Monday, September 5, 2016

Mounting a Q-Box on Your PRsix (or PRfive)

I bought my PRsix frame in 2015, the first year they came out with the bike.  The only slight bit of bike envy I ever had came when the 2016 models were introduced.  Those frames had the Qbox or "speed box" on there like Trek came out with a few years ago.  That was the only thing.  I actually prefer my 2015 paint scheme to that of the 2016.
The Qbox Assembly
So I had thought about whether it was possible to put a Qbox on there. At the Chattanooga 70.3 race this year, I talked with Quintana Roo CEO Peter Hurley about it some.  He had talked about how some people had put epoxy on there to attach the box.  I asked if there was going to be a retrofit kit that you could buy from QR.  He said that they may move in that direction but not anytime in the near future.
QR Booth at Ironman Chattanooga 70.3
That's about as vague as it gets, but that doesn't stop you from doing it yourself.  I wasn't sure how I would mount the box, but first I had to get one.  Tri Sports had them listed on their website, but they were never in stock.  They had an expected delivery date, but every time I checked it, it kept moving out.  So I would check the website every few weeks to see what the deal was.  This went on for a couple of months.  Then one day they had the size 48/50 Green in stock.  So I pulled the trigger.

Since the box fits snugly to the frame, you have to get the right size.  And you want the right color.  Luckily this was right after I signed up for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  As you know, Active makes you re-up on your USAT license if your current one expires before the race you are signing up for.  So I did that and they sent you a $20 off coupon for Trisports in the email.
Autozone is your friend
The Qbox was normally $65, so $45 with the coupon and $10 shipping.  I had it in my hand in less than a week for $55 all in.  Pretty cheap really.  I also had to lay out about $8 for the tape.  I just got it from Autozone.  It's 3M super strength molding tape, double sided, 1/2 inch wide.
All the stuff in the package
As I unpacked the box, there was a note and some screws. It pertains to building your 2016 PRsix.  I had heard that some 2016 PRsix's had shipped without the Qbox and it had to be installed later.  Since I don't have rear mount bosses to mount the box on, it really doesn't pertain to me.
Since I can't just bolt on the slider bracket, I needed a way to affix the slider bracket to the rear of the seat tube. I had read a thread on Slowtwitch where they mentioned 2 sided tape, as well as 2 part epoxy.  I thought the tape would be much easier, so I went with that.
Lid, Box and Slider Bracket

Shot of the "T" Slot
You can see the slotted hole running down the middle of the slider bracket to mount it to the seat tube via the bolts.  The box itself then slides down the "T" slot groove and locks into place at the bottom.

 Then the "lid" also slides down the T slot and locks in by a clip into the box itself. The lid has a light on it.  It has a little button on top that you can select in on solid, flashing slow, or flashing fast.  Its not nearly as bright as the rear light I run with all the time so I probably won't use it.

I took the rear wheel off and hung the bike on my homemade bike stand.  I cleaned off the back of the seat tube and frame to try and have the best surface possible for adhesion.
Now I put the tape on the back of the slider bracket.  I used a pair or wire cutters and a razor knife to help cut the tape to the right length.  I did not trim the sides of the 1/2" wide take as 2 strips fit pretty well side by side.

I didn't quite get the two pieces even, but I didn't want to pull it all off.  I wasn't sure how well that would go, so I just went with it.
Looking at it after the backer layer was peeled off, it doesn't look too far off.  Then I pressed it onto the back of the frame.  This is probably the most critical part.  Not just getting the height of it correct (that is not too bad).  You do want to make sure you have it slid down as far as possible, where it stops against the seat stays.  That way it will be tightest against the wheel.  You also want to make sure that it is straight.  And that is hard to tell when you just have the slider bracket on.

So at this point, I slide the box on to check and see if it was straight.  It was a little off so I kinda pushed it over with the box attached until it looked straight.  Then I decided to clamp it on there overnight to try and get good adhesion.

I had read that 75-80% of bond strength is achieved 24 hours after bonding.  It is only about 60% right away.  So I clamped it on Saturday afternoon and then went for a ride 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon.  I did not ride with the Qbox on there, just the slider bracket.

I did put the box on and ride with it on Tuesday.  That was about 8 hours short of 3 full days after applying the adhesive tape.  3M says that 95% of the bond strength is achieved in 72 hours.

Finally the next Saturday (a full week later) I finally put some items in the box while I rode.  For me, the main purpose of the Qbox was twofold.  Aerodynamics (the frame tests faster with the Qbox on) and storage.  I didn't need a lot of storage.  I just wanted to take my tire levers and my CO2 inflater and get them out of my top tube box. I want to be able to fit 3 gels in there for my half races.

Levers and inflator in there
 I didn't want them to just flop around, so I used some 1 inch wide electrical tape and secured them down as much as possible.
Tape over the levers and inflators
So now I've rode with it for about a week and everything seems to be staying in place.  I didn't notice the levers or inflator making any noise on some rough terrain on a 70 mile Labor Day ride.  I think that everything will stay in place.  I'm going to keep my spare tube under my seat and my CO2 cartridges in my top tube bag.

Hopefully this will save me a few seconds at Ironman Augusta 70.3 from an aerodynamic standpoint and also the time it takes me to stuff gels in my kit (and remove them).  For the money and time, it was actually pretty easy and well worth it. Plus, it makes Green Lightning look that much faster!

Please note: Quintana Roo does not endorse this procedure.  It is better than drilling holes in your frame though!