It is a foggy, wet morning, and my legs are just waking up as I drop into Muir Woods road. Over the past three weeks, I have spent a few days on the new No.22 Aurora, trying to assess it more as a performance road bike than a showpiece. But every time I try to get out, somebody wants to stop and talk about what a beautiful bike it is, where it came from and what the deal is with the industrial-looking stem, so the assessing took a backseat to bike chat. Of course, it's always nice to receive a compliment and an inquisitive word, but right now, as I line up the next corner's apex, all I can think is that No. 22 knows how to make a great handling bike.
The Aurora is supposed to be No. 22's 90% race bike, and you can feel the race bike pedigree when you push a pedal down. Pure, reactive power transfer is awaiting every pedal stroke. The oversized titanium down tube, bottom bracket and chainstays culminating in internally reinforced dropouts combine to create a direct and playful energy on the road. The fun part is that you get this sensation whether you are pedaling at 10 mph during your rollout or at 28+ mph during a sprint.
No. 22 didn't intend to make a full-bore race bike, but the Aurora is "more than fast enough for your group ride" fast, and that's why the bike excels. It's a quick, smile-inducing daily driver that never fails to deliver.
But we haven't yet gotten to the party piece of the Aurora. Cornering. Many titanium bikes corner fast and stable, only to hold half a beat as they sway into the apex before releasing a spring of energy to launch toward the exit. The Aurora, on the other hand, just keeps driving, and before you can comprehend that you've hit your apex, you're already lining up to the next. It's a sensational feeling I associate with better-made carbon race bikes, and it's a joy to find this experience on a titanium bike. The front end is so stiff and responsive that I had to remind myself to trust the Vittoria Corsa NEXT 28s and stop touching my brakes. Even in the wet, the Aurora allowed me to easily carve my way down Muir Woods' tight and twisting corners.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will be dry enough for me to unlock a few more secrets out of the Aurora, and I'll be sure to share my thoughts here. Until then, you can check out the details surrounding the No.22 Aurora here.
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