26 October 2011

Review: Fezzari Fore CR5

I guess that it's about time that I got around to writing this review, seeing as I returned the bike almost a month ago...

I want to first say that I have no clue about "vertically stiff and laterally compliant", or anything of that sort. I just know if I like the way a bike rides, and I like the way the Fezzari Fore CR5 rode.

Color scheme for 2012 - flat black and silver. I like!

I'm jumping ahead of myself. I need to first start off with how I got the bike.

Fezzari is a direct retailer. You can't find their bikes in your local bike shop, you can only get them on-line, or from their retail storefront if you happen to live in or near Utah (which I do).

Unlike some on-line bike retailers, Fezzari asks a few more questions than what frame size you want - 9 questions to be exact. For their 23-Point Custom Setup, they ask your age, riding style, gender, height, weight, inseam, shoulder width, arm length, and torso length. Once they have that information, they will adjust or swap out components until they have a "semi-custom" fit for you. They also can custom-spec components for you. Want Campgnolo instead of SRAM or Shimano? Reynolds carbon wheelset instead of Mavic Kysrium SL's? Just ask.

Since I am local, I went in to their retail store/headquarters and met with Tyler directly. He asked me some questions, took some measurements and put me on the bike on a trainer to see how the fit was. After a couple of adjustments, I was ready to roll.

How did it ride? Like I said at the start of this post, I really liked it. My scale said that the bike weighed 15.75 lbs without pedals (58 cm), which is more than 5 pounds lighter than my current bike. I know what physics says - it doesn't matter whether the weight difference comes from you or the bike, but I swear that the bike just "felt" faster.

I really can't say anything negative about my experience. Once I was out on the road, I found that I needed to rotate the bars down just a little from the position they were set at on the trainer, but that is not unusual.

The "retail" price for the CR5 spec'd with SRAM Red and Mavic Kysrium SL's is $7580.00, but that isn't the price you will pay for it. The other benefit with dealing directly with the manufacturer is they give you a lower price. Their price is $4799.00. If cost is a concern, you can get essentially the same frame (same mold as the CR5 but a unidirectional carbon weave on it instead of a 3K weave. They have the same strength properties, the difference is the 3K weave is lighter) and Dura Ace/Ultegra components for $2999 by looking at the Fore CR3.

Go to fezzari.com and check out the different models available. Along with their road bike line, they have a full range of mountain bikes that include full-suspension and a 29'er.

I tried everything I could think of to convince my wife that I needed this bike, but to no avail. Go check it out, and start working on your own plan to convince your significant other that your life wouldn't be complete without a Fezzari in your stable.

Part of the Pony Express trail near my house.


Jason said...

Hi all,
Highly experienced road cyclist, mostly focused on road racing in Europe (90 to 150km races). Picked up Foré CR 3 as I was in the US riding for a few weeks and was in the market for a quality backup to my Giant TCR Advanced SL1. Now,I knew going in that I would be riding on 2 totally different categories of bikes and to be clear, my intention isn’t to compare the Giant to the Fezzari. That would be pointless as they clearly aren’t in the same category. I am simply sharing my impressions on this bike from the view of a demanding cyclist.

Now to start, as I said, I was in the market for a backup bike. One to be used during bad weather and when I am on weekend trips and don’t want to risk damaging my Giant putting it in and out of cars. As i said, this was a backup bike.

Firstly, how did I find this brand? I met a fellow rider one day (he was from Utah) who seemed to be happy with his CR 3 and spoke pretty highly of it (I didn’t get a chance to really try it as it is sold online and his was a 52 (I tend to ride a 58 or an L in Giant) and mounted with Shimano pedals vs. my Look ones). But he was happy and the bike looked good and was relatively “cheap” so I thought what the hell, I had a good year with a few grand left in the “fun” account.

Well, after putting on about 3,000KM, I wanted only one thing…. To desperately get rid of this wet noodle frame disguised with quality components as fast as humanely possible!

The components: No comment, good stuff all around!

The Frame: The frame lacks any and all forms of responsiveness. In the curves it feels….wet and heavy…. During accelerations it feels like half the effort is simply lost somewhere in a poorly designed frame…. lateral stiffness is a far off dream. It creaks, rattling and generally feels loose.

I am, admittedly, very demanding on my bikes. I do all my own mechanical work and can’t stand creaks, clicks and rattling… this little bugger just about drove me up a wall trying to simply quiet it down. I have never, EVER, spent so much time adjusting a bike in all my years of riding.
It was similar to what I imagine the owner of an old Jaguar must have felt each time they tried to start up that pretty car. As nice as it looked, it was battle that they would not win; it was going to breakdown and be disappointing no matter what.

That being said, maybe the “enginears” that came up with this had targeted it for more casual riders. Maybe this bike simply wasn’t built for a demanding cyclist... But I decided to post this as I truly believe that even a less demanding rider would be disappointed by the investment.

This is how I see it, if what you are after is a lot of carbon and no sole, my friend; have I got the girl for you. You know the type, a nicely built, pretty, curvy little thing. Only one problem, that dead in the eyes gaze. Still interested? Well let me introduce you!

In the end, I am forced to admit that I made a mistake. Even after thousands upon thousands of hours in a saddle, they got me…the Americans with their marketing machine got me. What’s the lesson? One that I have known since my youngest days but forgot on this go round… A quality frame wins over a nice pretty setup any day! Give me a top of the line frame built with 105 and ill ride it with passion and pride…give me a dressed up turd….well you ride a dressed up turd….

Verdict: SAY AWAY IF YOU WANT A REAL ROAD BIKE….if you want a Sunday fun day toy, and pretty parts are a must have…you have better options but you might be content.

Good luck and keep safe!

Unknown said...

I would like to say that I believe Jason who posted this comment is legit but his comments seem a little overly dramatic. Considering Fezzari does not even advertise or sell to local bike shops, I have a hard time buying into his "marketing machine" theory. My experience with the entire Fezzari company has been positive and I have had no issues with my CR3. To be clear, I am not an employee of Fezzari but would easily buy another one of their bikes again.

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