Second String

Posted 08 Sep 2015

By Adam Naguib

tags: equipment, training

The majority of training miles I complete on my training bike. I am huge advocate of the ‘Training Bike + Racing Bike’ philosophy. Most of all having two road bikes means I wear them out half as fast. Also, ain’t no-one got the time to swap out their super-light racing rubber for training treads after each race, and reverse that before the next one. I could have one bike with two sets of wheels and just interchange those, but truth be told I like bikes and enjoy having several and the choice of which to ride.

The money value of my racing bike is somewhere around 2x that of my training machine (maybe a bit more than that), however, despite my particular racing steed looking awesome and being a custom build (I bought the frame and selected all the parts and built it myself) it is my second string, training bike that gets loads of attention. I get compliments routinely on my training machine, from the simple “It looks really cool”, to the inquisitive “What type of bike is that?” accompanied by interest and approval. And let’s not forget the “All bikes should be available in that livery” that abounds when peeps cast an eye over my training bike. With a black on black theme, all the parts are selected for their absolute functionality- exactly the composition of any training bike worth its salt.

The frame is a 2013, Specialized Allez Race E5 (Smartweld). It’s pretty stunning looking. Matte black with subtle gloss black accents covers the tubing, with the top-tube and down-tube giving a subtle hint as to the type of racing machine that is hidden underneath that paint work.

The shifting and braking is taken care of by SRAM Rival shifters. These are some of my favorite looking shifters of all time. Just plain black with matte/carbon finish and one decal on each. Really don’t understand why all levers are not this aesthetically pleasing.

The pedals work as my watt-thermometer. After riding Garmin Vector for up to half a year now the verdict is that they are incredibly easy and incredibly reliable. When they re-designed the pods (changing from metallic to matte black: “version” 2) the pedals were spot on visually as well as practically.

Derailers are SRAM Rival at the back with an Apex up front. Matchy, matchy- black. Here in NorCal a 28t rear cassette is a minimum. When I rode this machine on the East Coast I had a 25t as standard. That was replaced one week after moving out West.

The saddle is a Specialized Toupé. I am not one of those who is super sensitive about saddles and can ride a variety. Most important about this one is, again, the matte black finish. Of course, to match the saddle, black bartape is required

The wheels and rubber on this machine are selected for their total practicality. There is no point in getting punctures on a training ride if you can help it. Therefore the wheels are encased in Vittoria Zaffiro treads. Weigh loads (about 350g each). Roll pretty uncomfortably (one is never going to write long prose about the beautiful ride quality of a pair of Zaffiros). However, they are tough as nails. Takes something pretty harsh to tear through these puppies and as such I insist on riding them. The wheels are Easton EA70 SL. A pair of hoops at ~1550g which stay straight and you won’t taco.

The crankset on this is SRAM Red, again, in matching black. This bike is for sure somewhat over-geared for the terrain (I have a 52/36t on my racing steed, which I think is un-arguably the best combination available). However, the 39-28 minimum ratio is adequate for all except the steepest climbs and it isn’t a major loss to be slightly over geared on training outings. Again, the double as opposed to compact is vestigial from this bike’s previous life on the East Coast.

The frame is not carbon, but aluminium. The major ode to carbon is the seatpost. A black matching SLK post from FSA to complete the look and give that tiny bit of flex. After 4 hours on a metal bike, a carbon seatpost becomes the best $73 upgrade that you ever bought.

Album was compiled by Tali Herzka.