A Quantum Leap #4 - The Bikes

Postby Oli on Mon 18/Aug/08 10:55am

After this absorbing talk and display, and after drooling over the large array of stunning looking bikes and kit, we were hanging out for the much anticipated test ride of the 2009 Cadent and Quantum bikes, along with Shimano’s flagship component group, the only just released 7900 Dura-Ace.

We adjourned to the changing rooms to don our supplied Avanti jerseys and socks -
We had been asked to bring our own helmet, shoes and shorts, so we were ready to ride. After busting the zip trying to force on my XL jersey, Aysha kindly took pity on this portly bike tester and dug out an XXL one which did the job much better. We then were given a choice of Cadent or Quantum to ride.

I chose a Cadent initially, as I felt that the geometry would suit me best. I needed a L frame, which meant that I lost the battle with another tester for the new Dura-Ace, but my bike was fitted with Ultegra SL, which is the level below Dura-Ace – not really a handicap, as it’s still very nice kit. FSA compact bars and a pair of Tich built Zero Z-38 carbon wheels completed the bike.

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The others all selected their bikes, and we rolled out of Sheppards carpark. I did a few hard jumps up the and down the road and already loved the feel of the Cadent. Kim and Stephen obviously ride their bikes a lot, and they led us at a relaxed and efficient pace onto a circuit around the Panmure Basin. This circuit was a great mix of lightly trafficked roads with varying surfaces, with plenty of corners, uphills and downhills, as well as some sketchy judder bars to deal with. A great test loop to really get a feel for a bike.

The first thing I noticed about my Cadent was how stable it felt - despite a good breeze and my semi-deep section wheels, I was able to ride no hands at will, even around corners. The bike also felt very comfortable underneath me. Its thin and beautifully curved seatstays absorbed the rough surfaces of the road very well indeed. These characteristics can sometimes translate into a frame feeling dead when you stand up and crank it, but this couldn’t have been less the case with the Cadent – as soon as I put some wellie down and accelerated the Cadent flew with no feelings of loss of power at all, no mean feat under my not inconsiderable bulk! Around some sharp and off-cambered corners, the Cadent felt very much point and shoot. I instantly felt right at home on this frame, which is by no means usually the case when I ride bikes other than my own. We never got a chance to weigh the bikes, and I stupidly forgot to ask, but the Cadent felt light, stiff and responsive to my every input…

After an enjoyable 45 minute loop chatting to marketing guy Chris, and being looked after superbly by Stephen and Kim as I drew up the rear of the group, we headed back to Sheppards for a few well deserved biscuits before swapping bikes around. I finally got my hands on a Dura-Ace equipped bike, as I chose to give a Quantum a go. From the minute I threw my leg over this great looking machine and clicked into my pedals I knew it was different beast entirely. The race geometry felt like the bike just wanted to go, despite the huge handicap of bearing me…

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The new Dura-Ace felt very sharp – noticeable easier and faster shifting than the 7800 version, which is no mean feat! The lack of cables cluttering up the airspace in front of the handlebars was cool to see – that always bugged me about Shimano STI. The look of the new gear is also very sharp. Like a lot of bikes and components, pictures on the net don’t do it justice. The two-tone gray looks as fast as it feels.

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Unfortunately, my lack of anything approaching fitness was highly apparent by now, so I opted out of another full loop and contented myself with vigorously chucking the Quantum around in the immediate vicinity of Avanti HQ. I feel like I got a good idea of what this frame has to offer, as I was able to flick her around corners, climb a small hill and descend back down at pace.

The marked differences between the Quantum and the Cadent were firstly in the handling. Despite being equally as stable as the Cadent the Quantum felt to me to be quicker to steer. This could well have been to do with the lower headtube and handlebars, but felt like it was more to do with the slightly steeper head angle, even though the fork rakes of the two bike are designed to give the same trail. The stiffness of the fatter seatpost (31.6mm as opposed to the Cadent’s 27.2mm) and the fatter straight seatstays meant that slightly more roadshock was transmitted to the rider, but by no means too much – I’d say just enough to provide that definite road feel that racers want.

The extra beef around the integrated bearing bottom bracket was also discernable as I laboured up the slope of my self-imposed test circuit and tried to eke out another sprint or two from my shattered legs. As I returned the Quantum to the safety of the bike room, I decided I liked the feel of it a great deal. I suspect I might be better off with the Cadent’s Endurance geo, but it would be a very hard choice to make, and I don’t think I or anyone would lose a thing whichever one you decided on.

Without a hint of bias I can say that I was impressed by the ride of both bikes very much. The Cadent is such a superbly mannered yet responsive ride that it’s versatile enough to choose to race on over the Quantum, and in fact some of the Subway Team have done just that. I think it would be perfect for doing long events like Round Taupo, or for jamming the local bunch ride and enjoying the feel of a great bike.

On the flip side, I suspect the Quantum would better suit those who are focused on Elite events, or who want that full on race bike feel - although it’s by no means a squirrelly ride at all. This bike rides as well if not better than anything equivalent I have ridden, and is easily the equal of any bikes produced by the European or North American brands that cost considerably more for often a lot less bang for buck.

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With three levels of frame set in both Cadent and Quantum, each using a unique blend of differing carbon qualities and lay-ups along with the varying levels of componentry, there will definitely be a model and pricepoint to suit anyone who is after a great quality road machine. The colour schemes and slick looking graphic package are just the icing on the delicious cake…

I guess what I’m saying is that I would be rapt to own and ride either of these amazing bikes! I’d also factor into my purchasing decision the pleasure of knowing that, while fabricated in Asia, the Cadent and Quantum are fully designed and created by New Zealanders – New Zealanders who ride the products, care deeply about them, and who have invested heavily in the future of cycling and cycle sport in New Zealand.

After seeing the passion and money invested by Avanti, as well as the beautiful ride of the bikes themselves, I would rather ride on an Avanti than any of the other myriad of generic bikes available in the overcrowded market, as well as on most of the name brands that I have had the chance to ride.

Great to see that the spec choices leave nothing to chance as well - no generic parts to be found, just parts from top manufacturers like Shimano, Oval, FSA and DT Swiss that Avanti have chosen to match the characteristics of their bikes the best, all finished off with parts and wheels designed and created by Avanti’s house brand Zero.


Goodbye

After the test rides, we reconvened in the seminar room to disseminate our impressions while enjoying some appropriate and delicious catering. John, Kim, Stephen, Chris and Aysha all answered any questions we had openly and honestly, and helped us really get an insight into what drives them to produce these top machines. We then left for home with a great impression of Avanti and their mission, and some great memories of riding some beautiful bikes.

Thanks to the Team at Sheppards for hosting us so well, and to Tama Easton at Vorb for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the launch of the fine Cadent and Quantum bikes.
Oli
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Postby skeletor on Mon 18/Aug/08 2:09pm

Nice one Oli. Look forward to seeing these things in the flesh now.....
skeletor
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Postby Tugboat on Mon 18/Aug/08 2:29pm

Did u do any mad huckz au?
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Postby Joel on Mon 18/Aug/08 4:10pm

i read somwhere that the Quantum frame weighs in around 920 grams.. nice and light. i reckon they are sweet looking frames.

i wonder if they sponser middle pack riders :paranoid: :blush:
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Postby Toko on Tue 19/Aug/08 6:57pm

Duz it hav triplez?
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Postby sturdy on Tue 19/Aug/08 7:23pm

Oil, were you hankering to be a journalist, but decided that tinkering with bikes was more for you? You are an excellent writer...and your spelling is peachy...that's the tecaher in me coming out.

Thanks for your efforts, a great read.
sturdy
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Postby Oli on Tue 19/Aug/08 7:28pm

:blush: Thanks, Sturdy.

The short version is that I was a bike mechanic who fancied himself a writer and started a degree with a view to get into Bill Manhire's creative writing course, but reality kicked in and I had to go back to fixing bikes to feed my two kids, as I was a solo dad for a while there.
Oli
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Postby slowMTB on Tue 19/Aug/08 7:32pm

Thanks Oli, reading all the road reads is getting me hankering to get back on a road bike ORRR maybe even a track bike :blush:
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Postby sturdy on Tue 19/Aug/08 7:33pm

Oli wrote: :blush: Thanks, Sturdy.

The short version is that I was a bike mechanic who fancied himself a writer and started a degree with a view to get into Bill Manhire's creative writing course, but reality kicked in and I had to go back to fixing bikes to feed my two kids, as I was a solo dad for a while there.
Mmmmm thought there was a talent there. Keep it coming Oli, I love every minute of it. And the bike advice is pretty awesome too!
sturdy
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Postby Ahad on Tue 19/Aug/08 9:13pm

Yeah thanks Oli. Got pretty good reviews from the master! :D
I definately like the direction Avanti is taking with these new bikes. Sound like real performers, and look cool too. Must say I'm quite taken with that green on black colour scheme above. :thumbsup: Definately have to check them out anyway...
Ahad
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Postby Oli on Tue 19/Aug/08 11:12pm

Seriously, I have nothing to gain by propping them, but I think the days of cultural cringe should be banished - these bikes are without a shadow of a doubt the equal of anything the world has to offer.

I'm fat as hell, unfit as anything, but I ride and have ridden a LOT of nice bikes, so I don't say this lightly...

The fact that premium German brand Focus have licensed the Pista speaks volumes...
Oli
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Postby Ahad on Wed 20/Aug/08 12:35am

Yeah, I think most of us on Vorb with any brains don't question your integrity one bit. And have a lot of respect for your opinions regarding bikes etc. You obviously know what you're talking about!

Theres always been a lot of that cultural cringe stuff around in NZ. But I think thats been changing quite a bit in recent yrs as we're starting to realise, we can do anything as well as anybody else.

I've got a soft spot for Avanti anyway. Loved my '94 Avanti Aggressor and got heaps of k's out of it. Rode it to death (fatigued through the BB in the end after 13yrs). Even won the 2006 MTB section in Le race on it in 3hr12 (including 200g zoom bar ends, and by that stage rather wobbly araya rims :cool: ). Not bad for a stock 12yr old bike. :thumbsup:

Looked damn hot in purple swirl too! :D
Last edited by Ahad on Wed 20/Aug/08 9:16pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ahad
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Postby way_downsouth on Wed 20/Aug/08 9:18am

:pmob: Here I was thinking that the Tarmac would be my next road bike (although dreaming of others), but I maybe on an Avanti, in fact, if I had to guess what my next bike would be it would be a Pista at the moment. Track, here I come!

(My current bike is going strong though)
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Postby Perry on Wed 20/Aug/08 5:54pm

was thinking of a new frame but now tempted for a new bike. And totally agree with Sturdy, great read. You should be in sales, you have almost talked me into it!
Perry
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Postby Oli on Sun 24/Aug/08 11:11am

Oli wrote: The fact that premium German brand Focus have licensed the Pista speaks volumes...


The rider on the left is Swiss legend Bruno Risi, and here he's riding his Focus branded Avanti Pista in the Olympic Madison race.
mad-suisse.jpg
Oli
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