Interbike: Outdoor Demo Day 2

Day two of the Outdoor Demo began—for some, at least—with a ride to Lake Mead that began at 8:00. I borrowed one of Felt’s AR1s, which is the company’s aerodynamic road bike. I had hoped to spend more time on the F2, but the previous afternoon one of the two demo bikes in a 58 got slaughtered in a hot corner by a staffer … d’oh!

Slowtwitch.com’s Herbert Krabel with ad honch Robb Mesecher of Road Bike Action.

The ride begins downhill and I had the distinct impression that some of the riders present weren’t accustomed to such a fast descent in a pack. There were times when even moving to the front of the group remained interesting. Nonetheless, it was a fun bunch. I turned back a bit early because I promised the folks at Felt I’d have the bike back in time for 9:00 demos.

I’ve spent some time watching wind tunnel testing and I’ve noticed a few things about the very fastest bikes. First, the top tube is parallel to the ground. Also, there are no hard edges out where they can catch the wind. I haven’t seen the AR in the wind tunnel, but I have my suspicions that it is a very clean bike to the wind.

The layup on the AR was revised from its first iteration. I can say it was improved noticeably. It’s now lighter, stiffer at the BB, and the road feel much improved.

BMC has been making inroads and I wanted to find out if the bikes are really that good. The Team Machine is part of a select group of bikes I rode that had superb handling, definitely in the class of the F and Tarmac. It does more to dampen vibration than some bikes I rode.

There simply aren’t many bikes on the market that combine the degree of stiffness that the Giant TCR Advanced SL possesses with precise, balanced handling and genuine road sensitivity. Where this differs from the F and Tarmac is with a stiffer rear triangle. It’s a crit meister’s dream.

I’d never ridden a Moots before yesterday and the Vamoots was a revelation. They should all come with a boarding pass for Europe. This bike is no race machine, but that doesn’t mean it’s not high performance. It was plenty stiff and the handling crisp, but what I most wanted to do on the bike was just pedal into the sunset. The Vamoots wasn’t typical of the bikes at the Outdoor Demo, but it really was one of my favorites.

Next up was the Moots RSL. This sub-15 lb. bike is an indestructible race machine. I’m going to recommend it to a Cat. 2 friend of mine who has terrible luck with crashes. Very stiff with sharp handling. I wish I had more time to write more about it.

The Focus line has been interesting to me and I can say they are doing excellent work. The stiffness was on a par with the other top-end bikes I rode and the handling was exceptional; it reminded me of the BMC. It damps vibration more than some bikes and if you prefer a bike that really mutes vibration without making the bike feel dead, you should have a look at the Izalco.

This new glove from Giro is ultra-thin and super form fitting. It was like wearing a skinsuit for your hand. Pretty fun stuff. Just takes a bit to get it back off.

I ended the day with a ride with the folks at Cervelo. Above is Roger Hammond on the right. We rode the R3 featuring the company’s new BBRight crank and bottom bracket design. Phil White gave us a little presentation and then we took (thank God) a very leisurely spin through a nearby neighborhood. The R3 is fast becoming one of my favorite bikes.

I’ve got to give some thought to my three faves of the two days of riding. I’ll do a short post on that soon.

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7 comments

  1. Michael

    I’ve given up the ghost on carbon fiber until someone figures out how to recyle frames and components in a meaningful way. Just can’t morally justify the use of composites anymore if I can avoid it at all. With that said, MOOTS!

    I have been lusting after a Moots frame for some time now, and will be giving the RSL a test drive in the very near future. What a beautiful frame! I would love to hear more of your impressions on these bikes and the differences in ride quality between the Vamoots and RSL. It’s always good to hear or read an objective opinion on the matter.

    Moots!

  2. Dan O

    Moots makes some sweet bikes.

    My current “main” road bike is carbon and I totally dig it. However, my next bike will be back to steel or maybe try titanium. After a few years of look alike carbon frames, the old school tubes look better everyday.

    Add in the cheaper cost of steel frames, the durability, and old school history – a cool combo. With modern parts, can still be built up plenty light enough.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Everone: Thanks for all your comments. I’m sorry I haven’t been responding in the last few days. Conversation on all the posts has been great and lively, but my days have been very, very long.

      Oh, and for the record, there won’t be an FGR Wrap this week; consider my Interbike posts an ongoing FGR Wrap.

  3. SinglespeedJarv

    I should be taking delivery of a Giant TCR Advanced SL next week. Now I completely agree with what Michael says regarding the unsustainable use of composites…but, I justify getting the Giant because I’ve not bought this frame. Having been forced through injury to get ride of my hardtail mountain bikes I’ve swapped a Cove Hummer frame and a few components for the Giant frameset which is an unused 2009 edition.

    If I’d had to buy a frame I’d been thinking Ti and I’d been thinking Moots, but sustainability came into it again and shipping frames around the world is non-too-clever if you can get the same thing closer to home.

    There definitely seems to be a resurgence in Ti and steel, possibly something to do with how easily a carbon frame smashes on impact

  4. Lachlan

    ah, mmmm the R3. I have the original red+black R3 and love it so much I have to keep persuading my self out of going for another new one / an R5 just for the pleasure!… the old one is still mint of course.
    I still love the fact it was (I think) the lightest pro tour bike at the time but also won Paris Roubaix twice. Gives me confidence to hammer through potholes etc. pretending I’m on Roger Hammonds back wheel :=)


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Lachlan: The R3 is a minor miracle of engineering given that some companies are just now catching up to its magical ride.

      Noel: Thanks for joining the conversation. I’m not saying I love the look of the Serotta; truly there are (much) prettier bicycles out there. There are also much more aerodynamic bicycles out there, but if I’m going to take a swing at the Serotta, I’d need to take a swing at Ridley, Time and a few others as well, and that wasn’t really germane to my point. Neither was the price. I will say that in working with carbon fiber, from what I’ve seen and learned, modular monocoque will allow for a better constructed and more sensitive frame than tubes and lugs, though it doesn’t guarantee it. And my point? That the Serotta is an important first step to bridging modular monocoque construction with custom geometry, which seemed impossibly expensive just a year or two ago.

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