Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An entirely customized Giant TCR Advanced SL

Here’s a philosophical question. Let’s say you buy a road bike from a well known manufacturer. At last, you have taken the bike out for your first, long anticipated spin. It’s great, but it could be better. First thing you do, you buy new wheels, much, much lighter than those that came with the bicycle. The tires are not so great, either, and you install new ones. The saddle hurts; out it goes. We are just warming up. The drive group could be made lighter and smoother: cranckset, derailleurs, shifters, cables, all of them made of smaller parts, assembled with titanium screws, milled out of the toughest alloy available, and each of them carefully researched and selected out of a short list of the lightest components. Then you start looking for other weight-saving parts: new light-weight, hand-made, expensive brakes; pedals; cable housing; front stem; handlebar; and chain, of course. OK, here’s the quiz: at what point in this process do you still have your original bike and when do you begin to have an entirely new bike?
This is exactly what we do at BikeNüt; we’re kind of obsessive. We transform bikes, from standard to highly specialized machines for the most exacting requirements. You might say that we don’t actually make bikes, but, in a way, we do. We take the bike that arrives in a box, disassemble it, and put it together in a new way.
This is our latest construction: the frame is the limited edition of a Giant TCR Advanced SL. I know, they could have chosen a sexier name.
Let’s just say that this not an off-the-shelf frame: it’s their latest generation, has internal cabling, and is especially set up for the Shimano DuraAce Di2 Group. Giant has made only 161 of these limited-edition frames, all of them numbered, and this is no. 94. The color scheme is unique.
I know, nobody’s jaw is going to drop when you mention the Shimano electronic group. There have been so many raves out there, that I’m almost convinced I should have one. Almost. It shifts so precisely and so effortlessly. Even when going uphill, off the saddle, when you wouldn’t dare shifting with a normal, old-fashioned group, you just have to apply the smallest amount of pressure.

The list of unique components to this bike is long. It includes a pair of EE Brakes, by EE CycleWorks, and anodized to match the color scheme of the bike. With my brakes, I know I have to plan ahead; with the stopping power of these, I could just improvise.
This is a racing machine, no doubts about it. It’s an instrument that can handle a big amount of power. Just to see how much, it’s been equipped with Shimano 7900 SRM wireless power meter, that keeps a record of things such as power, speed, cadence, heart rate, and so forth.
The wheels are also an assembly of parts from different manufacturers. The rims are Velocity Aerohead, 22 mm. deep; the hubs, both front and rear, are DT Swiss 240S, and the spokes are DT Swiss Aerolite.
Tour pros’ bikes have absolutely nothing on this one. Down to the smallest components, such as the wheel quick-release skewers, this has the best the industry has to offer.

This is a set of Carbon Ti X-Lock Special skewers, made in Italy, with the axles and the axle-ends made of 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum and levers made of high quality titanium. By the way, the axle ends have been anodized to match the color scheme of the frame. The weight for the set is about 60 grams.
Does anybody really need all of this? Probably not, only somebody who likes to push himself and can live only with the best.
Could we put together bikes that are just as good but, shall we say, a bit more affordable? Oh, yeah!

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