Sabbath Silk Road Review
The Sabbath was almost as impressive on the climbs: Although somewhat weighed down by the component selection, the frame demonstrated the lively springy feel titanium is known for. Out of the saddle the bike leapt eagerly up the steepest of pitches, while the tall head tube made seated climbing a comfortable affair: With hands on the tops my chest was open and free breathing.
As the road flattened, the Silk Road continued to show it was more than a glorified touring bike. By adding a 13 centimeter stem I found I could stretch out comfortably on the Pro LT bars. The bars have quite a shallow drop, which when combined with the tall headtube did not allow me to get into the low, flat-backed position I prefer on the flats. This could have been remedied with a deep drop set of bars but it’s also important to remember that this bike is not designed to be a pure racer; if you’re looking for an aggressive, low position, the Sabbath Monday’s Child might be the better option.
The only downside to the Sabbath riding experience for me? The rear brake had a tendency to lock up quite readily. I tried different pads and even switched the 105 calipers for Ultegra to see if I could stop the rear wheel from locking up so easily. After switching stems around, it appeared that the combination of a long 130mm 0 degree rise stem and and the tall head tube shifted my weight forward and upward when both brakes are applied. Switching to a shorter stem with a negative rise remedied the issue: The rear wheel stayed firmly planted under harder braking.
Racing The Sabbath Silk Road
The Eastbourne Criterium circuit did not scream “great for a sportive bike”; with two 180 degree turns and four 90 degree corners it resembled a hot dog with a tumor. Plus with all of the turns in less than a kilometer, the action was sure to be thick and fast. Even more exciting, I had traded in my US Elite racing license for a British Category 4 ranking: 50 new racers on a technical course guaranteed excitement.
To get a feeling for the bike on the course and stay out of trouble, I planted myself on the front of the group for the first few laps. Entering the hairpins, the tall headtube was noticeable, shifting my weight a little further back than I was used to, but the well-matched fork and frame ensured that the bike carved smoothly and quickly through the 180 degree turns. Accelerating away from each corner, the bike’s rear wheel stayed in place, allowing me to grasp the bars and shove firmly on the pedals as I sprinted to the next corner. The bottom bracket height was ample, allowing me to pedal through the 90 degree corners with only a few pedal grinds at 40-50 kilometers per hour.
On the last lap, with only a half-dozen of us left in the race, I sprinted into the first of the fast 90 degree corners. My goal was to establish enough of a gap that my weak sprint wouldn’t be required. Even at full speed the bike carved a line as I pedaled the corners, leaving the remaining riders in my wake. As I stood to sprint out of the last corner one last time, I gripped the bars even more tightly and jumped for the finish line: The bike responded, rocketing down the final straight and over the line. A really good sportive bike and not a bad race bike!
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