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Saturday, 29 May 2010

David's Z3

This is David's Large Z3 with BB30, which came in a 6.2 kgs - perfect for the Alpine adventures he has planned.

The build was DA 7900 complimented by a touch of exotica - the Zipp Vuma Quad crank

The frame is also full weave - as opposed to the more commonly seen woven lugs/uni lugs

Wheels are again Reynolds MV32s with my favourite Vittoria Evo CX tubs

A bike this 'dialed' - is it any surprise who built it?

Raffi's Z1

We have waited a while for this bike to arrive - but it was worth it!
Its Raffi's Z1 which is build with Di2 (hence the Parlee battery mount under the BB and the commision of cable ties). It looks wonderful with the stealth wax finish

The wheels are Mavic Carbones with a PT for all round riding, but Raffi has already said he might need to get some additional carbon wheels and take the decals off to match the frame !

Dean's Z1

This is Dean's Z1 - it is the big brother to his Z3 (and his Kent Eriksen Ti winter bike)
We went classic here - Reynolds MV32 Tubs and Super Record. 6.3 kgs as is - Marmotte here we come...

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My 'Team' bike

I often get asked what I ride
I sheepish admit I have 8 or so bikes that fit me, and thus I swap around depending on how I feel
However now I will be able to answer I ride one bike exclusively
Its my new Parlee Z5 in Bespoke Racing paint scheme

I like the chainstay decals as well !

I think it looks great and am really pleased with how it matches the team kit and the team saddles as well !

Thanks again to Jean for building the bike so beautifully. Though he does lose marks for asking me (and I quote) "when you have so little power why do you need to be reminded of this"

These are my brand new Zipp 303 tubs. Very excited to get these finally. They will be my do it all race wheels and I even plan to race cyclo-cross on them this winter. When the new 404 carbon clinchers arrive I will have use them for more aero events and day to day training. But the 303s will be perfect for crits and hillier events

Monday, 24 May 2010

Recent builds

Another busy week last week !
We have been waiting for this build for a long time
This is Chris's Red RXR with Super Record, Tune Saddle and the new Tune Carbon Clinchers

So far so good !

Mate unreal.....
Amazing stiff and responsive which seemed to have a huge effect up hills (ie I was beating ross this time :-). Just felt like i was being so much more efficient....
Absolutely loved it though and im so glad i went for red.
Overall mate though im chuffed to bits.... Do please thank the legend that is Jean... I totally appreciatte that without him i wouldnt even be able to get hold of these wheels

This is Sam's Z5 with SRAM Red

Tony is doing the new ironman event in Copenhagen and needed a TT bike to compliment his Z4
Thus we built this complete with SRAM Red, HED aerobars and Reynolds 66 Clinchers

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Simon's SSR write up

I thought it would be useful if I did a new section on the blog whereby riders wrote a detailed write up on their new bike
This real world feedback is of far more use to most people than magazine reviews

First up is Simon's SSR

Lust for a new bike had struck once more. Barry supplied me with a Z4 a couple of years ago which still heads the fleet. But I wanted something different from a superlight out-and-out race bike.

The brief was a lively bike that would last, with Italian handling. I didn't know what I would end up ordering, although I sensed that anything other than an IF SSR would be a compromise. I had a concern that the columbus XCr tubing might offer limited tuning to my riding style and weight. Barry assured me this would not be the case.

The drawing for the bike dimensions came through really quickly. A couple of tweaks were made, nothing big. I changed my mind one hundred times on the paint scheme - the site is helpful in showing the colourscheme opportunities out there.

It arrived bang on time. Jean built it up with my chosen old skool components and Bespoke saddle.

I have done just 300 miles on it so far. It fits the bill. It is indeed lively - and by that I mean light enough but with a nice spring to it. You can ride over the rubbish Kent roads and there is no jarring. The fit is a bit more relaxed than the Parlee. It feels like the culmination of the best parts of my other bikes.

This is how it compares with my other bikes:

2003 alu/carbon Pinarello Prince
- a bit lighter in feel than the Prince, unsurprisingly the IF is less compromised on rough roads. But the Prince is more racey (with a slightly lower and stretched position) and great for powering along on the flat;

1995 steel Merckx MXLeader. This is a stiff bike. You have to be really careful with wheel/tyre choice. It handles beautifully and feels planted. The IF is lighter and feels more delicate on the road. It rides better over rougher surfaces.

2006 Cannondale Synapse. The Synapse soaks up the bumps well, but the handling is a bit jittery.

2004 Look 386. Neutral handling, comfortable but the feel is a bit dead.

2004 colnago CT1 (Ti/carbon). I had to get rid of this bike because of corrosion to the bonding on the drop-outs. This is the closest in weight and handling to the IF. I based the geometry on the Colnago, but with a few mm more on the headtube. The handling is very Italian - slower steering amd planted. The IF soaks up the bumps equally well, but feels a bit more springy.

2008 Parlee Z4 - the handling on the Z4 is more neutral (not twitchy or slow), and feels lighter on the climbs. It will remain the bike of choice for races. But the IF fills a different space. It is perfect for those longer, steady rides where, if the mood takes you, you can still push on without feeling you are on a compromised "comfort/sportive" machine.

A word on the component choice. I generally still go with Dura Ace 7800 as it has never let me down. Deda bars and stem fall into the same category - not the lightest but very solid. The wheels are Excellights which I find a bit lighter and have a better feel than Mavic Open Pro's. They are laced to Dura ace 7900 hubs which are nice but overpriced (athough I got a bargain on them). I have not used the Veloflex Pave tyres before, so I can't comment on their durability. But they offer a really nice ride quality. The saddle is the Bespoke Prologo which I like. I find that I cannot choose between the Flite, Zoncolan and this saddle for comfort.

I have spoken a lot about performance, which is a part of the decision of choosing a bike. You can happily race or just ride on this bike. But let's be honest, the other part is just as important - the style, heritage, quality, brand, exclusivity of the bike. I am an unashamed bike snob. I will not get a bike if I could just get it down the High Street or at Evans. It has to have something special about it, something which shows that discerning experience has led to this buying choice. For example, the Merckx is the same machine used by the Motorola squad of the nineties. The Prince is a special edition in Zabel green jersey colours. (The Cannondale is a winter bike/ commuter!) The IF is in a colour scheme that possibly only I like, but it is unlike any other.

And so what is special (and which therefore sets the bike apart from other high performance bikes) is the discerning looks that the bike gets, the queries about the new XCr material, the inspections of the weld quality, the requests to lift the bike up to feel the weight. The approving nods of the cogniscenti. They all add the extra element of enjoyment to putting in those hard miles.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Robert's Hyperon Ultra Tubs

With Robert, a man of style and distinction, we like to go the extra mile....
This is his new set of Hyperon Ultras and his ultra rare Dugast Silk Tubs. Gorgeous. And they will roll for days....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

New shoes

Whilst I have been off playing dad, Jean was been heroically holding downthe fort down in my absence
He even had time to take photos of our new SIDI Ergo shoes we both bought (matching off course)

But Jean did say he needs to lose 10 lbs, get fit and get a tan before he will allow himself to wear them !

Monday, 17 May 2010

A quiet weekend

Did not go to work
Did not watch the giro
Did not even go for a ride

All I did was get to meet my beautiful baby boy who was born 9.13pm on Saturday
He is absolutely gorgeous, and he and his mum are both doing very well
I am, and will remain, in complete awe of my wife

Thanks to everyone for the lovely texts and messages of support
Off to the hospital soon so I can bring them both home !

Friday, 14 May 2010

Phil's Ti IF Crown Jewel

Phil must be on of IF's most loyal customers - I count this as his 5th IF. Its certainly the third bike we have worked on together
The design brief was very simple - to keep the bike as classic and clutter free as possible
So we went for a simple black panel with white script, an Edge fork with no decals and Neutron Ultras for an 'old school' look.
The cockit was Deda Campione and Thomson (Phil's favourite and on his last three bikes)
The groupset was Super Record
Saddle and bar tape was Brooks leather, for that touch of vintage quality

I think its a cracking build and wish Phil many happy miles

I love the extra touches IF add, like the Sterling Silver Headbadge

IF has a well earned reputation for best in class paint

The welds aren't bad either !

Bespoke Team Ride...

One day, when I grow up and have a proper job, I want to go to races in this

Lambo = check
Dogma = check

Owner passes the style test....

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Parlee paint configurator is up and running

Play to your hearts content !

Thursday, 6 May 2010

We are now SIDI dealers...

The retail empire grows! We are now SIDI dealers. Come and see us to dial in the crucial foot/pedal/cleat interface. My old SIDIs are still fine but thinking these are compulsory for the full 'Team Kit' effect?

Or how about these go to with your new Z5?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Monday's ride

Monday was a holiday here in the UK so I went out with Dean for a ride
There is a Scottish saying about having 4 seasons in an afternoon, and thats what it was like today
We started off and it was okay, then started to pour with rain, then it was very sunny and then we had hail....
The only constant was a very cold and strong wind

This is a photo of Dean on his Kent Eriksen as we were coming back home through Pilgrams Way

We agreed it would only be a 2 hour ride or so, but these things never are and we ended up doing a nice 60 miler
It was great to come home with that in the bag and feeling very fresh - I remember in winter when that would have been a long day out !

Busy week in the shop coming up, but Jean wants to leave work tomorrow early enough so that we can do a track session at Herne Hill. He says its a proper work out so I am slightly scared !

Sunday, 2 May 2010

"So pleased"

I got a lovely email from Nick this week
I sold a Z4 to his friend Caroline a while ago, and Nick and I have been talking about a possible bike for a number of years
This year he is racing less and thus does not have a sponsored ride. As such he was free to chose and buy what he really wanted
We were very pleased that he chose to give us a call and in March he came down for a fitting on the Z4

He built the bike up with existing its and has done a great job - DA 7900 and Mavic Carbones makes for an amazingly stiff and responsive race machine.

He came down with his existing Bontrager bars and 12cm stem and we thought they would be a straight swap
We did a fitting on the turbo but with the new DA hoods I did not like where his hands were resting and thought shallow compact bars and a 11cm stem would be perfect

We respectively disagreed on this matter! Trying to get a racer to go shorter, and effectively higher in the drops, than they are used to takes alot of persuasion
As you can see in the photo he decided against my advice initially

But a week later he decided to try the more compact set up and I sent up a set of my favourite bars (Easton EC90 SLX3s) and an 11cm and 12cm stem. That seems to have done the trick and he is really pleased

Anyway, I got a lovely email from Nick which just goes to show good things come to those who wait
He jokes he was "high maintenance" but in reality he was/and is a joy to work with
I always tell people that the more information you can tell me the better able we are to do our job
And if you give us lots of information and we cannot get what you want the failing is ours, not yours

Nick has since ordered lots of team kit and water bottles for himself and a friend and I told Nick he has been christened our Northern ambassador and is now addressed as 'Spartacus of the North'
You can tell Nick is from the North - he addresses us as a bike shop, and not as the Cycling Studio or better yet Cycling emporium that us Hoxton types prefer !!

Morning mate.
Last night I actually rode this bike pretty hard for the first time on one of the local chaingangs 27mph + most of the way
In my weakened state I only pulled a few turns but I just have to pass comment.
Now I dont know whether its down to the bike or the fact that you dialed the fit in just perfectly but I cant actually remember a bike that rides as nice as the Z4 does, it soaks up the crappy road surfaces, seems to just float across them, handling is solid and predictable and accelerates really well both seated and standing, climbs nice too even with my winter plumage still in evidence.
It was also nice to be on a bike brand that has that mystique that only the lower volume brands can muster, like the Italian brands used to have before thay started doing £1000 chunkers with Sora on them. It stands head and shoulders above the faceless Scotts and Giants that get chopped out by the big shops.
So thanks for sorting everything out and putting up with me being rather high maintenance, just goes to show a bike shop doesnt have to be local to give awesome service!!


TIME for a change...

I love my puns....

2010 has been a momentous year so far and, touch wood, shows no sign of slowing down

We are really pleased to now announce we are the central London dealer for Time
Like Pinarello, I have admired Time for a long time
When the VXRS won Race Bike of the Year I bought a VXR and loved it
That was a big award to win (which was why it feel slightly surreal to be part of the process that led to the Parlee Z3 winning the award a couple of years later!)
The bike was stiff, jaw droppingly light and very comfortable

So its come full circle that I will now be back on a Time to compliment all the other demo bikes we have here
This is my RXR and my new set of Boras we bought for demo use
So please come down and see them in the flesh

This makes the line up here complete
We have still much to do to bring the whole experience up to the level we ultimately aspire to, but step by step we are getting there

I think our current frame line up can compare favorably to any shop in the world and I am really proud of how we have taken our time to secure the brands we wanted to work with and not rushed into things

Independent Fabrication

One could argue that we are very 'top heavy' and dont have enough cheaper frames. But that simply misses the point of what we aspire to be. We are bike geeks at heart, and only want to build and sell bikes we have a passion for. These are not commodities for us !

Simon's SSR

Many people have commented on how beaturiful this frame is and have asked for more photos
I can now oblige !

Simon came in on Friday to pick up his new custom SSR
Jean, as ever, built it up beautifully

It looks amazing in the flesh - the paint catches the light and looks really deep and lustrous

Just got this initial report from Simon

I rode the bike back to the office. Sublime. Simply sublime. It seems to fit me much better out on the road than on the turbo!
Not sure whether it is the frame, wheels, tyres or saddle but that is one smooth bike!
Will do a full review after the weekend.

Kevin's Z4

This bike took a while to get going as we had started talking before the cycle show in the Autumn
But it was worth the wait - Kevin came over yesterday to pick the bike up and was thrilled
We even managed to talk him to indulging himself with the new Time I-Clicks with the Ti spindles
The red compliments the spoke nipples of the DA wheels !!

Mark's Z5

With this one we swing for the fences a little bit...
Full DA with Edge tubulars and a powertap
Contact points are supplied by Edge as well
As is its 6.3kgs with the PT - not bad at all !

Philip's Z5

Philip recently swapped out of his Z4 onto this
So we swapped all the parts over including his lovely Campag Hyperon wheels
Feedback so far has been great and he is very pleased he 'upgraded'
The performance difference notwithstanding, the Z5 with the higher head tube allowed us to get his bars when he wants them without too many spacers or funky stems....

Robin's Z5

This came out really nicely with a Chorus Groupset and Eurus wheels
I am very pleased with how colour co-ordinated it all is !!