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NBD 2018 Cervélo S3 disc SRAM eTap (AKA I have a sickness)

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

NBD 2018 Cervélo S3 disc SRAM eTap (AKA I have a sickness)

Old 09-09-19, 06:19 PM
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CarloM
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NBD 2018 Cervélo S3 disc SRAM eTap (AKA I have a sickness)

So I’ve been wanting to add an aero bike to complement my 2019 Giant TCR Advanced SL1. A “local” bike shop (if you consider 50 miles and 1.5 hours in LA traffic local) was clearancing 2018 Cervélo S3 disc SRAM eTap and happened to have one in my size. They cut the seat post to my size and are right now completing setup (wheels needed slight truing).

Originally sold a couple of years ago for 8800, got it for 5K out the door (meaning 4566 with the CA sales tax). Rode it and very much enjoyed the feel. Fast and relatively comfortable for an aero bike. Not as cushy as a Madone but not as unforgiving as other aero bikes I tested like the Propel. Good power transfer via its stiff frame. And those deep ENVEs. First deep set I’ll own. More updates soon.

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Old 09-09-19, 06:46 PM
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Starting a nice collection there. Time for a gravel bike.
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Old 09-09-19, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by str8jakett View Post
Starting a nice collection there. Time for a gravel bike.
Oh man that's what I'm trying to avoid (the concept of collecting). I realize I'm already too late though

I will say this, I enjoy both the TCR and so far the S3 equally, for different reasons. I see the TCR as my daily driver. It's got a fantastic combo of stiffness, lightness, power transfer and comfort. Right now I'm riding 12 out of every 14 days. 10 of those 12 rides are local, so a lot of crappily paved roads, lot of stoplights. To counter the fact there are so many lights, I do interval training and sprint between lights.

But 2 out of every 12 rides, I get out to do long, unbroken stretches, whether it's a nice dedicated city path separated from cars, or traveling a bit like to Ventura to do the bike path along the coast, where I can maintain 90% effort for many miles with no stopping, that's when I'll want to see what the aero can do for me.

So I will likely be Craigslisting the Trek FX S6. I bought it when I thought I was too old (mid 40s but had been sedentary for a while) and inflexible to ride drop bar bikes...then discovered otherwise, and that I love going as fast as I can. I'm not sure about gravel because I don't really ride trails, I mostly stick on city roads and dedicated bike paths when on the "outskirts of town".

I'll be down to a road (TCR) and an aero (S3) which is about right: a daily driver and a change-of-pacer. The SuperSix is simply holding an Ultegra Di2 to move to my next frame, whenever that may be. Maybe when Madone goes T47 bottom bracket. Maybe Factor's new One since the existing one is near the end of it's model cycle. Maybe if I can score a sweet deal in a couple of years off of an older (2019 will be 2 years old then) Bianchi Oltre XR4 disc frame. And if I buy any of those aero frames, I'll CL the S3 at that time.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:49 PM
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It sounds like you got an incredible deal, worth driving in traffic for.
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Old 09-10-19, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
It sounds like you got an incredible deal, worth driving in traffic for.
Let's hope so! Time will tell. Did my normal route tonight, Strava says I set 13 PRs, but of course being in the city, it's highly traffic-light dependent. Also I know there's such a phenomenon as "New Bike Adrenaline". My previous PR for top speed on this route was 29.1mph, and today I touched 30mph (the stretch I hit max speed at is a 2% downhill). Every time I hit that stretch I push hard and ride in the drops, but never go at max effort due to the poor condition of the road and possibility of cross-traffic.

In a week or two I'll take it out for the Ventura to Carpinteria ride, a long unbroken 13 miles each direction ride that should give me a better indicator where I'm at. There's also side-winds coming in from the ocean, so that will show me how much more the wide aero frame (from the side), and the deeper wheels are affected by crosswinds. My other two carbon wheelsets are 30mm and 35mm deep (Black Inc Thirties, and Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3). The ENVEs are 54mm front and 63mm rear, so: substantially deeper.

A better shot:


I think I'm going to replace that Fizik Antares saddle with my Bontrager Montrose Pro. I'm used to that saddle's ergonomics, and black doesn't show dirt as easily as white. Not sure if there's a weight savings or not.

Speaking of weight, I was prepared for the dreaded Aero Weight Penalty since my TCR (size S) weighed in at 7.03kg (complete bike minus pedals, but including tubeless tires and sealant).

The 51cm S3 came in at 7.60kg with wheels, tubes and valves, no pedals (here's how I arrived at that figure: LBS weighed it at 8.10kg but I already had attached 350g of pedals, 75g of lights, 40g of water bottle cage and ~40g Bar Fly aero bar Wahoo mount). So to my surprise, only .57kg more. Add a little more once I convert it to tubeless for the rim tape and sealant, minus the weight of inner tubes.

After I get some more wear into these stock tires (which I'm not super thrilled with, Conti Grand Sports 23mm, guess they had to cut corners somewhere) I'm likely going to order some 25mm Conti GP5K TL. The Cervelo S3 product page only reflects the current year model, but most review sites said MY18 will accommodate up to 25mm. The ENVEs have internal width of 19mm with external widths of 28mm (front) and 29mm (rear) so it shouldn't make the tire come significantly closer to the back of the seat tube. Eyeballing it, there's plenty of room on the sides to accommodate the added width, it's the distance to the seat tube, which is arched around the wheel, that has me concerned. I've emailed Cervelo and hope to hear back soon on widest tire acceptance for this bike.
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Old 09-10-19, 10:33 AM
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Nice! I like the splash of color near the dropouts. On the other hand, that's quite a stack of spacers under the stem so you'd better not post it on Hot R Not
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Old 09-10-19, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Nice! I like the splash of color near the dropouts. On the other hand, that's quite a stack of spacers under the stem so you'd better not post it on Hot R Not
Lol, I'm not fast or flexible enough to benefit from a slammed stem (more likely it would cause more harm than good to my body!) so no bike of mine is ever going to be submitted to Hot Or Not.
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Old 09-11-19, 08:01 AM
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Two bikes in a month? You got some cash to burn Congrats man the new bike looks awesome. Was the price the only thing that swayed you from the Madone?

Im jealous youve been able to buy new bikes and find time to ride. I recently moved from West Hollywood down to quite a bit more south so riding is tougher. Cycling up near West Hollywood and into Santa Monica is the norm for drivers to see, but down where I am I feel like I have way more of a chance to get hit cause there arent as many cyclist out. I used to ride when at night but not anymore in this area. Where do you ride?
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Old 09-11-19, 09:20 AM
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What a nice piece of art! I like the yellow / white combination. Canadian bike as well! How do you like the eTap? I'm guessing you have DI2 on your TCR - how would you compare both?

I'm also looking to extent my ''fleet'' with a more city friendly road bike & potentially a mountain bike to go play in the woods!

Last edited by eduskator; 09-11-19 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by logical View Post
Two bikes in a month? You got some cash to burn Congrats man the new bike looks awesome. Was the price the only thing that swayed you from the Madone?

Im jealous youve been able to buy new bikes and find time to ride. I recently moved from West Hollywood down to quite a bit more south so riding is tougher. Cycling up near West Hollywood and into Santa Monica is the norm for drivers to see, but down where I am I feel like I have way more of a chance to get hit cause there arent as many cyclist out. I used to ride when at night but not anymore in this area. Where do you ride?
I'm done buying for now. Next purchase likely in 2-3 years if there's any huge advancement in aero frame technology. I actually found a prospective buyer for my Trek FX S6 so that's about to come off the board. I've been hanging on to the SuperSix because of the Di2 which I'd planned to move to an aero frame, but since I just bought a complete aero bike with eTap, I'm going to take a while to ride it and make sure I like eTap as much as Di2 (early returns are positive). If I do, then I may sell the SuperSix as well, and then just go down to 2 bikes, a racing and an aero. That's ideal, as I will ride both bikes regularly.

I ride primarily in the beach communities. Roads are busy but most have dedicated bike lanes. Also try to stay on smaller side roads when I can that run parallel to the big ones, as that reduces chances of getting in an accident. I ride any time between 6am to 11pm. I have pretty bright lights so "I didn't see him" isn't an excuse, it will be either pure negligence or worse...bad intent...if I'm hit. I try to obey all the rules of the road and don't do things drivers might get pissed at. Don't want to give anyone an excuse to come at me. For longer unbroken rides, I put the bike on my car's rack and drive outside of LA proper, north to Ventura/Santa Barbara area, or south to Oceanside/Carlsbad/San Diego area.

Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
What a nice piece of art! I like the yellow / white combination. Canadian bike as well! How do you like the eTap? I'm guessing you have DI2 on your TCR - how would you compare both?

I'm also looking to extent my ''fleet'' with a more city friendly road bike & potentially a mountain bike to go play in the woods!
I find eTap to shift a hair slower that Di2. But also set up my Di2 on "fast". The shifting feel is different, with eTap shifting kind of giving a (to me, satisfying) "thunk" when you shift into a different gear (usually to a smaller rear cog). I miss some of the smarter Di2 features like the synchronous shifting (where if it changes on the big chainring, it moves a couple of cogs on the rear to make the gear change less pronounced). But I also love the wireless of the eTap. Since this is a 2018 S3 it doesn't have the totally hidden cables at the handlebars, but now I only have 2 cables for the brakes going from the bar into the stem/fork. Way less cabling than on my TCR (both have internal cable routing on the frame obviously).
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Old 09-11-19, 10:44 AM
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logical, I forgot to answer your question on the Madone.

The price wasn't the main factor I didn't get a Madone, it was also the polarizing opinion of the BB90 bottom bracket. Many obviously ride them with little to no issue, but then others have negative experiences. With the new Domane, Trek seems to potentially be moving to a T47 threaded bottom bracket, so I decided to wait until that happens on the Madone line, likely in 1-2 years.

But I will say this, for the price I paid for the Cervelo, it was way below a Madone SLR7 price, and only a few hundred more than the "clearance" price of the 2019 SLR6. The official Trek sale price for a 2019 SLR 6 is $1K more than what I paid, and my local Trek dealer had one gray/silver on clearance for $4100, so 466 less than what I paid.

For that extra $466, I got:
  • A paint job I like more (what you see vs the gray/silver color of the SLR6
  • I did lose on the ability to have totally hidden cables, which the SLR6 has but the S3 has two exposed brake cables from bar to frame
  • S3 is approximately a half pound or more lighter (17lbs 14oz with bottle cage/lights/pedals vs. the listed 18lbs 7oz of a 56cm on Trek's site, likely without pedals but also 4cm larger than what I would have ordered)
  • ENVE SES 5.6 wheels which MSRP for 3.5 times the cost of the Aeolus Comp 5 that come with the Trek (and those Aeolus Comps are not full carbon, they're aluminum rims with carbon fairing)
  • eTap vs. Mechanical Ultegra
  • I did give up wheel clearance, the S3 max is 25c tires and the Madone can accept 28c
I liked the test ride on the S3 more than the Madone, but to be fair I believe the Madone I rode was one size slightly too large (54 vs 52), so even though seat height was adjusted for my test ride, reach was likely a smidge too long. The clearance Madone was a 52, but they'd have to get it from their warehouse and build it, it wasn't in-store.

Also, last night when on a dusk ride near the beaches...fairly strong onshore flow. When I was heading into it, and getting into an aero position, I thought I could feel the benefit of the aero frame (obviously along with the aero position). But then I headed south and that onshore flow started buffeting me from the side...and I could totally feel the drawback of an arrow frame when hit with a 90 degree crosswind.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I ride primarily in the beach communities. Roads are busy but most have dedicated bike lanes. Also try to stay on smaller side roads when I can that run parallel to the big ones, as that reduces chances of getting in an accident. I ride any time between 6am to 11pm. I have pretty bright lights so "I didn't see him" isn't an excuse, it will be either pure negligence or worse...bad intent...if I'm hit. I try to obey all the rules of the road and don't do things drivers might get pissed at. Don't want to give anyone an excuse to come at me. For longer unbroken rides, I put the bike on my car's rack and drive outside of LA proper, north to Ventura/Santa Barbara area, or south to Oceanside/Carlsbad/San Diego area.
My issue is not who is at fault for being hit but rather just being hit in general. I now ride with a camera so if anything were to occur Im good. I have already been hit a couple of years ago on Venice blvd(which has a dedicated bike lane) so I dont fancy getting hit again, although I never ride in fear of getting hit again. Sometimes I feel safer riding on PCH northbound from Santa Monica than I do on some of the inside roads where I live. At least on PCH drivers are used to cyclists trudging along next to traffic.

Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
logical, I forgot to answer your question on the Madone.

The price wasn't the main factor I didn't get a Madone, it was also the polarizing opinion of the BB90 bottom bracket. Many obviously ride them with little to no issue, but then others have negative experiences. With the new Domane, Trek seems to potentially be moving to a T47 threaded bottom bracket, so I decided to wait until that happens on the Madone line, likely in 1-2 years.

But I will say this, for the price I paid for the Cervelo, it was way below a Madone SLR7 price, and only a few hundred more than the "clearance" price of the 2019 SLR6. The official Trek sale price for a 2019 SLR 6 is $1K more than what I paid, and my local Trek dealer had one gray/silver on clearance for $4100, so 466 less than what I paid.

For that extra $466, I got:
  • A paint job I like more (what you see vs the gray/silver color of the SLR6
  • I did lose on the ability to have totally hidden cables, which the SLR6 has but the S3 has two exposed brake cables from bar to frame
  • S3 is approximately a half pound or more lighter (17lbs 14oz with bottle cage/lights/pedals vs. the listed 18lbs 7oz of a 56cm on Trek's site, likely without pedals but also 4cm larger than what I would have ordered)
  • ENVE SES 5.6 wheels which MSRP for 3.5 times the cost of the Aeolus Comp 5 that come with the Trek (and those Aeolus Comps are not full carbon, they're aluminum rims with carbon fairing)
  • eTap vs. Mechanical Ultegra
  • I did give up wheel clearance, the S3 max is 25c tires and the Madone can accept 28c
I liked the test ride on the S3 more than the Madone, but to be fair I believe the Madone I rode was one size slightly too large (54 vs 52), so even though seat height was adjusted for my test ride, reach was likely a smidge too long. The clearance Madone was a 52, but they'd have to get it from their warehouse and build it, it wasn't in-store.

Also, last night when on a dusk ride near the beaches...fairly strong onshore flow. When I was heading into it, and getting into an aero position, I thought I could feel the benefit of the aero frame (obviously along with the aero position). But then I headed south and that onshore flow started buffeting me from the side...and I could totally feel the drawback of an arrow frame when hit with a 90 degree crosswind.
I think the ENVE wheels and eTap make the cervelo a much better deal overall. I saw your BB thread and a lot of people complaining and a lot of people defending but honestly I think the BB isnt that much of an issue. I have ridden my madone for awhile now and no issues. Its just something to nit pick about. If we go on pure frame design(not adding in colors or anything) I think the Madone is a better looking machine although the cervelo is also a looker.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:25 AM
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I get what you're saying about traffic and accidents. Ultimately it's up to luck, fate, etc. But I just try to do as much as I can to put the safety odds in my favor, and then at that point it's up to a higher power whether I make it home safe.

I agree that had I bought a Madone, chances are much greater that I would not have had a problem. Trek is the #1 USA seller, so more people riding = more complaints. Hardly any Pinarello complaints because most can't (or won't) afford them.

I agree the frame of the Madone is very sleek. But that silver/grey is very (to me) unattractive, especially when I saw it in person. If they had it in a color I liked, I would have been tempted buy and move my SuperSix Di2 over to it. But this was a one-off clearance price at the LBS, so grey's what they had. Trek's normal "sale" price for 2019 SLR is more than what I paid. Even for a nicer color I wouldn't have given up all that I got with the S3 just to also shell out an extra grand.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I find eTap to shift a hair slower that Di2. But also set up my Di2 on "fast". The shifting feel is different, with eTap shifting kind of giving a (to me, satisfying) "thunk" when you shift into a different gear (usually to a smaller rear cog). I miss some of the smarter Di2 features like the synchronous shifting (where if it changes on the big chainring, it moves a couple of cogs on the rear to make the gear change less pronounced). But I also love the wireless of the eTap. Since this is a 2018 S3 it doesn't have the totally hidden cables at the handlebars, but now I only have 2 cables for the brakes going from the bar into the stem/fork. Way less cabling than on my TCR (both have internal cable routing on the frame obviously).
Good to know. I also like the synchro / semi-synchro & manual mode available on the DI2. Isn't the eTap customizable like the DI2? I thought it was at least as smart as the DI2.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:13 PM
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I’m still learning it but also keep in mind I have the older 2x11 red etap not the new 12 speed AXS. Likely they made improvements on the current version to keep up with Shimano.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
  • I did lose on the ability to have totally hidden cables, which the SLR6 has ...
See, for whatever reason, that's the biggest hnnnnnnggg for me when it comes to aero bikes. I want to buy one primarily for that. Not kidding.
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Old 09-11-19, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
See, for whatever reason, that's the biggest hnnnnnnggg for me when it comes to aero bikes. I want to buy one primarily for that. Not kidding.
I hear ya. We all have different priorities and things that are make-or-break for us.

Personally I couldn't justify paying considerably more for 2019-20 versions of aero bikes just for that. Any aero bikes in the same price range I paid, I'd have to give up the ENVE SES 5.6s with DT Swiss 240s (which are awesome) and likely go to a mechanical groupset as well (like with the SLR6). As much as I'd love complete internal routing, I'll take 2 brake cable lines (because the eTap is wireless) and keep the extra money, ENVEs and eTap. I'd hazard a guess that the wheels more than offset my aero loss on those two exposed cables.
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Old 09-11-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I hear ya. We all have different priorities and things that are make-or-break for us.

Personally I couldn't justify paying considerably more for 2019-20 versions of aero bikes just for that. Any aero bikes in the same price range I paid, I'd have to give up the ENVE SES 5.6s with DT Swiss 240s (which are awesome) and likely go to a mechanical groupset as well (like with the SLR6). As much as I'd love complete internal routing, I'll take 2 brake cable lines (because the eTap is wireless) and keep the extra money, ENVEs and eTap. I'd hazard a guess that the wheels more than offset my aero loss on those two exposed cables.
Yeah, the wheels are a very nice positive for your purchase, 'specially if you don't have a nice set already.
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Old 09-11-19, 01:10 PM
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I will never get over that seatpost on an aero frame, its like a cob goblr on steroids
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Old 09-11-19, 01:33 PM
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I do have some great Black Inc Thirties with CeramicSpeed bearings, but they’re 30mm deep. So these are my great deep wheels. The black incs make total sense on the TCR since that’s the light racing bike that I don’t want to get blown side to side by crosswinds. My other set of carbon wheels which I consider “good for the price but not as great as the Black Inc or ENVE” are the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3 which are 35mm deep. Just the added 5mm made the TCR more susceptible to crosswinds in a way the Black Incs don’t. I can’t imagine how much the TCR would be affected by winds with the ENVE 54mm and 63mm!
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Old 09-11-19, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
I will never get over that seatpost on an aero frame, its like a cob goblr on steroids
From the online pics I was like “wtf” and immediately planned to sub it out if I could. Seeing it in person though...I don’t mind them. Most of the post is aero and then it takes a 90 degree turn at the top for what I assume is more compliance for the seat. Similar, but much more pronounced, to the turn that my Cannondale SAVE carbon seatpost does (which is also very comfortable).
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Old 09-11-19, 02:59 PM
  #22  
Chi_Z
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but the new S3 disc have fully integrated cable and 100g lighter!!!
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Old 09-11-19, 03:10 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
but the new S3 disc have fully integrated cable and 100g lighter!!!
Yes. And twice what I paid. My wallet has limits.
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Old 09-11-19, 05:04 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
What a nice piece of art! I like the yellow / white combination. Canadian bike as well! How do you like the eTap? I'm guessing you have DI2 on your TCR - how would you compare both?
Oh one more thing I can add about the older model eTap, which is likely addressed in the AXS version: it doesn't prevent cross-chaining on the small front chainring. Whereas the Di2 won't let you use the two smallest cogs in the rear when you're in the small ring up front, the Red eTap will...which, when you uses the smallest cog on mine makes an annoying noise.

Not that I want to use it, it's just that sometimes I forget what gear I'm on and inadvertently switch to it.

What's ironic is that when I first learned my Di2 prevented the use of those gears I was like "who does Shimano think they are, telling me what gears I can't use?!?!" and now I realize it's actually a good feature.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:12 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
Originally sold a couple of years ago for 8800, got it for 5K out the door (meaning 4566 with the CA sales tax).
You know those wheels cost $3k, right? Without rotors or tires. I can't believe what a good deal you got. And in a Cervelo no less!
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