So at present, I’m in between road/gravel bicycles. As we had a planned Night Bison pre-ride (click over to Blackriver to see the course and report), I begged and borrowed a loaner bike. Ok, actually Bailey, one of the honchos over at Comrade Cycles, offered it up without hesitation. That’s because Bailey and Comrade are awesome. If you have a chance to check them out, or do a ride with Bailey, do so.
So Bailey has a new Warbird Carbon. That he offers to let me ride. And I’m like, YESSIR.
This one is set up with HED Belgium wheels, SRAM Force drivetrain (note the SRAM XO rear derailleur) with mechanical brakes, Teravail tires, Thomson seatpost, Cowchipper handlebars, and a nice Fizïk saddle. I felt right at home with the King bottle cages. I threw my Crank Brothers Candy pedals on, and headed out.
The drivetrain and brakes functioned perfectly. I hadn’t ridden mechanical SRAM in a while, and what a pleasant surprise it was to ride again. If you recall, back in the day I ran an XO rear derailleur on the Vaya, because the cable pull worked across the range. Same setup here, and it shifted magnificently, even in awful conditions.
The Warbird is heavily marketed as having “Class 5 Vibration Reduction System” with slender seat stays that are intended to reduce vibration. It’s designed as a gravel endurance monster.
I’ve gotta say, I was having a bad day. I really was. I was way under the weather, for unknown reasons.
But man, this bike just felt dead. All morning, I felt like I was just being sapped of the will to live. It wasn’t lively, it wasn’t responsive, it wasn’t willing to go. And yet on the other hand, it wasn’t super compliant or comfortable. The “VRS” really didn’t make itself felt, even on fresh, chunky gravel.
I left the morning confused. It has a lot of clearance and a corrosion-resistant frame, but I just didn’t get it. It didn’t feel light and lively, it didn’t feel compliant and comfy, it didn’t feel good. It was a bit short in the top-tube for me, but even still, it just felt dead. Not muffled, not dampened–dead. I feel bad saying that because I really wanted to like it, I want to like it, but I can’t claim to. This one wasn’t for me.