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Old 02-20-06, 05:32 PM   #1
Raketmensch
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Ride report and pictures

Well, I finally managed to get The Bike out on the road today. It was worth the wait. Here are the initial impressions:

Drivetrain: No surprises with the shifting. Iíve ridden Dura-Ace a few times before, and it just works. Simple, solid and positive... you ask for a gear and you get it. Iíve got a little adjusting to do on the front derailleur, but the LBS dialed the back one in perfectly.

So far Iím pleased with the cassette and crankset choices. I went with a 12-27 cassette and a 50-36 compact crankset. Itís very hilly where I ride and Iím a spinner, not a masher, but the 36/27 combo handled the nastiest hills on my first ride just fine. And 50/12 at the top end gives me everything I need. The one downside to a compact that you always hear about, and itís true, is that you have to change gears a bit more than with a triple. The jump from 50 to 36 or vice versa up front is a big one, and when you do it you usually also have to click through a gear or two in back to get to where you want to be. But 50-36 is not as extreme in this regard as the 50-34 on some compacts, and the shifting is so smooth and easy anyway that I didnít find it to be a big deal.

Aerodynamics: The setup on this bike is completely different from the touring bike that Iím used to, and it does a much better job of getting you out of the wind. On the hoods on this bike I felt more aerodynamic than in the drops on my other one, and the position is very comfortable. Riding in the drops will take a little time to grow accustomed to, but damn, itís fast.

Acceleration and Climbing: Hereís where the low weight pays off. The total weight of this thing is about 16.2 pounds. You feel the low weight on the climbs, and you really feel it when you accelerate. This bike just jumps when you ask it to.

Ride and Handling: This is the area was where I was most uncertain, since I only got to do fairly short test rides before deciding what to buy. Turns out itís the ride, more than anything else, that sets it above other nice bikes Iíve been on. Itís incredibly stiff, but at the same time it absorbs the little bumps in the road beautifully. I rode a titanium frame for a couple of days recently, and you could feel every little piece of gravel in the road. Not so with carbonÖ the feel is silky smooth. I think you could put in some very long days on this bike and not feel beat up at the end.

I canít say as much about handling as Iíd like, since my bike handling skills are frankly not at a level where I can push a bike like this to its limits. I will say that itís amazingly stable on the downhills. I rode the one big downhill on my ride today faster than Iíve ever ridden anything in my life, yet it didnít feel squirrelly or scary at all. Iím actually going to have to be careful with this thing on downhills that Iím not familiar with, since it rides so smoothly that it tempts you to really crank it up.

The Dura-Ace brakes are great: solid and positive. As for the saddle, Iíve got my doubts after one ride, but weíll see.

Finally, there are the intangibles. Itís just a sweet bike to be on. It was cold today Ė about 25 degrees Ė and I really hadnít intended to be out for too long. But each time I got to a place where I could have turned for home, I kept thinking "just a little longer". My feet were like blocks of ice when I finally did get home, but boy did I have a smile on my face.

A few pictures are attached below. Weíve just begun our relationship, but I think The Bike and I are going to have some very good times together.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Bike 1.jpg (98.4 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 2.jpg (92.6 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 3.jpg (87.9 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 4.jpg (94.2 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 5.jpg (97.7 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 6.jpg (91.3 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg Bike 7.jpg (99.1 KB, 50 views)
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Old 02-20-06, 06:55 PM   #2
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You must be in seventh heaven! The way you describe the bike is a sublime pleasure to read. You're going to have a long, and wonderful love affair with this bike, I can tell. I hope someday to know enough about cycling to appreciate a fine bike like this. Great pics, great first impressions. Keep posting!
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Old 02-20-06, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raketmensch
Acceleration and Climbing: Hereís where the low weight pays off. The total weight of this thing is about 16.2 pounds. You feel the low weight on the climbs, and you really feel it when you accelerate. This bike just jumps when you ask it to.

I think you could put in some very long days on this bike and not feel beat up at the end. .
I love your bike!! I'm not sure you're going to be able to hold off until warmer weather!

In a very short test ride you have absolutely nailed the greatest benefits I've enjoyed on my Madone. Isn't it amazing to push on the pedal and actually feel it accelerate? It is also very stiff, stable yet comfortable.

I swapped out my saddle to one that better fits me as well if that helps any.

Thanks for the info on the compact cranks. I currently use a triple and had not thought about how signficant the gear changes can be jumping from a 50 to a 36...but that makes perfect sense. Probably something that just takes a little getting accustomed to.

One word of caution...not long after I had my first carbon bike, it was so smooth and I was so confident I was unknowingly going down a hill WAY too fast. Hit a sharp curve at 40 mph and could not make the turn. Wound up going over the handlebars, cracking some ribs, separating a shoulder and destroyed my helmet. Just don't let that thing get away from you!!!

By the way what's the scoop on the bottle cages?
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Old 02-20-06, 08:21 PM   #4
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I hope someday to know enough about cycling to appreciate a fine bike like this.
Well, one of the nice things about it is that you really don't have to know a lot about cycling to appreciate it in some significant ways. It feels great to ride, it accelerates like an antelope, and it looks good doing it... pretty basic stuff. I'm no cycling expert by a long shot, and I think this bike is going to teach me a lot over the years. But even with my rudimentary knowledge of cycling, I definitely appreciate it!
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Old 02-20-06, 08:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
One word of caution...not long after I had my first carbon bike, it was so smooth and I was so confident I was unknowingly going down a hill WAY too fast. Hit a sharp curve at 40 mph and could not make the turn. Wound up going over the handlebars, cracking some ribs, separating a shoulder and destroyed my helmet. Just don't let that thing get away from you!!!
Ouch!!! I hope the recovery didn't take too long. I can see exactly how that could happen. I've made a promise to myself that I'm not going to let this thing really unwind on a downhill unless it's a hill that I've ridden before, so that I know what to expect. I can easily see how it could get away from you if you let it.


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By the way what's the scoop on the bottle cages?
They're carbon, painted to match the frame. I got two because I expect to do many long rides on this thing, and doubling the number of water bottles halves the number of times I'll have to stop for refills... which would, of course, force me to get off the bike, something I want to avoid at all costs.
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Old 02-20-06, 08:30 PM   #6
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That is one cool looking bike!!!

Love how it growls up the hills.

Question: Is that your home in the background? A log home? Then you have a cool bike AND a cool home.
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Old 02-20-06, 08:40 PM   #7
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Question: Is that your home in the background? A log home?
Yeah, log and timber frame. Log construction is nice... warm in the winter, cool in the summer. We like it.
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Old 02-20-06, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raketmensch
They're carbon, painted to match the frame. I got two because I expect to do many long rides on this thing, and doubling the number of water bottles halves the number of times I'll have to stop for refills... which would, of course, force me to get off the bike, something I want to avoid at all costs.
OTOH, you're doubling the water weight you'll be carrying.
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Old 02-20-06, 09:32 PM   #9
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That is all I can say!

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Old 02-20-06, 09:51 PM   #10
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Love your bike. First-class all the way--very tasteful. TREK builds wonderful bicycles, and my wife and I sure enjoy ours. My wife used to work for the owner of TREK (before he ever owned it), and he's one of those guys who only does things as well as they can be done, regardless of expense. As a result, he's been a success at everything he's touched. There's no substitute for quality. Those water bottle cages are extremely sexy. If you're satisfied with the shifting at current temperatures, you'll love it when things warm up a bit. Now go polish your new baby. Do you sleep with it? OHB
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Old 02-20-06, 10:02 PM   #11
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Beautiful bike. Sounds like you selected just the right combination. That's hard to do. Best of luck with it, Ride it safely and enjoy.
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Old 02-21-06, 07:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by They're carbon, painted to match the frame. I got two because I expect to do many long rides on this thing, and doubling the number of water bottles halves the number of times I'll have to stop for refills... which would, of course, force me to [I
get off the bike[/I], something I want to avoid at all costs.
I thought they looked just like the carbon ones I just bought-that was the reason I asked. I wondered if they were painted to match the frame as that really looks nice. I need to consider doing something similar as the black just doesn't go with my blue/white frame....

That is one really nice ride......You're really going to be amazed when the weather warms up.
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Old 02-22-06, 06:45 AM   #13
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Just beautiful and from the way you described it, it rides just perfect.
Good Luck & many years of enjoyment.
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Old 02-22-06, 11:31 PM   #14
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congrats on a fantastic purchase - use it in the best of health
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Old 02-23-06, 12:18 AM   #15
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Best wishes on your new bike, Racket, she's a beauty. Naturally, you've sent me back to going over the discretionary money budget one more time. Moments like this make us all feel like teenagers getting that first car. Ride on!!
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Old 02-23-06, 01:48 PM   #16
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I just wish I could get it out on the road more! Sloppy snow and sleet here today. I'm crossing my fingers for the weekend, but we'll see. One thing I'm not gonna do is put this thing on a trainer. The benefits of a bike like this -- light weight, good aerodynamics, great ride -- are totally irrelevant indoors. I just prop it up in front of me while I'm on the trainer on my old steel steed, so at least I can look at it.
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Old 02-23-06, 02:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Raketmensch
I just wish I could get it out on the road more! Sloppy snow and sleet here today. I'm crossing my fingers for the weekend, but we'll see. One thing I'm not gonna do is put this thing on a trainer. The benefits of a bike like this -- light weight, good aerodynamics, great ride -- are totally irrelevant indoors. I just prop it up in front of me while I'm on the trainer on my old steel steed, so at least I can look at it.
Pity about the weather, and We are not much better over here. Weekend forecast for us is cold, dry and windy. That means no rain or snow but the Mud under foot is already a bit sloppy so imagine all the mountain bikers getting out this weekend for a bit of fun. (Might see two others on a 25 miler if we are lucky).

Only thing about putting the bike on the trainer would be set up. The saddle might be more comfortable and the cables may stretch a bit. Then there is the final position on the bars, saddle position and even the Brake levers. I'm surprised that you haven't raised the keyboard on the computer yet. It must be difficult reaching that low whilst sitting on the bike, and the crossbar must be getting in the way. I think if this were my bike, I,d be getting a lap top with bar mounting fixings so keeping in contact with us, would not cause too much bending.
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Old 02-23-06, 02:27 PM   #18
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Only thing about putting the bike on the trainer would be set up. The saddle might be more comfortable and the cables may stretch a bit. Then there is the final position on the bars, saddle position and even the Brake levers.
Actually, I have been doing a bit of that. I've had to make some cable tension adjustments for the front derailleur, and I've used the trainer to fiddle with them. Saddle position felt good on the first ride and I'm still thinking about the bars, but I really want to get more real miles on the road before making any changes there. For those nightly 90-minutes-on-a-trainer workouts, though -- which really only serve to elevate my heart rate and wear out my drivetrain -- I'm sticking to the steel steed.
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