Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012 Blue Triad SP Review - Kirk Groves








I recently took delivery of a 2012 Blue Triad SP. I've been doing the
Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series and will be doing some Duathlons and the Boulder Triathlon Series this year. I was lookingfor a bike I could ride in both. I was looking for a quality, affordable carbon bike that I could use for TT/DUs and Tris.



Looking at the Blue site ( rideblue.com ) I loved the look of the Triad SL, especially the SL LE with its matte black - sick! Unfortunately my budget couldn't accomodate the SL and I don't like the look of the EX so I settled on the SP. The SP has the same geometry as the 2012 EX, which is also the same as the 2011 SL. The only difference is the lower grade (heavier) carbon. The bike is plenty stiff for me and the ride quality is good, even on the horrible roads down at the Cherry Creek Reservoir. I'm pleased to report that the black and white color scheme of the SP looks even better in person than I expected. I'm really happy.

If you read the triathlon reviews of the Triad's the most common complaint you'll see is that the bike isn't super low and long. I'm still tweaking my position but will be able to get a good position on the bike. The relatively short/high geometry works for me. The seatpost offers two positions for different seat tube angles -- 76 or 80 degrees. I've found the bike to be stable and easily controlled from the first moment I got on it. Apparently the triathletes you see riding out zig-zagging the road either just aren't good riders or their bike isn't as stable as the Triad.




The spec on the Blue website shows SRAM Apex crank and front derailleur. My bike came with an FSA Gossamer BB30 crank and an FSA F.D. Both work fine. First off I swapped out the American Classic wheels for some deep dish carbon wheels I bought for this bike, 58mm in front, 85mm in back. The second change was from the stock 90mm stem to a 110mm. I'll have JD or Dana cut off an extra 2" of steerer tube once I'm done fiddling with my position. One change to the stock components I'd recommend is the inclusion of a 53/39 crank. I've spun out the 50/11 high gear and won't need a 34/26 for the terrain I'll be riding on this bike. The hardest climb I'll do on this bike is Olde Stage Road and even with my patent pending sloth climbing style I can get over that with a 39/26. The shifting of the Apex rear derailleur is surprisingly good with the indexed bar-end shifters. I'd prefer the return to center shifters but those aren't cheap.

I don't have experience on another TT bike to compare against, but I have noticed a significant difference between this bike and my road bike with clip-ons. The effect is particularly evident at speed, once you hit 25 mph you can stay there much longer and with less effort. I rode the bike for the first time week 6 of KHMTT. I was 64 seconds faster, or an average of 0.9 mph faster than the week before with the same wheels and helmet with similar conditions. I'm in the bottom half of my category still at KHMTT, but I can't blame the bike anymore, now it's all about fitness.

All in all, I'm a happy camper with the bike!

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