Now that she has a few races in on it, thought it was a good time to give a tour and review of Kristal's new Blue Norcross EX bikes. We'll focus here on the 'A' bike, but I'll detail the (minor) build differences between it and the 'B' bike.
Starting with the frames themselves, we are overjoyed to be back on Blue after a 2 year hiatus and have been getting a lot of questions about the company. It's true--Blue is back, with solid financing and a great management team. These bikes feel like home to us, having had a lot of success on them, including multiple Nationals podiums for Kristal along with her Master's World Championship in 2013. The only change in geometry is a slightly (2cm) taller head tube, which just means we can use fewer spacers. The ride is still the same stiff, reliable, 'point and shoot' that we always loved from Blue.
As for components, this year we ventured into Ultegra Di2 for the drivetrain. So far we love it! The fast, precise shifting, even under load, is amazing! We're past the novelty phase where we were shifting WAY more than needed and now just enjoy the fast shifts that come at the push of a button. The chainrings are the excellent 46/36 from Wickwerks, which deliver insanely fast front shifting paired with Ultegra cranks and Stages powermeter. Our 'B' bikes use DuraAce mechanical, which was handed down from our old 'A' bikes and certainly isn't much of a compromise! Cranksets here are FSA Energy with FSA chainrings and always Time pedals throughout.
Our rolling stock is still happily American Classic, with the Carbon 46 wheels for race day, with Ashima rotors and the bomb proof TCR wheels for training. We use Challenge tubulars, with a full quiver including the Chicane (our personal favorite for most Colorado courses), Fango, Baby Limus, and Limus for the muddy conditions of our dreams.
Slowing the bikes is still the responsibility of the excellent TRP Hy/Rd brakes. We've rarely been early adopters, but have never regretted going with these brakes two years ago. They are easy to maintain (no hoses full of fluid) and provide reliable, solid stopping power when needed. Having raced for years with canti's on carbon wheels, that's definitely appreciated!
Incidental parts are Thompson seatposts on all bikes topped by WTB Deva saddle for Kristal and Fizik Arione for Carl. FSA handlebars wrapped in LizardSkins tape with a Ritchey stem complete the cockpit. Finally, we're big fans of the Yokozuna cable and housing sets. Their compressionless housing is key for making either mechanical or hybrid brakes work their best!
These bikes will be at our Blue Cycles tent this weekend at Cross of the North in Ft Collins and next weekend at US Open of CX in Boulder. Come on by and check them out in person!