Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Objects of My Attention

The untraditional winter we've been having has been well publicized, and it's made for some interesting conditions both on the road and the trail.  Skiing has been very hit-or-miss, and I've had days that are either awe-inspiring or completely humbling- sometimes even back to back.  Folks in other parts of the state have been able to ride right along in November-like temperatures and only mild accumulation of road grit.

Fortunately bike geekery is not weather dependent, so here is a sampling of some of the bikes that have been on my radar recently.  And no, I don't own any of them.  Yes, I wish I did.

The first in a trio of IF's is this Planet X Cross.  IF is known for their cool paint schemes and this is no exception, but what I find most interesting about this bike is the Campy build kit.  I can't tell from this image if the bike is Ti or steel or whether the gruppo is 10 or 11 speed, but regardless it's a cool setup.

This Ti Factory Deluxe is the sole mountain bike in this post, and yes I'm partial to titanium 29er hardtails.  This bike has a cool blend of new (Crank Brothers Cobalt wheels, ENVE cockpit, Ergons) and classic (ti, XTR) wrapped up in a simple but well-executed paint scheme.  Mountain bikes aren't often considered elegant, but I think this one might convince people otherwise.

The last of the IF's is my undoubted favorite- the Ti Factory Lightweight (all IF images from the Independent Fabrication blog).  Sure the paint is rad, but the innovative ti/carbon design makes the ISP seem relevant on a metal bike.  The stealth Campy Super Record 11 and Mavic SSC Carbones keep with the Ferrari-esque aesthetic.  No battery powered shifting here.

Not quite an ISP but still a high performance ti frame, this Hampsten Gran Paradiso is an update one of their long-running models.  The extended seat mast as a recent change within the last 18 months and I think it makes this bike more race-inspired.  Hampstens aren't widely used as race bikes and their geometry reflects that, but they're carving out a niche with the ever growing gran fondo crowd.  According to Steve Hampsten this bike as pictures tips the scales at 15.5 pounds with pedals so it's still more of a performance piece than a Porsche Panamera.

In some circles Australian custom builder Baum has started to make a name for themselves.  Their offerings are straightforward steel and titanium designs with remarkably eye catching paint work.  This one pictured above was featured on their website, and every single one of their bikes has a similar simple yet jaw dropping aesthetic.  Make sure you check out their Giro tribute bike from May of 2011.

Right now the weather for this weekend looks like it will be pleasant (for February), and with any luck I'll be able to get some more workouts in.  I did manage to reassemble the Race X Lite rear wheel bearings, but they aren't quite as smooth as they should be so it'll take some more tinkering before I feel comfortable riding them.

So for now, it's daydreaming during the week and keeping the matches dry for the weekend.

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