Monday, December 22, 2014

Quintana Roo PRSix Review

I got a super(bike) Christmas present, and Santa came early!  Long story short, I was interested in getting the new QR PRsix and somehow the stars, moon, sun, and planets all aligned so that I could get my butt on one and early to boot as I was originally told that I would have to wait until the end of January 2015.

Quintana Roo PRsix, Dura-Ace model

I picked up my bike and did a fitting on Tuesday and was able to ride the next morning.  This post will cover the different rides that I had over the week and how I felt on the bike and how the bike performed.  Not a lot of technical specific talk about the bike.  Little disclaimer, these are my own opinions and no one asked me to write this.  I will not be going over the specs as there are plenty of other blogs and articles already out there for that.  If you want, you can start at the QR site -> here.

Getting the bike set up the night before the first ride:
I had to switch my water bottles over.  I was able to get the back cages on.  I was unable to get the cage on the down tube off of my other bike.  I will have to continue working on that.

Here's the current set up, Profile Design Aero HC will go in the front:


Notables before I discuss the rides:
The saddle is an ISM and I decided to give it another shot.  I hated it when I had it on my Dulce. I tried about 5 different positions and was never able to get comfortable for more than 20 or 30 minutes on it.  But I didn't have any issues during any of the rides this go-round.  I'm not sure what is different that is allowing me to enjoy the ISM saddle now, but I'll take it!

This bike is a size 50.  The 48, 50, and 52 come with 165mm cranks.  The bigger sizes come with 170mm. Just an FYI since this isn't explicitly mentioned on the specs on the website.  I had been doing some research on different crank lengths and really wanted to try 165mm as the Dulce and the CD 0.1 had 170mm. These are the main benefits of a shorter crank (for short people, ie. under 5'5").  A shorter crank is better for faster cadence.  So, no more mashing the pedals to keep up with everyone else and being able to save your legs for the run.  For those who like to get low, 165mm cranks are great because they allow us to get in a lower position without cutting off the space between the upper thigh and hip.  So, less nerve pinching and less getting kneed in the chest!

More technical reasoning:
"Propelling a bike forward involves turning pedals around in a circle. For maximum efficiency, and minimum impact on the body, the diameter of the circle should be in proportion to the length of your legs. The leg is strongest at pushing when it is closest to being straight. If the cranks are too long the circle is too big for your legs, your knee will be bent too much at top part of the stroke, and you won't be able to put as much power into the upper part of the stroke. This will prevent you from spinning the pedals as fast, and will also put more stress on your knees. If you have long legs you can make a bigger circle with your feet and still keep your legs in the high power zone, and you won't have your knees too bent. If your cranks are too short for you, you won't be able to apply as much torque with them as you could with longer cranks." Source here.

Ride #1 - Flat, open road, lots of turns:
15' easy warm up
3' @ 75% FTP, 1' @ 105% FTP X 15
5' easy cool down

Do I dare say 'easy peasy'?  I probably could have done another 15 sets if I didn't think I was going to crash from boredom first.  I was out at Davis Island so I did the same loop about 7 times, not including the warm up and cool down.  At first I was a little scared and wobbly because I was nervous about falling.  It's like when you get in a new car.  You know how to drive, but you're still nervous about anything and everything that could happen to hurt your new ride!

The bike was very smooth and after the warm up I felt settled in and comfortable.  Obviously I had to make a lot of turns and they felt easy.  Even though the handle bar can only turn so far before it hits the frame, I didn't encounter any issue when I was making u-turns.  I actually only noticed when I was off the bike and trying to steer it back into the house.

I didn't have any issues picking up speed and gears changed smoothly (as they do on the all the QRs).  The brakes are not as powerful as I thought they would be. But, I was warned they might feel a little weak until after a few uses.  This goes into a territory on brakes that I don't know.  So, you will just have to take someone else's word for it!

Ride #2 - Indoor trainer:
15' easy warm up
(1' @ 130% FTP X 1' @ 60% FTP) X 5
(30" @ 150% FTP X 30" @ 50% FTP) X 5
(1' @ 135% FTP X 1' @ 50% FTP) X 5
10' easy cool down

I did this ride on my indoor trainer, the Kinetic Rock n' Roller.  I normally hate getting on the trainer because I am uncomfortable almost the entire time, I get distracted very easily, and the pain/burning in my legs would start almost instantly after any warm up. That didn't happen today.  It took a little bit to wake my legs up (it was 6 AM after all), but I didn't have any issues hitting the power numbers I was prescribed.  It was definitely hard, but it wasn't painful like it was on the other bike.  I would get this numbing pain in my thigh and down to my knee when I pushed past anything easy.  This isn't to say there is anything wrong with the CD 0.1, but that bike was a little bigger and therefore I don't think I was ever in a good position.

So, Ride #2 on the trainer was a success.

Ride #3 - Long ride, hills:
I was supposed to do a 3.5 hour steady ride @ 70% FTP with 2 - 20 minutes sets at 80 - 85%, 1 at 90 minutes in and 1 at 3 hours in.  Buuuuutttttt, when you ride in San Antonio or anywhere with a lot of up and down hills, trying to go steady is really hard.  I don't want to say impossible because I'm sure someone out there could do it.  Anyway, I ended up with an average power of 80% FTP and NP at 85% FTP.  I blame it on the bike!  I got to use every single one of the gears.  Up, down, up, down, click, click, click...  It was a lot of fun and the gears shifted so smoothly.  It took me a few down hills to get comfortable taking them at full speed.  I was able to stay in my saddle for most of the uphills.  A handful of times I had to stand.  No issues with the saddle either.  I was able to get off the bike and run 8 miles pretty comfortably.  I didn't start breaking down until the last 1.5 miles and it was just from overall fatigue.

Overall verdict:
I want to ride every day.  I may be biased as QR is all I've ever had for a tri specific bike.  But, I really do enjoy this ride.  It's comfortable, shifts smoothly, feels sturdy under me, and picks up speed quickly.  I haven't had a chance to test it in heavy cross-winds.  Braking could be a little better.  I love that I can take it apart and put it back together by myself with 2 Allen wrenches (4mm and 5mm).  I'm actually looking forward to my TT ride on Wednesday!        
Any suggestions on a name?

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