Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finally got to ride my new bike!

Today Team Bicycle Trip had it's usual big Saturday workout ride, up Swanton Road four times it turned out. I have always loved that ride, and today I also had the extra treat of riding it on my new 2009 Giant TCR Advanced 2. And it didn't rain! What could be better? How about good legs? Well, my legs felt great too!

The new bike is more comfortable on the bumps. Noticeably so. Giant claims that, and I can confirm it. Swanton has some fairly rough stretches but this bike does a better job of isolating the rider from them. The improvement is merely incremental, but still very welcome.

Giant also claims the frame is stiffer laterally. That may be so. But I haven't yet done any really hard jumps to really test it. Most of my sprints training is on my old aluminum Specialized. I did win the city-limit sprint, but that wasn't because of the bike.

[After several months of swapping between my bikes I can now say for certain that the 2009 Giant is way better in sprints than my old one. My old 2007 sometimes gets a real wobble when I sprint really hard, while my new 2009 just rides nice and straight no matter how hard I jump on the pedals.]

But one area really stood out: Handling. The old bike was always a bit wobbly in fast turns, which I attributed to the 30 mm deep-dish Easton EA50SL aero rims I use. But the new one corners beautifully... even on the same rims and tires I used on the old bike! So, it is the new frame that gets credit for the handling. I expected this, due to the massive head tube area. But it's nice to confirm that too.

I ended up liking the Fizik Arione saddle after all, so I am keeping it. It's pretty similar in feel to my Selle San Marco Aspide, but perhaps slightly nicer. It might even become my new preference!

Another improvement is in the weight: my new bike is 18.1 pounds per my fish scale, as ridden with the Ultegra gruppo and the heavier rims. My old bike is 19.9 pounds, though that includes a Bontrager aero wheel with a Power Tap hub and the 105 gruppo. Still.

So. Am I happy I upgraded? Of course! The difference in cost was only a few hundred bucks, and it was well worth it. But I would have to say that the improved high- speed handling is the only reason I say that. The other improvements are nice, but not that compelling unless the improved sprint stiffness proves to be beyond belief. [It is!]

Now I just need to win some races on it!

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