Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Black Gold

Carbon fiber has been touted as the miracle material for bicycles for decades now. Since the first carbon frames of the 80's up to now, people have been in love with the material and the potential it has always represented.

Not all frame designs or uses of carbon have been perfect- some frames and components have been too soft, too hard, too heavy, too ugly... yet we've continued to lust after the woven black carbon material. Manufacturing processes and designs have improved very dramatically over the years and we're still watching the evolution of carbon today. It's safe to say that we have not reached the end point yet, but where we are already is pretty darned nice!

Meet the Masi 3VC; constructed with a monocoque front triangle mated to the rear stays with lugs at the seat cluster and bottom bracket area. The ultra stiff and super light front triangle minimizes twisting at the head tube for sprinting power and cornering precision. The lugged rear end allows for fine-tuning of the ride; the rider of a 51cm bike doesn't require the same stiffness in the stays as the rider of a 61cm bike.

Speaking of rear stays... dig the curves on those seat stays. Looks sexy and adds to a ride that can only be described as "magical". The curve of the stays adds power to the rear brake by prevening the stay from "bowing" towards the seat tube when the rear brake is used. This means you get more braking power when you want it, instead of that braking power being absorbed by the frame. Those curves also help minimize the wheel skip that is common with carbon frames especially. Wheel skip is common on all rigid race bikes with short, quick stays, but carbon frames are especially prone to it since carbon has a naturally springy characteristic to it. With the stays curving away from the seat tube, rather than bending in towards the seat tube, they act as a lever helping the rear wheel hug the ground better over rough surfaces. Sure, no stay design can eliminate wheel skip completely, but a litle less skip is a great thing! An added benefit of the reduced skip is increased power transfer to the rear wheel and rear brake by virtue of the fact the wheel is contacting the ground more... pretty simple if you think about it.

Putting the shape of the stays aside, they provide excellent stiffness for climbing and sprinting but with the tuned lay-up of the carbon, they also provide just the right amount of comfort too. The frequently overused "stiff yet compliant", "rigid yet comfortable" and "firm yet supple" all come to mind... but they actually apply with the 3VC.

The 3VC series uses the exact same frame from the 105 up to the Team Issue- so you get the same race-proven frame from the least expensive model to the most expensive model. And, you're in good company when you ride a 3VC, since the Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy team has been racing on the 3VC for 3 years now and with great success along the way.

So whether your new bike budget is limitless or more modest, we've got a model ready to suit your riding needs. And if you're more the DIY type, you can even get the 3VC as a frameset and build up your own uber wunder bike!

The 3VC is light, stiff, compliant and drop-dead gorgeous... all the things you dream about in a dream bike, right?

No comments: