So I got a chance to break it in a little today, I didn't have much time (baby asleep, wife trying getting ready to go shopping) so I just went to the largest Hill in my neighborhood and climbed/descended it 10 times. On the descent I bedded in the brakes by slowing to a near stop, accelerating again and repeating(I can usually do it 2 or 3 times depending on how hard I want to crank). I would do one whole descent with the front and the next using only the back. By descent 7 or 8 both sets were rock solid.
The rear can lock it up anytime I want and I have to really position myself to deal with the force when I get on the front at 25+. The last two descents I played with feathering the brake and controlling my speed and there is a wonderful amount of modulation, much better than my KCNC brakes on my carbon rims on my other road bike where you can hear the brake and not feel anything until you put them to the bar and then they howl before they start working.
The bike isn't the lightest in the world. However, climbing was better than I thought it would be (My other road bike is a sub 14lb Cervelo R5 Mountain goat). The HED C2 rims are pretty chunky (whole wheelset with rotors is over 1800 grams), the 28mm challenge tires are pretty heavy as well, and the whole bike weighs a hair over 17lbs with pedals. I don't know if it was the stiffness of the frame or what, but It climbed very well to grades around 8% I'm sure I might struggle on some of my longer routes that have grades over 15% the frame had a fantastic feel to it, and it carves up the road nicely doesn't transmit alot of road imperfections as well as feeling alive when putting the power down out of the saddle.
I don't know if it was the Titanium frame, wide rims, fat tires, some combination of the 3 but the bike turns very well, begs for tighter corners, and makes all those gouges in the asphalt disappear (you know the weird ones that look like somebodies bumper fell of and chipped outta piece of the road)
The factory build comes with a compact crank, I put on a standard 39-53. I offset this a bit by going with a 12-30 cassette and a medium cage derailleur. I think a compact crankset would be great with this bike with chainrings in between like 36-52 with a more traditional cassette. Either way my granny gear is a 39-30 which is pretty low for a roadbike and I was easily spinning (avg cadence 110) in a gear or two lower than that on the climbs I did today.
Ti is real!
Disc brakes on a road bike are for real!
wider tires ~28mm feel great!
This is a great alternative to a weigh weenie build, it's a little heavy, and won't win any races under me, but it is a great bike for pounding around in, no matter the weather, road condition, or terrain. It can go up and down very well and with comfort.