oneseventwentyone/aeighttech – Red eTap (Demo C60)
Colnago’s C60 is the perfect showcase for the latest equipment – a racing bike that’s comfortable enough for the road and climbs like a demon – fitting it with the latest SRAM Red eTap WiFli, Zipp 303 NSW wheels and the brand-new Pirelli P-Zero Velo road tyres makes for quite an inspiring demo bike…
The eTap sales box proudly proclaims that, “there is a level where your equipment matches your dedication”, which sounds like a bold mission statement. With that kind of intent SRAM have set the tone, but can they deliver? Last year I built a project bike up with standard 303 wheels and the first version of eTap – the result was a usable bike that weighed less than the magic 6.8 kg’s. Since then the boffins at SRAM/ZIPP have tweaked the wheels and the group to allow an even lighter bike to go up even steeper hills!
The wheels have a new textured braking surface, which helps with both water shedding and heat dissipation – in both areas the Zipps were already market leaders, but the new surface treatment is even better. The freehub body also features a retention system which removes most of the friction when the wheel is freewheeling, which saves another few watts. I’m also experimenting with a Ceramic Speed cage at the moment and possibly bearings to follow, but more of that to come in future blogs,…
What I can talk about is the all-new Pirelli P-Zero Velo road tyre, which straight out of the box feels amazing – I’m usually not one to jump on the-next-big-thing hype, but I’m into tyres and this one felt completely different as soon as you pick it up – paper thin but of a reassuringly good quality. On the demo bike I’ve fitted them with standard Zipp rubber tubes, but I’m also trying a pair out with some latex tubes. Initially I felt right at home trusting the front to grip and nothing has put me off yet – the real test will be how the tyre performs in the rain, but for the time being it feels fast. Oddly I’ve observed not much difference to my normal tyres on rough roads but vastly less rolling resistance on smooth tarmac, perhaps is unsurprising when you think about the Italian brand’s motorbike racing technology and development. More testing to follow!
The Specialized Power Saddle is a great piece of kit and I got on well with it straight away. Some customers fit this for comfort reasons, but for me it’s all about fit. The conventional rear section gives way to a short stumpy nose which allows the rider to get much further forward if desired, or by adjusting the tilt allows the rider to open his/her hip joint much more than most standard saddles therefore curing all kinds of discomfort. It doesn’t seem to work for everybody but it’s definitely worth trying, along with a BG fit or something similar.
Colnago’s C60 frameset is truly a work of art – I honestly never tire of waxing lyrical about the beauty, design and technology of the Italian brand’s flagship frameset. With countless lug and tube options Colnago make an enormous range of sizes and colours and everything is produced in house in Italy – they really are one of the very few brands that can truly do everything from the start of the design to the finished frameset and it’s an absolute pleasure of mine to be able to finish that process by bringing the bike to life! Riding this one was a-dream-come true and despite the purist in me wishing for Campag, you have to accept that at the moment the best groupset technology is coming from Japan and the US.
eTap just feels so connected (which is an odd thing to say about a wireless groupset) – my way of explaining this is that it feels like a track bike in every gear. I’m not sure if this is because the mech is under more tension or that the combination of materials works better, but I think the underlying reason is just a very high build quality. The levers are just the right shape, uncluttered and have just the right feel – the mechs look clean and functional – the cranks almost disappear into the C60 frame, but on closer inspection the carbon layup is beautiful – and the brakes are subtle in appearance, but like anchors on the road! I’m a Shimano fan and a Campag fan, but I really don’t have a bad word to say about eTap and after a-years-worth of testing and fitting it, the groupset has proven itself to be up to the job of being mounted on even the finest frames.
The Wildside Demo Bike is available to test ride for 2-3 days at a time including weekends. There’s a small charge for wear-and-tear which (when you fall in love with the frame and order one) is taken off the cost of owning your own bike/groupset/wheels. For more info contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the shop and book your ride now, to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about!
Photos by Glen Whittington.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Wildside Cycles and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany.