Friday, July 24, 2009

BH Global Concept Review: Time Trial By Fire!

(Added Note: The new ride also got a photo and a mention in Oregon Cycling Action!)

I got the "Pro treatment" this week. My team manager built up a brand new BH Global Concept time trial bike and brought it out to the Cascade Cycling Classic for me to race this week. This is the just-released 2010 model, revised to meet the now more strictly enforced UCI standards.

The AG2R French Pro Tour team debuted the bike in the Tour de France a couple of weeks ago; now my Ten Speed Drive Cat 1 amateur team has the privilege of unveiling the rig to North America.

A National Road Calendar event may not be the ideal time to debut a new setup. But one of the most important things a cycling team can do is to help them debut new products, get them good exposure, and hope that they're interested in helping us to continue to grow our race program.

We dilligently measured my current setup, built it up with hand-me-down Campagnolo components and Profile Design time trial bars and stem, and a soft-nosed time trial saddle. The bits and pieces were different, but we were able to get a position that felt really good.

The Bike

She's a beauty. Good looks may not directly translate to speed - but this baby definitely looks fast and inspires time trial confidence.

The frame is also a great balance between light weight, beefy tubes for power transfer, and aerodynamics. The front wheel tucks right into the downtube, the rear wheel into the cleverly-curved seat tube.

Did I mention that this bike is LIGHT!? Fully built up, my 54cm bike weighs in at about 17.5 pounds. Considering how aerodynamic and overbuilt the tubes are, this is really impressive for a time trial bike.

Sweating the Details

The seat mast is semi-integrated, which means the bike can still be disassembled and shipped, there's room for 90mm of seat height adjustment, and you get the aerodynamic advantages of having a beefier, sculpted seat mast and seatpost.

Internal cable routing may sound like a nit-picky nicety. In fact, keeping the cables inside the frame and out of the wind can be a surprisingly huge time savings in races against the clock. The GC Aero does an excellent job running the derailleur and brake cables inside the tubes for almost their entire length.

Overall Performance

The bike felt amazing in today's hilly 25km event. The ride quality is incredibly smooth and all of my efforts translated directly into forward momentum. The bike ripped through the corners on the 45mph long return descent - it didn't at all feel like I was on a new unfamiliar ride.

There are only a handful of "next generation" time trial bikes that I'd recommend to prospective buyers: Felt, Cervelo, and Trek. BH has now announced its presence in that elite circle.

It's a little early to tell how the BH compares to its predecessor, my 2007 Felt B2, also an excellent ride. The BH is significantly lighter and definitely seems to be in the same ballpark for flat out speed.

Today's debut event was a trial run of the Elite National Championships coming up next week. I still have some more fine-tuning to do with my hand position PowerTap routing, etc, but I'm looking forward to piloting my new sexy steed to the best result I can muster.

BH Bikes is the most established bike company you may have never heard of. Beistegui Hermanos or "Beistegui Brothers" is a Spanish company that's been around since 1909, but their bikes have only come to the United States in the past 3 years. See the BH Bikes website for more info.

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