Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cube C:62 Agree Disc

I'm a lucky chap. The guys at Cube bikes are nice people, the local rep and the social media controller in their Dutch distribution hub got together and sent me this Cube C:62 carbon Agree disc bike to ride for a short while. I contacted them after riding the trek Emonda. I said i liked the Emonda, there's no secret to that i thought it was a great bike. what i was less keen on was Trek's enormity and with it that feeling of a faceless corporation that is all about profit. now i understand that, business is business but having interacted with Cube and hearing about their outlook on life and their treatment of employees i really wanted to like a Cube more so i contacted them and asked if i could borrow a bike to try. they were excited about the idea and as soon as one of their demo fleet became free it winged it's way to me. today was the first longish ride on the bike.
I'll add a disclaimer here and say that although Cube have arranged this for me if I don't like the way it rides i will say so, fairs fair i would have done the same about the Trek. of course it'll be in a constructive way.
first thing to get out of the way is that i really don't like the hydraulic brake levers that come with this 105 groupset, this is nothing to do with Cube of course, that's down to Shimano the parts manufacturer. they work excellently, great modulation and stopping power but ergonomically they are horrible. the hose connection below the hood presses into the fleshy part of your thumb and it is really annoying! I've tried the ultegra version and in comparison its like putting on a lovely pair of warm gloves on a winters day, comfy and welcoming.
  so this test is really about the frame and forks and not the components as the frame is the heart of the bike and the part Cube have designed. the Agree as i understand it is the slightly more racier version of their Attain bike, so i tiny bit lower head tube and longer top tube. the 58cm frame fits me well.
first impressions are that the bike is very smooth over the surface dressed horror roads we are getting here at the moment, the frame and fork certainly take the buzz out of the surface inconsistances, this is in comparison to my alu framed road bike. you can't see any flex but there is a certain amount of damping going on. over a long ride your body will thank you for this and you'll stay fresher for longer. out of the saddle climbing and sprinting brings absolutely no discernible side to side movement at the bottom bracket area or fork. also, as this bike has disc brakes i was interested to see if the frame would flex and cause the brakes to rub on the rotors when climbing or sprinting (something my steel bike does) there is no brake rub what so ever . Cube have dialed in stiffness in all the right areas, press down on the pedals and you go forward with the feeling that non of your energy is being wasted. a racer would love this aspect of the bike, as a plodder and tourer i love it too, speed and comfort? the holy grail of biking really. the more comfy you are the further you go, the more efficient the bike the further you go with less effort. cycling nirvana!
so first impressions are great, I'd planned to go further but in todays heat it was more sensible to do only a short ride but i've been commuting to work all week and been on group rides with this bike so i've got a good chance to see how it handles. it corners beautifully, i trust it completely when leaning it over, it shows great poise. it's a good 6lb lighter than my own bike. on the ride today I got 21 personal records on Strava, most on up hills too. it must have been the bike because it was way too hot for me to be performing at my best. in short i like it.Do i like it more than the Trek? yep genuinely i do.
would i buy one if i had the cash? yes definately but i'd be saving up a little more and upgrading the levers
ride 44
31 miles
total 933

Howard's progress

with a longish ride planned for tomorrow i tried to learn the lessons of last weeks evening ride, namely eat something first and don't have too many beers!
it worked, i felt good and bombing down the new part of "certain death" as brilliant, as was the newly reopened "double drop" and the perenially quick "keep right"
Howard has come on leaps and bounds, the Guy knows how to handle a rapid two wheeled vehicle due to his years of experience riding motor bikes, trying to keep up with him on the berms of "keep right" was an impossible task, the man is rapid. His slow speed technical riding has also improved 100% from when he first started riding with us. the imminent arrival of a dropper post will only move his off road prowess forward quicker. we'll all have to step up our game to try and stay ahead of him.
ride 43
8 miles
total 902

testing in more than one way

having picked up my forks (sadly by car) and refitted them it was time for a test on a NWAlpsCC night ride. well they certainly felt good, the guys at Overspokes had done a great job, more testing though was my prep and execution for this ride.
having ridden 55 miles yesterday and got a little dehydrated it was not good practice to ride to work and back, then out on a ride withing 10 minutes of getting home without having eaten much all day. I probably would have been ok but for the two pints of ale i had during the ride. the ride home was a little hazy and i spent a lot of Friday morning with a headache. so the forks passed the test but i didn't
ride 42
22 miles
total 894

the bicycle is an adaptable vehicle

I am in no way saying I'm competing with the bicycle riders of the world you see with heavily laden steeds riding on rough roads just to make enough money to eat, they do it because of necessity. I did it because i could and it seemed a waste to use the car to deliver my forks to the home of Wren in the Uk, namely Overspoke Cycles in Bewdley. 
So i strapped the forks securely to my frame and set off to pedal the most country lane route i could find to drop them off for a service. the weather was perfect and i made good time. I was quietly smug that I'd managed this errand by just using leg power. It was a relief though to be able to do the return leg without a 5.5lb fat bike fork attached to my bike. it certainly made the hills easier! i celebrated with a ham sarnie at Lizzies!
ride 41
55 miles
total 872

Sunday, 4 June 2017

rain won't stop us!

won't stop us from eating cake that is, we took shelter at Lizzies and despite it being a 2 cake rain shower we only had one, what discipline!..... what resolve!..... what a shame.
ride 40
21 miles
total 817

almost a triathlon

Russ needed a few more miles in his legs for an upcoming event so suggested a long road ride, approx 70 miles. I managed to borrow a demo emonda sl for the day so i joined him. much suncream was applied as the forecast was for hot sunshine all day and for once the weather people got it right.
the route wasn't too lumpy but a strong headwind made the outer leg a chore. the scenery however was about as for from hard work as it's possible to get. the Worcestershire and warwickshire sunshine is stunning in the summer time and the quiet lanes we were rolling along made it into some sort of cycling nirvana.
we were even sensible keeping properly hydrated, i drank 4 full bottles, half a litre of water and two pots if tea. i also slipped in beans on toast and a cream tea too just to keep my energy levels up. the beans made it that little bit more windy and i regretted it soon after but by that point we had turned the corner and gained a tail wind.
i'd like to say the rest of the ride went without incident but if you think of Adele's song "rolling in the deep" you can imagine what happened to me in Coughton Ford whilst avoiding a dog. Luckily because of the heat of the day i dried rapidly and my phone didn't get wet, only my pride was drenched.
in the end we did 81 miles and celebrated with a pint at Alestones, this pint was the reason i didn't carry on to break the 100 mile barrier. the alcohol went straight to my legs and i felt the wobble as i pedalled the last mile or so to home
ride 39
81 miles
total 796

Saturday, 3 June 2017

the perfect evening ride?

20+ degrees, dusty, great mates and beer (no that isn't a bee in my glass)
ride 38
19 miles
total 715

semi fat and odd

just because you can doesn't mean you should, but i did.
ride 37
5 miles
total 696

Fat fun for nearly everyone

this is the view a skinny tyred rider gets when riding with fatties, big backsides!
ride 36
24 miles
total 691

Tan wall FTW

I love tan waqll tyres, that's a given. I also like to spend the minimum amount on stuff so combine tan walls with £3.99 yes a penny less than four Quid a tyre and it's got to be a winner right?
well, maybe not, they are hard, not supple and a bit orange but hey they roll and keep the wheels spinning so they'll do.
ride 35
16 miles
total 667