09 June 2007
Travelling in style
Mark Holland

I’m actually having my second string bike rebuilt around a new frame at the moment. One like this. It wasn’t until I rode my best bike up the hill on the way home from work the other week - I figured the weather was far too nice to “slum it” - that I realised quite what a limp noodle the other bike was. It’s a six year old aluminium frame that probably wasn’t the best in the first place. On the best bike you can feel the power going down onto the road. On the other you can feel it wilting beneath you. You get used to it of course. The novel becomes normal very quickly.

So I’m riding into work Thursay morning, on the best and presently only road bike, climbing the same hill as before but in the other direction; when I catch up with a fellow long distance commuter. “Ooh, De Rosa”, he says. “Yours isn’t too shabby either,” I reply. It was a Time VX! So there we are, at 8:30 on a beautiful sunny morning, both cruising up the hill towards Nelson’s Column on our carbon fibre bikes.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

  1. Carbon fibre!  Is that available to us plebs now or have you taken out a second mortgage?

    Wasn’t there a time, if I recall correctly, when the pros only used carbon fibre for mountain stages? - the reduced weight outweighing the reduced rigidity.

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on  09 June 2007 at 03:42 pm

  2. Back in the early ‘90s Greg Lemond and others would reserve their titanium steeds for the mountain stages but I don’t recall the pros doing the same with their carbon fibre machines which have virtually completely taken over the peleton as bikes for all seasons, edging aluminium and its variant to one side about three or four years ago. 

    With some supple wheels and clever deployement of more or less material the vertical rigidity can be controlled enough to ride and win Paris Roubaix on.

    As for the cost to the public, you can buy a full carbon fibre monocoque bicycle with mainly Shimano Ultegra componentry for as little as £1000. A bargain price. (My new aluminium frame alone would have been £1100 alone but for the good deal I’ve struck. It’s been in the shop for two years and it’s got a blemish on the down tube - half price!)

    Posted by Blognor Regis on  09 June 2007 at 04:39 pm

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