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Bikeshop

1500 Race bikesHow fast and light a bike can you get for around 1500? Paul Vincent and Cara Coolbaugh find outOn testScott CR1 Team 1,549 PBK Team 2007 1,499 Focus Cayo Exp 1,399

Condor Bellissima 1,299JULY 2007 CYCLING PLUS 97

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Tested 1500 race bikes

Scott CR1 Team 1,549Scott 01670 712129 www.scottusa.com

H

ad you asked us a year ago to gaze into a crystal ball, we would have predicted the widespread return of aluminium as a high-end frame material. Back then, all the signs were that the shortfall in the availability of carbon fibre would by now have made carbon bike frames at this price uneconomical. But having seen prices drop in recent months to previously unheard of levels, the message is to enjoy the carbon party while you can. In the wake of stiff competition from web-based sellers, some of the biggest names in the cycle industry have, in recent months, raised the bar for value for money. While until very recently it was quite reasonable to expect to get a carbon bike based on Shimanos entrylevel race 105 groupset for 1,500, it is now possible to bag one equipped with pro-level Dura-Ace components for the same money. For this months test, we have chosen

In the wake of stiff competition from webbased sellers, some of the biggest names have raised the bar for value for money

The Scott CR1 Team builds on the exciting ride of the original C1

Neat features like these aluminium dropouts give the Scott frame a classy look

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BikeshopPBK Team 2007 1,499PBK 01539 738268 www.probikekit.com

Curved rear seatstays are believed to help dissipate vibration

The PBK has the highest groupset specification that we have seen on a bike at this price

three full carbon framed cycles: the Scott CR1 Team and two bikes from websitebased brands PBK and Wiggle, the topof-the-range PBK Team and the second from top Focus Cayo Expert. Because carbon bikes with femalespecific geometry start above our 1500 price point, we have selected the Condor Bellissima that is based on an aluminium frame, with carbon seatstays and a carbon fork. The Bellissima is Condors first women-specific frame, but many in their vast mens range come in sizes down to 46cm too. With a personalised fitting as part of the package, Condor make a comfortable riding position a real priority. The big question, though, is how the Bellissima stands up among a stable full of carbon lightweights.

Frame

Scott 9 PBK 8 Focus 9 Condor 9Six years ago Scott found a way of producing a carbon frame, the C1, without using lugs, the normal method

JULY 2007 CYCLING PLUS 99

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Tested 1500 race bikes

Focus Cayo Expert 1,399.99Wiggle www.wiggle.co.uk

of joining carbon tubes at that time. Instead they employed a filleted joint using various layers of carbon to bind the tubes together. The Scott CR1 Team is a development of the original C1 and is based on the same high modulus carbon frame as their Pro and SL models. There are six sizes available, ranging from 47-61cm (50-59cm top tubes). It has the most upright, sportiveorientated riding position of all the bikes tested here and the frame is the lightest on test at 1,031g some 155g more than their range-heading ultra-high modulus Addict R1 frame of the same size (CPlus 194). The right hand chainstay is protected by a steel sheet, preventing damage to the carbon layers from an unshipped chain. PBK Performance Bike Kit are a mail order outfit previously better known for their clothing range, who have recently introduced a carbon bike thats available in three different groupset options: Shimano 105, Ultegra

At 1,206g, the Cayos bare frame is impressively light, just a whisker away from what we would term superbike status

The Focus s FSA Gossamer chainset looks good, but wed also like to see a 39/53t chainring option

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BikeshopCondor Bellissima 1,299Condor 020 7269 6820 www.condorcycles.com

T

The Bellissimas rear Fulcrum Racing 5 wheel sports fewer spokes and a refined hub body over the 2006 version

The Condor shows remarkable stability at speed, making it a great descender

and Dura-Ace. The frame is made, we are told, from Torayca T700 carbon and appears to be constructed using lugs. There are gear adjusters on the downtube, which means setting up and adjusting them on the fly is a doddle. At 1,477g for the large size tested, it is not particularly light but largely what we have come to expect for an entry-level carbon frame. There were no nasty surprises in the frame geometry tables on the website, though sadly there are only four sizes available, based on top-tube lengths of between 51-57cm. The website company Wiggle handle the German brand Focus for the UK. All the Cayo models have the same frame, with prices based on the equipment spec. Like the Scott, the Cayo frame is made from uni-directional carbon with a larger number of cross-layers where stresses are the greatest. Its finished with a decorative outer layer that is covered only by the down-tube graphics. At 1,206g, the bare frame is impressively light, just a whisker

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Bikeshopaway from what we would term superbike status, and the separate seatstay tubes a feature seen on their German compatriot Isaacs range add stiffness. The chainstay bridge adds strength and the bottom bracket and chainstays are swathed in a shade of beige metallic that contrasts well with the bold, grey graphics and finishing layer of coarse-weave carbon. Sizes range from 48cm to 60cm. Dedacciai supply the tubes and manufacturing prowess for the Condors unique combination frame, which is handbuilt in Italy. The main triangle uses triple-butted and heat-treated aluminium pipes for weight saving, along with good strength and stiffness. Welds are filled, blending in unnoticeably under the cool, matt grey finish. The chainstays and bottom bracket are also aluminium, but the seatstays are Dedacciai carbon, bonded to the main triangle just above the wishbone and before the dropouts. The forks are Dedacciai carbon too, with a carbon steerer, and the visible weave coordinates nicely with the rear stays. The Bellissima is designed after the mens Italia with a shortened top-tube on average 1cm less. A customised fitting session at the Condor shop in London takes you through from frame sizing to component selection. This is particularly useful as you are able to try various frames and see if a womens geometry works for you. Sizes run in a big range from 4661cm, all using 700c wheels.

Equipment

Scott 9 PBK 9 Focus 10 Condor 9The Scotts Ritchey Comp handlebars have an anatomic pistol-grip bend that provides the perfect resting place for your palms. The 10-degree stem can be flipped to alter the ride height in seconds, and the Carbon Pro seatpost is easy to adjust for angle and setback. Out on the roads everyone had the same thought: that the frame deserves more compliant kit, as it all but failed to take the buzz out of a harsh ride. The compact Shimano R-600 34/50-tooth chainset is slightly at odds with the sort of rider that the CR1 is intended for these gear ratios are on the low side for fast criteriums and road races; a 39/53 chainset from the Shimano 105 range would provide the solution,

the arms than those further down the Shimano range, making it lighter, but we would like to see this bike available with the option of a non-series R-600 compact or triple chainset to provide a better range of crawler gears. The DuraAce STI gear levers have a crisper, more defined click than those below it in the Shimano range, but the actual shift speed to and from the next cog is no faster than a Shimano 105 set-up. The Prorace carbon seatpost is a good fit in the frame and has a rather clever secondary collar fitted to it to prevent it slipping down. While the PBK sports the more refined Dura-Ace kit, the Ultegraequipped Focus Cayo Expert gets the perfect 10 because of the level of kit elsewhere. Shimano Ultegra has always been at the top of the

Scotts C1 gave an injection of excitement, and the CR1 Team builds on that, making you want to turn your hour-long training run into a longer onealbeit for extra cost. Crucially for some, this bike is available with a triple chainset for the same price. The PBK has the highest specification groupset that we have seen on a bike at this price; its remarkable that theyve not skimped by using cheaper components like Tektro brakes. The top quality 39/53t Dura-Ace crankset has more hollowed out of price/quality-of-finish index and with lighter finishing kit and wheels, the Focus, at 18lb, is the lightest bike on test. The finishing kit includes their own-branded Concept Extreme handlebar and four-bolt stem that have more than a passing resemblance to the highly regarded components from

the German Syntace stable. The FSA Gossamer compact chainset looks better than the Shimano equivalent but we would like to see this bike available with a 39/53 chainring combination for the die-hard competitors. Consumers who want a triple chainset must plump for the Shimano 105-equipped Cayo Triple that retails for 959.99. With the Bellissima, you have the choice to spec it any way you want. Condor provide a long list of kit and are not limited to Shimano. In fact, for just 750 you can get the same frame with an entry-level Campag Xenon groupset. We had it built up with Ultegra to meet the price range for this test and, to be honest, its about as high a spec as youd want. As expected, the