Well after 3 hours on the floor it seemed like the only decent thing to do was to take the new SLX 01 on our regular Friday ride. After clearing the days service work I put the new beast together as it came out of the box other than changing the brakes over to right hand front. The instructions for setting the new streampost were somewhat vague to say the least. One thing that didn't help was the alignment marks on either side of the carbon section were both at different heights so which one to pick? After a phone call to 'the man' I discovered that there was some indescrepencies with the decals on the first few early release framesets. With that in mind I used a bit of common sense and all was swinging in no time. The whole setup really is so easy to adjust once you get things set right. I expected something much heavier and more cumbersome but no, the whole post assembly is light and very functional. One thing about the new SLX that could catch a few out is like on the Team machine, the shift cables can become crossed in the down tube as mine were. No real problem as the internal cable routing easy to sort but you do need to check for it.
I should say here that we weighed the bike at 8.26kg with no pedals or grip tape for a 54cm sized bike as supplied. No doubt there will be some variation across the range.
The first 12km of the ride were damp and still raining slightly. Even so the bike felt very positive and I was confident pushing it a bit though wet corners. I didn't like the gearing for city riding but hat is not what this machine is for at all. Acceleration was brisk from a stand still and better if already at speed. After taking care of business formatlities at the Mountain Goat Brewery it was another short backstreet shuffle with a quick sprit here and there. I left the Gem Bar and the Gravytrain singing songs about ghosts, vampires and zombies. There is someting about a band with a guy playing 3 feet of chain with a claw hammer that make friday night rides just a bit different.
Off into town to play with the late night traffic and see how things go in a different type of pack. The front end felt well planted across the rugged Melbourne road and although you could tell the front fork had an alloy top end it wasn't as rough as other alloy steerer forks I have ridden. This is probably due to the beautiful frame. And What a beauty it is.
You can feel the stiffness in the bottom end and at the same time you can feel the suppleness in the carbon top/headtube combination. It does like to be ridden fast. Cruising around at a steady pace can be comfortable but not enjoyable. I enjoyed going quicker that I normally would in certain situations.
After checking the time to see it was just shy of midnight I though I would take an older yet familiar route home to get a comparison to what I have ridden over the same ground before. Out through South Melbourne firsts then back though Docklands, over towards Footscray then up along the Maribyrnong river. A steady headwind prevailed for 5km with not a huge amount of effort needed to push into it. Once at the trail along the river and the wind losing its effect it was easy to crank up the SLX along the tight winding path and make quick time. The handling of the bike really showed on the twisty river side route. At the end of the river trail there is a couple of short sharp climbs that the new bike just powered up with ease. Those who like to climb will find an instant liking to this frameset.
The 54cm was one size too small for me so I do look forward to trying a 56cm on for size.
I hope to have a couple of club racers take this one out for a spin and give a better review from a competitive point of view.