We opened our demo bikes today. For the first time in written history, words fail me. They're awesome. And they aren't even yet as awesome as they are going to be, because 3 of them have 12k weave and glossy clearcoat and I hate 12 weave and glossy clearcoat. The one with 3k weave (to the left in the photo) looks exponentially cooler than the other two (better photos will come tomorrow - this one was taken on my phone), and it has glossy clearcoat which, well, I still hate. With matte clearcoat and the graphics under clearcoat, it's going to look as cool as anything out there. At least that you'd race Reston on.
This demo is as much about our logistics process as it is the product (we knew what to expect on product, process was sort of wait and see until we saw it), and the process is just great. Everything came extraordinarily well packed. Each item was wrapped beautifully and efficiently. I hate when things come with unnecessary gobs of plastic wrapping. The person who wrapped this knew what the hell he or she was doing. Small discs covered each side of the bb shell and the head tube ends, and quality dropout spacers were used on each frame and fork. There wasn't a scratch on anything. Anything.
I've only built one up so far, so while I've given each one a pretty serious once over, I only have the depth of observation from one build. But here is what I saw when I built this sample.
Clear coat quality is nice. Very even, very smooth and fair. Compared to my wife's Tarmac (which, granted, is used, but you can tell what's age from what's quality), it comes up at least even. REally really nice.
This was my first build with a tapered head tube, but apart from making the headset easier to deal with (it's VERY obvious what's top and bottom), nothing about that affects the build. Headset goes together easily, and the fork slides right in. The bottom bearing fit into the headtube slightly tight - not enough to distort or bind the bearing but definitely enought that there's no play. The top bearing fit just slightly less snugly. For what it's worth, headsets are pretty darn commodity lately. If the races are good, which is more frame quality than headset quality, the headset is fundamentally two sealed bearings. Good ones are hard to avoid, and if you know your way through the McMaster catalog, replacement or upgrade bearings (totally unnecessary if you ask me) are cheap and easy to get. Anyhow, moving right along...
The 56 frame weighs 1190g, which is a few grams more than I expected. Like 40 of them. That's about the weight of a poker hand. Uncut fork is 370, which doesn't compare to some forks like Edges and such weightwise, but seriously? For a fork that feels stiff as a board (I torqued it with the front wheel and bars post-build, and it's notably stiffer than any front end I've owned) and comes with a frame for $785, it's unreal.
This was my second trip through rigging internal cables, and it's a snap. The little Teflon tubes make it stupid easy. Thread the cable into the tube securely, and pull the tube through. Done. It's a really clean setup, and looks dead sexy. Don't use cable ends on any entry/exit points - cables plug into those points securely.
BB shell threads are great, the cups spun right on. In keeping with what's going on, the BB area is a freaking block. I won't be flexing that particular part of this frame.
This build was with my existing (mostly - my derailleurs are Ultegra) DA-7800 group. We're going to do some SRAM builds next, but I have this DA kit and I'm riding this piece tomorrow, so on it went. With FSA Wing Pro bars, a 3T ARX Team stem, a really heavy Deda Metal stick seatpost, a Toupe saddle, a slighly heavy Cane Creek front wheel (stuff lying around our house gets used), an RFSW rear wheel with a Vittoria Evo CX on it, our skewers, an Ultegra chain, a 105 cassette, and Speedplay Zero stainless pedals, it weighs 16.04 pounds on our Park digital scale. Swapping the front wheel for an RFSW would have brought it to 15.70 or so, and replacing the brick seatpost with the Thomson Masterpiece we'll be supplying with our build kit, and you're at 15.50. Switch my gruppo out for the Force/Rival setup we're doing as a build kit, and your bike is illegal to race in UCI events. And you've spent barely more than two grand to get there. I saw a Specialized Ruby Comp this evening that retails for $2700, has mostly 105 components (except where they skimped from there), and probably weighs more than 18 pounds.
So the bike is totally ripper sweet. A few hours at the salt mine tomorrow and then a ride on the new hooptie.
And I guess words didn't fail me there.
On October 23rd, at 1030am, The Great November Ride will roll out from Rock Creek Park in DC. For those who've ridden the 10am Ride, it will start from the same place - at the intesection of Beach and Broad Branch. The route map is at http://veloroutes.org/bikemaps/?route=60406
Starting at 930a, we will be set up in the parking lot across Broad Branch from the ride start. We'll have coffee and donuts and the frames and wheels will be on display. If you're interested in checking the gear out but don't have the opportunity to ride the route, please feel free to come by. We'd love to see you and show you what we've got.
We also have some great partners to help everyone have a good time. Mountain Khakis will be providing some swag, as will our Descente (who are making our fantastic looking kit). We've got some cool November goodies up our sleeves too.
We'll do what we can do get everyone a chance to try stuff out. If you use Speedplay Zero pedals, you're in luck. If not, bring your pedals if you want to give the Wheelhouse a try.
Following the ride, we'll grill some food and give people more chance to see the moichandise.
Hope to see you there.
In the meantime, I drove some wheels to a phot shoot last night. It felt like taking kids to picture day at school.
The race is on for November jerseys by Descente Custom, which we're giving away as order premes for the first 10 Wheelhouse Frameset customers. There are still some jerseys left, so if you're leaning toward a Wheelhouse, well, lean harder. (Our money back cancellation policy gives you time to consider the purchase and the freedom to change your mind.)
Here's the jersey you're racing for, pictured with the bibs that will also be available for sale soon.
Descente is just this year launching their custom kit program - and judging from the meetings I heard about at Interbike, they'll be making a very high profile splash soon. The November kits above have the distinction of being the very first Descente Custom kit to roll off the line. So not only is your order preme for a really nice jersey - it may also be a collector's item.
Through our partnership with Descente, we're able to offer a 20% discount on custom kit orders for your team. All you have to do is let November sponsor you. Yeah, that's right - let us give you discounts, and in exchange Descente also gives you discounts. Have a look at the full benefits here, and apply here. While you're at it, you can read our Sponsorship Philosophy to see how we play the sponsorship game. (As you might expect, it's different than most.)
It's a pretty sweet deal: get sponsored by November, get discounts on Descente Custom Kit, save some serious coin by buying November products and getting a team discount on build kits and other components. Apply here by November 1st.
To learn more about Descente, visit their website. Or join us on the Great November Ride - the head of Descente's custom program will join us on 10/23, showing off some merchandise and laying down some hurt.
As of this moment - through November 19 - you may place your order with November Bicycles:
- Wheelhouse Frameset ($785)
- RFSW 50mm Carbon Fiber Wheelset ($685)
- FSW 27mm Alloy Clincher Wheelset ($345)
- FSW / RFSW Combo ($985)
Our shopping cart and e-commerce functionality is like our sales pitch - not slick. But it's also like our bikes - functionally perfect without any of the trappings that cost you more money. Put another way, there are prettier shopping sites out there, and there are also more expensive bikes and wheelsets in those shopping carts. It's not a coincidence.
Look around, add to cart, ask any questions you want - operators are standing by.