Saturday, May 5, 2012

GURU PHOTON - The Perfect Fit

Bike Fit Part 4 – Looks like the 2012 new bike fit (and new bike) project is at an end. For those that have been following and commenting on my journey to return my bike fit to a more normal this will be the final part (but the best)!

First, comments on the position. If you read the first three articles you know I worked with Stu Waring at Parvilla Cycles utilizing the fantastic Guru Dynamic Fit Unit (DFU) and Retul. Parvilla Cycles is the one of the VERY few fitters in the country to have this combination and man, it plain works. The DFU is a computer driven fitting bike that adjust while you ride it. Check out this video of Hunter Allen and Scott Moninger working with Stu on the DFU machine, gives you a good idea of how it works.

So, now to the heart of things; the fit was a big success and not only cleared up my knee problems but has improved my long term comfort and endurance. One of the added benefits was improved bike handling as the new position allowed me a little better balance on the bike and improved my handling and descending.

The MAGIC came about when Guru Cycles stepped in and offered to design Hunter Allen, Scott Moninger and myself the perfect dream bike using the DFU machine; Brand New Guru Photon’s! SaaWeet! Hunter, Scott and I packed up the old Peaks Coaching Group travel bus and headed down to see Stu and the team at Parvilla to do the fitting and start the process of designing the bikes.

Once we completed our fitting, all measurements were shipped off to Guru and within 48 hour we had first draft drawing of our Photon’s. This is where the super cool custom benefits begin!! Each one of us used the sizing dimension to make sure fit was correct but we were each able to tweak design and layup to not only have a custom fit, but to customize the bikes to our desire. Since reviews are coming from Hunter and Scott I won’t tell you what they did (yet) but I built mine around a taller, beefier head tube (something very tough to get off shelf for a rider that typically rides a 50-51cm size frame) to build more sprint stiffness, beefed up the bottom bracket and slightly stretched out the length by adding a little trail to give some better descending capabilities. Add some custom Peaks paint and this is amazing frame! Now, a frame of this quality needs some tasty part and thanks to our friends at Quarq / SRAM bikes were outfitted with brand new 2012 RED groups and 2012 Quarq Red Power Meters add a set of versatile Zipp 303 Firecrests and you have a 13.5 lbs DREAM BIKE! (Picture below with Enve Wheels, Zipps came later)

13.5 Lbs of Speed!
Guru First Rides!
The Line up
So, let’s get to the DATA! Been ridding the bike for two week hard now so here is the review:
FIRST RIDE: So, we received our bikes on the first day of our Blue Ridge Camp so this meant that we would be testing the bikes “out of the box” at a weeklong – 400 mile+ camp setting. I have to say, I was more than a little nervous about this. Jumping on a new bike and riding that many miles in the first week can be a recipe for disaster. WOW! You begin to fully understand custom the moment you get on a custom bike; it fit perfectly! It really blew me away that I was able to jump on the bike, ride 400 miles and make NO…yep that is right, NO ADJUSTMENT! Riding the bike the first time was like slipping on an old pair of shoes, it fit that well. I did bring my old bike and was expecting to ride it to help “buffer” the change, but it sat in the basement all week (sorry old bike). ROAD FEEL: – For me, the first thing I measure in a bike is road feel. Over the past few years I have had a lot of bikes including a Prince, S3 and EVO and none of them can match the road feel of the uber light Guru. For me, when you start getting to bikes that build under 15 lbs, you do have a trade off as most begin to feel “lite” on the road and change the way you handle the bike. Not the Guru, it has an amazing solid feel on the road (very similar to the Prince at about 3lbs lighter). After two full weeks and plenty of miles, I can tell you this rock solid feel also translate to great handling. The bike cruises along and is the type of bike that everything feels so solid it sort of disappears under you and control, steering and handling just “happen”. One slight “con” is I would love to have seen a little more focus on the “aero” approach by running the cables internally. POWER: For a lite bike, this thing is super stiff and after a week of hard camp, still hit some sprint 5 second max’s (spoiler alert, so did Hunter Allen). This came as a surprise as I have done little to no sprint work this year. Where I was even more impressed was it “handling” under load. I am a sprinter that likes to work through a crowd and having a bike that can really handle while the power is down matters. There is little to no flex under full power and the well balanced machine really allows you to push the bike forward with intent. Pointing it at small opening and line breaks really gives you a good feel of why this bike is special. DESCENDING: A rock! Hunter measured a new top speed off the Peaks of Otter (his lifelong training climb / descent) and I have have noted a big increase in my descending speeds. Remember, I designed a little extra trail into this bike to help me here (not the best descender) and it really works. The bike is stiff and solid but it was the ability to customize the design into exactly what I wanted was the difference maker. For me, a big win by design! WHAT IS NEXT: Over the next few weeks Hunter and Scott will also be posting reviews and Hunter and I will be conducting a series of POWER COMPARISONS to really put the facts to the feeling. Keep checking the blog for updates. FINAL NOTES: DO IT, yep it is that simple. I have been riding my bike for more years then I am willing to post in a public blog and this was the smartest thing I have done, period. 

Author Tim Cusick

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