A fast bike for young rid­ers

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - ROAD TEST -

II have al­ways been into bik­ing. When I was six, I rode on my own 18" Red­line bike from Toronto to Mon­treal. I’ve been rac­ing both moun­tain and road bikes ever since. I have a Felt with 24" wheels that is a bit too small when I want to keep up with my dad on his 700c-wheel bike. I also have a Cervélo, which has a small frame, but its 700c wheels make it feel a bit too big some­times. I can race my Cervélo but I’m not al­ways con­fi­dent rid­ing it fast in cor­ners.

In Au­gust, mec lent me an mec Col XS road bike so I could take it through the typ­i­cal trails and routes I reg­u­larly ride and write a re­view about it. mec was even nice enough to give me a free pro bi­cy­cle fit. It was awe­some. The fit­ter put tape on dif­fer­ent parts of my legs to mea­sure some an­gles and make the bike fit me per­fectly. I learned a lot about the op­ti­mal po­si­tion to be in when rid­ing a race bike.

I took the bike to the Lau­ren­tian Moun­tains in Que­bec and rode up some hills, along some flats and on gravel and grass. The bike is re­ally light so it’s ideal for go­ing up hills and tak­ing off from a stop. The bike only weighs 9.18 kg, un­like some de­part­ment-store bikes that weigh around 20 kg so kids don’t want to go any­where on them. With the Col XS, kids who like to go far won’t get as tired. The alu­minum frame and the car­bon fork make this bike so light that kids can go very far and very fast. The frame is al­most the size of one for 24" wheels, but it fits a 650b rims. The Alex R500 rims with the Vit­to­ria Ru­bino MEC Col XS tires made me feel well in con­trol. The bike is strong and com­fort­able on gravel. The sleek Selle Royal Sirio sad­dle made it very com­fort­able. The Cork Gel grip tape also made the ride smooth on my hands. I think you could even use this bike as a cy­clocross bike. I like how the mec Col XS looks. It has a cool black-and-grey paint job. The head tube is ta­pered just like the high-end (and very ex­pen­sive) race bikes that they use in races like the Tour de France. The rims are slick with all black stain­lesss­teel spokes. The cranks are a match­ing black. They are only 165-mm long, shorter than my Cervélo’s 170-mm cranks and per­fect for the length of my legs. My dad says this is im­por­tant so that my legs don’t come up into my chest when I’m ped­alling. The Col XS is a great bike for kids be­cause what most kids do is get to a big gear and start stomp­ing. They might go fast for a minute or two, but they get tired push­ing that big gear and can’t keep rid­ing for a long time. On this bike, there are no huge gears. The 16 gears give kids a big va­ri­ety of gears or speeds they will like. The big­gest chain­ring is 46-tooth so I can still spin the cranks even on the hard­est gear. One other thing I al­ways like to know is what gear I’m in. With the Shi­mano Claris brake levers and shifters, kids can see the lit­tle arrow that moves when they switch gears – much safer than looking down at their chains while they’re rid­ing. The brakes are very strong and tight. Some­times they are a bit hard to pull, but they are still very strong so the bike stops right away. There is no real mod­u­la­tion in the brakes. You ei­ther pull them and stop or you don’t touch them. They are very sen­si­tive. If you get into the drops and squeeze them, it is a lot eas­ier. You’ll be able to just slow your­self down and not stop com­pletely. The mec Col XS is great. With it, I can keep up with my dad. But, at the same time, the bike doesn’t con­trol me. I con­trol it.

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