Monday, 18 April 2016

SPRING IS IN THE AIR - NEW BIKE TIME?

So eighteen months ago my Enigma Étape became my only road bike (unless you include the vintage Vitus 979), a well intentioned attempt to reduce the number of bikes littering the house.
And the bike certainly hasn't let me down. It´s been great.
However... there now follows a lists of reasons (excuses) to buy a new summer bike...

1. Hiring lighter bikes while on holiday has left me with the feeling that I´m ´missing out´.
2. I´m 60 in September and (the following statement is, believe it or not, true), my wife suggested that I buy a new bike as a birthday present to myself.
3. The Enigma weighs just over 9Kgs with mudguards/fenders. It wasn't supposed to. According to the component manufacturers' quoted weights, it should have been in the lower regions of 7Kgs

[More about this subject some other time. It makes me cross.]
4. New bikes are good.
5. Buying new bikes is good for the economy.

So I've been looking for something a bit like the Canondale Synapse Ultegra that I've been using on holiday in Gran Canaria. It's quite light. It's pretty comfortable. It matches my cycling jersey.
Or possibly something a bit more upmarket. Which would please my pal Nick 'Angry' Von Vader who seems to hate all bikes with less than a £4K price tag.
That might be because he's a bicycle mechanic.
It might also be because he likes to see me spending my money.

So rather than the 'ordinary' carbon Synapse Ultegra, I looked at the Canondale Synapse hi-mod Dura-Ace.
Or, there´s the Trek Émonda SL 6 2016 £1800 7.7kg (despite average wheels).
There´s the Fuji SL 1.5 2016 6.4kg (light but too too racy for me?)
Or how about the Orbea Orca M20 £2,399 7.8kgs (despite average wheels)?


Nick of course recommended nothing under about five grand. The cheapest frame was about £3,500. 
We can only dream. He suggested this lugged Colnago C60 special edition costing about £12,000, so way out of my league. But stunning.

Anyway, I work a hundred or so yards from Condor cycles and have previous owned an Acciaio (my first road bike), and often wander around in the basement keeping my eye on the latest models. (And the sale prices).
To be honest, I´ve always thought they´re ever so slightly out of my league, and have normally ended up being seduced by the idea of the ´better value´ offered by internet or mail order manufacturers like Canyon or Ribble. With mixed results.
But one Condor that leapt out at me a year or so back was the Leggero limited edition in blue and ´limone´, the frame manufactured in Italy using carbon from japan, and really rather beautiful. I tweeted a photo of it (@elprezcyclismo) saying it was one of the prettiest bikes around, and received more retweets that for any of my other cycling tweets.

So I popped in recently to look at helmets, and found myself drifting down to the basement to look at wheels, as you do. Condor´s Julian Cunnington and I were talking about my Mavic Kysyriums SLS set, and mentioned that their baby brother Élites were part of a special offer Leggero package. The frame retailed at £2,500 and yet the entire bike was available for £2,999.00 with the Élite wheels, a full Ultegra groupset, and Fizik finishing kit and saddle. 


And I´ve only heard good things about the Leggero.
Well, the next thing I knew I was on the bike fit rig, and now I´m sorted. There´s now a five week wait. So it should be ready just in time for summer.
 


The Enigma Étape will sit there quite happily as a classy winter bike, and I´m almost 100% certain that´ll be the case for many years to come. It´s around 8.6Kgs without guards, which is a bit heavy to be a proper summer bike. Oddly, it was 8.5 WITH guards last time I weighed it (!). And when I selected the components for the bike I took into account the claimed weight of each part. It should have been under 7.5Kgs. Bit disappointing that, component manufacturers!
Anyway, I'll certainly never need to buy a touring bike or another wonter bike.

 




Now do I need a set of Zipps 404s? Or are Cosmic Carbones better value? Or stick with the SLS wheels (I´ll put the Élites on the Enigma). Decisions, decisions...

2 comments:

  1. Gotta says dude, weight make fuck-all difference, I have ridden a 5.5kg bicycle during a trade show (compulsory if you work in the cycle industry), and the difference is only noticable when accelerating from standstill, but once I get up to speed, it's not much of a difference.

    My tourer is 13kg, and for some reason I managed quite a lots of personal best on that bike compared to my 7.8kg carbon disc bike.

    Use your Garmin, look at how you feel at 30kmh, and then compared it to your other bike at the same speed, a lighter faster bike encourage you to push harder, but doesn't make you any faster, just a lots sweaty!

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  2. Tbh, the only time I really notice the difference is going uphill. And as I weigh 80Kgs, I guess the difference between 8.5 and 7.5 is relatively trivial.
    But if it makes no difference, how come the Catford CC Hill Climb Championships sees all the weight weenie bikes winning the prizes?

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