Christmas has a way of bringing some nice surprises...this week the RBA office had one delivered in the form of a rather exotic Carrera Erakle TS. Carrera actually makes two models of the bike: the Erakle TS pictured here, and the higher-end Erakle that stands apart for it's Italian build and integrated seat post.
The bike was sent out for inclusion in our annual "Euro" issue (with a May cover date) and although we've only had enough time on it for two lunch rides, we thought it would be the best way to kick-off our new Lunch Ride Review section on the web. That's right, starting in January, we'll be bringing you a continuing series of first ride product reviews to keep you up to date on all the latest products rolling into the plush, well lit RBA office.
For a close-up look at the home of Carrera Bikes.
Yes, you read that frame graphic right...this is a Carrera. Not since a Specialized Tarmac we tested three or so years ago have we seen a bike with as many self identifying stickers on it. The Erakle TS is available in four sizes. The 73.5 degree seat/73 degree head angle helped make for a a quick handling responsive ride.
The Erakle runs with a 1k carbon weave finish and one of the most massive bottom bracket sections we've seen.
Let's face it, the Selle SMP Evolution saddle
is as unique as it is odd looking, but so far the ergo saddle has provided impressive support and comfort. We liked the long rails for max adjustability. The Evolution is made in Italy and has a real leather cover.
The Carrera runs some of the cleanest internal cable routing of any bike that's ventured into the RBA office. Although our test bike was running with a mechanical drivetrain, the Erakle is designed to accommodate cables for an electronic drivetrain.
With it's oversized carbon seatttube, don't expect to find a clamp-on derailleur here. The Continental Sprinter tubular tires are some of the best rubber on the market today.
Just in case you couldn't tell what kind of bike it was, the answer can be found on the seat binder.
Beautiful carbon fiber construction throughout. The monostay rear end melds nicely with the seat tube. Note the rear mount, double bolt seat binder. Despite the Swiss Stop Yellow King (carbon specific) brake pads, with just three hours on the bike the so far, the Vision TriMax TC50 wheels continue to suffer from some increasingly loud squealing. We'll work with the toe-in to find a solution.
The FSA K-Force Light cranks have become a common spec on more and more test bikes lately. Some, but not all of the RBA test riders enjoy the compact gearing. Look for a complete test of the Carrera in the May 2013 issue.