Last summer we got the word that a deal was struck and MWInc would ride Blue Competition Cycles' new carbon Norcross for the '09 cyclocross campaign and I was immediately stoked when I heard JP had a hand in the design and even more when I saw the secret spy pics on various cycling websites. I was looking forward to my first 'carbon' rig and seeing if I could really tell any significant differences in the aluminums. I jumped at the chance to buy a 'complete' bike as I heard only positive reviews on the Sram Force componentry (and turns out it is as good as advertised).
It was like Christmas the day the box showed up on my doorstep and I could wait to build it up and take my first ride. Immediately out of the box I was digging the sexy design and paint scheme; loved the metallic sparkle in the red and the carbon 'mesh' look - very unique. Build up was quick and easy and out the door I went.
With the first (and I do mean first) stroke I knew this thing was a missile as the response was instantaneous and explosive. I cruised over to my routine practice course to run it through the paces and I could not believe how tight, stiff, and agile Blue built it. I was cleaning corners and climbs effortlessly that used to give me fits and accelerations were never so easy before.
Racing was the same as my initial training ride; I was more aggressive since the Norcross was so much more responsive and tight then other bikes I had ridden. It did get tiresome (not really) to constantly hear how cool it looked from others; the cross you will bear for riding a Blue.
I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to this angle or that lateral stiffness and all the jargon, but I do know compared to my C'dale and Orbea, I have never had such a responsive machine in my stable; not to mention how it is freaking lite!
Ok, so with all the good things must come a couple that could be changed - rear tire chainstay clearance. At several events I ran 34mm tires and current design leaves little (to no) mud clearance and the muck quickly built up on the 'shelf' where the chainstays and bottom bracket area come together. Another issue is the wider than normal spacing between the rear dropouts. Hopefully Blue will tighten that up in the future. Lastly, after the 'cross season wrapped up I broke down the bike for total cleaning, lubing, and rebuild and noticed a slight crack in the seat tube/collar area. I could not tell if it was an issue with the paint or carbon frame so Mike got the ball rolling with Blue to address the issue. My frame is now in the Norcross, GA headquarters for review and I have to say they are awesome to deal with and very timely so far on all aspects of my issue; that says a lot about a company.
So I guess now I have to give it some kind of rating; let's go with 9 out of 10 neon jumpsuits (10 being a Crusty Day-Glow one-piecer). On a serious note: I am telling anyone and everyone to check out Blue before buying another brand as I can't imagine a better rig out there. Great job Blue Competition Cycles!