Svelte Cycles without comproise

Friday, August 22, 2008

Zero Gravity Negative G Ti. Initial Impressions.

Brakes. They slow you down. So why in a sport which focuses on speed and acceleration is there such a large emphasis on the very things that negate it's emphasis? In a word, control. Without being properly able to control your bicycle your riding will suffer, be less enjoyable and above all be unsafe. Concerning control there are many variables to take into account i.e. position on the bicycle, the accuracy and composition of the bike and all it's working parts not to mention the strength and integrity of the bicycle itself. So many cyclists place such an emphasis on lightweight this and tricked out that, but it is all in vain when the advantages of lightweight are outweighed (pun) by unreliability and at worst case, failure. What good is a $15,000 12 pound bike if it handles poorly and is constantly walking the thin line of performing or breaking?

Before I get too far into the Negative G Ti's, I first want to say a few words on the original OG-Ti's. When set up properly the OG-Ti's performed to my satisfaction in every instance I demanded them to. I never felt unsafe or nervous and if I had I would not have ridden them for over a year on various bikes that were being tested. However, I weigh 150lbs dripping wet.

Enter the Negative G Ti's. Zero Gravity set out at the request of it's riders and mechanics on Team Jittery Joes, to design and manufacture a more powerful and robust caliper than the OG's. Were they successful? My peers tell me so, but I just had to find out for myself. I called up my pal Christian Forster over at Zero Gravity and he obliged to send me a pair for testing. Please note, as cool as it is to get free product (if only for a few weeks) and as much as I appreciate the generosity of companies like Zero Gravity, you my customers will get an un-biased, no-nonsense review. If there is something I don't like or approve of, it will be noted here. At the end of the day this is just one cyclist/technician's (albeit a very experienced one) opinion.

Initial Impressions:
Same packaging type as the OG-S. Basic, sealed cardboard box. Brakes came individually, neatly and deliberately packaged in bubble wrap bags ensuring they wouldn't scratch each other in shipment and/or transport. I also appreciate the sealed box. If you have ever worked at a bike shop you know how many times small part can be "borrowed" from components only to never be replaced. Also included are some very detailed, easy to follow and visually accurate installation instructions... these will surely come in handy later.

These are not nearly as sexy as a set of Campagnolo Record Skeleton's nor are the lines as smooth as a set of Dura Ace's but having said that, I don't think the Neg G's were intended to compete in those area's. Much like the esteemed M5's the ZG' are a form follows function component.

Note the robustness and girth of the caliper arms, note the precision of the machining, note the simplicity yet ingenuity of the cams, leaf springs and quick release features. Spec'd with SwissStop pads... doesn't get much better than that!
In my next blog post I will document the installation of the Neg G's. I am hoping these will go on a Time VXR Proteam coming for review but if not, I'm sure I can find another worthy sled. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Part 4: The End of Silence.

Part 4: The End of Silence

Where on earth have I been? France and Spain racing around rainy, windswept roads in Brittany, France then a week later up and down 5,000ft Cols in the Pyrenees. When it was all said and done I realized I was never meant to be a pure climber but I sure am well rounded for a skinny guy.

Moving on...

Before leaving I never finished the final phase of my totally awesome Richard Sachs build. Shipping an $8,000 dollar bike across the Continental US is nerve wracking enough so why take chances. Svelte Cycles has no problem spending the extra bucks when necessary so I didn't hesitate to call my pal and KBS/Medifast Pro Cycling Team Sponsor Steve at Crateworks
a call and order some nice boxes rather than re-use use some rag tag thing from the LBS's dumpster. Don't get me wrong, I am all for recycling and the way I see it the resilient Crateworks boxes can be used again by my Customer's to ship the bike back to me for repair in the future.

Here is the general packing process. FYI it took my 8 minutes to pack my bike three days ago in the hallway of my hotel room in Madrid.

1. Assemble both sides of the Box.
2. Easy to follow Directions for you visual learners.
3. Fit all the foam pieces and wheel wells.
4. Strap the wheels in.
5. Strap the bike in upside down to protect the drivetrain.
6. Put it all together and loop straps over then secure them taunt.
7. Print out your FedEx Label and "Bon Voyage!".