For our inaugural post, I’m going to review my primary bike (I have a second slightly older bike that is permanently attached to a trainer). This is my 2012 Quintana Roo CD0.1 Ultegra with the race upgrade (upgraded wheels). I’ve owned it for almost 6 months now and have gotten to know what I love about it and where I see some future enhancements by QR
This is the one part of the bike you can never upgrade, which in my opinion makes it the most important factor when buying a bike. You can always upgrade the wheels, group set, cockpit, and even the fork—which I will also cover here. But when you decide you want a new frame, you’re basically getting a whole new bike.
QR’s big feature with this bikes frame is the “SHIFT” technology. The downtube is shifted towards the driveside by 18mm. This pushes more air towards the cleaner nondriveside. The end result is a faster bike (or so they say). QR did a writeup on the aerodynamic benefits of the frame here.
What I love about the QR frame is that it’s an everyday frame. It’s stiff enough that I can corner hard, but it doesn’t kill me on long rides. To date I have found it to be a strong climber (although I live in South Florida, so our “climbing” mostly consists of bridges and garbage dumps) that can be tossed around. Power transfer is also incredibly strong. Every watt of power pumped out feels like it goes straight to the wheels.
Overall, I have only a few complaints regarding the bike. First, I’ve found the carbon layup to be quite squeaky. Now I’m not talking about incessant squeaking. But on most rides I just tend to notice a squeak now and then. While I’ve gone over the entire bike, I cannot find the source. Second, while at first it never bothered me, I’ve developed a slight annoyance with the brake cable hanging out in the wind. I think Nick over at TriRig put the concept of the whole front brake aerodynamics thing in my head. With that said, I think the TRP brakes with the exposed wire leave just a little to be desired.
I went with the Ultegra version, which is QR’s entry point level of the CD0.1 line, and couldn’t be happier. Obviously it’s not as light as Dura Ace or Red, but for me, Ultegra has all the speed and consistency I could ask for. QR paired the Ultegra grouppo with the Vision TriMax Pro crankset (BB30). While the crank is a little on the heavy side, it gets the job done (though I already have this on the upgrade list).
From QR the bike comes standard with the DA mechanical shifters. However, I never actually kept those on the bike. From the moment I planned on purchasing the bike I knew I was going to go with the Vision Metron shifters (http://www.visiontechusa.com/products/529/METRON-SHIFTER). They have the look of enlarged brake levers but are actually an extremely elegant and easy-to-use shifting solution on par with Zipp and SRAM’s return to center (R2C) shifters. To downshift, you simply press down on the hoods. And to up shift—up to three gears at a time—you squeeze the lever. With the Vision Metrons, there is no need to break aero and struggle with friction based levers to shift.
The CD0.1 Ultegra comes with the Profile Design 0Zero basebar and T3+ alloy extensions. At the $3-4K price point these seem to be the standard bars that ship with a bike. The 0Zero bar does have one feature that you’ll either love or hate. The mounting points for the brake levers are turned up at the ends. And while Profile Design does say that the majority of its sales are of bars with this feature, I’m not a fan. Due to the curvature, my hands tend to get uncomfortable when I spend a large amount of time on the base bars—like when I’m in group rides, for example. Currently I am looking at possibly swapping out to the Zipp Vuka Bull or TriRig Alpha in the future.
While the use of the T3 extensions (ski tip bars) is a personal choice, there is some evidence that using a ski tip type bar is not only more comfortable but may actually be more aerodynamic than a straight bar due to S-Bend. Straight bars force your hands into the lower slipstream of the bar (interesting article – here). But in the end this choice mostly comes down to comfort (another good article on this here ).
The bike ships with the Adamo Road saddle, which is one of the premier saddles in the triathlon community (http://www.ismseat.com/saddle/adamo-road). It has the center cutout that promotes blood flow and the short nose preferred by many riders. However, I personally found that the nose of the saddle was a bit too wide for my taste and eventually went back to my trusty Adamo Podium (http://www.ismseat.com/saddle/adamo-podium). While it is a little on the longer side, I find the width of the saddle itself to be a little more comfortable on the legs.
I purchased the bike with the “Race” upgrade which is a set of Reynolds Strike (66mm) carbon clinchers. The upgrade costs about $1,000, which is a steal considering the wheels normally retail for more than $1,500. One of the pros of these wheels is that they’re fairly deep. Without a crosswind, the wheels are extremely efficient and do a great job slicing through the air. However, with depth comes an inevitable sacrifice—these wheels suffer in a crosswind. Also, they would never be confused with a set of Zipp FireCrests or even Reynolds own RZR line.
I absolutely love this bike. The funny thing is that after months of shopping, I actually ended up with the QR as my second choice (Felt DA4 being the top choice…a review on that bike is coming soon). However, once I got the bike home I found that this was 100% the bike for me. It’s extremely fast and yet can do more than just be a drag racer. While there are a couple improvements I hope QR makes on its next generation (specifically the use of an integrated or front mounted aero front brake), but nothing that would make me look to upgrade any time soon.