William’s C60 - Dura-Ace 9150

Glen Words By The Velo House | 14/04/2017 12:59:00

Colnago’s C60 is the racing bike frame of racing bike frames – so naturally I fitted the finest of Shimano’s groupsets to build this behemoth of beauty for William...

When you unpack the Colnago C60 frameset you can feel something special – the Italian made carbon has an aura around it and in any one of the many paint scheme it just glows, attracting the eye to its timeless beauty. In fact I’d go so far to say that it’s not an “it”, she’s a “her”!

To be fair the groupset doesn’t come up short either! Shimano’s new 9100 and 9150 (Di2 version) groupsets are truly stunning and a joy to unwrap and bolt in place. Locking the new version of the cassette onto William’s Zipp Firecrest wheels it looks very similar to before but features a few more gearing options up to 11-30T. I’ve also fitted 23mm Conti GP4000s tyres to the wheel, which measure up more like a 25mm tyre due to the wide rim bed. This is important for frames with tight tolerances even if they’re Summer bikes as the slightest bit of grit washed onto the road can quickly ruin the paint on a C60!

Next, with the wheels in I can fit the internal battery and SD50 wire into the seatpost, set the saddle height and the set-back from the BB – at this point I know (thanks to the pre-build bikefit) that the rider’s sitting in the correct position. From this I can now set the reach and the drop to the handlebar clamp and this gives me a measurement for cutting the fork steerer. In William’s case I’m going to leave an extra 20mm above the stem so I can make adjustments a few months/rides down the road, before finally slicing the steerer off clean with the top of the stem once everyone’s happy with the position – sometimes I’ll make the final cut straight away but the rider must be 100% with that call!

The frameset goes back into the workstand and I fit the headset with plenty of Park grease and then a dab of Carbon Prep on the stem’s steerer clamp[1] before preloading it in the correct position. I pull the battery wire (complete with zip-ties to stop rattles) through the frame using the Park internal wiring kit to help and then I fit the lower JC41 junction. I then do the same with the rear mech wire, front mech wire and the super long main frame wire which runs all the way from the lower junction through the downtube and will eventually run along the brake cable/hose to the shifter.  

The new shifters are impressively light and I’m not a massive fan of carbon bars so I’m bolting them to a Fizik alloy bar which I’ll then modify to take a RS910 handlebar mounted Di2 junction box. I drill pilot at either side of the base of the bar 25mm from the end, before enlarging this to 5.5mm to take a SD50 wire[2]. I then run a wire through the center of the bar to connect the middle connection on the left shifter to the junction along with a short SD50 from the top connection of the right shifter to the junction. For the moment I leave everything untapped and fit the bar to the stem with some more carbon-prep. The long frame wire can now be plugged into the top connection of the left shifter (in Europe I’d wire this the other way around).

Now the brakes and the brake cables can go on – the new Dura-Ace brakes work in a similar way to before but they allow the use of a larger tyre. The SD50 wire can be heat-shrinked to the brake cable and then the bar’s can be taped over with electrical tape to hold all of the cables, wires and junction in place, leaving a small loop at the connections to allow for movement. With the wheels back in I check the rear hanger for alignment as even on a new frame it’s not normally positioned correctly. The mech’s can now be connected[3] and bolted in place before plugging the system into the computer and updating all the firmware[4].

With the BB and then the crankset fitted the chain can be cut to length and the gears can be adjusted. This is where the system really differs from before. First select the lowest gear and wind in the rear mechs B-Tension bolt to set gap between the top jockey wheel and the lowest sprocket, like a mountain bike rear mech. The chain can then be pre-fitted big chainring to lowest sprocket, cut to length and fitted. I then position the front mech in the big ring and the highest (11 tooth) sprocket and adjust the yaw and high bump setting on the front mech before adjusting the high bump stop on the rear mech and then adding any slight tension that you need to the B-tension bolt to pre-load the chain. I then run through the gears making adjustments in the same way that you did with 9070. Once up to the lowest sprocket I adjust the bump stop on the rear mech leaving a hairs breadth between the stop and the bolt.

Now I shift the front mech onto the inner ring and I think this is the part (if you’re not already scratching your head) where most mechanics will start scratching their heads! There’s no lower bump stop on the front mech!...it’s adjust by using the junction box in a similar fashion to the rear gears. When you think it through this makes perfect sense, but it will also mean that this groupset should never be used with a competitors crank – Shimano have set this feature to ensure that their patent on the gap between the chainrings means that “nothing [especially now] shifts like Shimano”. To further confuse mechanics there is now a “Syncro-Shift” option which is customisable via the e-tube app. This is a feature which automatically shifts the front mech at a pre-determine point. Clever stuff!

Once that’s all sorted it’s time to get the bike on the floor check everything’s set correctly, bolt check the bike for safety and then tape the bars. It’s important with a bike like this to make that little extra effort so I make sure the finishing tape matches the paintwork on the seat tube and give everything a polish once I’m done. Once William has ridden it I’ll make any adjustments he would like and check things like brake cable stretch and hub adjustment. A month down the line I’ll cut the top off the steerer and give the bike a final once over – this is the best part of my job; seeing the bikes being used, striking up long term relationships with riders and hearing all the stories of where the bikes end up going. A C60 like this one is going to have an interesting and beautiful story.


[1] Carbon Prep will stop creaks and allows the correct torque settings to be confidently achieved.

[2] The two holes are well below where you would ever grip the handlebar. You should NEVER drill a hole in any area which is structural or that will take any stress from riding. If in doubt DO NOT just start drilling stuff!

[3] The new front mech features a really clever wire cover which hides the routing of the Di2 wire, whilst the rear mech features a direct mount bracket – although this is of limited use at the moment eventually all production frames will come with a direct mount hanger. For now you just use the bracket.

[4] Di2 units often get updates whilst in shipping and so I update all the firmware to make sure there are no battery drain issues.