Thursday, October 16, 2008
Note that I did not use the Time Seatpost which the frame came supplied with. Why?... it had a scratch on it! Also note that though this demo did not come with a stem, all VXR, VXRS, VXS, RXR and Edge RS's come with a stem and seatpost-(if not a Translink).
Here you see my 9sp Shimano Chain and Cassette paired with Campy 10. This is a light, cheap(er) set-up and provides me with all the gearing I need. That and I can stay on Shimano/SRAM wheels.
I love these Handlebars! The Ritchey WCS Classic's. Look for Svelte Cycles to stock these in the near future. And by "stock" I do mean here and ready to go out the door.
Here she is in all her test-ride, mix-matched, gangly self... I wish this bike was mine, I would set it up a tad different. Nicer wheels, no pammel (see below), matching cages to name a few visually nagging issues...
I love the little bullseye. That little black dot there on the top tube marks where the virtual center of the BB. This makes measuring your setback a snap. Time really caters to the detail oriented cyclists' who give a damn.
This is a pammel ladies and gentlemen. Do not try this at home. I did however love the lack of starnut system with the Time Quickset... makes for a lighter, cleaner, more simple set up.
These Zero Gravity Ti's I thought had bit the dust, that is until I doused all the pivots with Tri-Flow. Voila! Good as new! Such a cool little brake. Too bad about the Boxer Crank though...
"All big ring, all the time."
This is a real race bike in every sense of the word. Time has been manufacturing carbon fiber racing frames and forks for longer than anyone in the industry. Save the Taiwanese Pulse frame (which does come with a french-made fork), every frame and fork is produced "in house" at the Time factory in France. Time has racing pedigree, they have history, they have wealth, they support racing at every level and are on the cutting edge of manufacturing techniques... this is a power house company like Colnago and Look and possesses it's own flair, it's own certain "je ne sais quoi". I see Time as the IWC of bicycles... slightly mainstream yet still boutique, goes well with anything, durable, classy, refined.
After only a few hundred miles logged on the VXR I have already come to my conclusion. Normally before a final review I would ride and ride and ride until noticing a change in performance, a bit of flex here, some give there, a creak, a crack perhaps, maybe a change in handling or performance. When you deal with Time this is not the case though... these are built like brick shit houses and will not flex out, will not fade away and will not wilt under the forces taken day in and day out by a Pro cyclist. This alone gives the VXR huge purchasing incentive as it will stand the test of time (pun) and when you consider the fact that you can buy two of these proven geometry'd VXR's for the price of a ? ?'d Serotta. Why would anyone bother with fit guessing games? These things just fit and ride like a performance bike should... Consider them made to measure.
Enough passive agressive remarks about custom faster-backwards bicycles and perfect imperfection. Let's talk about the VXR. When I was going 30-40kph over rough roads the bike felt as if it weighed 50lbs, it just STUCK to the road, didn't move, no chatter, no deflection. When jumping out of the saddle over the rough stuff, the rear end just "plunked" right back on the ground, no bumping about a few times to find it's place, it just went "plonk!" back on the road.. the rear end was solid as a rock, yet possessed a smoothness you would find in perhaps a nice titanium frame. Riding in the saddle at speed was damp and stiff and the module seemed to give me an overwhelming feeling of inertia, a rare sensation these days due to so many manufacturers focusing on gram scales. I am no sprinter but I can produce some big league watts for my size and at no time did i feel the front end go soft when jumping out of the saddle. There have been reports of bigger, more powerful riders finding the top-tube flexy but on my size M frame and 1,300 max-watt uphill efforts I found no noodle action to speak of. What impressed me most was this frameset on descents, normally I feel like I am way ahead of the bike... just waiting for the thing to respond so I can go ahead with setting up for my next line. The VXR was with and even ahead of me at times, the bike felt present with my body's motions... waiting, ready, responding. Sketchy situations, dicey corners and rough roads are where this bike absolutely shines and you don't need to be a racer to appreciate it's ride charactaristics, ironically enough novice to recreational riders may appreciate the VXR's qualities as much as a racer would. This bike instills confidence on the road and when paired with the proper stem length ,saddle height and bar drop will put you in a proper and balanced position (time stem and seatpost come included by the way).
Oh and how does the bike climb? It weighs nothing and is stiff as hell... how do you think it climbs?!
The VXR brings me back to the days when I was competing on Pegoretti's. You get the same unwavering, no nonsense reactions from Dario's bikes as the Time's with the exception of the comfort factor. In no way shape or form am I trying to dissuade anyone from purchasing a Pegoretti. They are amazing bikes and perhaps some of the nicest machine's I have ever competed on. The Time's however have the same stout, balanced and powerful ride except the smoothness of a Time makes the kilometers pass with more ease especially riding over cracked and pot holed roads like we have here in New England. Perhaps the smooth sensations will even inspire you to do that extra loop that is so often skipped at the tail end of those 3+ hour jaunts.
So in conclusion I am totally sold. These are well priced race bikes that will stand the test of time that can be enjoyed by all type's of cyclists. With the economy the way it is you need to take into account the value Time gives you (remember the stem, headset, fork, seatpost and bottle cage are included!) initially and over the years to come. $4,500 is not peanuts but this is like purchasing a Mercedes Benz, those fortunate with enough money to buy one can expect reliability, class and performance for many, many miles down the road.