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So far it’s a solo ride.

The Ultimate Race Bike, Part 1

Anthony Little |

Having raced many, many frames over the years, we've come to appreciate certain specific qualities in a good race bike. The heart of the machine is the frame. Secondary considerations are wheels, drivetrain, and cockpit. While all of his bikes are exceptional race bikes, in our opinion the Love #3 is Dario Pegoretti's best offering for the devoted racer. It's a Scandium Aluminum frame with BIG chain stays, an aggressive geometry, and serious-duty dropouts.

Power is transfered from your legs, to the pedals, to the rear hub, through the spokes, and down to the pavement. Every link in this power chain must be strong. Look at the dropouts on most bikes. The delicate, thin, often bolted-on connections on other bikes make us wonder just how aggressive those bikes really are.

Again, look at how BIG these stays are. By reducing flex as much as possible, power transfer is maximized. Get out of the saddle and sprint on this bike, and it will take off like a rocket.

As for the cockpit, there are a lot of very light, flashy options out there for stems and bars. We like aluminum. Deda aluminum. It's strong and reliable. The last thing you want when you're chasing down the break is some tiny crack in your carbon bar to split open and fail catastrophically. Ever have your bike tip over in the parking lot? Do you unwrap the bar tape every time to check your carbon bars? Didn't think so.
Again, why monkey around with carbon fiber waterbottle cages? Nobody needs his or her drinks to fly off the bike 10 miles into a 75 mile road race when the peloton hits that first stretch of pitted farm road. As with handlebars, the weight savings of a carbon bottle cage are completely negated by the cost in reliability. Furthermore, these Ti cages are just about the lightest cages you can find in ANY material. We've seen dozens of carbon do-dads fail because carbon is not the best material for that particular application. Titanium King Cages are the only kind we'll use. Never lose another bottle. Never crack your cage. Never look like a poser. Get some King Cages. Now, if you're going for ultralight, let's talk about some other areas to focus on...

The Zipp Vumaquad crankset is a simple way to shave a LOT of weight. We're still deciding whether or not this is full-bore race worthy... with less than 100 miles on this crank we haven't had enough time to really find its limits. BUT, so far it has performed just as well as any other crank. And it's ridiculously light.

The Vumaquad crankset has an optional ceramic bearing upgrade. Ceramic bearings are an absolute must-have in our book of race-bike specs. Save your watts for the sprint by reducing friction. An efficient drive-train is a fast drive-train.

Usually the first thing people think of when they see a pair of Lightweights is cost. It's true that they are expensive. But in our opinion, you get MORE than you pay for. These Ventoux wheels are super-light, extremely stiff and strong, and should last you the rest of your riding life. Following the power-transfer chain, your wheels are your ultimate connection to the road. We race Lightweights, and train on them, and love them. The spokes are a carbon and kevlar blend (which gives them that unique two-tone look), and are tied for added rigidity. The original deep-dish wheels are sweet, but these Ventoux's just want to fly.

Now that we've saved so much weight with the cranks and the wheels, we can put some real brakes on there that inspire maximum confidence while bombing down a twisty road. Nothing exotic, just good old campy record. Add a pair of Continental's very grippy and very fast GP 4000s tubulars and you're set.

Pegorettis often fall into the hands of collectors and fetishists. Bravo for appreciating a work of framebuilding art, but a Pegoretti is built to be raced. It's a hand-made wonder from northern Italy, crafted in a tiny shop and masterminded by a true genius in the bike building world. It's even finished off with hand-painted artwork. Incredibly, the frame and a top-notch Reynolds fork are just $2800. For a no-nonsense 3.3lb frame with serious brakes, aluminum bars and stem, pedals, waterbottle cages, tires, glue, and no funny business, we think the end result is more than acceptable:

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