By Steve Cooper
  • Frame: R6 Double Butted Alloy
  • Fork: Carbon Fiber With Alloy Steerer.
  • Sram Rival shifters and derailleurs
  • FSA Gossamer 46x36t crankset
  • Ritchey Pro wheel set with Hutchinson Bulldog tires
  • Available in 7 sizes
The call came in Friday afternoon. "The Redline has arrived", I repeat "the Redline has arrived". Mostly set-up, the Conquest Pro didn't take much time to finish building and match positions to my CCX race bike. I did a test ride in Nisene Marks Saturday morning, and then raced today. Whew, that's fast. Maybe too fast to work all the kinks out - that's okay, cause this is going to be a great review ride throughout the hectic CCX race season we're in the middle of.

In the meantime, here are my first impressions.

Spec: 95% Brilliant. It's all built around a Redline R6 aluminum frame and a Redline carbon fork. Rival derailleurs front and rear with 09' Rival shifters make me smile. An FSA Gossamer crank in 46/36 with the SRAM 1070 12-25 rear cassette is my gearing of choice. Avid shorty cantis do the trick, unless the front straddle cable slips loose on lap three (totally attributable to the short set-up window). Other FSA goodness includes a carbon wrap seat post, shallow drop OS bars and stem. Tektro top mounted levers are a new treat for me; I think I'm going to warm up to the option of braking from the flats. The Ritchey DS Pro wheelset looks good and tough. And the rubber? It's a set of Hutchinson Bulldogs, one of the fattest (but not fastest) set of knobbies you can find these days.

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The 5% that's not spot on? 1. The brake pads could stand an upgrade to better slow down this 205 pound Clydesdale, I'm thinking Koolstops. 2. The Bulldogs are overkill on the fast hardpack I raced on today, they felt a little sluggish on the road section, and my time suffered. 3. The big issue? The San Marco Ponza saddle. It's not CCX racing friendly. If you're playing around on trails and fire roads without race pace dismounts, it'd be fine. But the saddle's short points off the back snagged my shorts four times on remounts, the saddle's sharp nose grabbed on a fast dismount, and the cover's abrasive mid-section didn't allow easy sliding into position to suit terrain. This saddle's getting retired.



Overall: The 60cm build weighs in @ 20.5 pounds without pedals. That's about two pounds lighter my steel tried and true Hunter CCX race bike. The Conquest Pro is a little longer top-tube wise and with more laid back geometry than my Hunter - so it steers a little slower than what I'm used to, but the slighter longer chain stays help the rear tire hook up well under climbing force, with less of a tendency to go light and spin. With a few upgrades planned for this week (a smoother saddle, skinnier, faster tires until the mud season hits, and better brake pads) I've a hunch the Conquest Pro is going to emerge a contender.