Monday, July 9, 2012

Aspasia: An Extremely short term review

How does it ride?

Much like a bike.

"Aspasia" is more than 2 pounds lighter than Blu.2.  I can't say I really notice the weight difference other than carrying it out of the basement.  

I wrote that yesterday.  My opinion changed today.

On Saturday I was riding with a bent rotor for the last 2/3rds of the ride (18 miles) so essentially was riding with my rear brake on.
Maybe I was a little "off" on Sunday, because after the ride I took a 2 hour nap and needed 2 cups of coffee just to go on a 2.6 mile hike with the Q.
Today, I can say the lighter weight did make a difference.  Especially on slow technical features.  I found I was able to crawl up rocks, manhandling the bike, cleaning things I rarely clean.  The only climb I did not make was the first steep after you cross Wintonbury Rd., and there was some jerk park in a Honda at the bottom of it (excuses, excuses).  Everything else was cake.  I even pulled myself off bad line with brute force (stop laughing)  and determination.  The hike-a-bike along the fence after res.6 was a "joy" with the lighter weight.

I can't say I noticed any harshness.  Low pressure tubeless 29" tires probably help this, but Cannondale has been doing Aluminum for a long time, so I think they are pretty adept in it's application. I've always loved how my Cannondale road bikes have ridden, so I guess this should come as no surprise.

The added steering precision of having a tapered steerer nestled inside a Foster's can of a headtube is not the hype I thought it to be.  I figured "what difference would this added stiffness make to someone my size" but it does provide a level of confidence that the front end will be going in the direction it is pointed.  At speed it held its line well.

The Carver fork falls in between the uber stiffness of a Niner carbon fork, and the compliance of the Waltworks.  It offers all the precision of the Niner, but with greater vibration damping.  Not quite on par with the Waltworks in the latter, but more so of the former.  It's as light as they say it is too.

The manufacturing tolerances of the Carver are not up the same standard as the others.  The brake bosses were not perfectly square requiring the use of concentric washers to align the caliper (Hayes brake do not use such hardware) which bolts to the fork via captive threaded barrels (think seatpost hardware) that spins freely making threading the bolts something of a pain.  But these are my only manufacturing gripes with the fork, and otherwise it is sound.  Can't beat the price.

The Cannondale EBB, although well made, and thus far silent, seems like it will be a major PITA.  When I have gone to move it, it has taken a major effort.  I guess this is better than slipping, but I don't think I should need to get out the rubber mallet just to change cogs.  There might be some trick to this, but it's not in the pdf.

These first initial rides have been very positive.  This was going to be my HT, but since my suspension fork fits the Swift, I guess that's the direction we'll go in.


eastwood said...

"Ancient writers also reported that Aspasia was a brothel keeper and a harlot".... interesting.

Side note, my buddy down here has the same bike!! Except with a Lefty.

dougyfresh said...

sweet bike! I'm jealous.

The wedge ebb sucks. I've had major issues with them.

I'd recommend a bushnell although they are known for being 'heavy'. Got one on my cannondale and all you need is a 4mm wrench and can adjust tension. In a shop or on the trail.