Welcome to the January 8th, Mid-Week Report!
BIKE OF THE WEEK: RITTE PHANTOM STEEL
Ritte has been a SoCal brand for a few years and as a new carbon frame is in the works, they are jumping into the new year with a duo of steel bikes; the Phantom road and Satyr gravel bikes, both which feature elegantly made frames made with Reynolds steel tubes and designed by legacy east coast frame builder Tom Kellogg .
REMEMBER THE ROAD BIKE?
Sure, amid all the hoopla and spotlight garnered by the seeming takeover of the bike industry by all these nefarious, fat-tired gravel bikes, any self-respecting roadie could be excused for having doubts about whether the good old-fashioned road bike had any relevance left in today’s marketplace of drop-bar bikes.
Happily, it does, and the Cervelo R3 and Giant TCR are proof. What you won’t find here are any pie-pan-sized cassettes, clearance for big knobby tires, a compact crank or even dropped seatstays. Hallelujah!
Giant first released the modern version of the TCR just under a decade ago and has kept the tinkering to a minimum with very few changes altering the traditional frame design as the aero evolution has overtaken the road world.
In taking a closer look at the Cervelo frame, it goes without saying that what was once cutting-edge still remains effective. Of course, an inescapable side note is that the R3 design was originally penned by the same Gerard Vroomen, who has since moved on to co-create some of the industry’s more notable aero and gravel bike designs under the auspices of his 3T and Open Cycle.
ALL 22 TOUR DE FRANCE TEAMS ANNOUNCED
- AG2R La Mondiale
- Astana Pro Team
- Bahrain – McLaren
- Bora – Hansgrohe
- CCC Team
- Deceuninck – Quick-Step
- EF Pro Cycling
- Groupama – FDJ
- Israel Start-Up Nation
- Lotto Soudal
- Mitchelton – Scott
- Movistar Team
- NTT Pro Cycling Team
- Team Ineos
- Team Jumbo – Visma
- Team Sunweb
- Trek – Segafredo
- UAE Team Emirates
- B&B Hotels
- Arkea Samsic
- Total Direct Energie
FIRST RIDE REPORT: SPECIALIZED TURBO CREO
Whether you like it or hate it, road e-bikes have arrived. While we have sister zine Electric Bike Action magazine to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to motor-assisted bikes, the chance to try the new Specialized Creo e-road bike was too enticing to pass up.
Specialized promises their new offering provides all the joys of riding a traditional bike with the added benefits of a little extra power. When the invite for the launch of their all-new Turbo Creo SL arrived, we jumped at the chance to head out to Santa Cruz, California, for a preview of both their road and gravel versions.
The new Fact 11r carbon Creo SL frame combines much of the knowledge that Specialized acquired from their non-assist road and gravel bikes when it comes to construction and geometry. The overall geometry is very similar to the Diverge with a low bottom bracket and room to fit up to a 42mm tire.
The Creo SL is available in four models, one of which is gravel-ready with a dropper post and 38mm tires. The other three models will be road-oriented, but since they all share the same frameset, you could modify the setup to your liking if you have any cash left, which will be a challenge for most of us.
All the bikes use the front Future Shock 2.0 fork (with 20mm of travel) that was recently launched on the new Roubaix. New to Specialized is the use of what they call “boost road hub spacing” with a 110x12mm front and 148x12mm rear thru-axle. This means finding wheels other than those Specialized offers is currently nearly impossible. The 1x-specific drivetrain uses a Praxis crank, and all the current builds use Shimano shifters, brakes and gearing.
One of the most impressive numbers mentioned was the bike’s weight, hitting the scales at just under 27 pounds for the 54cm complete build. We’ve ridden a few e-road bikes with rear-hub motors that are about the same weight, but none offer the promise of 80 miles of range on a single charge (depending on conditions) as the Creo SL does.
It is worth noting, however, that unlike the Specialized, you can swap out the rear wheel of a bike with a rear-hub motor (e.g., Bianchi Aria E-Road, Pinarello Dyodo, Orbea Gain, among others) and automatically lose a majority of the added weight and be left with a close-to-traditional pedal bike.
We had two days’ worth of rides planned in Santa Cruz—the first was a 50-mile road loop that had over 6000 feet of climbing, while the second was a 45-mile mixed-surface and gravel ride with about the same 6000 feet of climbing. Both rides would be challenging on any bike, and the one thing that stood out most to us on the rides was that we didn’t go any easier; we just went faster. And when I say that, I’m not exaggerating! On day one we rode so hard on the climbs and even the flats that day two started out super mellow since everyone’s legs were still tired. Yup, tired legs after an e-bike ride.
The motor is able to read the rider’s input power, and it can be sent to your computer and produce a power metric. While it isn’t as responsive as most of the power meters we normally use, it was accurate enough to give us an idea of the efforts we were putting out. For a cyclist that rides with power, this feature really hits home with how useful an e-bike can be for training and even recovery ride days.
Looking back at the data, I was climbing at just under 300 watts of input power at 170 bpm, which is my normal high effort. The difference was that my climbing speed was significantly higher, thanks to the 230-or-so extra watts that the motor offered. One thing that the Shimano drivetrain lacked was a 10t cog. On all of the fast descents, it was easy to get up to speed, thanks to the extra weight, but we ran out of gears quickly.
GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE 2020: MARCH 28 AND MAY 2
After two successful fondos earlier this year in Greenville South Carolina and Boise, Idaho Gran Fondo Hicapie has two more events lined up for 2020. Join a host of current and former pro riders on the roads of Fort Worth, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee on March 28 and May 2 2020.
2020 DIRTY KANZA REGISTRATION DETAILS
2020,is here! Mark you calendars for the 15th annual Garmin Dirty Kanza on May 30, 2020. Thank you for making this year’s race one of the best ever.
The random selection process for the 2020 race is open from January 6 through January 19. Selections will then be made on or before January 27.
THE RIFT ICELAND JULY 25, 2020
The Rift is a gravel race through the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland – taking place on the tectonic split between North America and Eurasia. An ever-growing battlefield that grows an inch every year.
The battlefield sculpted by volcanic eruptions is vast, rugged and unpredictable – making the Rift a challenge of endurance, mental fortitude and most likely the bare elements. And in the end – a gravel battle between the continents!
The course starts out of a small town along the southern coast called Hvolsvöllur. This incredible shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east. It is lined with countless natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanos – circumnavigating one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla.