Mon Cheval Noir

IMG_20160220_093137I am ready. For months now, I have been on my trainer (Masi Altare), a good workhorse that weighs a little less than a 1973 Buick Electra 225. During this off season, I have completely broken my A bike down to the frame. My aim was lighter. The aero advantage is already there, having a pretty good start with a Cervélo S5 VWD with full Dura Ace Di2 components. I currently have standard 53/39 Rotor cranks and want to move to No Q mid-compact Rotor cranks, but with all of the spending so far, I am currently in negotiations with the family CFO . . . might I add that she is a fair woman, not to mention the drop-dead gorgeous factor, but I digress.

All the normal off-season maintenance was done of course: a full lube job, new Dura Ace cassette/chain, bar tape, and Jagwire cabling. Knowing how much I wanted to spend on the bike, I had to be decisive and strategic when considering weight. I also had money I saved up and set aside for new shoes and helmet (another post soon to come). In an almost obsessive way of researching and digging for what is best, I went with wheels and saddle in respect of weight and improvement.

I have always fit well into Selle Italia saddles, which by the way reminds me to drop a little bit of advice to new guys: just because a saddle is good for your friend doesn’t mean that it will fit you. Everyone’s sit bones are different. Some shops have “try out” models that will allow you to ride one for a bit and get a feel for it before purchasing. Anyway, I purchased the full carbon Selle Italia Tekno Flow saddle. The claimed weight is around 120 grams, on top of the fact that is it beautifully made.IMG_20160220_093120

Of course, the biggest investment was the wheel set. I finally decided to go with Zipp 202. Once I narrowed it down to the Zipp wheels, I did debate back and forth on the 303 model or 202 but went with the 202 model for two main reasons: weight and stiffness. I set my mind to a true climbing wheel, only to discover that many independent studies have shown that the Zipp 202 held the same aero capacity as some deeper wheels that go as much as 50+. It has a lot to do with the dimpling system on the Zipp wheels. To me, this was the best of both worlds: with the aero of the S5, I could still have that advantage while dropping the weight of the bike to assist me when things go vertical! It goes without saying that wheel sets don’t come with tires, so I had to dig a little deeper. I went with the Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II. I know that they are not “top, top” shelf, but I liked the reviews and the numbers on rolling resistance. I put in Mavic tubes because of the black stems and that reason only. Nothing against the tubes, but Mavic is the only one who makes black stems.IMG_20160220_093241

After reassembly of the bike, it was the moment of truth. My mechanic at a local bike shop calibrated his digital scales, and with anxious feelings bubbling in my gut, we hung it. The numbers began to pop on the screen. Down, down, down the numbers fell. When it settled, the bike (with pedals) came in at 15.5 pounds! We all started high-fiving each other. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein when he threw the juice to his creation. This beast is going to be nasty. I know that the first few rides will be a “dialing in” process, but after pushing Masi in the off season . . . oooooh my, I can only imagine. If you have been reading my blog for any time, you are aware that I have chastised weight weenies, but that was only when the engine was still gigantic and the dude is talking about shaving 30 grams off of his pedal choice . . . I, on the other hand, am working on lightening both the engine and the bike.

Bon Vélo!

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