Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southeastern PA - a mile west of Philadelphia
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Katarazzi, greetings from southeastern Pennsylvania, USA.
The Blade 3.0 with its 48/36/26 crankset in conjunction with its HG20 11-32 cassette (cogs: 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28, 32) provides a far better selection of gearing combos over the Elite’s limited gear combos as well as provides far lower gearing (26/32 which equates to 21.9375 gear inches per 27” diameter 700 x 28 tires) for the longer steeper ascents which is particularly appreciated on longer distance rides when one’s legs are a bit energy-depleted or if it’s simply a very long steep ascent with fresh legs.
Conversely, the Elite’s low gearing (34/30 which only equates to 30.6 gear inches per the same 27” diameter 700 x 28 tires) totally sucks by comparison to that of the Blade’s superior low gearing. By comparison while the Blade 3.0 is in its lower gearing, the Blade 3.0 will feel much lighter than the Elite while making the same steep ascents due to its far greater mechanical advantage.
The Blade 3.0 also provides Shimano M395 hydraulic disc brakes which also tend to fair better than Novella’s Draco hydraulic brakes (the Novella’s tend to be more prone to premature seal leakage).
Even the Kenda Kwick Roller 700 x 28 tires provided by the Blade 3.0 are lighter (360~300 grams, iron cap vs. non-iron cap) tire with a higher 60 TPI count than the heavy (640 grams) Specialized Nimbus 700 x 28 tires provided on the Elite. The Blade 3.0’s lighter tires will allow you to accelerate to cruise speeds with slightly less effort thereby making it the slightly faster of the two bikes. I’ve conducted numerous tests as concerns tires that present greater or lesser rotating mass and the lighter the tires, the easier they are to accelerate up to speed and this is a physics related certainty. The rotating wheel mass isn’t such a big factor when you’re only going for a fairly short ride, but on longer rides, lighter tires are most definitely less fatiguing per the same routes and distances.
In August of 2013, I rode my 35 pound Trek 29er hardtail––which had 29 x 2.1 street tires mounted at that time––on my first 200-mile ride (to and from Jim Thorpe, PA) and I purposely took the longer more mountainous and scenic route home. Prior to that ride, I attempted to acquire a set of lighter 700 x 42’s (660 grams) or even a set of 700 x 38’s (595 grams) to make my ride a bit less fatiguing over those 200 miles. Unfortunately, the LBS only had one of those tires in stock and there was no time remaining for ordering them, so I rode the heavy (915 grams each) 29 x 2.1 (700 x 54) street tires on that ride. I still immensely enjoyed that long distance ride, but over 200 miles, those heavy 29 x 2.1 tires sure were energy demanding (but they provided a very comfortable ride even at 70 PSI).
For comparison purposes, the Elite’s HG50 11-30 9-speed road cassette provides the following cogs:
11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 23, 26, 30
Naturally, the decision is yours, but I’d go with the Blade 3.0. Whichever you go with, enjoy your riding adventures.