The rider’s ride
Fiftyone, £5,800 (frameset), approx £11,000 as tested, fiftyonebikes.com
This is a custom carbon rig built precisely to my measurements by Dublin framebuilder Fiftyone. As you might expect, I got on famously with it, especially the paint, which Fiftyone designed with input from me and which drew admiring looks all over Tucson. The stiff and racy brief was met with low slung geometry, short fork trail and handpicked tubing from Enve and Deda, and the sum of these parts was a bike that put me in a naturally aggressive position, felt ready to deliver plenty of power and swivelled on the proverbial sixpence.
It did everything well, but really came into its own on the long, swooping descent of Mount Lemmon. With 28mm Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres the bike produced oodles of grip, the Enve wheels eyewatering speed, and with the paddle-style shifting of Sram etap the Fiftyone felt more race-car than race-bike. However, the real star here was the frame itself, which had wonderful balance and poise, and was a joy to spend all day pedalling.