Sunday, November 23, 2008

Say Hello to White Beauty!

I don't have a penchant of giving names to the inanimate objects I own. Hell, I never had names for any of the pets I've ever owned. But sometimes, certain items are just asking to be named, you know?

If it's big and has jet engines, it's hard not to call it a Jumbo Jet.

If it's green and hideous, it's hard not to call it a Green Goblin.

If it's white and beautiful, it's hard not to call it a White Beauty. Say hello to White Beauty. She's my new ride.

I've always wanted a road bike, simply because everyone else who rides in my area uses one. I don't make full use of the offroad capabilities of my old Unnamed Blue GT. The last time I had offroaded was in October 2006.

And watching the cross country mountain biking event in the Olympics on TV only galvanised my decision to stop offroading for good. Even professional racers fall and get themselves hurt badly - just look at the Swiss riders. What hope is there of me enjoying the sport whilst escaping from its scrapes, bruises and broken bones?

Unnamed Blue GT grew old. It needed a new chain, a new headset, possibly a new crankset and bottom bracket too. With the numerous parts that had been going south lately, it stopped being cost effective to keep it alive.

I needed a new steed.

I needed a road bike with componetry good enough for me to not want to swap them out. A road bike that I would be able to race should I decide to.

Something kitted out in Shimano 105, preferably.

That would be the Giant TCR Alliance Team, boasting a frame made of both aluminium and carbon fibre and fitted with 10-speed Shimano 105 components.

The Giant TCR's frame geometry has been race tested by the professional elite level cyclists of Team T-Mobile/Team Highroad/Team Columbia/whatever they decide to call themselves today.

Not to mention, it's made by the biggest bicycle frame manufacturer in the world. They don't call themselves Giant for nothing.

This particular bike uses the same livery as the T-Mobile team bikes for the year 2008. Sweet. It's only too bad that Team T-Mobile was struck with doping scandals bad enough for them to regroup as Team Highroad, followed by Team Columbia. The 2009 Giant TCR Alliance Team however would eschew the beautiful white and pink of 2008 and replace it with a dull black/silver.

I had to get that bike. I'm not getting any younger, and I have to spend my youth doing the things I want to do, and not wait until a mid-life crisis to get a bike I truly like, only to ride it with arthritic knees.

I ordered it, on Thursday, they had it in the shop on Friday, but I could only make it on Saturday. The guys at Chapter 2 Cycle rock. Ben the Bike Shop Guy said that there were people asking about my bike on Friday, and he had to tell them its not for sale as it's the last piece of that size the distributor had.

It's a pleasant surprise when I noticed that the wheelset was the newer RS10 rather than the R550 which had some pretty bad reviews online. And the tyres were a more durable (but probably slower) Michelin Dynamic.

Enough talk. How's the ride?

The riding position is extremely stretched out and aggressive, even for a medium sized frame. After all, it does share the same geometry as the elite level TCR, so you're expected to stretch and bend over like a pro. To ride on the drops, you need crazy flexibility.

Thank goodness I'm still young. Ultimately, after 45km with lots of climbs this morning, my back ain't aching. Good enough.

The carbon fibre fork and half-carbon frame soaks up all the small bumps and road chatter perfectly - even more so than my mountain bike did. The steering behaved really well over larger bumps.

I'm still trying to get used to steering on a road bike. Due to the narrow handlebars, you don;t get much leverage and have to steer almost entirely by leaning into turns. But taking bends at high speed is remarkably stable on a road bike, due to the smooth rounded tyres.

As for climbing ability, I don't know if it's because my old GT already climbs like a billy goat on steroids, or that climbing ability is more about the rider than the bike, but it didn't seem much faster on my road bike.

The TCR Alliance Team uses a compact crankset, which means its 50/34T rather than 53/39T. Not such a good idea for Singapore's terrain, considering we don't get any really steep hills here. As a masher rather than a spinner, I find myself in the large chainring too often.

This mean machine flies on the straights, cutting through the air and winds in a way my old GT could never do. Unfortunately, wrong day to ride - I got overtaken by 2 roadies. And that's in my usual route where I hardly get overtaken, even on my old GT, at a lower speed. It's especially demoralising on my maiden ride as a roadie......

I'm in love with my new bike.

More photos:


Anonymous said...

very chio (:
have a nice ride mate

Pkchukiss said...

I agree, your roadie gives off vibes like a classy continental car.

kc said...

but it's made in taiwan!

Pkchukiss said...

Outsourcing is the new bike! She looks quite stately though!

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