Even when you are known as one of the biggest innovators in the sport, you are going to take a year off now and then, and sometimes that isn’t a bad thing. Quintana Roo’s 2013 Shift (upper level TT frame) lineup is extremely similar to their 2012 with a few small but important changes.
The most important change is that their top of the line Illicito frame is now offered as a complete bike versus the frameset only model of 2012 (in addition to going to a jet black color versus the white of the frameset only model). For those unfamiliar with this frame, it’s defining feature is the complete lack of the left-side seat stay combined with the offset downtube of the CD0.1 which while UCI illegal makes it extremely fast. The downside of this new complete bike is the components offered are all good, but not great. Starting with the groupset, Ultegra Di2 is a very very good groupset but still a step down both in weight and prestige from it’s DuraAce 9070 big brother. The basebar and aerobar are profile design’s Prosvet and T3, again good offerings but far from the PD’s new Aeria bar. Finally in a departure from many other manufacturers, QR packs the Illicito with a set of good aero wheels (Reynolds Strikes 66mm). Most manufacturers assume that when buying a bike of this caliber, you will already have a wheelset in hand or in mind. If you are going to pack a wheelset you want to ensure this is a wheelset your owners will really want, and again we see a good but not great mentality. As an owner of Strikes I can assure you that this is a good wheelset, but that hasn’t stopped me from looking envious at a set of 404s or even Reynolds 66. At $7,200 this is not a cheap bike but for the price you are getting an extremely good bike that could be a great bike. However a frameset buildout may be the way to go if you have specific parts in mind or already have a wheelset.
For the CD0.1 line QR has brought back the camouflage familiar to its long time faithful. Gone for model year 2012, it’s back in force for the 2013 year on the women’s Ultegra model. From a component standpoint the Ultegra men’s and women’s models are identical to last year’s model. However from a visual standpoint, QR has really gone out of its way to make the women’s Ultegra something unique. Tracy especially likes that the Adamo Road has pink accents to match the pink found on the rest of the bike. While still offering a race “upgrade” (set of Reynolds Strikes), QR now offers a race specific bike. Many that look at the website will be confused by this strategy (since the race version is essentially the same an Ultegra with the race upgrade), I know I was. The difference as explained to me is that in 2012 when you paid for the race upgrade you gave up the Shimano 501’s that came with it, this year you get both, but pay a little extra for it.
The last change of significance is actually fairly insignificant, but something I noticed when looking over their new bikes. For 2012 the arm rests on the T3+ bars were the F-19 pads which I am particularly fond of. For 2013 they have gone to the F-35 pads. Personally I found the 19’s to be extremely comfortable and when test fitting the 35’s I just didn’t feel the same comfort level. For the majority of buyers it is doubtful they would have noticed the difference but it if you find you do this is a very easy change to make.
Regardless of these changes we here at AG still love this lineup. In fact were such big fans that we believe Tracy will be taking ownership of her own women’s Ultegra come this fall (though we may go with an upgrade over the Strikes). We may not agree with all of their packaging decisions but their price points are extremely strong and their technology is truly innovative making any bike in this lineup an attractive offer.