well, this Dude is 72 years-old and his rig is about as cutting edge as you can get. Veteran Graham Strugnell as a British and World Transplant Championship winner has featured in our pages before, as has his son Karl’s lovely Reilly Cycleworks Ti and carbon gems. This time we take a look at Graham’s Dolan Scala TT machine.
The Scala comes with brake integrated into the front forks and the rear Tektro dual pivot below the bracket both supplied as part of the package, as is the multi-position aero seat post.
Head set is integral by Alpina with a BB86 set-up taking the axle.
But with the Strugnell father and son both long term Reilly Cycleworks devotees we wondered why Graham’s time test rig hadn’t come from the Reilly artisans down by the sea in Brighton?
Graham Strugnell: Mark Reilly doesn’t do time trial frames, I tried to persuade him but he wouldn’t be swayed. I chose the Dolan because they offer excellent value for money and they’re very helpful; I had a problem with wiring the Di2, I phoned in, they put me through to the workshop and the lad there sorted it out with me. They also carry a full range of all the fiddly spare parts you might need – some other companies I’ve had dealings with they don’t have that back up.
PEZ: What’s the machine’s target?
Well, until Covid came along it was to defend my Transplant Games and British Championship time trial title. But it’s hard to even get a race at the moment, the last four races I’ve entered for have all been cancelled. It affects your motivation; a good part of my preparation was riding the local mid-week time trials but they’ve just not been taking place.
PEZ: How did you set your position?
It’s the same position as my last time trial bike but for 2021 I’m going to get a bit more scientific and go to a bike fit professional. But you have to try and strike the balance between aero efficiency and power output – and I certainly want to be able to see where I’m going, some of the positions I see guys riding may be aero but they’re not safe in my view.
PEZ: ‘PDQ’ tri-bars?
Yes, they’re by British time trial legend, Ian Cammish – that man knows a thing or two about going fast!
PEZ: Single ring but no chain guide?
It’s a Digirit carbon ring, they have thick/thin technology and extended teeth profile to prevent derailment. I ride a 54 ring, I tried a 56 but it wasn’t for me. I ride it on Rotor cranks.
PEZ: Shimano Di2 rear mech?
I bought it second hand, it works a treat; I’ve no problems with it shifting over my 11 to 28 cassette.
PEZ: Replacement over-size derailleur cage too, very hi-tech but do you think it does actually help?
I use the Digirit cage; it works extremely well and I’d say is stiffer than the original cage and gives a better shift. All the research says that it does save you some watts.
PEZ: Do you wax the chain?
No but I use ‘Revolube’ on it, as with all these preparations you have to make sure the chain is spotlessly clean before you apply it but once it’s on the transmission runes very sweetly.
PEZ: No doubt you’re running ceramic bearings?
Oh yes! A friend of mine, David Jack sourced Ceramic Speed bearings for me for the hubs and bottom bracket. On the subject of bottom brackets I know some folks have trouble with creaks and clicks coming from press fit BB assemblies but I’ve had no issues with that at all on the Dolan.
PEZ: How about those ‘trick’ concealed brakes, aren’t they awkward to adjust and service ?
No, the mechanisms are actually very simple and easy to adjust, including the front one which is integral to the forks. I have them partially cabled with the Nokon system, which is extremely neat and efficient, but will fully route them with that once I make any alterations to my position – it’s expensive kit and I don’t want to waste it.
PEZ: Disc rear, tri-spoke front?
Yes, the set-up works well, I bought both wheels second hand and have had no problems with them they do a good job for me. I run Veloflex Record tubulars on them; despite all the talk of bigger tyres being faster, I run 23 mil. rubber and find it rolls well. An aspect that many overlook is that running your tyres at the correct pressure is a very important factor.
PEZ: Any other ‘trick’ stuff we should mention?
All bolts that it’s possible to source in titanium have been upgraded.
PEZ: Any upgrades you have in mind?
The main thing is to get a professional bike fitter to assist in setting my position, the equipment is all pretty much as I would like it to be.
Thanks to Graham for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you walk into the room just to stare at? Well, how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to firstname.lastname@example.org and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.