Choice. Value. Performance. Pick three.
A-D Bikes is the modern face of Austro-Daimler cycling and the company introducing the tt Carbon Limited to the global performance bicycle market. Cycling Pro Road Review Magazine caught up with President and Founder Fred Thomas at the 2014 Tour of the Catskills in early August and had a chance to ride the tt Carbon Limited and Talk A-D Bikes. “I wanted to create something completely new for the brand”, Mr. Thomas said as he warmed down from the opening stage ten mile out and back time trial. “When I was racing in the early eighties and nineties, time trial bikes as we know them today did not exist. Now they are ubiquitous and a necessary tool if you want to be competitive in a stage race. I wanted A-D to have a presence in this market.” Mr. Thomas finished the opening stage with a time of 21:14 which was fast enough for 6th place in the Pro 1 2 category (Thomas races for Downeast Racing out of Brunswick, Maine).
Cycling Pro Road Review Magazine took the tt Carbon Limited out the next day and rode the Tour of the Catskills time trial course. Riding this bike is like having a strong cup of coffee. Each pedal stroke stimulates the body, crystalizes the mind and lifts the spirit. It is everything the no nonsense performance cyclist will need in a time trial bike. We shot up the climbs, dropped down the descents and frequently found ourselves drifting along at thirty miles per hour on the flat sections. The TRP Aero brakes (which are included with the frameset) provided the control needed to negotiate the curves and the turn around. Mr.Thomas’ tt Carbon Limited is built up with 3T Brezza II aero bars, Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 ten speed mechanical drive train with 55T/42T chain rings, a Stages Power Meter, a Zipp 900 Disc tubular rear wheel and Zipp 808 Firecrest Tubular front wheel. The bike (size 50 cm) weighs 18 pounds (8.2 kg). The Champagne finish channels the original spirit of the brand and the A-D logo on the down tube differentiates the bike from anything on the market today. Mr. Thomas explains that the tt Carbon provided the inspiration for using the A-D logo on the down tube. “The logo fit nicely and it added some color. The market really liked it which is why it was introduced on the road and cross frames.”
The Limited Series is the same as the previous generation tt Carbon except that the seat tube water bottle mount has been dropped (to accommodate a curved seat post), the seat post collar has been strengthened and the A-D logo wraps around the down tube more comprehensively. It continues to be an easy job to build up the frame set. “No black magic or power tools are needed. The frame set loves mechanics!” Mr. Thomas quips. Unchanged features include the A-D 41TT carbon front fork, the variable position seat clamp, the BB86 bottom bracket, the TRP 922 brake set and the Cane Creek 110 Series headset.
Cycling Pro Road Review believes that until the industry changes its dogmatic belief in supply-push economics, the market for performance bikes will remain competitive and characterized by oversupply. Why buy an A-D when there is so much choice around? Mr. Thomas explains. “These frame sets are inexpensive premium products that are well-made, comfortable and a blank slate upon which the consumer can create a masterpiece. If you want to ‘ride it now’, you go to the Big Three. If you want something inexpensive, there’s eBay. If expense is not a factor, there are the boutique brands. But if you are like most people, you want choice, value and performance. That is what A-D provides and reinforces with life time-warranties and customer support programs. Choice. Value. Performance. Pick three.” Cycling Pro Road Magazine believes that Mr. Thomas has the right idea and that he has delivered on all three points with the tt Carbon Limited while respecting the history of the brand. The next day, while Mr. Thomas was grinding through Stage 2 of the Tour of the Catskills (a 70-mile circuit race), we took the bike out for a longer ride. It went by very fast.
A-D Bikes runs a standard crash replacement program in addition to the refreshingly simple and innovative A-D Bikes Cash or Credit program. This allows the original owner of an A-D frame set to return it in exchange for a credit towards a new frame set or a fair market value cash payment. This means that A-D owners can easily extract the remaining value of their A-D frame set without having to deal with Craig’s List or eBay. The full line of A-D Limited Series road, time trial and cyclocross frame sets are available at The Chain Station in Brunswick, Maine (Please ask for Jeff Yingling). The frame sets can also be obtained through Fit Werx 2 in Peabody, Massachusetts (Please ask for Marty Miserandino). For customers outside of New England, the frame sets can be obtained through the A-D Bikes Shopify Store. Please call Fred Thomas or Cycling Pro Road Review Magazine directly on 207 221 5151 with any questions. Dealer enquires are welcomed.
By Fred Thomas
Cycling Pro Road Review Magazine