Veloforma Strada iR

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Enroute to Mount Saint Helens on the V to V Cogal

A death is a painful thing to experience. Particularly, I imagine, for the one doing the dying. For those left behind, it takes time to mourn and come to grips with the change; it is an unpleasant process, but such is the way of things.

The crack in the chainstay of my beloved Cervelo R3 had been weighing on my mind ever since I discovered its existence while cleaning my bike in Hawaii. Assuming the crack was superficial, I continued to ride the machine and took it with me to Belgium to rattle along over the cobblestones during Keepers Tour. It was during this trip that Andrew, a carbon fiber engineer for B’Twin, pointed out that the crack was not superficial and in fact quite serious.

I continued to ride it, and slowly made peace with the fact that my favorite-ever road bike was destined for retirement. Denial turned into anger, anger turned into grief, grief into acceptance, and acceptance into glorious Rule #12 obsession, deliberation, and contemplation. Still, my final ride on my trusted friend was bittersweet; I was on great form that day, and together we turned mountains into hills and carved the many curves as we rode along the seaside in the somber knowledge that this would be our last day out together.

I contacted the shop where I bought it and had them reach out to Cervelo for a warranty replacement, but even if they warrantied the frame, I wouldn’t want one on account of the tall head tube they’ve adopted on their large frames. I’m very picky about my position, and loved the ride and fit of my R3, so I was left with a conundrum as to what bike to get as my new #1. Then Mark, the owner of Veloforma, pointed out that he’d designed his Strada iR based on the R5ca, along with several improvements to the design. And he could do it in a custom Velominati paint scheme. Sold to the obsessive-compulsive Dutchman in the back! (That makes two Veloformas bought in the span of a few months, the VMH pointed out when I delivered the news.)

As much as I loved my R3 for its ride quality and fit, I have never been crazy about the 73 degree head tube angle. You wouldn’t think a half degree would have much effect, but the Strada’s head tube is relaxed just a hair to 72.5 degrees, and it really smooths out the handling compared to the the Cervelo. Aside from that, the dimensions are similar enough to my Cervelo that the first ride on the new steed felt like a reunion with my lost friend.

This thing is embarrassingly light at 6.3 kilos. For a 61cm. The head tube is nice and short at 19.5cm so I can get as low as I need to but tall enough that I still get to slam my stem. I also got a new carbon Pro Vibe stem whose paint job accidentally matches the markings on the frame’s custom Velominati paint job. It is almost too glorious for my tiny little brain to handle. Also, the front derailleur hanger is mounted at a slight angle which brings the derailleur cage in perfect alignment with the chain rings, which results in lightning-quick front shifting. Its little things like that which really impress me about Mark’s attention to detail when designing the bikes. Now that I think of it, both my Veloformas have the best front shifting performance of any bikes I’ve owned. Finally, the internally routed cables makes it astoundingly quiet; the lack of rattling cables makes this machine the high water mark in my quest for the Principle of Silence. And that paint job, oh that paint job.

I haven’t ridden the Strada a whole lot, but I did the V to V Cogal on it which consisted of two long days in the saddle and featured a lengthy session with my old friend, the Man with the Hammer. I’m happy to report that she climbs and descends like a monster. The bike has the road feel of my R3, but is more responsive with a stiffer BB and steering column. But the relaxed head tube makes it handle like a Merckx; the descent off Mount Saint Helens had some seriously sketchy tarmac in places and her handling probably gave me too much confidence in light of my Schleckian descending skills.

What started as heartbreak ended in a love affair. Funny how that works out some times.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/Strada iR/”/]

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187 Replies to “Veloforma Strada iR”

  1. Dude…  Are you shitting yourself with joy!?

    That thing looks fantastic…

    I especially like the orange on the inside of the fork…  well played…

  2. Ha, pic #2 makes it look like you have a jumbo sized EPMS!

    I’m glad this had a happy ending, big Frank! Not even close to cracking the #1 but my commuter cracked a few weeks back. They no longer made that frameset. I was pretty pissed but it turns out the one they replaced it with is actually a nicer ride, lighter, and fits even better. NICE! A lock-up bike lovestory.

    How quickly did you tape the bars and cut the fork? I’m guessing you have a serious plan for getting these just like you like them. I tend to do a ride or two without tape to make sure I have the shifters in the right position and forks. I have serious fear of going too short and making a big mistake. I think I need counseling.

    Great lead photo! The only problem with the properness of your bike and many ’round here is that most other bikes I see, despite being really nice, high-quality rides, still disappoint me. Bars turned up, shifters too high, ugly cages. Something is too often off. And fuck, seeing a nice bike out in the wild is extremely rare. I can’t believe how many ways people manage to screw up possibly hot bikes.

    Can you book a date with the Man with the Hammer or do you just have to go out and run into him via V?

  3. And…

    I still can’t believe Cervelo refused to help you out. There is no damn way I’d have been able to bite my tongue and not say, “You don’t know who you’re fucking over, boys.”

    Also, I’ll be awaiting an internal cabling tutorial in the near future. Always been nervous to recable my Casati which has those hidden gems.

  4. So damn sexy! Glad you weren’t hurt by a catastrophic failure of your old bike.

    How much does she weigh with wheels and all?

  5. Awesome machine Frank, a true beauty! But the white bar tape stands out like dog’s balls, it would look way hotter blacked out to the max…

  6. A gorgeous bike. I lifted it Saturday morning, and it really needs some ballast. It damn near floated away in the light breeze.

  7. @Ron

    And…

    I still can’t believe Cervelo refused to help you out. There is no damn way I’d have been able to bite my tongue and not say, “You don’t know who you’re fucking over, boys.”

    Also, I’ll be awaiting an internal cabling tutorial in the near future. Always been nervous to recable my Casati which has those hidden gems.

    Im glad frank didnt pull that card.  says more about his character than it does cervelo customer relations.

  8. Roger that, Roger! You’re exactly right, I’m just saying I personally would have really, really wanted to play that card. In my spare time I really enjoy writing strongly worded letters to companies/manufacturers when their products aren’t up to snuff. Gotten lots of broken or failed stuff replace that way.

    Are those older hoods mounted on newer shifters? I have some with the textured surface like those appear but my newer Campa hoods are smooth, though with grip grooves in the gulley where your palm sits.

  9. @brett

    Awesome machine Frank, a true beauty! But the white bar tape stands out like dog’s balls, it would look way hotter blacked out to the max…

    Perhaps if it was a black dog who’s balls had been painted white.

    A completely white saddle would work better with the white tape IMHO.

  10. @brett

    Awesome machine Frank, a true beauty! But the white bar tape stands out like dog’s balls, it would look way hotter blacked out to the max…

    You know why you busted your toe?

    Bad opinions about bar tape color, that’s why.

  11. @brett

    Awesome machine Frank, a true beauty! But the white bar tape stands out like dog’s balls, it would look way hotter blacked out to the max…

    Orange tape, Boom!

  12. Frank,

    Great looking Velo Forma.  That Flanders Lyon on the seat tube in orange looks great. Looking forward to a review of the V to V.

  13. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Really a super sexy ride! I really like the colors on the bike!

  14. @PeakInTwoYears

    A gorgeous bike. I lifted it Saturday morning, and it really needs some ballast. It damn near floated away in the light breeze.

    Correction: You lifted it and commented on how light it was. Then you noticed it had two full bidons mounted.

  15. @G’rilla You are all too correct.

    How does that aphorism go? “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a stewpid fucking light bike, and that’s pretty close.”

  16. @brett

    Awesome machine Frank, a true beauty! But the white bar tape stands out like dog’s balls, it would look way hotter blacked out to the max…

    I death’d out G’rilla’s R3 today. I have to admit that it looks killer. I really deliberated going black – or orange – but the white I think is the class way to roll. Merckx didnt ride black fucking bars.

  17. that design is more than a tip of the hat to an R5….. interesting choice for another company to build.

  18. After crashing two weeks ago my mechanic called me with bad news. The derailleur hanger did not break away and spare the drive-side dropout from the force of impact. In the picture below you can see the bent [and cracked] dropout with a new hanger for the sake of contrast. I called Trek and the frame was declared terminal. I can’t say with any degree of expertise whether my steed was exceptional compared to…whatever. I can say it was my faithful companion for three seasons and I bonded with her. That’s the bitter.

    The sweet is that Trek overnighted a new frame that I had built up with my Group san parts. She’s more precise and more confident on descents – and a fair bit smoother on questionable pavement. Another happy ending.

  19. Finally! That is a gorgeous ride. Well done, sir. I think it’s crying out for orange tape, though, if you can find a good match.

  20. Thanks all for the kind words. She rides even better than she looks!

    @girl

    That’s one pretty bike.

    Great to see you again.

    @Spun Up

    Finally! That is a gorgeous ride. Well done, sir. I think it’s crying out for orange tape, though, if you can find a good match.

    The paint on this one as well as the CCX is matched to the fizik orange microtex on their bar tape and saddles. Which is also exactly the same orange as the V-Kit.

    So…yes, i can find some tape to match! I even have a package sitting on the workbench…but I’m lovin’ the white for now. Maybe I’ll grow a pair and try it.

  21. That bike looks tIt’s. I think a white saddle with a black stripe would be better. Then the white ripe would look great.

  22. Bel mezzo! I was wondering how something the size of most climbing frames weighed 6.3kg and then I realised you still had the Haleakela wheels fitted – nuff said.

  23. @Frank

    Just a thought but is it not worth getting your Cervelo repaired? There are plenty of skilled carbon repairers out there these days, a couple of friends have had seamless repairs made to top dollar bikes. Even if it just becomes an upgrade to #2 I think it’d be worthwhile.

  24. Just put 2 and 2 together, its those damn obese group san levers that make my handlebars look funky in photos.

    You got some serious V porn going on there.

  25. Very cool frank, very cool. If you like the white tape then stick with it for now (I’m in the black, though orange would probably look the part as well if I was sure it would look cool, bunch)

  26. @Fausto

    @Frank

    Just a thought but is it not worth getting your Cervelo repaired? There are plenty of skilled carbon repairers out there these days, a couple of friends have had seamless repairs made to top dollar bikes. Even if it just becomes an upgrade to #2 I think it’d be worthwhile.

    Bad things happen when you raise the dead.

  27. @Ron

    In my spare time I really enjoy writing strongly worded letters to companies/manufacturers when their products aren’t up to snuff. Gotten lots of broken or failed stuff replace that way.

    I sense a new thread coming on…

    @eightzero

    Eat a fucking pie you skinny bastard. Nice bike! I always forget how normal your bikes look when you’re standing next to them, as opposed to when they’re posed for photos with2 kilometers of seatpost and the stem Marcus keeps in hs pocket in case of x-rays.

  28. PS that bike is a timely reminder that Record is the top of the food chain, no matter what Shimano does.

  29. Oh, I’ll retract that now if I may, now I see my Grey Sea Urchin has been revived – muchos!

    I’ve been trying to find a decent bit of video of the Tour of Poland, but am amazed there hasn’t been the traditional outpouring of Phinney Love following his awesome display of Vick Turpin on stage 4 – did no-one see it?

    Up there with Iljo Keisse at the Tour of Turkey last year, except he didn’t fall off on the last corner, and Phinney rode the entire peleton off his wheel with 7km to go rather than just the breakaway (Turkey had no radios, so that helped, but Phinney’s name will have been raging over the earpieces for this one)

    Something really special to see one of the big hitters taking a flier, and drilling it to the finish – unlike the usual efforts which are punctuated by frequent head swivelling to see when the bunch were going to swallow them up, Phinney didn’t look back once, until he was 10m from the line, with the sprinters all full gas bearing down on him, 3 seconds later he was engulfed, but with his arm aloft – pure V-class!!

    I hereby submit this as an entry to the V-Moment of the Year 2013

    Sadly the vid is only the last 4km, so you don’t see his perfectly timed assault at 7km out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Af8qs38-K4

  30. Great prose and a stunning beauty of a bike.

    I am betting that the wait time for a Veloforma just went up by a few months after this article!  Seriously will be listening to your updates on her as I need to think about getting a dedicated gravel bike in the near future.

  31. @Dr C I second that proposal, ride of the year hands down. I never thought that a stage of the Tour of Poland would have me yelling at the TV in excitement.

  32. @Dr C

    Oh, I’ll retract that now if I may, now I see my Grey Sea Urchin has been revived – muchos!

    I’ve been trying to find a decent bit of video of the Tour of Poland, but am amazed there hasn’t been the traditional outpouring of Phinney Love following his awesome display of Vick Turpin on stage 4 – did no-one see it?

    Up there with Iljo Keisse at the Tour of Turkey last year, except he didn’t fall off on the last corner, and Phinney rode the entire peleton off his wheel with 7km to go rather than just the breakaway (Turkey had no radios, so that helped, but Phinney’s name will have been raging over the earpieces for this one)

    Something really special to see one of the big hitters taking a flier, and drilling it to the finish – unlike the usual efforts which are punctuated by frequent head swivelling to see when the bunch were going to swallow them up, Phinney didn’t look back once, until he was 10m from the line, with the sprinters all full gas bearing down on him, 3 seconds later he was engulfed, but with his arm aloft – pure V-class!!

    I hereby submit this as an entry to The V-Moment of the Year 2013

    Sadly the vid is only the last 4km, so you don’t see his perfectly timed assault at 7km out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Af8qs38-K4

    Poor quality, but at least you can see it.

    http://www.steephill.tv/players/720/dailymotion/?title=Last+10+Km+of+Stage+4&dashboard=tour-de-pologne&id=x12keys&yr=2013

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