Saturday, October 27, 2012

New TT wheels and saddle

I've been wanting some new TT wheels for a while now, but as with all things cycling they generally are pretty expensive. While reading through I stumbled across Flo Wheels. They are a new company created by two engineers who did extensive aerodynamic development for their wheels using computers, then wind tunnel testing them at the A2 wind tunnel.

For the most part the wheels are very similar to the HED Jet series of wheels. They use an aluminum rim with a carbon fairing. The fairing is not structural and just there for aerodynamic purposes. The rim is 24mm wide, so it's just a hair wider than the HED's but fits a 22c or 23c tire very well. 

I ordered a set of their 90mm wheels with the thought of using them as training wheels, then put on my rear disc for races. This is still the plan, but I'm looking at getting an additional 60mm front wheel so I can train on the 60/90 combo and race on the 90/disc combo.

The wheels appear to be of very good quality and everything I have read points to them being a good company, making a good product with excellent customer service.

I really want to get the wheels out for a ride, but it's the rainy season here so I'll have to wait a while before taking them out ... probably several weeks at the earliest.

Aside from the wheels getting great reviews, the other big draw was the price. I can buy two sets of Flo wheels for the cost of one set of HED series wheels or other major brand of wheels. This is why I'm looking at the 60mm front wheel as well.

Once I get some time on the wheels I'll post my thoughts, but for now, they are pretty impressive for the price. The only drawback is the weight of the wheels. They tend to run on the high side compared to a set of Carbon Clinchers, but are inline with other aluminum rimmed aero wheels. I would say they are excellent for TT's, but marginal for road racing due to the weight. If they could somehow shave 200 grams off of each wheel, they would be very competitive on the road as well.

Another recent addition to my TT bike is an ISM Adamo Race saddle. I've been hesitant about purchasing one for my TT bike because of the overall narrow nature of the saddle. I ride 155mm saddles on my road bikes and this saddle is 135mm which I've never been able to get comfortable on with road bikes. However, given the leaned over nature of a TT position, your sit bones are much narrower ... so I thought I'd give it a try.

I've been able to put a couple of miles on the saddle riding around my neighborhood and initial impressions are very good. It's way more comfortable than expected and puts me a little farther forward than my old saddle. I could probably still move it back a 1cm - 2cm and be very comfortable and put out good power. 

I'm looking forward to getting more time on this as well ... but again, it will have to wait for some nicer weather.

Another nice feature of this saddle is it's short and sits back further than road type saddles. This puts the nose of my saddle about 4.5cm behind the BB compared to being about 1cm in front with my road saddle. Again, I can probably still move it back a cm or two which would make it USAC legal should I decide to race at the Masters Nationals next year.

I'm making the changes to my TT bike because I'm going to concentrate on TT's next season. I'll still race road races, but they will have a different emphasis with different training purposes than years past. 

I really want to up my TT ability and win the TT cup for a second year in a row. I also want to win another TTT championship, win the Individual TT championship and maybe repeat my Uphill TT championship (in my category for each race of course). So ... lots of work to be done this summer and some position dialing in the spring.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New winter bike

So the weather changed this weekend and with the change comes the rain. For the last 3 - 4 years I've used a single speed which worked well. I didn't have to worry much about cleaning it, I could stay up with group rides and climb most anything around here...but it was always a pain to ride and my knees are not getting any younger.

So...I decided it was time to get a new bike. Ultimately I wanted a bike with disc brakes and fender mounts...beyond that, I wasn't too picky.

Looking around I stumbled across the Specialized Tricross low end models which had an aluminum frame, new Sora components and Avid BB5 disc brakes. While at the shop checking it out, I stumbled across the Jamis Nova Race which has an aluminum frame, carbon (1 1/8 - 1.5" tapered) fork, Tiagra components, Avid BB7 discs and 10 speeds instead of 9 on the Specialized.

After riding them...I really liked the I picked her up and brought her home.

After making a few changes: New (wider) bar, new saddle, zero degree seat post, road tires (instead of cross) and -17 degree stem ... then adding the fenders ... it was ready to ride.

I took the new bike out for it's maiden voyage today...56 miles over about 3.25 hours. Overall, I like the bike, but can feel it's weight on the climbs and heavy wheels during acceleration...but this is for base miles, winter group rides and general overall fitness during the winter, so those are not much of a factor.

The bike rides very nice, handles well and overall ... does everything you would want a winter/rain bike to do. I'm pretty pleased overall with it...but need to lower the stem. I'm going to order a new top cap from "Slam that stem" as I have on my Cannondale to drop it another 1.5 cm which should put it into a good enough position to compare it to my Cannondale.

I'm looking forward to many, many miles on the new bike.

On a side note...I'm recovering from a crash a few weeks back. It was pretty stupid and was caused by a lapse and thinking about other thing I know, I was off the road and had a gash in my left leg.

A trip to the Urgency Care ... 14 staples later and I was put back together. I still have swelling over my patella tendon and the gash went down to the bone. It kept me off the bike for two weeks and my left leg atrophied a "Lot" during that two weeks off the bike...But I'm healing and have another 2-3 weeks before I can go without bandages, but it will come around soon enough.