Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why I chose the Ceepo Katana

I am really picky when it comes to my gear.  I love new technology and innovation but at the same time I want proven gear I know I can rely on.  When I first got into triathlon I was always trying the latest and greatest but over the years I have started to value the simple and effective gear that always works and is adjustable/compatible with standard components.  I do 100% of the work on my bikes and I change my setup at least annually so none of the fully integrated super bikes interest me.  Instead I want a bike that fits right, works with any components, and is easy to wrench on/travel with.

Over the last few years I have been fortunate to work with enough sponsors to know what kind of relationship works the best for me.  The main thing I have learned is that I like working with companies that are focused on triathlon.  These were usually smaller companies where every person is accessible and has passion for what they do.  Zoot is great example of this as I know someone in every department and they are all interested in my feedback.  These are the companies I feel I can provide the most value to and the companies I want to help.

As you probably guessed that was my long winded way of explaining why I am excited to be working with Ceepo and riding the Katana this year.  Triathlon is Ceepo's only focus and not just on of many product lines.  It was immediately clear that the first individual I talked with at Ceepo was not just a marketing guy, but he had deep knowledge of the Ceepo products and was passionate about the company.

The Katana interested me mainly because of the geometry and it doesn't have a proprietary integrated cockpit/front brake.  Here are the things I really like about the Katana:

  • Long and low - it actually fits me unlike the shorter/taller geometry that most companies are going to these days.  I'm finally using a -17 degree stem again instead of a -30 or adjustable stem like my last two bikes.
  • 78 degree post - I ride steep with my saddle 4cm in front of the BB
  • PressFit30 BB - I can use both my bb30 and gxp cranks easily, and just about all other cranks available.
  • Standard 1 1/8 stem - many inexpensive stems are available to change my stack/reach plus it's easy to travel with
  • Internal mechanical and di2 cable routing - clean, functional and easy routing for both types of components   Plus it is super easy to work on, which is huge when you have to run a new derailleur cable in a hotel the night before a race.
  • Two water bottle mounts - I like to go ride for hours with out stopping at all.  Now I can bring multiple bottles with me without have to fill up all my jersey pockets with bottles.  For racing I wont use the frame mounts but they will be great for training.
  • Vertical dropouts - easy to change a rear wheel and the wheel is always straight and centered unlike some poorly down horizontal dropouts on other tt bikes.  (I don't mind horizontal dropouts when they are designed well.
  • Flat black paint - I can always look past the finish of a bike, but I am a big fan of either flat black or raw UD carbon so the paint job was a nice bonus as it is mostly flat black but has enough other color to keep it from being a solid black bike.

I knew about all of those features before I got it but when the bike showed up I had a few pleasant surprises:
  • The bike was packaged very well and there was no way any of the parts could shift around in the box and get damaged (unless of course FedEx/UPS crushed the entire box)
  • Two headset top covers were include and one is super low stack, as in about 2mm above the frame when installed
  • The derailleur hanger is removable/replaceable and a spare one was provided
  • The mechanical cable routing has liner run from the top tube entry to the derailleurs, it literally takes 5 seconds to run a cable.
  • Guide tubes were left in the frame to allow the electronic shifting cables to be easily installed
  • Top tub has the BB center marked on it so it is super easy to get the saddle fore/aft right
  • The frame size, stack, and reach are printed right on the seat tube, great for a second owner or for when I just forget so I don't have to go look it up

I have a few minor tweaks to make but it is pretty much ready to race... now I just have to get myself ready to race again.