A couple of days before this year’s national triathlon championships in Magog, Que., I got a call from the folks at Louis Garneau who knew I would be at the event.
“We’re going to have Lionel Sanders’s bike in Magog this weekend – would you like a chance to ride it before we get it to him next week?”
Sunday morning I met with Louis Garneau’s Global Marketing Director, Pierre Perron, and took the bike out for a spin. I obviously christened the bike well – a little over a month later Sanders would ride it to the day’s fastest bike split at the Subaru Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mont-Tremblant.
While I was impressed with the older version of the Gennix tri frames, I did find those frames to be a stiff ride compared to some of the other bikes available on the market. My initial reaction to the Gennix TR1 was simple – within a few kilometres I was convinced that they’d got it all right this time around. The bike felt extremely responsive (in case you haven’t been there, you get to test climb- ing capabilities of a bike almost right away in Magog – there’s more than a few hills in the area) but also provided a smooth ride that I knew I wouldn’t have any qualms sitting on for hours at a time.
The new frame is made with RTCC2 carbon, shaped into a super-aero configuration thanks to Garneau’s Aero Leap technology. The lower rear seat stays provide excellent aerodynamics, but also keep the rear triangle a bit stiffer while helping to dampen road shock. The result is a bike that both climbs nicely and offers superb power transfer when you push hard on the pedals you really move forward. The front end of the bike offers similar performance and comfort, while also remaining extremely aerodynamic thanks to an integrated headset and hidden cables all the way through.
As aerodynamic as a bike might be, the rider accounts for the lion’s share of aerodynamic drag. With that in mind, the engineers at Garneau designed the bike to be extremely adjustable. (Perron is passionate about bike fit, so he no-doubt influenced some of this.) The front end of the bike uses a regular stem and bar so you can dial in just the right position and choose the handlebars that most suit your style of riding, while the seat post can be adjusted fore and aft by 120 mm. Sanders’s bike came equipped with one of my favourite bars, the P.R.O Missile. When I reviewed the bike it also had UCI legal fork – Perron pointed out that Sanders would eventually be riding a thicker fork that uses the same Garneau ABS TR1 monocoque carbon. Sanders’s bike was specced with Dura Ace Di2, so there’s little I can say about the components other than they’re impressive. With shifters both at the bar ends and near the brake levers, you can switch gears at will, regardless of your position. The super-fast and accurate shifting is especially appreciated on hilly and technical terrain. The Dura Ace C75 wheelset was light and every bit as responsive as the rest of the bike.
It didn’t take me long to be completely convinced that Garneau had dialled in an all-around tri frame that offers excellent aerodynamics, performance and comfort. This is a bike that will rip through a hilly, technical course in Mont-Tremblant as well as it will handle the longer, gradual climbs and flat sections along the Queen K in Hawaii.
You can get a version of the bike that will be very similar to the bike I reviewed for $6,600 – the Gennix TR1 Super Elite. That package comes with Di2 Ultegra components, Shimano WH-RS31 wheels and Zipp Vuka Alumina handlebars. There’s an elite version, too, which retails for $4,300, with the same wheels and handlebars, but with regular Ultegra components. If you want to create your own dream bike like the one Sanders has been ripping up 70.3 bike courses with, you can get the Gennix TR1 Tri frameset for $4,200. As we hammered up and down the hilly course in Magog, I congratulated Perron on his company’s latest tri bike. “Lionel won’t have any excuses,” I joked. Turns out he didn’t need any.–KM