Friday, 18 November 2016

review :The Thompson Pilot RC

 The Pilot -RC might not be the show bike in the Thompson range, its not aero, its not got a lot of built in compliance and its not a gravel grinder.. The Pilot-RC goes head to head with a lot the big brand bikes, Sure you get to spec and colour this bike, but if you build it in a 105 spec then it goes head to head with the big brands, For a small icon brand like Thompson then this should get kudos, but can it battle in a sea of other great spec road bikes in the £1500 market... So lets see how it stacks up...

First off we have the frame, as good as the parts might be, A quality frame should be the key area as this lets you upgrade in the future and will give you the ride quality. The pilot frame i got to try was flat black, It looked very simple and maybe lacked much hype at first glance, But up close you soon spot a lot going on with the profile of the frame, I liked the wishbone seatstay and the headtube /down tube have some nice sexy lines. The fork helps keep the price down, so its carbon legs but with an alloy steerer, For a weekend worrier this is no bad thing, So many steerers get damaged by riders over clamping down stems and cutting steerers then this is a good bit of future proofing and at a very small weight cost, Most the parts and wheels are Thompsons in house brand and all look and feel good, but some future bling would help drop some weight and add some style point.

On the road and you know your on a Thompson, that bb stiffness shines through and getting the power downs not a problem, The bike does not jack hammer you on the long rides but its not that soft either, This comes from a racey frame and the deep rims, The frame for sure feels like a top end carbon racer, Those wheels do add a little weight but get them rolling in the 20mph and above range and they hold speed so well! Plus they felt ok in cross winds as well. handling was sharp, crisp and sporty and lets you push your limits in the turns. I would be happy to race some crits on this bike, So if your looking at maybe going racing in the future or just want a sporty race feeling bike then this bike stands strong with any other in its price point, add custom colourways and spec options and it might just make your other options look a little less attractive and the custom colours also keeps the Thompsons looking look a lot less dated than brands with colour years.

Its a  race bike from a cult brand at a much lower price than you might think given just how good the frame is on its own. So future proof yourself with this if your thinking of a long term race bike/sporty mile muncher, as the frames worth some upgrades in the future what would only make the bike faster and more custom tuned.

TPC Museum Series #14: Missy Giove

Saturday, 12 November 2016

GT Gradex review

so here we have my new cross bike for a long term review,  So i did a few cross races started to love it and felt an upgrade was needed, i wanted a pure cross bike, So went on the hunt, when talking to my LBS they said about the Grade x, I said no as i wanted a cross race bike not a gravel bike, They sent me the link to the X, Its very much the sleeper in the Grade range, while the rest are gravel bikes named after the group set the the X does not, It also does not stand for the X factor, but Cross, as in cyclocross.. Next year GT will make this more clear by calling it the cx, So the frames the alloy model from the Grade range, so its burly slack and low, The fork comes from the carbon range with a bolt hub, Spec wise GT show they know how to spec a cross bike, the flair bars from the other Grades has gone for a more cross style bar and the group set comes from Sram in the shape of the Rival 11 speed. Wheels are jalco with some cross tyres from Clement. The only part i changed was the seat, just because i had a nice blue Fabric to match the colour, but the stock saddles a great Fizik.

 First look and you cant help but spot how bloody slack that head angle is!(74.5 on a 51). quick jump on the bike and up a tarmac hill and it feels like you have a front flat, that angles so slack the steering feels dead.. will this work, or making the Grade in to a cross racer a stretch for the well loved adventure/gravel bike..
 First race and i felt maybe the 40 tooths a little big, or it might be for some, other than that we lined up and went racing! boom, how did the bike handle in a race.. It does work! yes the slack angles might not be stock cross angles but dont be fooled in to thinking that the old style handling can not be updated! now the climbs im just focused on the power and not the twitchy front wheel and on the off camber and dh sections i had such a stable bike, that front wheel might look way out front but i feels so planted i was picking some nice tight lines in the turns and riding the off cambers others could not hold, loads front end grip plus a stable feel lets the bike rip on a race track.
parts wise im sold on it, even the bar tape looks and feels good, Its like GT has reborn the Zaskar!! because much like that bike when it first came out the grade x is a little bit more than just a race bike, the frames a little more hardcore, the looks not like other bikes at the races, Yes i love to see a LE made in the USA alloy grade cx in the future maybe in ball burnished to keep its good looks in the winter races rather than a carbon high end option, till then we will keep on racing this and report back.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

my new Thompson team bike

no words needed, this is on point !