Lugs to Lightweights – Episode 21: First Ride ReportWritten: April 6, 2011
General Brain Farts, Lugs to Lightweights - Baum Diary
So finally the Baum is built, and finally I’ve squeezed in a ride. What’s to report? Read on…
Wow. Pictures just do not do it justice – get some sunlight on that purple and it really ‘pops’. It’s stunning. For that matter, the black has a really nice sparkle to it too with the metallic specs in it really making it stand out. Believe it or not the purple cables even stand out more, and better suit the frame in daylight.
It turns out (having spoken to Jared) that it’s a colour that Holden (an Australian car manufacturer) used to use and it actually has a red metallic flake in it – that is what makes it really stand out in bright daylight. Regardless of where it came from though I’m incredibly happy. Baum should be pleased to have their paint guy Jared on board, and in fact Darren confirmed as much the other day when he told me he can pick out one of Jared’s frames because he’s *that* good.
This was of most interest to me having not long come off of another high-end titanium frame which was incredibly compliant – would the Baum live up to that? Well it’s fair to say it’s certainly not quite as ‘soft’ as my Lynskey was, in that there is more road feedback through the frame and it’s not quite as capable of smoothing out a road like the Lynskey was. If that sounds negative, it’s not. Sometimes the Lynskey felt too soft, whereas the Baum seems to have a perfect compromise.
The Baum has an entirely different approach anyway, and it’s hardly a fair comparison given that I’m running a solid carbon saddle, 22c tyres and stiffer wheels on it too – I’m certain to feel like it’s a harder frame when it’s setup the way it is. The main point is that the bike itself and my position on it feel perfect. Combine that with the ‘compliant yet direct’ feedback and it’s onto a winner.
Possibly what blew me away the most was how this bike has been perfectly dialled to ride exactly how I asked Darren to build it.
I like my bikes to be on the slower side of neutral with their handling and turn-in. I find bikes that have quick handling are too twitchy for me and consequently make me twitchy riding them. The Baum isn’t lazy (far from it), but it has ironed out the handling traits from my Look that I’m less keen on – one such example being that with them both being tall bikes the centre of gravity isn’t low. This translates into unsteadiness out of the saddle on the Look, whereas by lowering the bottom bracket slightly on the Baum the bike has become much more stable. It feels really planted.
The turn-in is spot-on too – the confidence that comes from being able to turn a bike into a corner exactly the way you want to really changes your experience, especially for a nervous descender like me. I reckon if I’d had the Baum with me on my Mallorca training camp I’d have been much less hesitant on the downhills (although I’m sure I still wouldn’t have kept up with the front guys!). Additionally, in crosswinds on the Look with deep section rims the bike wants to twitch and wobble beneath me whereas in the same conditions the Baum feels much more controlled.
Ultimately the Baum feels more flowing and graceful, compared to the Look and other previous bikes which have been more edgy and nervous.
It just *works*!
I’m running a totally non-standard setup – KCNC cassette, Rotor Q-Rings and a KMC X10SL chain. Di2 still isn’t phased. Sure, a Shimano cassette and chain and a Dura-Ace 7900 chainset would probably result in a much smoother, faster shift, but it’s still bloody good as it is.
Oh, and that satellite shift button on the top section is a stroke of genius.
I’m a total convert. End of. SRAM need to up their game and get involved.
Really impressive – these things don’t just look good; they’re stiff, light and strong, and their snappy acceleration just adds to the way the frame rides. Both wheels and bike compliment each other really well.
The R-SYS SLRs I’m currently running on my Look are stiff, but out of the saddle I can still get brake rub. I setup the Lightweights with the brake pads quite close to the rims and with the same effort there’s no noise. Laterally they just do not budge. I love them.
It helps that they do happen to look damn good too…!
As for the rest of the kit, here’s the lowdown…
EE Brakes - I’m already a huge fan, but the 2nd generation version is even better.
Zipp Contour SL bars – Great shape, lovely comfortable top section, light and good looking.
Tune Cappy & stem – Light, good looking, well made, difficult to fault.
Vertebr.ae brake cables - Fiddly to fit but zero flex once sorted. Need time to shine, but very good early impressions.
Veloflex Corsa tyres – So far so good. Light and grippy, longevity yet to be seen (but always knew that was the case). Likely to switch to higher volume quite soon though.
KCNC Ti-Nitride Cassette – I’m not sure this will last quite as well as a DA one if the reports I’ve seen are to be believed, but I always knew that to be the case – I just wanted one because they look so good! It’s not noisy though, and the shifting isn’t obviously affected by it.
San Marco Superleggera saddle – Ok, it’s hard. There, I said it. But I didn’t say it’s uncomfortable… ok, it is. But only at times. The problem with it is that the edges of the back of it are sharp and end up cutting into your backside. Otherwise the shape is actually really good, and I managed a good couple of hours on it without trouble.
Yup, that’s right – I have matching Baum kit. It’s Santini stuff and is really nice. The simple black & white design suits the bike perfectly with the matching GT-style Baum logo, and a neat feature is that the jersey has a white back so I won’t overheat if the sun has got his hat on.
A perfect compliment, and best of all it’s not lairy so my bike still gets the attention.
“Blown away” is an understatement. This bike is I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.
The whole thing has been an unbelievable experience from deciding to work with Baum to trying to work out how I wanted it specc’d and built to deciding on a colourscheme, not to mention all of the other little decisions along the way and the hiccups on some of the kit. Then of course there’s the whole story and adventure around visiting the workshop and talking to Darren about every last detail of my bike.
On account of the fact that I decided not to use AX-Lightness parts and ended up not going with an SRM as it stands the bike has come in UNDER budget. Yes, really. I do think an SRM or Quarq will work it’s way onto the bike sometime in the future as I have found myself still reaching for the Look so that I can train with power this week despite the Baum being good to go, and that’s actually been quite frustrating.
Power meter aside there is very little I will change. I always knew the tyres were a risk as they’re fragile and only 22c – I can see me wanting 23 or 24c tyres again quite soon. Likewise the saddle was only ever really an experiment and an opportunity for a bit more colour matching, although I was hoping it might be comfortable enough to keep. Although the general shape is comfortable I don’t think my backside will appreciate those sharp edges on 200km runs.
Some of the nicest details will mostly go unnoticed, but I do keep smiling to myself when I see those little KCNC Ti-DLC jockey wheels, the MCFK carbon front derailleur clamp and the Lightweight skewers. I said all along that the devil is in the detail, and these little touches really help finish the bike off for me.
My favourite detail is probably the bar tape from Mick Peel at Busyman Bicycles – it’s just such a perfect and neat finishing touch. The ‘piece de resistance’ as Wendy called it.
So there you have it – so far at least. I don’t doubt that’s the end of the story though, there’s a picture diary to come for one thing. I’m also off to a studio with it on Saturday for some professional shots to be done so that I can remember it at it’s best as well as being able to return the shots to Baum as a ‘thank you’. Obviously I’ll also share them here too. Then I can finally mount the Garmin and get some good hard miles in.
I might just change that saddle first though…
Tags:Baum,Cappy,Corretto,Di2,EE Brakes,EE Cycleworks,Geiles Teil,KCNC,Lightweights,Superleggera,Tune,Veloflex,Vertebrae,zipp contour sl
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