Cobbled climbs that kick to 20%, often-horrible weather, some 16,000 participants and decades upon decades of cycling tradition — the Tour of Flanders Sportive is an incredible experience for any cyclist. I always jump at the chance to tackle the same stony bergs as the pros in the citizen’s ride, the day before the marquee event. But on a single-ring bike? It didn’t seem like a good idea.
To launch its new 404 Disc wheels, Zipp provided a few journalists with bikes built with sister-brand SRAM’s Force 1x group. I made a sour face and told SRAM’s road brand director Chris Zigmont I was skeptical.
For the record, I think ‘one-by’ makes good sense for certain 700c applications like cyclocross, city bikes and some so-called adventure bikes in mostly flat areas of the world. But to ride it on the slippery, steep climbs and subsequent descents and flats? I wouldn’t have picked it.
I have ridden plenty of road bikes with 404s, 1x systems and disc brakes — but never one with all three
The Cannondale Synapse on the other hand seemed a sensible choice, with its bump-absorbing 25.4mm seatpost and longish endurance geometry.
New-school tech meets old-stone tradition
The easy sell: Zipp 404 Disc and hydraulic brakes
The hard sell: SRAM Force1x drivetrain
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