I have a few rides on the Prince now so I feel it is appropriate to give a review of the new Red Stallion. One of the first things I can say is that when it comes to bikes you typically can have two of three traits; stiffness, light weight, and affordability. So typically, I have always had to choose affordability and ___________. That said, this bike is no acceptation. After building the bike up and tossing it around the shop, it was clear that it is a light bike. With the training wheels and tires on, the bike weighs in at just under 16 pounds. Consider when I put my race wheels on the bike will be UCI legal... barely! The other characteristic that this bike has is stiffness. I had the chance to do some heavy duty climbing with my boy Mr. Mach this last weekend and the power transfer of the bike was definitely noticeably more then what I am used to. That's not to say that my previous bikes were "flexy," but that this was flat out more rigid. Honestly, I can say that stiffness is one of those things that you only notice under extreeme circumstances so it is hard to replicate on a "test ride" around a parking lot or a 5 second sprint outside of a bike shop. But once you take one of these bad boys up Kings Ridge, I am sure you will understand. Keep in mind that nowhere in this did I say this bike was affordable, since the frame set alone sells for more then my whole bike last year. Two of three!
One thing that I was worried about was moving from Shimano's Dura Ace grouppo to Campagnolo's Record grouppo. I have spent all of my 7 years on a road bike on Shimano components and the thought of something different was quite the pill to swallow. But I was amazed at how easy it was to switch. Not only was the switch easy, but it also has some advantages over the Dura Ace group. The biggest "benefit" for me is the thumb shifter (see above photo) for the rear cogs. With one swoop of the thumb you can move down 5 gears. Or, with a slow swoop, you can go through the cog 1 at a time. The benefit over Dura Ace is that you can be gripping the handlebars at full force (think SPRINT) while your thumb does the shifting. I was told you can do that with SRAM's double tap, but I used a Red equiped bike for 2 rides and didn't get the have of shifting while in full sprint motion, but I picked it up on the first try with Campy.
The bars:Those who know me know that I am an apostle of the integrated bar / stem combo. Well, Oh boy did I luck out with these bad boyz. This is the MOst Talon integrated bar. Not only is this bar light and stiff, but the graphics on these bars mystical. It is hard to capture the true detail in a picture, so next time you see me on the road or at a local event, make sure to come by and check them out. Unfortunately, blogger won't let me post this picture horizontally, but if you tilt your head to the right and the computer to the left, you can see what looks like kung foo eyebrows and a really pointy nose. Imagine the white streaks are wrinkles in the brow and you have one pissed off ninja. OK, maybe it's just my imagination running wild, but it still looks saucy!
Another nice little feature is the line of MOst saddles. Close your eyes and imagine a Selle Italia SLR but flashier, that that's the MOst XLR XP. The glossy white looks killer. Hopefully we'll get some white bar tape to match!
"Our amps go to 11"
Lastly, did I mention it has 11 rear cogs? Imagine your 12-25 cassette, with an 11 tooth bonus! Perfect for a super fast decent after a long climb.