There are two new elements in my world, Argon (Ar) and Krypton (Kr). Yes both are noble gasses and pretty much harmless. So why are these now new elements in my world? Well they are names of my frame and new bike! A full carbon machine. After a year and half riding the mendota, it was time for a change for riding at the weekend. The rides have been getting longer & longer. When I start a ride I’m now expecting to do at least 50km and it’s more like 70km when I’m done. The problem with doing this on the mendota is that it’s a lot harder than it needs to be to do such a distance. The Mendota is fantastic for being around the city and doing commuting. For distance and speed, it’s a lot of work. Cruising speed on it being comfortable is between the 25-28kmph. Most of this feels like an areo issue. You are quite upright so all the wind hits your chest and you have to push through this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s done me very very well and I’m still using it for commuting. So after a few months of umming and arring, I decided to finally bite the bullet and get a road bike. Now the question was did I stay with the aluminium frame with some carbon forks or go full carbon? After much talking to LBS employees and t’internet browsing I decided against the aluminium frame/carbon forks/rear stay etc. The main reason was that it seemed that it wasn’t really much of an upgrade over the Mendota. Okay, yes I would be more areo, but other than that not that much. The next step up was to go full carbon; light, ridged, areo and a full group set.
In the end I settled for a Argon 18 Krypton 36. The other thing I got was a the SRAM rival groupset. The big reason for going for this groupset was that the brake levers remain just for braking only. There is none of the movement that is there with the shimano setup. The double-tap feature of the SRAM groupset I find awesome. It’s noisy and there is nothing subtle to it. It’s very much like a car’s racing gearbox. It’s either in gear or it’s neutral. I like it very much. As soon as you touch the gear lever you’re changing gear. There is a pleasant thunk that you hear, reinforcing that you’ve changed successfully. The other big step up for me is that this isn’t a compact chainring. This is 53/39 on the front. This is a bit different to the 48/36/26 on the Mendota. The difference being is that when you turn the crank, it feels like all of the power is going directly out of the back wheel. So far, this setup hasn’t been an issue. In fact, I’m now 5-10kmph faster up some of the hills I have been running on. Even on the one 10% hill that I’ve been on it’s not too bad. Most of the hills have been between 2-6% and this bike climbs them without an issue. I do wonder what I’ll be like on the longer hills. Judging the distance/effort required for these is still tough for me.
I’m also coming to grips with the speedplay pedals. They are harder to get into than the SPDs, but once they are in they are solid. The main reason I think they are harder is simply due to the size and the carbon/fibreglass boot. You need to make sure you are really over the top of them and push down firmly. I was told they will ease up, and they are doing so. I certainly like them when I’m standing out of the saddle as they feel much more secure than the SPDs.
Things I do need to work on, cornering at speed and descending. Corning on this is harder than the mendota. Yes I know I need to counter steer, buts that’s harder said than done and getting used to the bike to that at 35kmph is a bit nerve racking. I’ll get used to it I’m sure. Descending on this is nothing like the mendota. I’m not 100% happy yet on being on the drops at speed. I’ve hit 65kmph so far on this bike, and I feel I can go a lot faster which is scary. I guess I’ll have to get used to that too.
One thing I do miss on this is the disk brakes. The disk brakes on the mendota allow you to stop on a dime, they are sooooo good in any condition. Callipers on the other hand…I think it’s going to take a bit of wearing in and knowing the distances I’ll have brake on with these.
And what does it look like, well the beast looks as follows:
Yes, that’s a lot of white. It’s not that hard to clean given that’s I’ve cleaned it once already after a damp ride. So far I’ve covered 228.75km on it. I suspect that I’ll be seeing a few thousand kms on this that’s for sure.