Saturday, August 25, 2012

Performance Access XCL Comp - # 2

Racer Boy Ian continues to grow as most 13 year olds are apt to do.  My plan to keep swapping his existing Pile-O-Parts from one frame to another is working as planned. Picked up this new Performance Access frame a few weeks ago and moved everything over with no problem. I've built enough bikes over the years now to do this blindfolded...

I did purchase and install a new Cane Creek ZS-3 headset (eBay deal), since I didn't want to remove the headset cups from the previous frame. All the existing cables were too short, but I scrounged enough cable sections from the workbench to run new ones - minus the shifter cables. Picked up a new set from the fine folks at Kirkland Bicycle, a local shop.

Here it sits ready to roll.  This frame measures 18.5" center to top (of seat tube) and 16" center to center.  Top tube is around 23" and overall fits 5' 6" Ian pretty well with a little growing room left over.  This model arrives with a multi color paint job, which conveniently matches his team kit.  I think it would look better with black tires and saddle, but the red Panaracers are almost new and that's a high end Fizik saddle - so they'll both stay.

His first Performance Access frame was a 14" which amazingly he rode and raced for two years.  The 16" Sette Reken frame I recently built up, only lasted a few months - since I let it sit boxed in the garage too long - combined with a growth spurt.  We'll see how long this new Performance frame lasts and/or fits.  I'm hoping at least a year, maybe two if lucky.

This '99 era Shimano XTR derailleur - along with the shifters, brakes, wheelset - have now lived on five different frames over the years. Amazing.  Build is the same as the first Access frame I set up in 2010, minus the platform pedals.  Click here for full build details.

Short 4" head tube and integrated headset allow pre-cut 2004 vintage Fox Talus fork to still be used.  The fork has proven to be super durable and continues to impress after many years of use.

Bike has been a few rides now, including this little romp over at Freund Canyon, which was a blast - even if it was 90+ degrees - can you say hot?  Bike feels no different to Ian, just fits better.  I'd say that's a good thing.

If you're looking to build up a nice hardtail XC race or budget bike - depending on the spec - you can't go wrong basing it on the Access frame. Decent welds, light weight, disk and V brake mounts, handles well, and build quality that will amaze you for $180 (on sale).  For keeping a fast growing and fast riding kid on race ready wheels, been fantastic for us.

I'm sure the 29er version would also be a safe bet to build up a nice bike for low dough.  You don't need to spend a ton of money to ride and/or race bikes.  Trust me on that.  The Sette frames also work well.  Check 'em out.


  1. I just bought one of these frames, and they told me the proprietary headset, which came with the frame, was the only one that would fit (which I had a hard time believing). It is utter junk and scares me a bit - like it's going to come apart. What is the internal head tube diameter of the Cane Creek ZS3 you put in there? Thanks, this site is awesome! And this frame, despite being inexpensive, is a blast to ride. Very nice.

    1. Ryan - I ran out to the garage and double checked the headset. It's a Cane Creek ZS-3 model (also just corrected the info in the post). Doing a Google search just pointed me to lots of places selling 'em. The stock headset that comes with the frame is complete junk, the frame however - as you've discovered is not. Thanks for the nice comments on the the blog!

  2. Ryan - checking the Performance site for the frame specs, lists 1 1/8" zero stack headset required. Others besides the Cane Creek should also work, though I've no problems with Cane Creek headset.