by Jim Weaver, Service Manager
Fit Werx, VT
I have previously written about the virtues of the Guru Photon, most recently in a series of articles detailing our build of an 11 pound 12 ounce bike, based on the Photon frameset, for a client. I just finished installing the full SRAM Red 2012 drivetrain on a Photon for the showroom, and thought I would write a quick post about the bike with the new groupset as it came out really nicely.
The new SRAM Red (introduced in the middle of 2012) has been much praised for its improved feel and shifting over the previous generation of SRAM Red. Much attention has focused on the new, unique front derailleur design. For this short post, suffice it to say that the latest SRAM Red front derailleur shifts much better than the last generation and, for me, the shift levers provide improved feel. The brakes also offer significant improvements over the previous generation and the new rear cassette is of a quieter and even lighter design. The entire package of shifters, brakes, derailleurs, cassette, and crank, is reported to be the lightest groupset on the market, although the pricier Campagnolo Super Record may give it a run for that title. Anyway, we have installed the new SRAM Red groupset on several bikes and it works very nicely indeed, living up to its billing.
In addition to the new groupset, our shop Photon is equipped with a 3T carbon seatpost, 3T Team alloy stem, and FSA carbon handlebars and the saddle is a Specialized Toupe. Nothing exotic here, all of these parts being readily available, the seatpost and stem are the same as what comes standard on many Cervelos, such as the R3. Some might consider the wheels, Zipp 303's, as being exotic, but they are commensurate with the level of the rest of the bike, so no apologies here for this choice. Wheels are really important to how a bike rides and performs and too many otherwise nice bikes are limited by wheels that are significantly below the rest of the package. The only concession that we have made to seeking light weight on this bike is to install tubular wheels, rather than Zipp 303 clinchers. Tires? Continental Grand Prix 4000 SR tubular tires, again, nothing exotic in the world of tubular tires, and certainly nowhere near the lightest available. The result? This bike weighs in at a dead even 13 pounds. This is quite light for a fully painted (paint can get heavy!) frameset equipped with readily available, user friendly components. Lighter wheels are readily available that could reduce the weight further, but this bike as presently equipped simply shows what can be accomplished without jumping off bridges in pursuit of light weight, while maintaining a very stable, very light, very usable (even on Vermont roads!), performance oriented bike.