Today was my first real ride on my new Felt F3. n was/is a Trek 2.1, so the differences between n+1 and n are several - n+1 is carbon rather than Al and weighs 5 lbs. less. It also has a more aggressive geometry and (much) better components, including better wheels.
I can hardly believe the difference.
I did a club ride that was nearly identical to one I did 2 weeks ago. - the same route with more or less the same crowd. Normally on this ride a faster group drops everybody else about midway through the ride. I normally go with the faster group, but do little or no pulling - I suck wheels and congratulate myself if I am not dropped.
But today, with the same route and same company as 2 weeks ago, i was on the front for much of the ride and it felt.....almost effortless. The hills were easier, but also I felt faster on the flats, too. Really.
Why? I know that a lighter bike makes no real difference on flat terrain, so I think it must be the more aggressive geometry and something I've read about but never believed made an appreciable difference - more efficient power transfer with a stiffer frame and wheels.
Maybe the hammerheads were taking it easy today. Maybe my excitement being on n+1 was making a difference - I don't know. But the fastest guy in the group commented that several times during the ride, he thought I was going to drop him.
People say that when your bike costs well above $1k, you are only making an incremental difference in speed, and I more or less believed that, but this feels like a HUGE difference. I bought this bike because I wanted to ride something exciting, but I didn't honestly believe that it would make me noticeably faster. More rides will show whether or not this was some kind of fluke, but for the moment, I am ECSTATIC.
(Click on thumbnail for larger image)