Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Bike

After a three year hiatus in bike building/purchasing, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my primary road race machine. I've been racing my Dean El Diente for seven years now. It has been a fine bike. But in those seven years, carbon has really taken off. My Dean titanium bike was heavy. I specialize in hilly road races, where weight might actually make a difference. Plus the Dean had no aerodynamic features built into the frame. It is constructed of straight gauged (non-butted) round tubing.

A couple riding partners convinced me to join another team this spring. This meant new sponsors and an opportunity to get a really good deal on a custom ordered bike. I went down to International Bicycles a few weeks ago looking at TT and road bikes. I had a Cervelo in mind at the time, but they also presented Argon and Ridley options. Even though they did not have any Ridley's in at the time, the features looked particularly attractive to me.

I wasn't sure how many pure TT's I would do. I am sure I'll do many road races each season. I decided to compromise and get a road bike that can double as a TT platform, although not quite as optimally as a dedicated TT frame.

I ended up ordering a Ridley Noah, their flagship model. Ridley also markets this frame in TT builds. With a short head tube and reversible seat post clamp, one can come close to achieving an efficient TT position on this frame. With the frame, I ordered full Dura Ace build, my preferred Speedplay pedals and Terry Fly saddle. The frame has an integrated seat mast system, something I'm a little queasy about, but have no doubts about the integrity or benefits of such system. The queasiness arises from the fact you have very limited adjustment range once you cut the frame. No problem for me (I had the shop err on the tall side), but if I ever choose to resell the bike, somebody with a much taller inseam might not fit with all the spacers added.

The Ridley weighs in at 16.4 lbs (as pictured above), more than two pounds lighter than my Dean. This weight will get me more in line with my competition in the road scene. I expect more performance gains from the aerodynamic features, however. Some of this comes from the frame, a bunch more from the aero wheels. I think my riding position will be rotated slightly further forward on the Ridley too. Generally, my only chance for winning a road race is to get away from the field, and these features in my new Ridley will give me just a bit more of an edge.

Scalloped seat tube

1.5" lower, 1.125" upper integrated headset bearings

Integrated seat mast

2 comments:

John said...

That is one nice looking bike. Good luck at Turtle Pond - I presume you will be debuting it there.

Anonymous said...

nice bike!