Shimano RT81 Ice-Tec rotor with BB7 caliper

Quick one as promised to give heads up if the marriage is actually possible. Anyway, both of the components are not compatible. Officially. What I’m describing below is (successful) attempt to save my ass, rather than 100% planned action. So if you want to follow me do it on your own risk, and be careful so you can send the rotors back and have a full refund.

The Shimano rotors are stiff and light (due to steel-alloy sandwich technology and thick alloy spider). In my opinion the price (£21) is reasonable for the quality.


In my case the alloy spider was the only problem. Shimano have completely different calliper system, where pads are fit from the top, and they’re combined with bigger plates and heatsinks (quite neat system, just wondering how effective).


as you see below Avid got completely different system:


They have small “handles” to make the pads installation easier. So basically after fitting the rotors I realised why they won’t fit. At first glance is visible that the only problem is right pad. The small “handle” is overlapping about 2mm the spider arms. Scratched my head, pull out hacksaw and I’ve cut it. I deliberately left about 4mm to leave something I can grip on with pliers in the future.


And voilà! Slightly forced but marriage is possible ;-). The spider is just missing the calliper about a 1mm or so, phew! Quite lucky escape, but judging from scratches on the rotor, in worst case an extra washer (added underneath the calliper) will do the job in case of too small clearance.


The only problem might be removing the right pad with fingers but you can easily remove them with pliers.

Basically, handlebar change (to road one) forced me to install mechanical brakes I’ve chosen Avid BB7. Then I didn’t want to buy Shimano centerlock to 6 bolts adaptors (SM-RTDA10) but also didn’t want to pay 40 quid for one Avid rotor. So I’m aware that I created the whole situation by myself ;-). Anyway strange exercise, but with happy ending.

Keep’em rolling.

HoHoHo (Charge Grater 3)

… aka (n+1)-1.

Early X-mas came to my house and I splashed some money on new commuter. After searching for some time I wanted to try bicycle with gears in hub. Basically I hope that mucky ride won’t affect bicycle with hidden gears and disk brakes are more logical choice for British weather. About year ago I tried on LBS Genesis Day one with Alfine 11. Priced quite nicely about 70% of original price (around £900 for almost new- someone returned the bike after week of use), which was still quite steep for me. Since then I’ve been searching to do it cheaper, and I had the idea of buying everything separately and using cyclocross frame put a new commuter together slightly cheaper. Started calculating and I discovered that I’ll probably end up with same price. So the cheapest option, was to find a complete bike, tune it to my needs and sell remaining bits and pieces on ebay. Some time ago I’ve discovered Charge Grater 3. From research on Internet I could tell that’s what I needed. Just swap handlebars and job done. Decided splashed some cash (£649) and here we are. Two weeks later shiny and new bike in my living room. I know pictures are rubbish but on Charge web page better can be found.

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Before more of bike porn, some pros and cons (as I see them).

Pros: nice frame – full set of threads for mudguards (front and rear) as well for rack (rear only), theoretically upgradable to standard CX bicycle as on the back drive side fitting for rear wheel looks like ready for derailleur hanger (in fact the alloy socket looks like hanger just cut with saw ;-)). The frame got eccentric BB, looks like is perfect tourer choice. In case of braking rear mech single speed can be made on the side of the road.


Wheels looks solid. WTB rims with Shimano hubs (will see)

Cheap and cheerful hydraulic Shimano brakes, from the bottom of the scale (equivalent of Alivio group), but looks pretty solid in terms of stopping the bike. Rotors completly different story.

Quite nice looking mudguards, fiddly though to set it up correctly.

All hardware from Charge got ascetic look which I think are quite nice.


Rotors are rubbish, full stop.

Apparently I’ve got “anti-rust” chain, but the feeling of that chain when turning crank backwards is terrible. Will see after first 100-200k if that will disappear.

I can’t tell anything about Kenda tyres, but remember not funny experience with (same series – Kwick) couple of years ago. They were tifferent size (25-700) but left bad taste in mouth. Anywho spoiled by Schwalbe Marathon’s, swapped straight away to them.

So the bike porn as promised:

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Tyres changed, rack mounted. Time for swap to road handlebars.

To make it happened I had to search for Versa road levers suitable for Shimano Alfine 8. Found them off ebay in good price. I wanted cx levers as well, as bike will be used mainly to commute to work. For handlebars I found ITM as weapon of choice because of short reach (70mm) and shallow drop (125mm) so really not changing position too much riding with hands on flats or on hoods.


To convert to road levers callipers need to be swapped. That was almost no-brainier and I went for mechanical Avid BB7 (be aware that exists two different versions MTB and Road-different cable pull). The reputation is proven by lots of reviews on Internet.

Problems (and solutions). The build itself went smooth with two minor problems.

First. Cable routing. Looks like minor detail but wrongly done can affect shifting and braking. Quite a bit of fiddling with cables different options considered and I came with solution to cross the brake and gear cable underneath downtube. Doesn’t look sleek but will do better IMHO that sharp bent rear brake cable.

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Second problem was rotors. I hoped I’ll be able to leave original Shimano rotors and use them with BB7’s, but decided after test ride they must go. For remaining rotors I’m pretty sure I can find better use ;-). Will report any issues with newly purchased Shimano Ice-Tec XT RT81 rotors (£22.5 per one). That was biggest bump I didn’t expect.

For sale after whole operations: Charge handlebars with grips, Shimano brakes and Alfine 8 shifter. So all in all should cover at least 60% of transformation expenses.

Some links to useful stuff I found (you might find) during build.

Keep the rolling.

Problem Solvers

Long time no see… Don’t know why this website been undiscovered for so long by myself. Ladies and Gentleman Problem Solvers. As name suggests they might have answers for most “oh f***!” situations you facing, when you trying to customize bike. I love blog and diy stuff they have. Some of bits and pieces are absolutely brill. Couple of examples:

.. and many more.

Keep them rolling. Cheers