Well…. a day of mixed emotions allright. Lets start with the not so good
Franjo Ceh, 1930 – 2014. Originally from Croatia, migrated here in the 1950’s. Built a plumbing empire from nothing. He was a next door neigbour and in fact he gave me my first job and I help physically build his house – laying bricks, carpentry, landscaping, plumbing…. hard work for a youg teenager but I loved it. So in fact I do know how to have a real job
Also the skills learnt have certainly come in handy ove the years.
A good man and our family was close to them so it’s sad to see him passing to be with Jesus. I certainly remeber the parties his sons had… and young Frank’s Porsche was the first one I drove in anger. Real, absolute flat stick anger. So yeah built cars with them too. He had a C3 Corvette we dropped this monster 454 into – didnt handle for shit woooooo weee did to go in a straight line!
Old Franjo was a man who lived modesty and knew the value of hard work. His work also just happened to make him incredibly wealthy but he never showed it off. He will be very much missed.
The somewhat better –
Triathlon N00B is something of a keen cyclist and I do have a few. The present bike is a Roubaix that has done a lot of kms in just a year – great bike but not exactly a thing that can open up like a TT or a Tri bike can. I have hired a Specialized Venge Pro a couple of times in road bike form and it’s 2 minutes faster over 10 kms….. that’s a fair bit of course. So what with two 70.3’s later in the year, I got not quite the ultimate time trail aero weapon…..
But I did get a Specialized S-Works Venge. And hooooooly shit, what a piece of carbon fibre that is! I think there is a review floating round that sums up the Venge perfectly – a Cervelo is more of a scapel, a Venge is a sledgehammer, there is nothing subtle about it, it’s a brute force machine for big power and just going as humanly fast as possible. And in this startlingly bright orange… yep nothing subtle about this bike at all. It’s an angry bike and it goes like nothing else I’ve ridden. It isnt quite the instant spin up of the ROubaix but it really REALLY burns road when you work it up to speed. It just gets better the harder you hammer it.
Unlike the usual Venge builds tho, this one is set up as a TT bike as well, so the builders have called it the Shvenge – a unique blend of Shiv and Venge. Actually it’s not a unique idea, A Venge is a very good TT bike, but in my case I’ve gone a bit further so it is now a very different build to my specifications. It is also incredibly light for a TT bike as well, ready to ride (so no weight cheating) of 7.8 kgs, ie with all the bottle cages, pedals, aero bars, etc. Strip it down and swap to road bars plus a light seat, SPD to Speedplay and yes, it would get under the UCI weight limit of 6.8 kgs, ready to ride. Most TT and Triathlon bikes are a few kgs heavier.
The other vitals –
- Carbon aero bars
- Xentis Squad 4.2 carbon wheels + cermic bearings
- Specialized carbon S-Works cranks
- Sitero TT seat
- 24mm Turbo tyres
- 11 Speed Ultegra Di2 11-24 cluster
- 52-30 Pro Compact
- Ultegra brakes
- Dura-Ace brake levers
Oh and to REALLY top the build off……
- Dura-Ace 5 way electronic shift controller
- Dura-Ace button shift on the brake lever and on the TT bars
- Ultegra Di2 front de-railleur
- Ultegra Di2 rear de-railleur
Yes, it’s got electronic paddleshift brakes…..! It’s truly freaky to tap a button and it shifts smoothly and fast. Hold the button down and it multishifts. And you can just hammer and it wont be bothered at all.
So after the fit and a few tweaks to suitme, I took it for it’s first run …… and well…. it really surprised me. When you spend the cost of a small car on a bike, you really want something good but just how good is the Shvenge? Well it takes a bit to wind up as it doesnt have the low gearing of the Roubaix but when it’s going…. it’s fast! And unlike most TT bikes, its fast uphill due to it’s bugger all weight. Of course downhill it’s fast but it’s party trick is when you go aero – you can feel the bike just become something else. It WANTS to go even faster. And it becomes easier too. I found myself ripping along at 40+kph and it felt like I wasnt really working. And being in aero just worked. But it didnt matter, out of aero it’s just as fast and willing to go. And given its a road bike turned into a TT monster, it handles really well. Quite a surprsingly smooth ride too. Even without going above 90%, it’s comfortably 3-4 kms an hour faster average over 50 kms.
And it looks so outrageous in it’s bright orange colour too. It’s a real attention getter!
I doubt it’s a bike for anyone else other than me – it is a custom build to suit what I wanted. And given it’s just been customed for me…. yes it is damn near as perfect as a bike can get.
Quite an interesting day to say the least.