When the frameset arrived on my doorstep I was amazed at how light the package was. After taking the new steed from the box it was quickly noticed that the box and packaging weighted more than the frameset! This thing is wicked light. I was also impressed at how sexy the bike is. My mouth was watering to get the thing built and get it out on the road. I felt like a kid at Christmas.
For budget reasons, I went with SRAM's Rival groupset. SRAM doesn't make anything low end, and Rival is no exception. You get plenty of carbon and sexy black componentry in a package that weighs less than Shimano Ultegra SL but comes in at a price slightly below. Jerald's bike is equipped with SRAM's top end Red, but Rival has benefited from some trickle down tech from Red. Many pro teams actually spec Rival parts for their rigs. Bontrager Race Lite wheels, Race Lite handle bars, Race X Lite stem and Race X Lite seatpost round out the spec on my bike and is how Kevan's will be equipped as well. My bike weighs in at a respectable 16.5 lbs with pedals and bottle cages. Jerald's Red equipped bike comes in just under 15 lbs. with Reynolds carbon wheels.
Nate Folger at The Bike Shoppe built up the bike with incredible attention to detail and the bike was dialed from the first pedal. "Pleasantly surprised" was his reaction to the finished product. Kudos to Nate for his mad building skills!
The finished bike is striking to look at. The in-your-face graphics scream "this is a race bike" and the ride matches the message. From first pedal, I could tell this was no beach cruiser. It is stiff, very stiff. And according to Velo Vie's marketing, it is unabashedly so. Why such a stiff bike? Well, its built from ultra high modulus carbon in order to have every available watt of power to be put down on the road, where it should be. All this stiffness rewards the rider with a ride that is fast, very, very fast. This is a true to the core race bike.
The sensation is hard to describe. I came from a relatively high end aluminum frame to this bike and I could tell instantly the difference. The Vitesse 300 SE is such an upgrade, I feel like I may have unfair advantage. It's now up to me to make sure I have a motor in good enough shape to be worthy of such a thoroughbred. I have been able to hammer a bit and the bike reacts with excellent quickness. With every pedal stroke I can really feel the power being put down. Nothing is lost in the frame and fork. I love the feeling of speed and responsiveness with this bike.
The SRAM drive train is also impressive. The shifting is quick and deliberate. I also like the minimalist carbon lever set up. All the cable housings are run under the bar tape for a clean and aero cockpit. The hollow cranks are plenty stiff and there's nothing cooler than black colored stuff.
I'm super stoked about my new rig this year. I'll be focusing on crit racing this summer and I think I have the right tool for the job. Thanks to Velo Vie, SRAM and The Bike Shoppe for getting Team Excelerator p/b Pinnacle Auto Company race ready for 2009!