Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Madison...Day 2

So after the downpour that was the Centurion 50 Wisconsin we awoke to road grime stained clothing and blurry silt laden eyes. After a quick run to Wallgreens for some Dawn and Oxi-Clean all was right in the world of white kit.

Monday brought about the official start of Trek World and everyones favorite, demo day. The crew loaded up the short bus and we set out to pick up the two big guys at the airport and proceeded out to Waterloo.

We were greeted with a serve yourself Qdoba lunch and full racks of every high-end Trek & GF collection bikes you could ever dream of. Most of the balloners were out on the trail so we all grabbed Madone 6 series SSL's and hit out on Wisconsin dairyland chip seal county roads.

Before I get too deep into things here I must say that last year, I wasn't too impressed with the 6 series Madones. Hence my choice in 2010 of a GF Cronus. I found the Cronus much stiffer and more responsive, and the fender mounts were a nice added feature. The 2010 6 series felt so sluggish I actually stopped to make sure my brakes weren't rubbing and my tire pressure was okay. That was then, this is now.

The new 6 series SSL is a totally different animal. Gone is the sluggish feel, replaced by a crisp road feel but with a little bit more compliance than my trusted Cronus. I won't get into the fine details of materials and all the other little ins an outs. All that needs to be said is that once again, Trek has raised the bar and created yet another excellent handling, stiff and responsive bike. The added compliance of the SSL could be down to a couple things (1) The SSL's seatmast frame design or (2) carbon hoops. Both reduce road vibration individually, even more so in tandem. Round two.

I've never ridden a full blown TT bike. One word, amazing. You cannot ride slow on this bike. It begs you to ride faster and faster and that's what we did. Scott, Jay, Bryan and I all grabbed a bike and headed out. By the time we were out of town, Jay, Scott and I had fallen into a full steam ahead team time trial. The Speed Concept has such little frontal surface area the bike literally disappears underneath you. In a paceline, all you see is body, no bike, and that equates to pure speed. I don't need one, but I sure as hell want one. In addition to easy speed, I couldn't believe how well the bike handled in cross winds, very stable, no doubt thanks to the Kammtail airfoil design of the tubes. Round three.

The last two years I've taken out news boy wheel, Top Fuels. Each year I come back with the same opinion, they don't roll as fast as 29ers and have too little traction for my taste. It's an awesome bike, just not my style. The handlebars felt like an F1 cockpit, shift levers, brake levers, lock-out levers, basically a ton of stuff going on. Brakes controlled with your index finger, shifters controlled by your index finger and thumb. lock-outs controlled by your thumb and knuckle, which way do I push / pull? Give me a 29er.


Joshua Stamper said...


MOD 2.0 said...

Yes! Half pipes, those were the ticket. I think I still have two sets.

Riding SS has spoiled me on a clean bar set-up.