This is hilarious!
Specialized Tarmac SL2
The latest flagship road bike from Specialized was developed with significant input from Quick Step--Innergetic rider Tom Boonen, who provided crucial insight such as: “What kind of bike am I riding again this year?;” “I like eggs, but not egg salad--isn’t that weird?;” and “How much am I being paid to ride this thing, anyway?” This collaboration paid off in a big way when Boonen won the overall green jersey competition in this year’s Tour de France. And it’s in no way stretching the truth to say that Boonen’s SL2 was entirely responsible for the victory.
The most important difference between the SL2 and the now embarrassingly obsolete SL is the 1.5” lower head tube bearing. This means that the lower head tube bearing is now 3/8” larger, yielding a measurable increase of 6/16” over last year’s model. If it helps to put this in real-world terms, think of it this way: over a Tour de France stage of 112 miles, the new lower headset bearing yields an overall size increase of .375 inches. And in a close finish, that bulbous carbon headtube can somehow mean the difference between winning and losing.
Now, granted, I didn’t ride the Tarmac SL2, but I was able to tell just by looking at the pictures that the carbon fiber construction and layup yielded a frame that was laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.
The SRAM Red components not only shifted flawlessly, but they also outclassed both Dura Ace and Record since Force was already on the Dura Ace/Record level and so this is even better. (Those of you who have been waiting to make sure that SRAM gets more expensive before jumping on the bandwagon were wise to do so.) To put it simply, this bike climbs like a squirrel, descends like a greased squirrel on a luge, corners like a decagon, and accelerates like a methamphetamine-addicted rabbit. (Or like a Porsche being driven by a methamphetamine-addicted rabbit.) Overall, the effect of getting on this bike is like getting on one of those moving walkways in the airport--you feel like you’re going twice as fast, and you feel twice as smart as the idiots who didn’t bother getting on the walkway and just kept walking on the regular floor. And getting on any other bike afterwards is like when you get off the walkway and feel as though you’ve just stepped onto another planet with a completely different gravitational pull.
Colnago Extreme Power
Alex Colnago says, "our approach for 2008 is [to] upgrade our graphics with most models," and it shows. As usual, Colnago engineers clearly asked themselves the hard questions, like: “How can we make this bike look better?;” “Where is Antonio the Intern with our lunchtime wine?;” and “How far from the thingy that the bars attach to should we put the thingy that the seat attaches to?” Just one look at the Extreme Power shows that they were able to answer all these questions and more.
Now, I didn’t ride the Colnago Extreme Power, but I looked at the Colnago website, which was full of poorly-translated English and a lot of Flash animation. I also rode lots of crappy bikes that were not the Colnago Extreme Power and possessed none of the attributes of the Colnago. Even the name of the bicycle itself told me most of what I needed to know, which is that if you either have or want to produce Extreme Power then this is the bike to ride. So I can say with complete assurance that the carbon fiber construction and layup yielded a frame that was laterally stiff yet vertically compliant. I can also say that this bike climbs like a monkey in a set of crampons, descends like a monkey in a set of crampons being dropped from a helicopter, handles corners like a prostitute, and accelerates like a particle in a particle accelerator that itself is just a tiny particle in a giant particle accelerator. Overall, the effect is like sitting in a caffe in a trendy Milan street while sipping a cappuccino and wearing fabulous clothes yet inexplicably traveling at or close to the speed of light. Pure Italian class.
Trek engineers were finally liberated from the crippling constraints of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, whose irrational demands for a durable, comfortable, and practical road racing bike long prevented them from implementing the types of design improvements we real cyclists all long for—most important among them being larger head tube bearings, the elimination of pesky bottom brackets, and proprietary everything. The Madone is their ultimate achievement in fulfilling the new Trek mandate—to create a bicycle that cannot and will not accept any components manufactured by a company other than Trek.
Thanks to the wealth of diagrams and photographs that have accompanied the introduction of the new Madone, it was completely unnecessary for me to ride it, because it’s abundantly clear the carbon fiber construction and layup yielded a frame that was laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.
More important though is the fact that Madone riders will no longer have to go to the bike shop when they have a problem with a noisy, rough, or sloppy bottom bracket. Rather, they will only have to go to the bike shop when they have a problem with their noisy, rough, or sloppy proprietary bottom bracket shell. And if you’ve ever owned a bike that takes a more-or-less standard seatpost size, you can relate to the frustrating and time-intensive process of choosing from among the vast array of posts available to you on the market. With the Madone, Trek have taken the choice away from you, so instead of agonizing over seatposts you can spend more time riding. But enough of all this technical jargon. The fact is that this bike climbs like a fever on a dumbwaiter, descends like a German U-boat, cuts corners like a UAW welder, and accelerates like a Fiat strapped to an ICBM. Overall, just knowing that you’re riding a bike that puts a pair of pedals, a seat, and some handlebars under you in a completely revolutionary way is enough to make you drive that much faster when you’ve got this baby strapped to the rear rack of your Honda Pilot.
The Overall Winner:
[To be determined by “Bicycling” magazine ad sales department.]