I couldn't sleep, so I read a few chapters of a recent Le Carre novel waiting for a little bit of light and headed out for 30 miles up the Monon Trail and out 56th Avenue here in Indianapolis. This was the first ride on the newly built F100. (It turned out, by the way, that I was a little overeager on getting out the door. I rode a good 45 minutes in too-dark-to-be-riding-without-lights conditions. Thankfully I had a taillight to alert cars, but dodging bike commuters on the Monon was a little dicey.)
Summary: this is a really nice riding frame. The build needs a slight bit of refining to be perfect.
First realization: the fact that the tires fit when first mounted does not mean they will fit when filled to pressure. The front spins fine at my usual pressure (80 psi for balloons like these). The rear does not spin at 90 psi, but a short deflating burst -- maybe down to 85 -- was sufficient to get it moving. Unfortunately, that does not bode well when the wheels lose trueness.
The fit is just slightly off for me. I have a 110 mm stem and could use a 120. It's comfortable but a little compressed for my liking. I will move the saddle back and hope that accomplishes the goal.
I failed to compress the headset bearings into the head-tube, so there's a little more play and rattling there than would be ideal. Lacking the proper tool, I hope the shop down the street will do that for not too much money.
The pedals -- Keo 2 Max rather than my normal Keo Classics -- work fine, with a caveat: they have this neat feature that they stay level when you unclip. That's great unless you are accustomed to flipping them upright with your toe on the way to clipping in, as I am. I found myself flipping them upside-down!
This is officially my lightest bike, based on the ever-reliable pick it up and see how it feels test. The carbon P2 loses out likely as a result of the excessive weight in the front-end from the bar system. The weight is noticeable on the constant starts from a stop one does riding the Monon in rush hour. Stop, wait for cars, sprint back up to speed, and stop again. It's a nice-feeling bike out of the saddle, with about the right amount of flex characteristics to be comfortable and the right stiffness to feel snappy.
It is a very comfortable ride. Can't say whether that's the frame, the all-carbon fork, or just the saddle and fat tires. But it's on par with the Gunnar in terms of the apparent all-day comfort. I must say that I'm very eager to find out!
Neuvation has been in a sell-off on the old framesets so I ordered a F100 for $250 ($327 shipped). This is Neuvation's original aluminum frame that for years has been discussed as a black-label Cervelo Soloist; the closest John Neugent will get is to say (paraphrase) "this is built in a factory to which a top frame-maker sent engineers to perfect the design and manufacture process for the frame". But the geometry is spot on and the semi-aero tubing looks about right -- and, in contrast with the over-branded Cervelo rides, this frame is an elegant, sleek, discreetly branded black number. I'm also happy with a larger frame. Less stuff sticking out to make it fit my long legs. Neuvation included its full carbon fork with the purchase.
|The tires cleared -- not by much, but they cleared.|
At about that same time Merlin had a fire sale on Shimano 105 groupsets, so I bought this one for $417 shipped. I'm an Ultegra snob and have been in danger of becoming a Dura-Ace snob, so it was gratifying to see that this was as pretty a set as any I've ridden.
|105 Groupset. Who needs high dollar options?|
|OK, so the pedals are a little mis-matched!|
The accent also works because it matches the coloration on the Ultremos. Of course, now I'm locked into that particular brand of rubber, but one could choose worse.
|Hope clamp is slightly mis-colored.|
Red bar tape would have been too much and it didn't quite match anyway. To my view the only obvious change going forward is to find red cable ends somewhere. I'm torn as to whether I mount stubby aero-bars. Probably not.
|Nice that Deda also goes shiny black with red accents.|
On order is a Zefal HPZ-2 frame pump. That should be the right size for a left seat-stay mount. Then I have some tuning to do before taking it to the road. My hope is that this serves nicely on some fall-time 200Ks. Here's the view from the cockpit.
And from further back in the pace-line.