Cut once


Measure twice, check it again, do it once more, add your sums to check your work, truth check against reality and then, and only then, cut once.


Along with Hugo Black’s frame, its fork and steerer are both carbon fiber as well. It will need to be cut to fit. I got a saw guide to clamp into the table vise and a carbon blade for the hacksaw. I read all the literature.

When I built the Cloud Bike 21 years ago, I did so without the benefit of the Internet. Now I’ve got with technical manuals and user’s manuals. Park Tools is online, offering very specific instructional videos, step-by-step guides and situational advice. Manufacturers of other components, including Cane Creek for its headsets and Thomson for its stem (and set-back seatpost – there’s that spoiler again) had their own manuals with specs and tolerances.

There were a couple ways to figure out where I should cut the steerer. I calculated – measured and added is more accurate – the combined height of the headset elements. By my ciphering, I needed to cut to 225 mm.

I hammered the crown race onto the fork and layered on the sealed bearings, poked the steerer through the head tube, sealed bearings, spacers, stem, top cover, top cap. The mark from my precise calculated measurements was still visible. I’d over-missed the mark by 6 mm. I’d failed to properly account for the required further 3 mm at the top as instructed. Instead of adding, I’d subtracted. Or else, instead of subtracting, I’d added. One or the other. It’s unclear.

There is no way to put hair back on your head.

So, of course, I cut to the shorter mark.

It worked out. I like to try to add it all up in my head while I pedal. Let’s go for a ride.

  • Carbon road frame:  1070 grams

  • Carbon fork:        419

  • Seatpost:      304

  • Saddle:             540

  • Headset:       85

  • Stem:               155

  • Running total:           2564 grams, 5.652652 pounds