Keywords: 700c,campagnolo ekar,cento custom paint

BOTM: cento per Cento WI.DE. - part 2

Gerard Vroomen - 28-Apr-2022
I already shared the photos of my wife's RTP frame custom finished by Cento and Tony Spray. Now a little bit more about the specs.

But firstly the frame size. Janet could ride either the XS or the S, but given her riding position and her desire to (or maybe my desire that she) ride more off-road too, the S with an 80mm stem was the way go to. A little more control and toe space, a little less seatpost extension, but comfort-wise the latter is more than compensated for with the tires anyway.

The cockpit is fairly common with the 3T Apto and Superergo LTD. The Superergo is the best-selling 3T bar and it fits so many people so well, and Janet is no exception. The handlebar tape is Fabric for absolutely no reason other than that I told Axel who built the bike to "use whatever you have". The seatpost is from Faserwerk and one we use on many of the OPEN complete bike builds now. It's nice, light, zero offset. It's also quite long, so in this case I could cut it quite a bit shorter rather than having it go down almost all the way to the BB.

The saddle is a bit of a strange story. It's from Trek's in-house component brand Bontrager and was recommended to me by the owners of the Rocacorba B&B when I visited last year. This is less random than it sounds, as Rocacorba is owned by Carl Pasio (a former triathlon pro) and Ashleigh Moolman (one of the best cyclists in the world and the world's first e-sports cycling world champ). 

Rocacorba rents out high end bikes at their lodge and this is one of their most popular saddles for their female guests of all skill levels, so not just for pros. It also looks quite nice in comparison to many other woman-specific saddles. Since Janet wasn't super happy with her old saddle, I figured it was worth a try. So far so good. Don't be fooled by the fact that Trek markets this is as a triathlon saddle; this saddle is great for road and gravel as well.

Before I continue, I have to make a comment on the name of this saddle though. It's called Hilo, a town on the big island of Hawaii where the Ironman World Championships are held. Trek used to also have a triathlon bike named the Hilo, in fact it was their first dedicated triathlon bike. But the funny part is, Hilo has nothing to do with the race, it's completely on the other side of the island.

It's never really been revealed why that name was chosen, but I have my theory. One of the most popular triathlon bikes at the time was "my" Cervélo Eyre Tri. The Kilo frame design was almost an exact copy of that (we actually discontinued the Eyre Tri the same show they launched the Hilo, so they were a bit behind from the start). The other very popular triathlon bike back then was made by my arch nemesis (though by now good friend) Dan Empfield. His brand was Quintana Roo and the name Hilo was almost an exact copy of his most popular model's name: Kilo. 

So by making it look like an (albeit old) Cervélo and naming it like a Quintana Roo, maybe they thought they could kill two birds with one stone. The Hilo never really became a big success, it got lost pretty much like you would be if you would go to Hilo to race the Ironman World Championships. In a way it's funny that they now have a Hilo saddle which is equally lost to the road and gravel market by labeling it as a triathlon saddle.

One last note on the saddle spec, the Hilo comes in a Comp and a Carbon version. The Comp weighs 430g, the Carbon over 100g less. The reason you see the Comp here is not because I don't love my wife enough but because the Carbon was impossible to get at the time. So yes, that is a heavy saddle for a road bike - which seems to be a theme for these two bikes I built - but you could take some weight out easily once supplies improve.

But back to the actual topic of this post! The drivetrain is Ekar, because it's light, sleek, simple with the 1x shifting and still all the gears she needs with the 13-speed cassette. She's running a 10-44T cassette so the bike is ready for everything including the toughest climbs and gravel (unlike the Ekar 9-36T I put on my MIN.D.). Wheels are the same HED Emporia GC3 Pro that are on that MIN.D. for the same reasons; as a tribute to Steve Hed who had a lovely visit with Janet and me here in Amsterdam the year before he passed away.

I already discussed the tire choice, leaving me to point out that for the tubeless setup, we used the HED valve and MucOff sealant. Final touches are the Elite Vico Carbon (see, I do love my wife, as I had 2 sets of Elite cages and I put the carbon ones on her bike and the injection molded cages on my own :-).

Weight comes out to 7.7kg, which given the tire size and the saddle boat anchor is very respectable I think.

model cento per Cento
size S
frame WI.DE. custom painted by Cento Canesio
headset Cane Creek40
fork OPEN U-Turn custom painted by Cento Canesio
stem  3T Apto  80mm
handlebar 3T Superergo 38cm (hood-to-hood)
handlebar grip Fabric Logo
seatpost Faserwerk Wuthocker 27.2mm
saddle Bontrager Hilo Comp
brakes Campagnolo Ekar, 160 f&r
shifters Campagnolo Ekar
crank  Campagnolo Ekar 165mm
BB Campagnolo Ekar
chainrings Campagnolo Ekar 38T
rear derailleur Camagnolo Ekar
cassette Campagnolo Ekar 10-44T
chain Campagnolo Ekar
wheel HED Emporia GC3 Pro
tire René Herse Snoqualmie Pass 700x44c
tire sealant Muc-Off tubeless sealant
bottle cages Elite Vico carbon (not in the photos)
weight 7.7kg (no pedals but with a 430g saddle :-)

Comments & Questions

Hi Gerard

Do you have any comment on the debate over women’s bikes concerning unisex frames vs ‘women specific’ frames (eg Canyon and Giant Liv). My (uneducated) suspicion would be that Canyon/Giant might be on to something, but that unless you are a major manufacturer the economics don’t add up, and hence women have to use small ‘men’s’ - sorry ‘unisex’ - frames.
Your wife’s bike looks lovely - do Campag offer a smaller hoods/brake lever option for women’s hands? Thanks!
Post #1 of 4. Posted by Noel on 28-Apr-2022 07:46:52 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24544]
They're certainly on to something, if you mean a great marketing story. Because it sounds so nice, a bike specifically designed for you instead of for the other half of the population. But as you probably know, fit is based on stack and reach. and if you look at for example the Liv Avail and the Giant Defy, same type of bike but one for women and one for men, then the stack and reach of them are identical in the same sizes. The only thing is that the Liv comes in a smaller size and not in the bigger sizes.

In reality, there are big differences between people, and that's why we have different sizes. And the average woman has different proportions than the average man, but that only matters if you try to put them on the same bike. But nobody is trying that. The point is that the woman who needs an S has the same proportions as the guy who needs an S, and that's why the S has a different geometry than the L.

Trek was one of the first with women specific geometry, and they really made the geometry for women different. A few years after that they came out with "women performance" geometry, so still specific for women but more performance oriented (apparently they didn't realize women were serious about cycling when they made their original women specific geometry). But the funny thing was, the women performance geometry was the same as the original unisex geometry, only the names and the colors of the frames were different.

This is not to say there aren't differences, there are, which is why on parts like the saddle I describe, it makes a lot of sense to spend time on figuring out what works. But of course even there, it's not only a women vs men thing, everybody would be wise to spend time on this topic as it will make a huge difference in their enjoyment of cycling.
Post #2 of 4. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 28-Apr-2022 10:32:59 GMT in reply to post #1 [24544<--24547]
Hi Gerard
My wife is 5'5" and 29" inside leg. I'd dearly like to get her an UPPER but I wonder if an XS WiDe would suit her better. She is more interested in XC/gravel on 650B but would use the bike for road on occasions.
Any recommendations?
Many thanks.
Post #3 of 4. Posted by Andrew on 29-Apr-2022 05:54:33 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24548]
My wife is 5'4" and inseam is pretty similar too. So I think the S could be the right size, although of course it also depends on overal position preferences, not just the numbers. I think with XC/gravel in mind but also road, the advantage of the UP/UPPER is that you can run a 650b in a reasonable size, say 47-55mm and get good grip but also a decent profile for on the road. If you go with the WIDE, then the 650b options that work best are a bit bigger and might be overkill off road but definitely on road.
Post #4 of 4. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 29-Apr-2022 16:11:33 GMT in reply to post #3 [24548<--24549]