Full disclosure: this is the first custom bike frame I've ever had! What a treat to be able to dream up a color and visualize a style for something that I'd end up spending so much time with. Of course, when Sarto can paint your frame in any color under the sun (and perhaps a few more besides), making a decision is tricky. So I tried not to put too much pressure on myself and went with a gut feeling about the pistachio green. I had the most validating experience a few weeks back, though, watching the latest season of F1: Drive to Survive. The opening shot of the season was one of Guenther and Mattia, the team principals of Haas and Ferrari, respectively, riding together in a refurbished Fiat 500 in the same pistachio green color as my Sarto. It was as if they lifted a dream sequence I had in my brain about this color and what I wanted from the bike. Classic and clean, but with modern components.
The Sarto Seta Plus is by far the most comfortable yet efficient road ride I've had so far. Stability and ease of steering are its strong points, dampening impact over choppy, broken pavement and leaning beautifully into sharp corners on the curvy coastal descents we have in Marin. Quite frankly, it handles better over rough roads than my carbon gravel bike with wide slicks on. It's that good. With the Fulcrum wheels and Conti GP5000s in 30c, I'm floating through Samuel P. Taylor Park and up and down Highway 1.
I've noticed much less chain slap with this bike than with others, and the AXS shifting has been smooth for quick roller changes. On a recent five-hour loop to King Ridge from Guerneville, the bike floated over the choppy uphill pitches between the cattle guard and ripped down the steep straightaways towards the coast at Fort Ross. It's predictable in corners with just the right balance of stiffness for me and confidence-inspiring when descending, too.
A Great Bike in Bad Weather
By the end of February, I had already put a thousand miles on the bike. To make the most of base season, I had to ride it multiple days in the rain and relentless spray of wet roads this past winter. For one reason or another, I also took the bike through some chunky dirt to practice underbiking ahead of our first block of gravel racing, and it genuinely impressed me.
The Seta Plus we built is resilient to whatever terrain and moisture you throw at it and doesn't feel as delicate as I thought a high-end road frame would. The CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and pulley wheels have held up beautifully through repeated abuse and feel as frictionless as day one. With all the internal cable routing, there's far less exposure to water and dirt, which gives me more peace of mind in winter and spring.
I'm excited to put the Seta Plus through its paces in the coming months as I embark upon longer days through spring and summer around Marin. It's an excellent choice for the hilly terrain we have around here, where if you're particularly clever, your ride will only have 2-3K of elevation gain.