After spending some time on my new machine I can only elaborate on what I already sensed was a great machine.
The build quality and finish of the paint has been perfect from the get go. The matt paint is almost rough to the touch, but has lasted perfectly, even in areas where the chain would slap or the odd bit of rub from a cable hasn’t blemished it one bit. It washes clean easily and I use Mr. Min furniture polish afterwards to give a deeper lustre and make wiping dirt off it even easier.
I have re-cabled it since the first time and fine tuned the cable lengths, it’s very easy to cable up even though it’s mostly internally routed. I’ve learned some tricks on the Venge that work perfectly on this bike as well to make cable changes a breeze. I have also disassembled it partially again to pack into a travel bag and flown across the country, which is a nerve wrecking affair when you’ve seen how the baggage is handled, and it came out unscathed on both trips and was simple to “fold up” and keep protected.
I have made only small changes to my saddle height since my first ride and I’m very comfortable in and out of the saddle. The rear is supple enough in sheer to take the bitterness out of the road surface and the odd pothole I hit in the dark on my morning training rides. The bike soaks it all up and is ready to snap up more.
I went a size up on this frame compared to my usual choice and I’m not disappointed, it still feels low enough and it’s compact enough that I cant sense a difference in the top tube. I run a 10mm shorter stem and this brings me to my next point. The more I ride the more responsive the front end feels. I actually felt surprised, and very pleasantly so, that the bike steered in so quickly I had to adjust my line a few times on a winding descent. I have ridden a fair bit in the rain now and have had a few momentary lapses in grip, to which the bike stayed neutral and regained some traction soon enough not to go down. In the bikes defence I was running too high tire pressures for the wet and dropping them 2 bar made a world of difference. The steering is razor sharp, maybe a little too quick for some, with the short 100mm stem I use it can develop a shimmy, only ever so slightly but enough to feel, but only if I hold the bars on the hoods and with one hand. After moving my one hand closer to the stem area on the tops and this phenomenon disappears. I have also in one situation had a shimmy when hard on the brakes avoiding a rider that switched me on a high speed descent, around 65kmph I had to haul in both anchors. I must have been a little over zealous and in the wrong hand position when it happened. I worried later and tried to re-enact it without success… so all good there too.
Overall I am extremely happy with my purchase and have the utmost confidence in the bikes abilities, I have thrown it deep into corners and had my eyeballs grow before it gave any hint of uncertainty, I’m sure it has plenty more in reserve before I find it’s limits. The combination of low weight and high stiffness while remaining comfortable makes this the best bike I have ever ridden. There are plenty more miles ahead…