I took my stainless steel bottle cages from the Soma Smoothie and afterward, decided I’ll have to go buy two more to put back on the Soma as these just looked so right. Then, I took it out on the local roads. After near ten miles, I stopped twice and got out the multi-tool. The seat adjusted slightly higher, the bars tilted up and back just a smidgen. This guy turned out very close to spot on. There was more than just the fit that became spot on for this ride.

What I realized was the lively frame. Its not steel. It’s aluminum and designed for the delivery of power. The geometry is very much like the Soma with a shorter chain stay.  The gearing was not just tall on the low end but also narrow. The cassette for this ride was only 12-26 teeth, something not out of the ordinary for a ride around the flat lands. But even the slightest hill found me about out of gears. It can be a good thing.

Get up and power on. Get to work. There is no other option. I also made mental notes of what I actually need for this bike if I want to have wide ranging options on the trainer.

First, the ride, then the techie stuff.

It’s fast. I don’t know what it is but when power is down, it just feels much faster. It’s lighter, and has lighter and better tires. The wheels are about the same weight but the frame is stiffer and supposedly so is the crank, but were talking ten years of development here in trickle-down component tech so we can remove that aspect. It felt lively and sharp in handling. I had forgotten what my old grey CAAD felt like before I went off looking at frame materials. Chasing the ideas. I should have just regrouped the 9 that I had before and stuck with that.

Any fatiguing bussy feeling I had beforoe was definitely due to the aluminum material. It’s properties were just that, not absorbant. So this bike today had carbon bars and a carbon seat post. It’s so much better that way.

tachie stuff.

The most popular cranksets on the market are the compact doubles or mid-compact with 16 teeth different between the inner and outer rings. The standard crank has 14. This bothers me. pushing away on the 39 x 26 is close to pushing a 34 x 22 on that compact 34/50 crankset. So not only did I desire a bigger cassette back there, I desired a smaller inside chainring. So I got home and ordered a compatible 38 tooth FSA chainring for $22 and a 32t cassette with medium cage derailleur. I could have just spend a hundred bucks and bought a smaller crank but I still would have had to get a larger cassette and derailleur. I could get that crank later on if it’s really that necessary.

So what would the 38 tooth ring do? Well with a 32t cassette, that would be like climbing a 34 x 28 on a compact double. VERY nice and totally making the training experience possible. plus, I could run this with TT bars another day in the future since I’d have that crazy tall 53 x 11 to attempt shoving along.

But theres an FSA outer ring for that too in a 52 size, and If I have to spend another $50 on that, It’s just another $50 to get the crankset.


I’m having a hard time looking at the Smoothie now, but I know it’s built for centuries and winter work. Although I have yet to see a century or hard weather work. It will happen this winter, and so will lots of miles on Zwift with the CAAD9.