First ride impressions...
I took my first ride on the new rig today. It wasn't much. 5 laps around our 1 mile neighborhood. It's almost like a crit course with about a 300 foot elevation change per lap. So there was a chance to mash the pedals out of the saddle, take some sharp corners at speed, and hop off some curbs to see how things feel.
First, my cockpit is too tall. I need to pull a spacer from under the stem or flip it. I'm inclined to remove the spacer from underneath but I don't want to cut the steerer tube any shorter. I'll decide in the next day or so. The front end felt plenty stiff even with the spacers.
Second, the Sibex fork is cool. It's stiff enough but compliant too. I have a Morati fork on another bike so I had an idea what to expect. But that fork runs with disc brakes and has a completely different pattern of flex under braking. That said, the Sibex fork visibly deflects when braking on choppy bumps. It's not a bad thing, but seeing it the first few times was a bit spooky. However, all the flex appears to be low in the fork. It didn't affect brake performance at all. As a matter of fact, the brakes didn't chirp, squeal, or make a sound on the front end. The rear brakes howl like a banshee.
Third, the TRP brakes perform superbly so far (apart from the rear squealing). But they are a pain in the ass to set up. There is no way to toe-in the pads. It appears the front brake bosses were manufactured with an inward cant as there is adequate toe-in up front, but none in the rear. I chalk the rear squealing up to this.
Fourth, the Mortop headset is a decent headset for the money. But on installation the o-ring that seals the bearing cover rolled, pinched, and cut on the sharp metal edge of the headset and chewed itself to bits. The headset is essentially unsealed now. We'll see how it holds up over time.
Finally, the frame. For a cheap, Taiwan-made, carbon frame I am very pleased. I bought it from a WW member (mentioned in earlier post) and wasn't sure what to expect. It feels stiff out of the saddle, but didn't jar my teeth loose over the small bumps and bunny hops I encountered. It is built with a short head tube and appears to have a pretty agressive head angle. But the Sibex fork mellowed it out a bit. I think the fork has a 45mm rake which seems to stretch the wheelbase a touch, slow the steering, and also appears to have raised the front end a bit over the original included fork.
I'll be racing the bike this weekend in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Master's 35+). I'm still out of shape and slow, but looking forward to the outing. Hopefully my mud tires arrive in time. I'll give a post-race review but if it rains as forecast and I race on the tires I have I expect performance to be underwhelming at best.