Friday, February 11, 2011

New Contacts.

I posted a while ago that the guys from Giant here in Queensland had set me up with new bars and a new seat post for my Anthem. I hadn't really had any time to put some miles in on the bike so I have waited this long to review my thoughts. Now after a 6 hour race, a couple of long rides and a short course XC race I think I can make some informed commentary.
The items in question are the Contact SLR versions which both happen to be carbon. There were a couple of reasons for wanting to try the carbon bars and post out and not the least of which was the weight savings so I'll address that first. The carbon post made a saving of 80 grams over the stock unit and that represented a saving of about 30%. Whether that is worth the $340 retail price is something only the individual can comment on. The finish and adjustment facilities on the post are fantastic, it looks hot and it is light. There is of course the fact that a 30% saving on any component would make most riders pretty bloody happy.

Now the bars. Wow. The stock units were 250 grams. The SLR's were 125 grams. Thats right, 50% lighter. Same width as my old bars, 31.8 clamp, half the weight. Again the finish on the bars is top notch with a nice textured area for the stem to clamp to and alloy turned bar ends to protect them from strikes or the odd bad leaning spot. The value is good with these too. $130 is the business. I run my bars at 620mm wide and luckily that is what the bars come as stock. So now to some performance notes.

The post does it's job. Whether or not the carbon offers the extra damping it is purported to in this application is impossible to say. It's a 4 inch travel 29er for farks sake. I can't tell the difference. As I said though, it is light and the adjustment functions well. And it's carbon. Cool.
The bars on the other hand have provided me some great results all round. I can definitely say that my wrists are not suffering from the soreness I have become used to on 4 plus hour rides. I swapped the grips straight across from my old bars and have been using the same gloves for some time. I can't say I feel any more flex than I did with the old alloy bars and I have certainly given them a good reefing during repeated sprints in the short course race I did last week. I'm not known for my finesse in these situations either. Rather I have been likened to a gorilla trying to open a jar of jam. No subtlety and often a messy result. I do really like the bars.... Now 620mm might not be wide enough for bigger guys. It just isn't that wide. These are firmly aimed at racer boy and girl though and lets be honest, they are all weedy little units with no shoulders. Just kiddin'.
So the wash up is that I knocked 205 grams off the bike. I am really happy with that and it gets me down to 11.6 kg ready to race. I will report on the longevity later in the year and give more thoughts on how the gear is holding up. With a 4 hour, a 6 hour, a 24 hour and a marathon all before the end of June it should show up any weaknesses. Lets hope the rider can keep up.

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