Colnago CLX 2.0 looks amazingly beautiful! It's fast! It whispers, "Let's go fast". It demands to go fast! And when you do go fast, it rewards you with amazing handling. It cuts through the wind like a knife through butter. It's smooths out rough surfaces. It completes you...
Turns out Sea Otter Classic GranFondo (Carmel Valley Route) is a perfect ground to stress-test a bike. It's a 93-mile ride with several category 2-4 climbs, flat stretches, fast descends, some twitchy turns, both smooth and choppy roads, and super windy areas.
So here is the breakdown.
The Bike - Colnago CLX 2.0
Wheels. Original Fulcrum Racing 5 (1,658 gr) wheels were terrible. They were too uncomfortable to ride on for any distances over 10 miles.
I replaced them with Campagnolo Neutron Ultra (1,470 grams) wheels, which have been fantastic. They are stiff, yet comfortable for a heavier rider (100 kg).
They look great, roll well, and they absorb road imperfections really well. This said, you still get a good feel for the road.
Brakes. Original Colnago breaks where mediocre and lacked serious stopping power. I replaced them with Dura-Ace 9000. This made a huge difference to the lever feel and stopping power of the brakes.
Grouppo. There was nothing wrong with the original 10-speed Shimano Ultegra 6700 mix. The only thing I didn't really care about was the overly firm feel of brake levers. And 53-39 combo was not quite suitable for 15%-23% climbs in the area I live in. So I swapped the whole groupset to 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace 9000. I love everything about it - from smooth and precise switching to the way the levers feel.
Saddle. I went to my favorite Specialized Romin Evo Pro. I have the same saddle on all my bikes. It fits me really well for any rides -- from a few miles to 200 km.
Tires. I swapped the original tires to Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons. These are comfortable, grippy, yet smooth rolling. And they are extremely durable and puncture-resistant, which is important, since there is a bit of road debris where I ride.
The Ride - 93 miles, 5,600 ft climb
Smooth Road Feel. It does a really good job smoothing out most road imperfections, which is pretty unique for a bike with a racing geometry. What's surprising is that it feels really good during long rides. It rolls without fighting you. Yet, you feel the road enough to thoroughly enjoy your ride. It doesn't have the dull feeling of an upright endurance bike. It doesn't feel like a Lexus. It feels like a German sports sedan. Like a BMW M5. Or a Mercedes E65 AMG.
Descends. It handles amazingly well during descends. It's very easy to keep control over this bike. It gives you confidence and pure joy to descend fast.
What Wind? It feels like neither the frontal wind, not the side wind affect the ride. You just slice through it. In fact, it is tons of fun riding through the wind on this bike. It empowers you to fly by other people fighting the wind.
In summary, Colnago CLX 2.0 is just like a sports car. It's beauty gets constant compliments. Once upgraded, it's just amazing. It's incredibly fast; it handles really well around the turns, descends and climbs well. It's a great bike for fast rides, weekend tours, and even occasional century rides.
The Sea Otter GranFondo Carmel Valley Route was amazingly beautiful. Wineries, valleys, rolling hills, mountains, towns, farms, and of course, Laguna Seca! It's one of the best rides I have experienced!