Friday, March 13, 2009

Goodbye, Ti. Hello, Co-Mo.

On the left is my now departed titanium Litespeed Solano. It's on its way to a doctor in Wisconsin who plans to ride brevets. I picked it up for a steal in the fall to replace my Tough Little Bianchi - I wanted something a bit snazzier than generic TIGed steel for all-around riding, but something that was also raceable.

The Solano rode well - it was slightly overbuilt for somebody of my size, so was moderately stiff. It rode very predictably, too, which led for really stable descents. Sometimes too stable - I'm a bit more used to snappier handling, due to my experience with track bikes. The titanium is comfortable - a pretty plush ride. All around it was a nice bike - the fat downtube had a nice ridge on top, and the stays were each elegantly curved around the rear wheel. Such immaculate welds, too - so even and fine.

But there were a few things that were off. One was the fit. The reach was near perfect. The height was a bit high on me, and I always felt like I was riding a bike that was too big, even when I was comfortable on it. The bar drop was fine - short people with short arms don't need deep handlebars to get their upper bodies pretty flat, especially if they learn how to bend their elbows and ride somewhat long.

But, I wanted a race-specific bike. Something stiffer and lighter, not an all-arounder.

So, when a buddy of mine decided that he needed to liquidate his Co-Motion Ristretto in order to fund the aquisition of a Fuji Track Pro, I jumped on it. I had wanted this bike before, I had ridden it before, and I had seen first hand its purple sheen and its rainbow sparkles.

The day after the decision, I rode to his house, rode home with it over my shoulder, and set about taking the Litespeed apart.

It's lovely. It's a looker. It even looks good at speed (oh, I really wish this photo wasn't blurred!).

Finally, my racing bike is done. A year and a half ago I picked up that temperamental Bianchi. It worked to get me into road riding and racing (I was fixed-gear only for quite a while), but the components were worn. Nine year old Campagnolo bits that refused to shift accurately. Piece by piece, I upgraded: the Litespeed frame, the Campagnolo Eurus wheels and a new rear derailleur at a T-Town swap, and functional shifters for a great price on eBay. The drivetrain was finally working like a drivetrain should, no more light-touching the mouse ear to center the rear derailleur on a cog after shifting (no more wondering if I should attempt the Ergo rebuild on my own).

And now, the Co-Motion frame. It's stiffer than the Litespeed. Big fat straight seatstays transmit that road feel - braile to the arse - but the fork smooths things out. It responds well to hard efforts. I'm liking it.

A lot.

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