I think it’s funny when you reach the point where you have to refer to your equipment as a “fleet” because you have so much of it. My collection of bicycles is much smaller and less specialized than it used to be, but it is still a sizable group. The top performer is my current racing bike: a Cyfac Starship.
Nine years ago when I put this bike together it was state-of-the-art. Now, it’s practically an antique:
- Proprietary Columbus thin wall aluminum main tubes
- Full carbon fiber fork and steerer
- Carbon fiber rear triangle
- Campagnolo Record 10 speed
- Campagnolo Neutron wheels
These days pro bikes are full-carbon and will cost upwards of $7,000 to get the relative equivalent of what I’m riding now.
I’m not convinced the material makes as much of an impact as the marketing would have you believe, but I can’t bring myself to shell out the cash to find out for real. It’s still painful to pay retail and I miss the days of equipment sponsorships and deep discounts. But, I don’t put in the miles or wear-and-tear that I used to so the Cyfac has lasted a long time.
The ride is super stiff from the oversized aluminum tubes but with enough carbon to soak up the road vibration. I’ve had full carbon bikes before and this is just more civilized. It is agile and responsive but well behaved on descents, though nowhere near as stable as my old Richard Sachs and it doesn’t fit as well as some of my previous rides. This is a different sort of beast and it successfully balances a number of factors and ride qualities to deliver a worthy road racer and criterium bike.
Cyfac may still be relatively unknown in the states which, for me, is part of the appeal. But they have a proven pedigree in France and have built in their artisanal shop countless frames for pro riders, including national champions and Grand Tour stage winners.
All that said, at the end of the day the bike is only as good as its rider…and this one still needs a lot of work.