Kevin Mackinnon has a first look at the Ceepo Katana
Published Wednesday, August 4, 2010
As the official bike of Ironman, we're seeing more and more Ceepo frames in Ironman transition areas. It didn't take long for me to realize why after I got on the Katana, a bike that manages to mix comfort and aerodynamics in spectacular fashion.
First things first, though – if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to be bombarded with questions when you’re moving around a race site, the Katana is definitely not the bike for you. Armed with a Katana frame specced with Shimano’s amazing Di2 gruppo (more on that here on Ironman.com next week), I first found out that this bike was going to garner some attention at Ironman Malaysia last February. Just walking through the lobby of the host hotel turned into a 10-minute venture as athletes stopped to look at the bike and ask me questions.
What initially strikes people when they see the Katana is the down tube, which is razor thin and extremely deep (called a high aspect ratio in technical jargon) – which inevitably leads to comments like the one I’ve heard more than a few times: “you could cut through a steak with that frame.” That high aspect ratio means the bike isn’t legal for UCI races, but unless you’re planning on hitting the Tour de France or any other major stage races next year, that’s probably not going to be a worry.
We all know, though, that looks don’t mean a thing (yeah, right!) – what we all really care about is performance. The bottom line there is simple: the Katana’s performance is equal to its looks. Whether you’re down in the aero position pounding along flat or rolling terrain, or taking on some steeper, more challenging climbs, you’ll be equally as happy with the way the Katana rides. That’s probably because of the 40T high modulus hand laid carbon frame and the full carbon fork that manages to smooth out road shock while also providing outstanding power transfer from the pedals to the drive train. The Ceepo engineers have also managed to balance the frame geometry so that it remains very stable (and comfortable) for long rides down on the drops, but remains responsive enough to be equally at home on more technical rides.
Aerodynamics are enhanced by, of course, that huge down tube (the most aero in the industry, according to the folks at Ceepo), the full aero seat post and the rear brake which is hidden behind the bottom bracket. (One drawback with the Katana is that it, like all bikes with a similarly hidden rear brake, can be a pain when you need to adjust the rear brake.)
Suffice it to say, the Katana has been a real hit – both with the people who keep checking it out and with the man who’s had the chance to put it through its paces.
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll expand on our look at the Katana – our test ride has seen the bike take on everything from the rougher roads in New Zealand to the wind-swept Ironman Lanzarote course to some high speed descents and lung-busting climbs in the French Alps.
You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org