A New Team, a New Bike. What’s not to Like?

19 01 2013

Alright, so here we are, smack dab in the middle of the Emerald City puzzle-palace. Actually, it’s not too different from what my expectations foreshadowed. The downtown never stops moving though, and maybe I can use the number of sirens or emergency vehicles that pass our second-story window as a gauge to how nuts the day is going to be…maybe not. I knew moving over here would involve some deviations from the routine I had become accustomed to in Spokane, but these weren’t anything too crazy. Our condo is tiny (500 sf), one of our neighbors has friends come over during the evening hours to beat on drums, pluck strings, and mostly sing on-key (it gets repetitious though). Other neighbors have killer Chihuahuas and bulldogs that sound the daily bark when you walk past their door en route to the elevator. Another neighbor’s bulldog doesn’t make a sound, but its wall-eye provides a comical appearance. For a building this size, I’m surprised that I don’t run-into more people having lived here for five months already. I’m starting to think most of the units here are weekend-use or odd day dwellings as I just don’t hear people moving around—and I’m a light sleeper too.

But enough of that stuff. You didn’t click-in to read about social dwelling commentary. My homeowner’s insurance policy had paid-off only about $1,333 on the theft of my Madone 5.2. So my effort to recreate a decent quality race bike was going to be creative and extensive, and short-term. Every day I was off the bike increased the fitness gap and I wanted to build a new steed as soon as practical. Most of my sources were non-retail, that is to say like Ebay, Craigslist, and local bike shop used-parts and consignment venues. One of my biggest requirements frame-wise was a round seat post. I wanted the extended adjustment granted by flipping the seat post clamp forward, not like my old Madone 5.2 asymmetric post, where I was never able to get my saddle forward enough where I like it. After scrounging around for about two weeks I found a 2012 Scott CR1 Pro frame on Ebay for a cost of $854. The reviews looked good, the company reputation looked good, and the manufacturing process (my master’s in engineering and technology management degree came in handy) looked good. This would be my new frame. Here’s the appearance:

Picture of 2012 Scott CR1 Pro build

2012 Scott CR1 Pro…my race bike for 2013

  • SRAM Force crankset
  • FSA Wing Pro bars and Gossamer brake calipers
  • Shimano ST-6700 shifter and derailleurs
  • Bontrager Race Lite ACC carbon seat post
  • Speedplay X-10 pedals
  • Specialized Toupe saddle
  • ITM Millennium Super Over stem
  • A couple of Bontrager RL bottle cages.
  • My old HED Belgium C2 wheelset (with SL+ Powertap).*

There you have it, a suitable substitute for my old Madone 5.2. In comparison, this frame feels slightly less vertically compliant and has a bit more give in the BB when I put the beans to it while out of the saddle. I’m not going to whine too much though—I like this frame. At any rate, the fit window for this frame is so much better for my body geometry, it just feels better on the road. While I’ve yet to have it in a race, I expect the bike to do fine. Newer models of the Madone 5 series also have a round mast cap that I could flip forwards. I’ll always wonder what this frame would have felt like on the road, but at $2,600 a pop, purchasing one is a pipe-dream at this point.

* A note about the front wheel: before I had completely worn-out the brake tracks on my C2 rims I converted the front-end to a disc compatible brake (just for the foul-weather season). I’ll probably discuss this more in another post. Suffice to say that from October (when the weather here turned wet) to now I’ve likely worn the tracks down to the minimum width. I’m awaiting a response from the engineering folks at HED Wheels on what a safe minimum width would be since these rims were not produced with a track or pin-punch wear indicator. I wasn’t happy at all about this condition— or about going through a set of Ultegra caliper pads every two weekends. That was just nuts. I expect to buy some replacement C2 rims and re-build the wheelset probably sometime next year.

And about those fenders? Yes, well the new team requires us to have fenders on the bike during the wet season. We don’t cancel training because it’s raining. This is more for the teammate behind me than for me. In March we’ll take ’em off when the weather dries up (for the most part). These fenders are from Toba, and I have to say that they work pretty darn well. Installation, even though I did a small bit of customizing, was straightforward.

As far as the new team? I knew from the WSBA rankings there were at least three teams in the area. One of them I could not find any contact information for…strange as it sounds. The second one wasn’t too forthcoming about their meet-the-team ride or any organized rides for that matter (just weird). I found this web page on the last team I wanted to learn about.  That’s more organization than any team I’ve seen to date. This team’s big. On the weekend training rides, as many as, or more than as many people show up as some race categories that I’ve competed in. The training’s proceeding well and I’ll start the season with the largest base foundation that I’ve ever had. Thus far the team seems to be a good fit, and I have some good expectations for the coming season.

The team’s shop host is fantastic, and the mechs are top-notch. (Surprise! their benches are clean and organized. I haven’t seen that very often.) If an item that I wanted wasn’t available on the shelf, it was there in two to three days. I wouldn’t hesitate referring my friends to them as I know they would be treated right.

By the way, the west side (as I call this side of the state) has more metal in the road surface than I ever imagined. That is, man-hole covers, pipe access covers, grates, and caps. Wet metal and road tires do not mix too well. And if that wasn’t enough, the concrete slabs that comprise some of the roads have uneven edges, as if frost heave has lifted them enough to make you think a pinch-flat is imminent. The roads here are a challenge in them selves. I miss the rural roads of Spokane. Yeah, their roads may be chip-sealed, but you could roll scores of miles and not see one man-hole cover.

What’s not to like huh? See you on the road.

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2 responses

20 01 2013
Spokane Al

As a former resident of the west side it seemed that getting out and running/riding in the rain made the first step out the front door the largest hurdle. Glad to hear that you seem to have that one beat.

20 01 2013
Eric Abbott

Hi Al,
Being wet doesn’t bother me as much as being cold. Once the temperature drops to the mid-30s, though, black ice and slick roads make for some unsafe riding conditions. This morning the northern training routes were not used. All the squads present used the southern routes around Lake Washington. Other folks spent an equivalent effort on their trainers.

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