Thanks to Jason Morris of Raleigh Bicycles and Bicycle Outfitters of Leesburg, Integrated Sports Medicine p/b Pyramid Training Systems has been provided with the top-of-the-line Raleigh Militis 3 road racing bike for our 2012 season. Our desire is to help increase the presence of the Raleigh brand along the East Coast.
Having come from racing a 2005 Colnago E1 and 2008 Colnago CLX over the past six seasons, the Raleigh is actually my first true top of the line racing bike, and I can honestly say that it is a top flight machine. Spec’d with Sram Red (Black version), FSA bars, stem, and post, an Avenir carbon saddle, Mavic Kysyrium SLR wheels, and a Quarq power meter set in a Sram Red crankset, this bike weighs in right at 15lbs. The stiffness is immediately obvious, particularly in the front end. The bike feels equally stiff from the front end through the bottom bracket with no whipping of the rear end through the stays. Nice! The steering is very responsive thanks to the 73.5degree head tube angle, it almost begs for aggressiveness as any casual steering elicits a casual response until you really get after it, then it really will dart through to where you want to go. I can see this being pretty handy in tight criteriums. I feel nicely centered on the bike, despite my slightly forward position compared to most, the 73-degree seat angle and appropriate bottom bracket drop dimension make for a proper center of gravity, and weight distribution for predictable handling and balance.
The Sram Red on the Militis 3 in black finish is nice looking, known to be lightweight, and functions quite well. I raced the past three seasons with Sram Red and have no complaints. The derailleurs do require precision with their set up, but once they’re set, the shifting is quick and positive. I have the Sram crankset paired with a Quarq power meter and Garmin 500 receiver. The crank is incredibly stiff and I’ve already downloaded seven workouts with the Quarq/Garmin combination with no issues. The FSA carbon compact bars and stem are again a stiff combination. I had some doubts about the stem but the aluminum alloy body and pretty carbon overlay have proved my initial pre-test inclination to be wrong! The Avenir saddle with carbon rails is light and flat with a continuous channel down the middle for pressure relief. I did four hours plus on my very first ride on this saddle with no issues.
The Mavic Ksyrium SLR wheels are surely interesting pieces. The front is the Ksyrium we’re used to seeing with bladed spokes. The rear wheel is similar with bladed spokes on the drive side and the round carbon spokes from the Mavic R-Sys wheel line on the non-drive side. The entire wheel system has a super hard exalith coating applied to enhance wheel finish durability. The braking surface has raised grooves, almost like tight grooves of a phonograph record, running perpendicular to the direction of the brake pads. The stopping power is second to none, and Mavic provides a second pair of brake pads, as you’re likely to burn through the first sets very quickly while the braking surface is “conditioned” through its break in period. The hubs are typical Mavic Ksyrium with carbon housings, and would assume at this time, bearings that will last for many seasons of use as has been my experiene with my Mavic Kysrium ES wheel set. This SLR wheel set only weighs 1400grams, and is evident by the way in which they quickly spin up to speed. I plan to train on these wheels, and will use them in road races and criteriums in which rough course conditions or wind conditions will make these the suitable choice.
The Raleigh Militis 3 may not be the most recognizable bike in the peloton, like some other brands we know of, but it’s matte black finish, simple white and gray graphics, along with the finish of the SRAM, FSA, Avenir components make for an understated coolness that can burn when called upon to do so. Think Miles Davis, Kind of Blue or 1950s West Coast cool jazz. Hip without trying, and cool the way the cool kids want to be, but are afraid to try. Come on, I dare you to try this bike…