The wheels arrived this morning from Neuvation. I picked up a pair of M28X on the Christmas sale and they arrived while I was off in Calgary for Christmas so I made an early morning trip to the post-office to go pick them up and slapped them on the bike. It’s looking good. They actually came with different decals than I was expecting and for a couple minutes I thought I might leave them on there. That lasted a couple minutes. The decals will come off tonight. The bladed spokes are longer in cross section than any I’ve ever ridden before, they look great and I hope they perform well too. I rode a wheelset once that whistled at high speeds due to airflow over the spokes, probably a sign of poor aerodynamics but if this wheelset does that I won’t complain, whistling wheels are sawheeeet! The wheels look pretty beefy but when you pick them up you’d be surprised, they’re 1750 grams for the set. That’s a totally acceptable training wheelset weight. Compare that to 1770 grams for the Mavic Cosmic Elites I was using as a training wheelset on my TT bike this past season. I don’t know the weight of the Ritchey wheelset I’ve been running on my road bike but it’s at least a half pound heavier than the Cosmic Elites, so that would put it at over 2000 grams for the pair. All in all, the wheels look to be good but I can’t really tell you how they perform until I can take them on the road.
The wing bar is great. I can’t comment on the ride yet because I don’t even have a stem to mount it to the bike. I’m sure the bar itself is stiffer than my EC90 cross bar, and with the oversize diameter for the stem mount it’s going to be a far stiffer front end, especially once coupled with the beefy head-tube and giant fork. The shape is excellent and it’s got all of the features that I wanted. Basically it’s an ergo drop bar with two lower hand positions, the low hand position and the cornering hand position, It doesn’t do the long curve, just the double bend. I think the wave style bars are really uncomfortable they’re on my commuter bike and I don’t like the drops. I’m not looking for a myraid of hand positions along the lower drop of the bar, I just want two so make it fit them properly and get the bar out of the way for the rest of it. Zipp and PRO amongst others are making the long curve bars these days whereas FSA and Easton are pretty much set of doing it the comfy way with the double bend on the bottom there. I like that. I’ll admit the nice long curve looks really nice when the bike doesn’t have anyone riding it, so I guess they’re selling ’sexy’ and indeed they’re making money on it.
The main purpose of buying the carbon bar isn’t really weight, although this is indeed lighter than the aluminum bar I was running on my road bike prior. It’s to get the wing under my hands for riding on the tops. Stretching out the area under your hands distributes weight over a larger area which means less pressure on your hands. This isn’t a gimmick, the area is at least double and so, the pressure will be less than half. The corner has the recessed dimple characteristic of a lot of the nicer bars out there designed to reduce pressure on the median nerve when riding at the hoods. Those features combined with a bit of vibration damping from the carbon and this is likely going to mean I’m never going to have sore hands, except maybe when I’m white knuckling the bars racing on Calgary’s finest Bownesian pavement. The cable routing is beautiful on this bar and I’m surprised that there isn’t a photo posted online, I snapped this picture and the attention to detail is spectacular. It really makes the housing disappear. The mind-blowing thing is that this fine piece of art was $82 (full retail: $91). That’s a fifth the price of a comparable carbon road bar (or for the triathletes reading: a third the price of a carbon TT base bar before you start adding extensions).
Finally. I’m really not pleased with our society’s extremely low appreciation of any sports other than the ones that start with “N” (Nascar, NFL, NHL, NL, and NBA). I saw this ticker on the TV last week. How are pro triathletes realistically going to make a living if the world around can’t even spell the sport that they do, let alone know how what it entails?