Here are some pics and my review of the transaction with BikesDirect.com. I just got the bike today.
PURCHASE & SHIPPING
Bikesdirect cannot ship to Canada. So I use a package receiver that is convenient on the US side of the border. The Bikesdirect.com website cannot accept Canadian credit cards. When I emailed them, they gave me a phone number to call whereupon a staff member took my order and credit card info. and booked me a Mercier Kilo TT Stripper in Chrome. Tracking number email soon followed. They did not email me an invoice.
I picked up the package which listed the shipping weight as 30 lbs. thereby causing me some worry about the overall weight of the bike. I set about assembling the bike when I got home. Crossing the border back into Canada, I was assessed the 12% HST sales tax - that's all.
Here is the side view of the box. The metal ruler at the foot of the box is 48 inches long.
Side view of the box.
Contents initially unboxed in the room. Nothing was damaged in shipping.
The handlebars which have been taped and Tektro brake levers attached.
Close up of handlebar showing logo. When the rear brake lever was removed, to my surprise, I discovered the area beneath the lever wasn't polished alloy like the logo part. It was recessed or cut deeper than the logo portion. It looked odd so I mounted some black tape and put an LED light on that spot.
ASSEMBLY & COMPONENTS
I did not read the generic manual that came with the box. I'm no master mechanic but have learned from servicing my bikes and was able to setup the front brake, cut the brake housing and cable to length and adjust it. I like the feel of the action but not the brake pads.
Everything in the box was packaged securely, safely and there was no cosmetic damage except for a semi-circular scratch on the top part of the bottom bracket. The chrome finish is attractive and aside from the previously mentioned scratch, flawless.
The pedals are fine for me. Weird thing is there are reflectors on the front and back of the pedals. I did not bother mounting wheel reflectors. The plastic toe clips are junk. I'll be changing to metal ones when I have a chance.
Here is the completed bike BEFORE a shakedown ride.
FIT & INITIAL RIDE
This is a 47cm frame. I perceive a slight upward slope of the top tube. The standover is EXACTLY 29.75 inches. I have a 28.75" inseam and have no issue with the frame. At 5'5" with short arms, it is a perfect fit for me. Riding with my hands on the flats, the handlebar obscures the front hub. I am able to crouch on the drops with feel comfortable for me especially in tonight's winds.
I took the bike on a shakedown ride to my kickboxing class. Felt very natural. The fistful of seatpost was a estimate and generally correct. Since the shake down ride, I lowered the seat by 2mm and tilted the saddle nose up slightly for a better fit.
It came with a 48T chainring and a 16T cog. Measuring the diameter of the wheel and rim combination yielded 27". The gear inches is calculated as follows:
48/16 x 27" = 81 gear inches
I find this too high for general riding on public roads. Its definitely doable, but doesn't optimize my cadence and is hard in any type of wind. Hills will be difficult with this default gearing. I will be lowering the gear inches to something around 72 inches.
The ride was smooth but not as agile as my Softride which has 650c wheels and a much shorter wheelbase. The 81 gear inches made the bike feel sluggish off a traffic light although cruising at high speed was easy except in the wind. The leg muscles definitely tire faster pushing a higher gear. I prefer a cruising cadence around 90-105 to engage more aerobic intensity. This gear is too high for that.
WHEELS & HUB
The wheels arrived true. The rear is a perfect true both horizontally and vertically. The front is not as true as the rear but well within the realms of acceptable trueness. The hubs spin freely.
My only outstanding issue is a hollow, metallic creaking that is heard when I am pedaling. When I spun the front wheel independently, it seemed to spin forever without resistance. When I removed the chain from the crank and spun it, it was completely silent too. When I removed the rear wheel and spun it without a chain, it was quiet. Once a chain is mounted however, there is a metallic, hollow sound. I don't know if this is due to the cog or something else.
Overall, I am happy with the bike. New toe clips and an 18T cog yielding 72 gear inches will be happening pronto.