Monday, August 04, 2008

Arrival: Ridley

The List
During a full month of waiting to settle things with the driver's insurance company I embarked on a massive research project. The goal: select the replacement frame. Easy as this might sound, I had decided (then undecided, redecided, undecided, etc) to go with a full carbon frame and fork. Seeing as how I don't like to do anything normally, my list -at one point- looked like this:

  • Look 585
  • Ridley Damocles
  • Giant TCR Advance Team ('06)
  • Colnago CT2
  • Cinelli Estrada
  • Velo Vie V300
  • BMC Team
  • Cervelo R3
  • Canyon CF Pro
  • Wilier Izoard
  • Ciocc EOM 16.5 w/carbon rear triangle
  • Pegoretti Marcelo
  • Mondonico Super Leggera
  • Torelli Selvino
The list is mostly carbon frames, but I still included high end steel as possible options. I love the idea of a Pegoretti because it is hand built, just like the Mondonico, but cost and wait time are huge issues. Wait time also eliminated a number of custom frame ideas I had from Strong, Yamaguchi, Don Walker and others. I just wasn't prepared to wait 3 months for delivery.

Decisions, Decisions
I managed to weed a few things out of the list by way of eliminating small manufacturers that I feared either would 1) not be around in a few years, 2) might not be producing a quality product or 3) may not be under factory warranty. This eliminated the Cinelli, Velo Vie, Canyon, Torelli and Ciocc. Although I reconsidered the Ciocc again later, mainly because it is a steel/carbon hybrid that fascinates me, the paint quality is poor and the frame is a New Old Stock from perhaps '03 or '04. The Torelli is a beautiful frame but I couldn't find any reviews online and never knew much about it. I was assured it was quality, but at 950 grams for the whole frameset I was worried that it might flex or twist badly.

After a conversation with Sgt. D I found that I needed to keep my budget in check and be sure to be putting a little money back in the bank. No sense in blowing things out completely. This eliminated the Pegoretti and BMC Team, as well as the Cervelo. Truly though, the Cervelo would have been too "normal" for me as I see at least 3 of them every weekend during group rides. As always, I wanted something a little more unique.

My next eliminate was fit, based on research I'd done into the geometry of each bike. Based on what I had ridden and know I like in handling, I narrowed it down to the Look, Wilier and Ridley with the Giant TCR an outside possibility. Access to the Wilier was extremely limited so that took care of itself, and in the end it came down to the Look & Ridley, and a single question.

The Question
I called Will.
"Is 1 pound worth $500?"
Will: "Uhm... I don't know. Is it worth $500 to not carry a full water bottle?"
"Good point."
"Its not like we spend hours climbing mountains around here. Which one looks better?"

So, that pretty much settled it. That night I began the ordering process. It didn't take long to order the frame online. I had thought about going locally but no one had access to the Damocles. Apparently, neither did the seller from which I was buying.

Delays, Delays
Competitive Cyclist has a slick web site and simple ordering process that provides you with plenty of information about each of the frame sets they carry. I commend them for the detail to which the go in their descriptions of each frame, its intended use and level of quality. What they failed to do was indicate that the frame I was selecting was not actually readily available. The delivery date was moved back three times, and it eventually took two phone calls and two emails to straighten things out and get a frame delivered without moving the date again.

Ridley Damocles

Eventually, it turned out they had a frame in my size and color in stock, only it had been built as a Demo bike. I agreed to take the "used" frame and was offered an additional 15% discount. Honestly, its a great deal and the frame is in perfect condition.

Now I have to wait a full week (or more) for my build kit to arrive... and I still haven't picked a set of wheels. Will has a nice set of tubulars up for grabs as long as we can find a Campy compatible freehub body. In the mail I have a mixed Campy group with an Easton cockpit on order.

Part 2: Progress

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At 8:25 AM, Blogger Flatman said...

That frame is freaking beautiful!!!

Congratulations....have you thought of a name yet? :)


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