Hypochondriasis, Legend Tasting Notes and Mektronic Moments
After much fantasising and alleged malingering I finally made onto my brand new Legend SE for an expresso-run to Pollenca and back. 8kms in total. I started to think that maybe even Jules thought I was a hypochondriac. Our beloved friend and favoured provider of training services in The Alps, Mark Neep, looked at me evenly and without a glimmer of emotion when he spoke for everyone. "Why come out on a training week and then get a cold?"
I didn't choose to get a cold like I didn't choose to be a hypochondriac. This shit chooses you.
So me and Jules go for a gentlemen's run (baggy shorts, mitts, helmets, cycling socks and shoes) down the coast road and the bike is without a glimmer of surprise. Boring? Not boring. It is exactly how I knew it would be. I designed every element visual and technical around the kind of rider I am now. The handling is on the quick side, the looks are faux classic (it actually has a 2.2 degree slope on the TT) and the tubing milled, ground and engineered on the springy side. I wanted the frame to give-back on the pick-up and that is exactly what happens. Maybe a hair off a MeiVici or C59's stiffness and possibly a couple of latex tubes broader of beam. But what exquisite flavours Ben has managed to coax from these materials he has worked with for three decades now. I wanted depth and subtlety. A frame that suits tasting notes more than a test-report. Something that suits everything else about me other than how I ride a bike if that makes sense?
Sitting next to the Rapha pop-up store and Jules points out that my Legend is getting more attention than any other bike on the promenade. Even the young snazzy boys on our group whose matching tastes tend to generic far-eastern monocoque are moved to comment to the positive. I have to admit if a bike can ever have 'class' then this one does. I can feel Jules plotting over his double cheese burger because this frame is so far from his norm that he feels tempted eh?
But all is not perfect on this maiden flight? Me and Jules refer to them as 'Mektronic Moments'. Those times when a manufacturer has over-reached so far and so fast that back-tracking is no longer an option.
I was a proud owner when Mavic produced the world's first and worst electronic shifting. It just never worked on my bike - I remember well racing at Eastway in a 32 mile crit - I went for a prime on an early lap and was stuck for evermore in the 53-12. And Mavic simply went blank. Went into virtual corporate hiding - even for me and Jules who had an account and were in the industry. After a shattering silence Mektronik was ushered out the back door like a drunk minor royal.
Cannondale did around the same time with their 'Coda Expert'disc brakes. They did the opposite to Mavic and spewed endless nonsense about upgrades and set-up protocols and contamination variants (wrong type of mud to you and me). And our mechanic at the time (Deano) was so diligent that he printed out all these v2.0's and v2.1's …etc and tried to implement every word of these precious edicts. Without ever asking himself the fundamental question - if a product really needs all this constant attention is it really any bloody good? History has answered that on both counts.
To be honest my bullshit-alarm started to clang when I got this missive back from Mavic, in response to Barna telling me in his glorious Buster Keaton way that I had a 'screeching problem' with my new wheels after he has test-ridden my now built bike.
"HI Phil – this is fairly normal during the bedding in process for these Exalith rims, and will reduce after the first few rides –
The rims are subject to a bedding in process for approx the first 500km"
First bloody 500km!
There were two of us on the camp with Exalith rims. We happliy traded wheels back and to for the whole camp - nobody else would talk to us. Both using the special green pads and both making a total flock of parrotts racket every time we touched the brakes. It got so bad that me and Jon just started apologising over breakfast and kept it up till well after dinner. And the mess! See the picture above. How can this be right eh? My wheels have calmed a little but still bring any high street to panicked silence if I have to hit the brakes sharpish.
The rest of the email went onto alarm me more:
"During this period the user must be careful not to brake suddenly".
So to be clear the brakes will make a total cacophony but I am not to actually use them for braking?
This oxymoronic irony was foremost in my mind as me and Jules cruised down Sa Colobra (look it up if you don't know it). We are behind Guy who I think is descending quite fast and getting faster maybe? Now I think he is offline and will have to lean very hard to make the next turn. He doesn't and I have to pull up very hard on those damn brakes. I stop inches away from Guy's twitching body. Twitching I might say from insane and maniacal laughter only demonic screeching can bring on.
Watch this space.