Words by Alan
I've gone through alot of bikes in the last 4 years. Frames made from alloy, steel, carbon, in both race and endurance geometries. The thrill of sitting down in front of a spreadsheet and meticulously planning the build, the countless hours spent trawling, shopping and researching, obsessively weighing each part, was all part of the process (and arguably, the most "fun" part).
I've also come to realise that I am rather fickle. Once the bike is assembled and fit adjusted...the honeymoon period is quickly over. All too familiar niggles invade my thoughts..."I wish I didn't have to run so many spacers"..."the top-tube is slightly too long"..."there's too much/not enough seatpost showing"...eventually ruining the experience for me. Yes, I know it's vain and ultimately may of had little impact on my actual on-bike performance (or lack there-of).
So the chase continued, seeking the elusive, intangible connection between rider and bike. Well, 16 bikes later, I think I may have found "the one".
Cue, the Baum Corretto - iconic Australian made titanium race bike.
This titanium frame actually started out life nearly a decade ago, custom built for a customer of exactly the same height and weight as me. This particular Corretto has a shorter top-tube with a taller head-tube, further elongated by the Chris King headset. Kind of endurance-esque, and combined with the high trail and compliant properties of titanium, this translates into a supremely comfy bike. However - it's definitely no slouch. The optimal chainstay length produces instant traction on climbs and rewards with immediate power transfer.
The Campagnolo Chorus groupset feels right at home on this bike - and its my first foray with the Italian gruppo. It's difficult to explain to someone who hasnt had the pleasure of the Ultrashift experience yet. Its reminiscent of driving stick-shift on a sport car or launching missiles from a fighter jet joystick - it just feels massively satisfying to dump gears with the thumb shifter. The solid engagement click, the tactile feel, the curvy ergonomics...all works together to exude bucketloads of character, every time you grab the hoods.
Cockpit-wise I've opted for the MCFK Carbon UD seatpost (143g) with a 150mm Berk List saddle (106g). Incredible compliance, totally solid, yet light as a feather. This is probably the best upgrade to simultaneously drop bike weight and increase comfort. For bartape I've opted for the Burgh "Bokeh" bartape which I think works well with the black & white theme. King Cages in titanium (34g) was the obvious bottle cage choice, matching the raw Ti finish nicely.
For tyres, I'm currently experimenting with 25mm Schwalbe Pro Ones (280g) setup tubeless on Enve 2.2 SES clinchers (1416g). Super plush at 80psi (front & rear). Kind of like floating on...air? The reduced rolling resistance is especially noticable when closely following another wheel. Each tyre has 30mL of Orange Seal regular sealant sloshing around in there as well, adding very minimal weight.
To slow me down, (not that I need any help with that) I'm running previous-gen MK2 eeBrakes (170g). Plenty of stopping power and looks right at home with this build.
Total weight including Speedplay pedals, a hair under 6.8kg.
Riding buddies often ask "Are you done with the changes? Are you happy with the modifications"? The answer is both no...and...yes. I am happy with the Baum Corretto, but the modifications, tweaks and adjustments continue to be part of the ongoing fun for me. It's the perfect test bench for my weight weenie obsession.