Quintana Roo CD0.1

ORIGINS OF THE SPECIES

Liz Madeley takes a ride on the latest women’s specific tri-bike from the company that started it all way back when, to see if they are still delivering on their reputation.

Quintana Roo, you are probably more than aware, have something of a unique and compelling selling point in the triathlon market, in so much as they can reasonably claim to have invented tri-specific road bikes (and triathlon specific wetsuits, as it goes, but that’s for another day).

Founded by Dan Empfield back in 1987 – Dan and Quintana Roo’s first triathlon model was born two years later – the spirit of innovation and commitment to multi-sport has endured even after the accomplished athlete and entrepreneur sold his company to Saucony in the mid-90s.

Since the CD0.1 first came to market there have been a number of tweaks and differentiated models. A couple of weeks after Mirinda Carfrae had produced her stunning (if now almost routine) performance over in Hawaii to claim another Kona title, we thought it appropriate to get on board the women’s version for this issue’s review.

Sitting at the entry level price point to the top end of triathlon bikes, if you follow, on first climbing aboard the CD0.1 it strikes immediate and favourable comparison with, say, Trek’s Speed Concept 7.5 or Scott’s Plasma 20.

As always there is scope for upgrades for those so inclined, but the SRAM Rival drivetrain, alloy FSA Gossamer crankset with 50/34T chainrings and Profile Design T4+ component package – aluminium stem, base bar and extensions – are reassuringly reliable. And an ISM Adamo saddle provides a seat that’s about as comfortable as any racing bike is likely to offer.

The striking pink camouflage design means you’re not going to lose any precious seconds in T1 searching for your ride, either, though may not necessarily be to everyone’s taste.

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However, it’s not a couple of flashes of electric pink paint that distinguishes the CD0.1, of course, or indeed any and all models in Quintana’s Shift stable, but rather their innovative asymmetrical carbon frames.

The science behind it is straightforward enough. When trying to make a bike faster you need to make it cut through the air with the minimal disturbance, which means making the profile of the machine as small as possible.

In pursuit of this smooth aerodynamics, the folk at Quintana recognized that no matter which way you look at it a fully set up bike, even before a rider climbs aboard, will not be symmetrical once a drivetrain is attached and the right hand side of the bike boasts gears and a transmission, unlike the left. Wind tunnel testing revealed, according to Quintana Roo, significant ‘parasite drag’ on air passing over the frame.

On first look at the CD0.1, the unusual profile doesn’t leap out at you, even with prior knowledge of the feature – the bike looks in most respects pretty much like many others – until you get down and look closely front on, that is, when the 18mm bias of the down tube towards the crankset becomes obviously visible. The tube itself is straight but its profile is altered along its length.

Does it register any demonstrable difference when you’re piloting the machine? Without access to a wind tunnel and someone to record my data from it, I can only go on intuition and there is no doubt whatsoever that the CD0.1 ‘feels’ fast. Really fast, actually.

Riding the medium, which was moderately long and low, in common with most of its immediate rivals, encourages an aggressive position lower at the front that really makes you feel like you are set in race mode – though comfortable in it – and allows for tidy acceleration when called upon.

Being out on Sydney’s less than pristine roadways, uneven surfaces and the odd pot hole didn’t upset the smoothness of the ride as much as you might expect and cornering was genuinely effortless. There’s something compact and sturdy about this bike that gives you a level of calm confidence on technical roads, though on long straights or smooth undulating stretches of road,  cruising is both comfortable and, allowing for my own level of questionable fitness, dare I say, relatively easy.

The vagaries of Sydney’s spring weather on consecutive rides, out in the heat and then in blustery, wet, downright stormy conditions, meant the bike had a full range of conditions to contend with, and your reviewer was pleasantly surprised as to how she (the bike, that is) handled in some pretty fierce cross winds (we’re not talking Hawaiian lava fields here but enough to get a feel for how the bike handled when thrown about a touch unpredictably).

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Credit for that clearly sits in large part with the Reynold Strike wheels that are available with the bike and which were used on test. The 62mm full-carbon clinchers are quietly impressive, combining deep sides with an ability to dismiss those pesky side winds. Of course there were moments when you could feel strong gusts at them, but more in a sense of gentle pressure than any violent, distracting sudden disruption to natural steering.

Thought has also clearly gone in to the rear braking, which has decent clearance with the fashion for wider race wheels considered here. The effective braking power itself comes courtesy of TRP levers and U-brakes hidden behind the fork and beneath the chainstays. The hiding of the rear caliper means that the area behind the seat tube cleans up well which is useful.

It really is difficult to pick fault with the whole package on offer from Quintana Roo with their CD0.1 range. If the purpose of a triathlon specific bike is to offer comfort and speed, with a healthy dose of aerodynamics and responsiveness then they’ve got all bases covered. Triathlon is a young sport and so it is uncommonly reassuring when a company has 25 years of proven expertise in a particular field relating to it. Quintana Roo have been there done that, and have done it again with the CD0.1.

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Quintana Roo bikes are available through Pedals Plus.

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