Friday, March 13, 2009

Me new race bikey

I know- It’s not the bike, it’s the rider. Still, it’s a lot more fun to talk about the horse than the jockey. The bike is a bit eclectic. Yes, those are brand new Zipp 303s and yes, that is a very inexpensive steel frame. But inexpensive doesn’t equate to cheap, at least not in this case. Main tubes on the Smoothie are heat-treated and butted Tange Prestige and the stays are butted CrMo. The welds are good and everything is straight. Soma calls the color Pearl White but it’s more sparkly than pearly- think ‘pixilated pearl’. Regardless, it’s a beautiful color and I dig the subtle gray lettering that is clear-coated over.

I’m most impressed with the IRD Pegasus carbon fork. It’s the all-carbon flagship offering from IRD and the dimensions are exactly what Soma specs for the Smoothie frame. The frame and fork work together wonderfully with nary a hint of schizophrenia between the two.

So what’s with those Zipps? You’re wondering why a guy who can’t afford a nice hi-tech carbon frame can afford a pair of high-end carbon hoops. The fact is, I can’t afford either. I paid $5 for those wheels. Yes, FIVE BUCKS! I won them in the raffle drawing at the 2007 CX Nats in KC. Someone else walked away with a brand new SRAM Red group, which I would’ve preferred, but I’m not complaining.

The rest of the parts are stuff I had in boxes or hung on other bikes that I’m not using at the moment. It’s mostly 1999/2000 Dura Ace with the exception of the brake calipers which are circa 1987 105 single-pivots and those are getting replaced with new dual-pivots soon.

Overall I’m loving the ride. I’ve only logged about 300 miles on it but from the very first ride I noticed it’s quite forgettable. I mean that as a compliment. It’s an overused expression, but this bike really does disappear underneath me. I’ve found that I rarely think about the bike when I’m riding it. My only complaint is that it’s a bit more on the slow side of neutral than I prefer. I notice that, at high speeds, if I want to make an adjustment to my line, I’ve got to think about moving the bike rather than it just being instinctual. That equates to me having to lean a little more than I’m used to but that’s a slight modification to my riding style I can deal with. Besides everything works together beautifully and I can't complain about a 18.5 pound steel race bike for less than a grand.

A final word on why I chose a steel frame. 1) I love steel. I’m not a luddite, but it’s difficult to argue against the inherent ride quality steel provides- especially for a rider/racer of my caliber. Why do you think most of the carbon frame reviews you read all make comparisons as to how well it matches up to the steel counterpart? 2) Soma is a cool company and they make cool stuff. And 3) It was cheap… and available. Sometimes that’s what you go with and you get lucky. And I did. Wait, are we still talking about my bike here, or my girlfriend?

Special thanks goes to Britton at Volker Bicycles for hooking me up!

See you at the next race.

1 comment:

  1. It was my pleasure, I am almost as excited as you are. I've always wanted to see a nice, sleek steel road frame with nice parts such as 303's and da!