Thursday, October 28, 2010
November Bike & Musak Friday
I took my first ride on Dave's November Bikes road bike. It's a 56, which is pretty close to perfect size for me, which is funny when you think about Dave being 6'1" and skinny and me being 5'11" and change, and not.
First impressions: it is remarkably nimble but still sure footed, blunts big bumps, but has an amazing amount of road feel for a carbon bike. To broadly generalize, steel has great road feel and absorbs bumps, but tends to be flexy, as does Ti. Aluminum tends to have great road feel, and it's rigid, but it kicks the rider in the back on each bump. Carbon tends to be very stiff, and it absorbs big jolts, but it tends to have a dead road feel. For my money, scandium offers the nicest balance, with the best road feel of the bunch - though it is quite flexy.
The November Bike feels closer to scandium than anything else, but it is nearly as stiff as an aluminum crit bike; yet it maintains a road feel that is close to scandium's. I was pleasantly surprised at Hains to be doing Tabata intervals, mashing it hard on a stiff frame, yet getting constant updates on the quality of the road surface through my fingertips and butt as I pedaled along. I could tell the difference between new tarmac and the older stuff, slippery spots and sticky ones, slightly bumpy and slightly smoother bits.
Just for fun I rode through the potholes. The bike did a good job of eating the square edged bumps - not quite as good as my scandium Redline or as my carbon 1st generation Giant TCR, but nearly as well, and without the deadening of road feel that the TCR suffers from.
It was plenty stiff for Tabata intervals. I could get some front derailer rub going if I worked it hard... but then I can do that on every bike.
The handling was sharp edged, but not nervous. For the most part, the bike felt extremely neutral. Lean in hard and it dove in; carve gentle arcs and it carved with me. It was very responsive to rider input. A race bike for sure.
So the first ride impression is really good - a delectable combination of stiff frame, with better road feel than I thought was possible in carbon, particularly at this price point. Can't wait to bomb some curvy descents on this one. May be time for an Ellicot City ride...
More in a day or two.
I'm too tired out to write much about music. So I'm just going to give you some of what I'm listening to.