Colnago CLX 2.0 Review @ Sea Otter 2016

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

Beauty.  The bike is a pure beauty.  The color scheme is loud.  The combination of white and red is fresh and crisp.  It's tasteful.  The attention to the detail is amazing.  Leaf-shaped tubes are beautiful.  The racing geometry is classy!  This bike constantly gets compliments.

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

Getting Going Fast.  Colnago CLX 2.0 takes off fast.  It just rolls.  You feel almost no resistance.  It maybe due to its aggressive geometry, but it just flies off a full stop.  And it feels like it takes almost no effort to get it going fast.

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.

Road Chatter.  While small imperfections are mostly muted, mid-size potholes are less forgiving. They are not jarring, but you feel them more than on an endurance bike.  Handlebar vibration gets a little too much during fast descends over bad surface.  I wonder if an upgrade to carbon handlebars would take care of it.

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.

The Climb.  Colnago CLX 2.0 climbs well.  It fights you a little, but once you get  your cadence going, it goes well.  There were several Category 2,3, and 4 climbs and it did pretty well.  I would grade it 7 out of 10.

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!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

3D-Printed Saddles: Fizik Antares Versus Evo vs Fizik Vento Argo Adaptive vs S-Works Romin Mirror vs S-Works Power Mirror

2018 Santa Cruz Tallboy - Road Cyclist's First Take

Specialized Roubaix Expert Review: First Long Ride (2018)