Tag Archives: SRAM Red


Friday Bike Lust

Rob English’s own bike – an improvement on his previous Superlight.  Nice…

And no, it’s not just because of my current skinwall tyre fetish…!

There’s a few things I’d definitely do differently myself – for example the downtube shifter for the front mech is just pointless even if it is there to save weight, I can’t stand the chainring bolts and I’m not a fan of Nokon cables.

As a concept though it’s flippin’ fantastic.  I love the execution of the ISP, and the 106g steel stem is a great piece of engineering.

More here.


Friday Bike Lust

It’s always Baums or Speedvagens on here… Bloody good reason though – check this out!

Colour-coded SRAM Red, colour-coded Paul Comp brakes, colour-coded Enve wheels, “Love” and “Hate” on the levers… Love it!

Pics by Regan Pringle, and there’s more on his Flickr page here.

Darren's Ristretto

Watch A Baum Come To Life – Project Baum Intro

So, my new bike isn’t going to NAHBS.  Bit of a bummer – but there’s a silver lining to this little cloud…

I get to show you guys how a Baum develops.

You see, now that my Ristretto isn’t going to be ready in time for the NAHBS show Baum have decided they want to send me pics to blog and tweet about as the build progresses. This means you, my esteemed reader, get to see a Baum from birth to completion; from raw tubes to ready-to-roll creation; from steel to steed.

Why won’t Cinderella go to the ball? That’s a long story involving supply issues which have caused delays, created problems with builds and generally meaning that – through no fault of their own – Baum simply won’t be able to get the bike finished in time. A shame, but a situation that works out quite nicely now that I’ll have the opportunity to share a complete Baum build with you all.

So, as soon as pictures start arriving from Jodie at Baum HQ I’ll get the Project Baum posts underway – watch this space.

Excited? No, never!… *wibble*

Darren's Ristretto

I Have a Confession…

…I’ve got another Baum on the way. Ooops.

It’s their fault, they contacted me first and once the seed was planted… I don’t think I need to explain much further really do I?!

It’s all because of my awkward dimensions. I was beginning to eye up Colnagos and was even considering trying their ‘Tailor Made’ custom option – given what that would have cost it was actually stupid of me not to consider my other full custom options anyway, so when Baum approached me it was a real lightbulb (well, more of a “duh, of course”) moment.

Why did they approach me? Well, on their part it was actually an incredibly kind and unexpected offer, seemingly prompted by twitter ramblings and my article about my need for freaky geometry, and as a thank you for the coverage I’ve given them through my Corretto build. It’s also, in part, a bit of a ‘safety net’ of sorts as it’s a bike that’s being built to display at NAHBS – meaning that whilst they’re building a show bike they know it will be bought and paid for after the show is done and dusted. And why not?!

So what am I having? No titanium this time around – it’s going to be the latest version of their steel Ristretto. The geometry will be the same as my Corretto, and I’m actually even going to increase the head tube height by 5mm so that I have a greater range of movement without hampering the look of the bike should my own flexibility either improve or decline.  It’ll be a standard seatpost, and a standard cable drivetrain.  There will also be a few features I’m not allowed to talk about.  I think it’s going to be a cracking companion to my dream bike, just without having to worry so much about it!

Fear not though, as not only is the paint design already sorted but the groupset and finishing kit is too – all of which should make life much less painful than the whole ‘Lugs to Lightweights’ episodes where I was fretting over BBs, cranks and all manner of other details. The plan for this one is PressFit30 BB and full SRAM Red, including brakes and cranks.  If Baum can get it in time (and at the last time of asking they believed they would) it’ll hopefully be the new 2012 version of SRAM Red too.

The only thing that isn’t sorted is the wheels. I have a few ideas, and they’ll most likely be deep-ish carbon. I’ll probably go tubular this time as – unlike my Corretto – this Ristretto will be raced when the season starts in Sydney. Besides, I already have both my Lightweights and my R-SYS SLRs to run if and when I want to run clinchers. Given that I can’t work in Sydney until my visa gets approved I need to keep the price in check a bit on the wheel front too so (as long as I can reign myself in) they probably won’t be anything special.  That said, those damn Mad Fibers are calling my name again…

There’s just a few details to sort and the deposit to pay, but essentially the bike is go and will be displayed at NAHBS in early March. This time around there’s no smoke and mirrors, and many of you may even see it before I do.  You’ll know it’s mine when you do see it though, believe me (although it might have some display wheels in it, rather than what I actually intend to run).

I’ll probably book a flight down from Sydney to Melbourne in early April to collect my new toy.  Expect constant raving, pictures and waffle as soon as it’s in my possession.

Don’t expect the Corretto to be forgotten though – trust me, it won’t be.


SRAM – What Next?

Rumours are circulating that we’re going to see something new from SRAM later this week… But what might it be?

The rumours seem to indicate it won’t be anything electronic. They also point to 11-speed, and seem to indicate a move away from double-tap. They’re also (apparently) dropping Red.


How much of this is true, or whether or not this announcement will even happen at all remains to be seen. Dropping their key functional characteristic in the double tap and not going electronic are the two big surprises for me – probably more so the double tap than the non-electronic as well.

Thoughts circulating my mind are how they’ll approach shifting in the absence of both double tap and circuit boards, what their USP will be to attempt to challenge the electronic groups at the top end (weight is my guess) and which end of their range will get this new treatment first (logically Red, given that they’re planning to drop that).

I’ve been banging on about SRAM going electronic for at least a year now. Them eschewing it despite what sounds like a complete groupset redesign sounds like a brave move, especially following announcements from Campag and Shimano in recent weeks. But perhaps they’re offering something that will out-perform electronic? Who knows.

Regardless, I’m keen to see it – if it materialises and isn’t all just hype that is…

Peggy with Lightweights

The Pegoretti At 500km – Still No Spark…

As I said on my first post about the Pegoretti, I was struggling to come to terms with my thoughts on the bike and understand what I did and didn’t like about it.  There were some good points to the bike that I noted in that article, but some of it seems to have been that ‘new bike buzz’, and I’ve got less and less convinced as time and miles have passed.  I made my life even more difficult by spending a couple of days back on the Baum…

Being back on the Baum and instantly loving it so much (god damn that bike is just *amazing* - no word of a lie, it literally makes me smile every time I ride it) made me realise just how much I hadn’t ‘bonded’ with the Pegoretti.  I went off on one, and managed to get really quite worked up that I’d made a massive mistake.

I spoke with a few owners and the guys at Above Category where I bought the frame to work out what might be going on.  The common consensus was that these bikes work best ‘on the rivet’.  This did me no favours as I’d actually built the bike with the intention of it being a bit of a mile-muncher to keep me a bit more comfortable over the bigger distances – my understanding being that the bikes had this legendary ride quality and comfort, which the bike has shown glimmers of.  The news that I should be riding it hard and fast further confirmed my feelings that I’d screwed up.  Damn…

Still, I’d made a couple of changes to the bike which improved it visually (being a creative and ex-graphic designer I cannot escape the fact that a bike needs to look good almost as much as it needs to ride well) and helped me warm to it a little more.  I decided to give it another chance, opting to take it out for my weekly solo jaunt – only this time I loaded in the Lightweights to see what that did to the ride.

As it turned out, this particular ride did end up being ‘on the rivet’, as I battled a headwind for seemingly the whole 90km, burying myself and the bike for the whole three hours.  The Lightweights did change the feel of the bike, and I did enjoy riding it more – but why should I have to put Lightweights in all of my bikes to do that??  No, there should be more to it.

At the moment I’m still in two minds what to do.  There’s a big part of me that wants to sell it now before I lose too much money on it, and given that it’s possibly the only ‘available’ 56cm Duende in the country right now this might not be too much of an issue.  Selling it would free up space for a proper winter bike – possibly even a cheap custom job from a UK frame builder.  Something based on my Baum geometry but with proper mudguard mounts and so on… only I’d feel defeated.  And that’s why the rest of me wants to give it more of a chance, spend some time understanding it a bit more, grow to love it.

But will I?  Spending time with it means not riding the Baum.  It means only riding the Pegoretti.  I’m not sure I can not ride the Baum.  That said, there’s a good chance I’ll be ‘hibernating’ the Baum soon anyway, so maybe it’s not such an issue… Perhaps I need to find a truly ‘normal’ steel bike and ride that to realise how good my Duende is?

But I still don’t see why I should have to grow to love a bike.  I like the bike, and I can’t deny liking the fact that I own a Pegoretti – but I want to love it.

Otherwise I might as well have kept the Look.


Not Long Now…

…until Eurobike and Interbike – do I mention electronic SRAM again? (I know I know, change the record…!)

Seriously though, with trade exhibitor numbers up for this year’s Interbike what do we think we’ll see?  We’re now only four weeks from Eurobike too – both events are already beginning to make me salivate over what might be on show.

We’ve already seen that Time have a new ‘Sportive bike’ (I hate that term with a passion – just because it runs less ‘arse-in-the-air’ geometry…) on the way.  Cervelo are also taking the approach with the S5 and R5 to run taller head tubes on the basis of stiffness with the premise that pros can run a -17 degree stem without spacers to achieve their desired position.  Likewise, Look appear to be re-positioning their relaxed geometry 566 as one of only three models they will now offer.

Are we starting to see a trend along these lines?  It’d be nice to think so – race bikes are all very well and good, but it’d be nice to know that Joe Public doesn’t have to run a big stack of spacers to make a race bike fit.

And what of the electronic scene?  Shimano clearly didn’t wait for the big trade shows to launch Ultegra Di2 (it’s not Ui2 so I refuse to call it that!), but will we see sneak peeks of Dura-Ace Di2 updates?  And will the ‘Campy Tech’ electronic group finally be released?  I won’t mention the other company, yet.

Do we expect any other groupset news?  Well, surely if SRAM (see, it was always coming) don’t go electronic then there must be a proper update to Red on the cards??  I’ve said it time and again that it’s remained unchanged (LTE and Black Editions aside) since, what, 2007?  Sure, it’s still the best looking groupset on the market (in my opinion at least), but it’s not so good that it simply cannot be improved.

How about mechanical Dura-Ace?  Historically the XTR and Dura-Ace groupset updates have tracked quite closely, and XTR has undergone a refresh in recent months.  DA7900 has been around for two or three years now so an update isn’t that unlikely, and trickle-up of the Ultegra Di2 improvements onto DA Di2 might encourage a mechanical DA update as well…

What of other trinkets?  Will we finally see the Garmin-MetriGear pedal-based power meter?  Will Polar beat them to it?  Will Brim Brothers trump them both?  Cycle-Ops have already shown off their new G3 PowerTap so I’m sure we’ll see more shots of that at one or other of the shows.  I reckon there’ll be some new bike computers appearing to challenge the likes of Garmin as well – there’s already been some press info about Polar launching something with GPS in it.

And wheels?  Perhaps Mavic will release details of a production version of the M40 wheelset that the pros have been testing for a while now (will this replace the much revered CCUs?).  Maybe the all-carbon R-SYS Ultimate tubular wheel will finally make it to the public domain too?  Will anyone challenge the Mavic Exalith rim treatment?  I’d like to see alternatives begin to appear.  Perhaps we’ll see a Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon clincher as well whilst we’re at it?

Other things I’m hoping for are carbon-railed versions of the Fizik Versus saddle range (just because), a Conti Competition tyre in clincher format (chance would be a fine thing!) and a good looking, light, stiff chainset that’s PressFit30-compatible (moon on a stick, anyone?!).

What are you hoping or expecting to see?


Rebirth of The Look?

So having got rid of the power meter and making the decision that white bar tape is just too much of a pain in the arse to keep clean, a few changes to the Look had me compelled to ride it.  At long last the Look got a Look in.  No pun intended, but kind of unavoidable, sorry.

How did it go?  Well, I finally got to give my SRAM Red black kit a spin.  I finally got to try a longer stem to see how it made the bike feel and handle.  And I finally reminded myself of the the braking quality of those Mavic SLR rims after a while off of them whilst the front one was being repaired (thanks BA).

But above all of that, I finally reminded myself how damn good my Baum is.

Don’t get me wrong, the Look is good.  Very good.  And I’ve got a lot to thank it for – after all if I’d never found a bike with such *ahem* ‘special’ geometry I’d probably still be looking for a bike that fits me properly, and I’d probably have ended up with some kind of nasty ‘sportive special’… oh wait, that’s the very same pigeon hole that road.cc neatly slotted the Look into wasn’t it?  Except it’s better than that. Sort of at least.

You see, for a while this evening I couldn’t pinpoint what it was.  The gears were as slick as they’ve ever been, the bike felt stiff, comfortable, direct and was tracking nicely with the longer stem just taking the edge off of it’s slightly twitchy handling… and then it struck me – it’s boring.  No character, no interest, no sparkle.  Dull.  It’s ‘just a bike’.

But it serves a purpose, and the fact remains that as a second bike it’s pretty damn good.  It’s just that the Baum is so much better.

The Baum is actually based reasonably closely on the Look (something else I should thank the Look for), but the subtleties that made the Baum ‘my bike’ are also what make it feel so right.  Out of the saddle the Look feels top-heavy, unstable.  The Baum had the bottom bracket lowered and the chainstays lengthened – only a little in each case – to iron things like that out.  The Look didn’t feel as sprightly either, which is odd given that it’s carbon and handles a bit more rapidly.  It just lacks the spring and ‘zip’ of the Baum.  That longer stem I tried on the Look was also just a little bit too long, and so reverting back will speed up the handling again, whereas I know the Baum is right as it is so I don’t need to try things like that.

I’m sure you’re now all expecting me to say something along the lines of: “and so I’m replacing it with…” – but no.  What’s the point?  The Baum is getting 95% of the use at the moment and there’s no reason for that to change.  The Look *is* a great bike, it’s just suffering from the fact that it has to compare to the Baum.  Last winter proved that it’s fine running ‘guards, even if they aren’t full, permanent metal ones, and if I were to race the only bike I’d be ‘comfortable’ crashing (if you catch my drift) is the Look.  It has it’s place in my armoury, and it’s here to stay.  It just might need a bit of dusting off when it does come down off the wall.

So was this the Look’s rebirth?  No, clearly not.  At least I know it still works though…