Bringing back the Cycling Cap one Domestique at a time

Showing posts with label Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scott. Show all posts

Review: 2014 Reynolds Assault SLG

January 2013 - Fresh off dipping my toes into carbon clincher waters via the Reynolds 46C, I immediately went to look for something more modern. I wanted a wheelset with a toroidal cross section, light weight and the requisite wide track. These wheels need to be priced far enough from Zipp and Enve to make sense not getting the after-mentioned wheels. 

With Reynolds really making a fresh, good impression I didn't hesitate to pull the trigger (or rather push the Buy Now button) on a pair of 2014 Reynolds Assault SLGs. 

Indeed, the spec sheet was impressive. Toroidal - check. Wide - check. Lightweight - check. Affordable - hmmm okay, check. 

A few emails to my USA shipper and a few days later, the Assaults have arrived.





Tech

There is much to like about the 2014 Reynolds Assaults. 

First, the depth. The Assault SLGs come in at a very very sexy 41mm rim depth. I would like to say that for a Roadie like yours truly, this depth is just PERFECT. It looks deep enough to be aero yet thin enough to suggest rapid acceleration. Who would have imagined that just shaving off 5mm from the 2013 Assault depth would make much of a difference. 




Reynolds 46 C and Assault SLG - 46mm and 41mm

Second, the width. At 25mm wide. The assault SLGs give you width and then some. When paired with our staple 25mm GP4000s', we were presented with a very clean tire-rim profile without the lightbulb shape which would have been present in the case of 25mm tires and 21mm> rims. This would surely please a lot of aero geeks (oops....enthusiasts) out there. Aerodynamics aside, we were surprised at how low we went with our air pressure. More on this later.

Third. Weight. Our sample came in exactly at the manufacturer's claimed 1475g (Front: 649g, Rear: 826g - no tape and skewers). The Assault SLGs do not really stand out from the crowd in terms of overall weight. But - the listed weight is not bad at all, given the 25mm width.  




Straight pull hubs are by Reynolds Racing and spokes are DT Swiss Aerocomps. Twenty radial spokes in front and 24 in the rear mounted in a two cross-drive side pattern.

The Cryogenic Glass Transition (CTg) brake surface which is present in our previous 46C clinchers makes is also incorporated into the Assault SLGs. CTg is a series of different compounds and materials which are designed to better withstand the heat produced by braking. And of course, the system requires the use of Reynolds' Cryo Blue pads which are solely to be used with the CTg surface.

Reynold's Swirl Lip Generator (SLG) is also featured in the Assault SLG :). SLG is a very small protrusion on the inner edge of the rim which disrupts passing air enough to replicate the airflow of a wider rim. The effect of which is smoother, and therefore faster, airflow.

Spoke nipples are external; this should please a lot of cyclists who do their own truing.

Graphics are thankfully subdued, with the logos and names printed in thin white outlines.


Veloplugs

This was our first time to try Veloplugs as well. In an effort to keep the set weight below 1.5kg, we used these marvelous contraptions to keep the weight down. And they worked! At an estimated 5g per wheel, we saved somewhere in the region of 30-40 grams compared to the supplied tapes. 

Weight weenies rejoice!

Oh, and just so everyone knows, we used the Red Veloplugs for the Assault SLGs.


My sincerest apologies for using an Instagram pic of the plugs
.

On the Road


During our first time out with the Assault SLGs, we experienced a very loud squeal coming from the front brakes when applied at medium to high speed. While disconcerting, we easily remedied this by toeing in the pads. Although recommended, this was something we never had to do with the 46Cs. 

Almost Immediately the 25mm width's advantages made itself felt. While we typically run 95/100 PSI front/rear. We purposely pumped in 90/95 during our first ride. It made a bit of a difference. Subtle but noticeable. And after several more rides and a few pounds of rider weight loss, we now run the Assault SLGs with a tire pressure of 75/85. 

The ride at this pressure is simply amazing! 

Acceleration is very good and so is the handling. The stiffness of the 46Cs is still there, but fortunately, much of the bite from road bumps are taken out by the tires. 

One thing that these new aero shapes do well is handle crosswinds. The Assault SLGs are no exception. Although you still feel sudden sideward gusts, they are a lot less noticeably felt and you can easily power through constant sidewinds from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock.

We really like the Assault SLGs and it seems these will be mounted on roadie for quite a long time. 


Looks perfect on the Foil


Verdict


Equipped with the latest in wheelset tech. Not exactly cheap but the money feels well spent.

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Review: Giro Air Attack

2012 really cemented a new Road Bike consideration: Aerodynamics. It was no longer enough that frames and components be light and stiff, they had to be aero. 

While Aerodynamics have long been the realm of wheel designers and Time Trial bikes, it has made its indelible mark on the roadie landscape with the slew of new aerodynamic frames, handlebars, pedals and what have you, all claiming they can cheat the wind and save precious watts.  

Eventually it had to come to this.  The call of aerodynamics found their way to the Helmet as well.  While we have heard of aerodynamic claims from ordinary multi-holed road helmets before, let's just say that this is the first time that we have seen something which really looks like something we'd imagine an aero road helmet to be.  

Here we have in our hands.... Giro's Air Attack.



Impressions

First off, let's get straight to the aesthetics issue. You either like the looks of the Air Attack or you hate it. I haven't seen anyone who's just fine or lukewarm with the looks. Anyone with an Air Attack is bound to get comments like 'it looks like something you'd find on a mountainbiker' or 'is that helmet from Tony Hawk?'.  We can't blame people for saying that because, well, it's true. But you do have to take into consideration where the design is rooted.

Only six vents present on the Air Attack

Giro's designers wanted to take their Selector tear drop helmet and somehow adapt the design to produce a road specific cycling helmet. Giro's designers tapped into the now familiar Kamm-tail aero principle. This states that you can still get very good aerodynamic performance by having the front end of the very aerodynamic teardrop shape and lopping off the rear portion as the air still tends to flow as if over a whole teardrop shape. This design has been implemented in newer aero road frames such as Scott's Foil and BMC's TMR01 among others.

Two of the vents are actually dedicated for exhaust

This lends to what the Air Attack looks like now... a truncated Selector. 

It may take some getting used to but from our perspective it's not at all ugly. In fact, it has a certain 'function over form' beauty to it.  

As in most Giro helmets, build quality is top notch. The outer shell is finished nicely with perfectly placed decals and chrome emblem. The cables and straps are well placed and the adjusters and locks are made of quality plastic. Overall, you're looking at a top-class lid.



Features

Giro claims that the Air Attack's aerodynamic efficiency sits somewhere between the Aeon and the Selector, with the latter being the best. This is to be expected as the Air Attack does not have as much drag producing vents the Aeon has but also lacks the long teardrop tail of the Selector.  If you want the maths of it, head on over to Spokeydokeyblog to see the extrapolated power savings of the Air Attack.


And speaking of vents, the Air Attack will come up dead last in most helmet vent comparisons, sporting just six (two front, two top, two exhaust).  However, Giro pulled up some tricks from its ventilation sleeve. Instead of the helmet making contact with your head, the helmet is actually suspended 3 millimeters above the rider's head by Giro's Roc Loc Air system. What this does is give room for the air to flow under the helmet and over your head thus providing ventilation.

Roc Loc Air mechanism suspends the Air Attack a few millimeters above your head

As seen here, there is a bit of space on the forehead as well as groove channels on the side of the foam to allow air to channel inwards. Giro claims that the air attack sits in between the Aeon and the Selector on this front as well, this time with the Aeon providing the best ventilation.

Internal grooves help channel air over the head

The adjustment mechanism works satisfactorily in-ride, but not as easily as our long term tester Prevail, mostly due to the smaller knob. We found initial strap adjustments a bit finicky, but its a one time thing so it's not really a big deal.

Our sample came in at is 312 grams, heavy by today's standards.

As weighted: 312 grams


A magnetic visor is available in the Air Attack Shield. This visor is made by renowned optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss Vision. The visor can easily be detached and reattached while in the saddle and can be mounted upside-down to allow the rider to get it out of the way for whatever reason. As the system uses magnets, this is easily accomplished.

The Air Attack Shield with the magnetic visor

On The Road

Our size Large sample sat quite comfortably and we found the Roc Loc Air mechanism was quite secure. That said, our Prevail is a tiny bit more comfortable, but then again not as comfortable as our old Bell Array in terms of pure fit. You can take this with a grain of salt however as head shape, and therefore fit, is extremely relative and varies from person to person.

The added weight, compared to our erstwhile staple lid Prevail, was a bit noticeable when initially worn but becomes a non issue over the course of a ride.

Ventilation, now this is what a lot of people ask about. Initial skepticism on probable marketing hype were dismissed once we were in motion. Yes, we were actually surprised at the airflow the Air Attack provides! Giro's gimmicky venting system actually works. The slits on the front of the helmet provide adequate ventilation from 14 km/h and good ventilation from 19 km/h. In between 25 to around 30 km/h is where you want to be to truly call the helmet breezy. And one more thing, you'd want to be facing a bit downward and point the vents onto incoming air to really ram it in.

That said, this is still not as well ventilated as our Prevail, whose mega mouthport just blows off or dries forehead sweat.

One positive thing we noticed with the Giro is the wind noise... or lack thereof. This is noticeably quieter than previous multi-vent helmets we used. The only noise we noticed is from the air going over the ears.

What we didn't like is the rear height/angle adjuster. It's a bit too easy to adjust and we observed that it keeps adjusting by itself.  The good thing is that our preferred fit is at the lowest position, which the adjuster seems to default to.

Final Words

They say that, as in fighter planes, if it looks fast - it looks good. And while we can't dispute that the Air Attack is faster in the wind tunnel, real world advantages are very much subject to debate. Nonetheless, the Air Attack is the first of a growing list of dedicated aero helmets for road cyclists with the Scott Vanish Aero having just been announced and Specialized's thing undergoing field testing (below).



With the advent of UCI banning helmet covers such as Lazer's Aeroshell, we expect that manufactures will continue to churn out dedicated aero road helmets. At this point it's looking as like they are here to stay.

Verdict

Not our first choice on long climbs in hot summer days but something we'll definitely sport on the flats.  Just get used to other Cyclists staring at you until these aero road helms become more commonplace. 

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Review / Update - My Scott Foil 20


I just recently found out that Scott has moved from the US to Switzerland. I guess I can stop dreaming of having a Euro bike since I already have one (harharhar!). Anyhow, it's been three months since I switched to Scott.  And I have grown very fond of my Foil 20 and its quirks. Coming from a previous generation superbike, the 2010 Cannondale Supersix Hi-Mod Liquigas, and moving to a modern mid-level frame isn't much of  a 'downgrade' as i had initially expected.


The fruit of Scott's F01 project, the Foil is one of a slew of frames to incorporate aerodynamic considerations into the standard roadie. Indeed, if one isn't aware that the Foil is an aero frame, it just looks just like any other modern all carbon frame. But those unique triangular tubes are what makes the Foil unique. Instead of replicating the standard airfoil shape, Scott just took the leading edge of this shape and formed a rounded triangle from it. Brilliant; but why reinvent the wheel? Simple - the airfoil shape, while being the most aerodynamic, is not good in the stiffness department.  By forming the triangle, both stiffness and aerodynamic requirements were served. 



Chillin out in MoA

The brains behind this is aerodynamicist Simon Smart, whose name is now prominently featured in uber chic Smart-Enve wheelsets. With great experience designing Formula One suspensions, Smart certainly has qualifications in creating wind cheating, high strength  tubes. He reckons that the Foil shape is the best compromise to the often conflicting stiffness and aerodynamic demands of the project. 

Being a tech-head and gear-head, I was sold. 

Made with HMF-NET high modulus carbon fiber, the mid-level Foil 20 can easily pass for a top of the line model few years ago. The mid-level label does not do the Foil 20 justice. It's only mid-level since there are Foil models made with an even more exotic kind of carbon fiber, which Scott calls HMX-NET. At the top of the Foil food chain sits the likes of the  Premium and Team Issue editions. These are even lighter and stiffer that the HMF Foils.  

However, I think I can manage without the 20% extra stiffness and 100 or so less grams of weight. I appreciate the additional bills in my wallet though. Given the erratic supply of bicycles locally, I was forced to scour the local classifieds for my new frame. I found a slightly used Foil 20 frame, recently replaced by Scott because of the then unresolved seatpost clamp issue. The frame came in matte black which, in my mind, sealed the deal. 



Click Thumbnails to Enlarge


The Foil 20 is a definite upgrade over the Cannondale in all but one department: ride quality. The Foil's ride can easily be described as harsh especially coming from the superb ride of the Supersix. However, I choose to look at it in another way... the Foil is a pure racer. 

With the frame question resolved, time to move on to the second biggest bike build dilemma... the gruppo. Fortunately, I had this problem was solved even before I decided to switch frames. 

The groupset of choice is Shimano's excellent Dura Ace 9000. I had it on the Super Six for a few weeks and transplanted it to the Foil. In my opinion, this is the best all around groupset available this moment, especially if you factor the price. Vastly improved over the 7900, the 9000 has almost supernatural braking, flawless smooth shifts, consistently light shifting action, funky modern looks, much improved ergonomics, 11 cogs and a sub 2000g total weight - the latter two firsts for Shimano. In case you haven't noticed yet, yes, I love this group.   

Countless people have gushed at how good shifts feel and actuate....  and boy, does it indeed! What took a while to warm up to were the cranks. While I initially hated the assymetric 4-arm cranks, I have to say that they have grown on me and now actually like the look. It can't be stated enough: This group is excellent!

The WH-9000-C24-TL wheelsets also got carried over with the group, but I eventually decided to go aero all the way and replace them with WH-9000-c50-CL hoops .  This change added quite a bit of weight to the bike; around 400 grams, give or take, but doing so solidified the setup's wind slicing intentions.  It also helps the aesthetics as well. ;-)   


Tires of choice remain Continental's Grand Prix 4000s. I temporarily swapped out the 23c's in favor of 25c's for a comparison review, but will go for a staggered setup (FR: 23c, RR: 25c) once this has been written. The GP4000S has been scientifically proven to be the best all rounder tires by Tour magazine. If you guys read any of their past tests, you know how hardcore and thorough these guys are when it comes to technical testing.  



Click Thumbnails to Enlarge

Wanting to maximize the 11 speed cassette, off went the 11-28 climbers and in came the 12-25. The advantage of the 11 speed cassette is essentially negated with the 11-28 since I wasn't using the 11T and the 28T that much. With a 12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-21-23-25 gear setup, the 12-25 is perfect suited for the rides I do nowadays.

I'm probably the last person anyone would mistake for Tony Martin, so going to standard cranks is not yet an option. I prefer compact cranks. My original choice, the 52-36, is still nowhere to be found but I do plan to switch to these eventually.   

Keeping things black and gloomy, I pulled a color switch on my Antares 00 from white to black. Of course, the bartapes had to match. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any black S-Wraps and had to settle for Ritchey corks.

For the cockpit, I switched from FSA's OS-99 CSI and K-wing to 3T's Arx LTD and Ergonova LTD. This was done for purely aesthetic purposes (color matching). The K-Wing may be the most user-friendly bars I ever used; raised tops, internal cable routing and all. The silver lining in this is that I dropped more bits of alloy and swapped them with with UD carbon.... a good 84 gram weight savings.   

The old reliable Look Keo Blade Ti's got carried over and are paired with zero-float cleats. The blades are tight and look very nice. At 186 grams a pair, these are among the lightest non-speedplay pedals out there. On a side note, I strongly recommend zero float cleats to everyone with knee problems. Yes, you read that right. Float may actually be one of the causes of knee pain and using floatless cleats may relieve it. It may be hard to believe but I switched to these and ain't coming back.   

My mile counter is the recently deprecated Edge 800. And while it's a bit of a brick, it does come with a large touchscreen. I got this unit Stateside so it came with a North America map. Haven't had the time to research how to install a free one for the Philippines. I love the size of the display as all the data fields I need are shown at once: Distance, Speed, HR, Cadence, Calories, Time and Time of Day. Having a touchscreen is a godsend as there's no fiddling around with buttons while in the middle of a sufferfest.  The Edge is mounted on Garmin's Out Front computer mount. This makes the cockpit look particularly clean and neat. 




Click Thumbnails to Enlarge

At its lightest, the Foil got a bit below the UCI 15 pound weight limit at around 14.9 pounds, however, the switch to the C50's and some other heavier bits got me back up to around 15.6. Not entirely super light but still very very very acceptable.  All I need now is a setback Foil seatpost and everything will be just right! Just have to find time to drive to the dealer in Quiapo to order the part though. 

Well, I guess that's it. Only a true bike geek would have read and made it this far.

Congratulations!  

~Armand

Return to RoadieManila HQ

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