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Old 10-09-2004, 12:23 PM
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mtflycaster mtflycaster is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Durango & Sausalito
Posts: 409
Kirk Ride Report....

Hi all...

First, let me say that I have 2 Serottas, which I love. An Atlanta ('99) and an Hors ('9?). I don't currently have, but used to have, a Legend Ti ('00) and Calfee Tetra Pro ('94). I also have an '83 Eisentraut which I won't use in this comparison. So, my descriptions of how my Kirk rides are limited to the context of my experiences with these other bikes.

The Kirk is the first bike that was built custom for me. I told Dave I wanted a bike that was comfortable, stable, had adequately quick handling, and could climb well (fairly stiff). I have about 1500 miles on it.

All my other bikes are/have been standard geometry. The Atlanta and Hors are 56x56, The Calfee was 56x56, and the Legend was 55x55.

The Kirk is 55 top tube and 56 seat tube, with angles spec'd by Dave Kirk. I made no special requests to him re. that, but I think they are 73 seat and 73 HT. Steel fork also with an angle spec'd by Dave, but I think similar to my Serottas. The other noteworthy spec is that the Kirk is the only bike that has an 8 cm BB. Having said all that, the geo did not seem to be all THAT much different than my Atlanta.

Re. the ride, you won't get any descriptors like "sublime" from me. I'm just an ol' country boy. I'll try to talk simply in terms of comparisons.

Overall, the Kirk is as comfortable as any of my other bikes. It seems to climb more enthusiastically than any of my other bikes. I can't say it is faster, it just FEELS faster. My Legend, in fact, might have been the fastest, but after a time, it's ride was a bit too twitchy for me and it was pretty stiff (it had a 72.5 head angle). My Hors is the least enthusiastic climber.

The Kirk is like-ably smooth over the pavement, but interestingly enough, the road imperfections feel just a bit sharper than with the Atlanta (same wheels and tires). Call it more road feel, but it is not a negative thing at all. Not fatiguing. Just a difference. It may very well be due to the steel fork on the Kirk (carbon on all others). Anyone else know this for sure?

The steering on the Kirk is similar to the Atlanta. I like it. Fast enough, but not twitchy. Corners as fast I want it to. As much as I like the Hors for long rides, it has a 72.5 HT and feels a bit more twitchy. Maybe I should not say twitchy, as that sounds negative, faster might be a better word, but the reality is that the bike wants to to move around a bit more on the road. The Kirk (and Atlanta) both settle in nicely.

The one thing that impresses me the MOST about the Kirk is that it is absolutely without question the most rock stable bike I have ever owned when it comes to descending at high speed, 40+. Very confidence-inspiring.
Maybe it is due to the lower BB, or the combination of specs, or that Dave told me that the alignment was "dead on" when I picked it up. Or maybe it is due to my weight distribution given the shorter TT and 1 cm longer stem. I don't know, but what I describe to you is truly remarkable, not some subtle observation subject to bias. It is also the easiest to ride with no hands on the bars.

It would be interesting to me to compare a newer identically outfitted CSI, say, to the Kirk. One with the new lower BB and a 73 HT.

BTW - My Calfee was incredibly light, handled very well although it was certainly less springy-feeling than all my other bikes. But I just did not enjoy riding it that much, and given that it was an older Calfee, I was paranoid about a catastrophic failure at speed, givent he bike's age. Unwarranted, perhaps, but it was what it was.

Bottom line for me, the Kirk was worth every penny. I should also point out that it is the ONLY bike I have owned that provoked a "wow...that's a pretty bike" comment as I passed a stranger on the road.

:-)

I'll try to get some pictures up soon.

Peter
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