We’ve heard a lot of our riders talking about fine-tuning their race bikes but exactly what are they up to with their allen keys and torque wrenches? The six-man team who took on the Eddie Soens Memorial on Saturday were sent home from Liverpool with their new steeds. Harry Tanfield, who finished third, George Atkins, Sam Lowe and Jack Pullar will be aiming to have the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX’s honed to perfection before travelling to Holland on Friday.
Chris Opie, who took his own race bike home after winning the Perfs Pedal last month, talks us through exactly what he tinkered with and what his team-mates may be adjusting this week.
WHERE TO START?
I started fine-tuning the set-up on the Aeroad by mimicking the position I have on my training bike, the Ultimate AL SLX. I’ve felt more powerful, comfortable and faster on the Ultimate than any bike I have ever ridden before, so it was important to me the race bike should be very similar.
The first component I looked at was the Astute Italia saddle, which we have been supplied by Saddleback. I’ve never raced Astute before and I’m using their Skyline SR model this season. It took a few rides of millimetre movements to the saddle before I was completely happy. Up, down, forwards, backwards and finally the tilt. Now it feels great.
We are riding Shimano’s new Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical groupsets this season. Once I was happy with the saddle and my pedalling, I set about the levers. Again, the adjustments to the initial build from our head mechanic Mark Haylett were only minimal, just a few millimetres down and it felt like home.
It is here where I made my biggest adjustments. I had only ever ridden Maxxis MTB tyres, the High Roller II, but they were genuinely awesome. We are using their Campione tubs (25mm) for racing this season, while my bike is currently set up with their Padrone tubeless option. On my first ride, I set out with around 110psi and I didn’t feel very confident. I’ve now trialled every pressure down to 65psi in damp conditions and I know what to expect from them. It has made a huge difference. It sounds simple but I have a lot more confidence in the bike now I know how hard to pump the tyres up! For general riding, 80psi in the front and 85psi in the rear, feels fast, grippy and smooth.
ALL DONE THEN?
Not quite. There is one more setting I would like to play with. The Aeroad comes with a switch chip in the fork to adjust the rake. It is currently set up in agile and while I love the way it handles, I am curious to trial the stable setting. You never know until you try!