Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Milan First Ride Report

I picked up my Milan on Sunday & rode it home on what should have been a fairly straight, flat 75km route, but managed to take a different route and did closer to 100km through some very hilly country.  This was a really stupid mistake, but a good way of testing limits (although, I got far closer to mine than to those of the Milan).
First, some details:
It is a carbon Milan Mk2.  Specced with a twin chainring up front, a 9 speed 11-32t cassette and a Dual Drive hub.  It has the race wheels, hub brakes and the indicator/brakelight kit.  There are two B&M Cyo lights up front.  Internally, it has "Panzer steering" since I couldn't get on with tiller steering when I test rode a few VMs.  Gear changing is handled by two grip shifts with the DD controlled by a three speed box on the left control stick.  Left and right brakes are controlled by independent lever on the corresponding control stick and the lights and indicators are on two and three way rocker switches at the top of the sticks.  So everything is immediately at hand.  I had phone working as sat nav/bike computer mounted on a sticky pad on the RHS wheel arch.  This is only partially visible, so will need moved at some point when I work out where to put it.
There are two Conti GP4 tyres with slimed inners up front and a Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (my favourite ever tyre) at the rear.  Marathon Supremes don't fit up front, so had limited choice.
I started out in a huge down pour, so got to try it's wet weather performance first.  Given that it lives in Glasgow, this will be its natural environment, so it was prob fitting that this was the start of the ride.   My first surprise was how water-proof it isn't.  I guess I was expecting car levels of weather protection, rather than hugely-improved-on-bike levels, which is what I got.  So this was down to poor assumptions rather than a design flaw, but is worth noting.  It is very impressive how good the visibility is in heavy rain: I was a little anxious about this, but it was fine when moving.  Roundabouts in a downpour would be tougher, but you can always pop the flap forward for an unobstructed view.  I got Makrolon coated plastic, but have no idea how much impact this had since I have no comparison.
Ride-wise, it is a completely different animal at speed compared with less than 20kph.  Moving slowly, it is a pig to accelerate (which is to be expected with high mechanical resistance (from the chain routing) and the weight) and has heavy steering with almost no lock.  It isn't a lot of fun (I know this well, my route included a couple of 10% climbs with no run up, and several more 7+%ers).  At speed, however, it is a completely different experience.  Easy to maintain pace, climbs well and (scarily) responsive steering.  As would be expected, it descends fantastically.  The plan appears to be to maintain speed.  I could outclimb a stronger rider that me who was on a Nazca Fuego when I got a run up on the c2-3% slopes when I was riding accompanied, so the weight is offset by improved aerodynamics and momentum on the easier stuff.  The steeper stuff needs a bigger run up or avoided.  But you don't get one of these for climbing cols.  Well, I didn't....
This is going to be properly warm during the summer months.  It was 13°C outside when riding & I got very warm.  This'll be very much appreciated in winter, but I may drop the hood in summer!
I have 150km planned over the weekend, including some night-time stuff, so can report a bit more fully after that.  I'll get some pics up tomorrow too.

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