Monday, August 13, 2012

TTF Race Ride (Bike Review)

There's a special bond that happens between a bike and a rider the first time they race together.
Well, this may not be true at the pro level where they go through 5-10 bikes a season, but when you're paying for everything you see, it's a special moment when you see your creation works.  Having only had this bike for a couple of weeks before race day, I was pretty excited to see what we could do together.

With the help of Racer Sportif and some old friends, I was able to put together a bike that likes me almost as much as I like it :)  It's definitely not the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden, but I think together we can make it the fastest!  For it's first race (report) it accelerated out of transition like a rocket ship, handled superbly weaving in and out of traffic, climbed FANTASTIC, shifted great, and on the downhills I was still passing everything in sight :)  

Frame: 2012 Scott Foil 40 (58cm)
Handlebars: Easton EC90 Aero
Tape: Sram Gold

Stem: Easton EC90
Shifters: Sram Red
Aerobars: Profile T2+
Front Hydration: Torhans Aero 30
Front / Rear Der: Sram Red
Crankset: Sram Red Black 53/39
Cassette: Sram Red 11-23
Pedals: Look Keo Carbon
Wheels: Easton EC90 Aero
Tires:  Challenge Criterium //  Skewers: Salsa Ti  //  Saddle: Fizike Arione Carbon
 More photos available at on my new Picasa Web Album.

One interesting fact about this bike; Olympic Distance Duathlon's are 10k run, 40k bike, 5k run. This bike supported me so well and was so energy efficient, my 5k run pace, was as fast as my first 10k.

A lot of people have asked why I race on a road bike when I race triathlons.  Truth be told, a bit part of it is that I can only afford 1 bike, and living in Toronto, there's only room for one.  That said, the technology behind Aero Road Bikes has improved so much, there's likely less than two minutes difference between a super aero bike and mine.  As the rider makes up 80+% of the aerodynamics, I can still get myself into a more aero / more powerful position.

My first choice was a Cervelo S5 - I've ALWAYS wanted a Cervelo but they're so dang expensive, and soooo many people here have one.  As I started exploring my options the technology behind other aero road bikes, the Scott design struck me as really intuitive.  My first "fast" bike was a 2004 Scott CR1 LTD with Dura Ace (Saunier Duval) and it was amazingly fast. However it was an incredibly stiff bike and made training rides a little sore. In its defence it did weigh close to 14lbs, I likely got the wrong size, and I thought the Selle Italia 135g saddle was the only one I could ride :p

Being awestruck by Mark Canvedish last TdF aboard a Foil helped peak my interest further. (Ok, Mark could do it on just about any bike he chooses, and this year Peter Sagan was on a round tubed, light weight Cannondale and still rocked: training = winning, I get that).  However with Scott, the Foil technology is smart, light and smart. Instead of having a bunch of sharp angled tubes, they all work together.  Personally I don't think I "felt" the aero, but I certainly didn't feel drag. And as only two bikes passed me, and I passed a lot of $10k+ tri bikes, we were doing okay.

The one thing about this bike that was key for me was the responsiveness.  Like my sister says with her BMW vs my Hyundai, "when I push the pedal, it goes, no lag", and that's exactly what the Foil does.  You stamp up a hill and she goes, you need to shift down to spin, and it's right there with you.  The front end handling is crisp and exactly what you want to weave your way out of a congested transition area.  Over all, excellent, I'm incredibly happy with my purchase.

Aerodynamics: Always an important factor I did what I could -
56mm deep wheelset  //  Aeor Helmet  //  Clean Up Front End   //  Aero Position

My choice of aerobars is a little archaic.  These are the same Profile T2+'s that I raced in my speedy 2005 days.  However for a road bike; they're the most adjustable clip-ons I've found.  There are some other options out there that are a good 1/2 pound lighter but without as much adjustment.

Everything else on this bike is pretty standard, nothing too fancy one way or another.  One thing is certain, it was much more comfortable riding the Easton carbon tubular wheels than my every day training wheels, made such a difference, I gotta get me another pair of these to roll down Dixon Road.

The two point five things I might change on this bike for next year:
Between the Arms Bottle - the roads on the course were so crap, even with the double splash guard and, I still got splashed and the crazy bumps cost me my AeroFlow Straw Housing (Torhans 30 Review)
Downtube Water Bottle - with how much I drink I definitely need two; so either I need an aero bottle option, or to find a way to get this bottle lower.
Aerobars - if I can find something lighter and as adjustable, I would consider a swap.

SO... if you're looking for a bike that can be your road bike, and a pretty speedy racer for Triathlons, I highly recommend the Scott Foil.  It worked for me, and didn't do too shabby in the Olympics either ;)

  More Photos of my bike available on Picasa  --   Race Photo images copyright My Sports Shooter - Mike Cheliak Photography

(hopefully I zipped up before I started flying passed people)         


  1. Your Scott Foil looks awesome. The choices of the upgrades are especially impressive. It looks seriously like a $10,000 bike because of the color scheme.

    PS. May I ask you how much did you spend the bike itself without upgrades? Did you get any discounts? How much does it cost to upgrade your Scott Foil to look this good?

  2. Thanks! I really liked the white frame (thought it looked pro) but it wasn't offered as a frameset. In the end I bought a Scott Foil 40 and swapped parts with my Easton EC90 / Sram Red racing kit I had on my Fuji SST 2.0 frame. You can't really put a price on *fast*, some parts I've had for a while, others were new, it was a fun project to put it together, but even more fun to race!