Inside Triathlon assistant editor Susan Grant reviews the RC8 road bike ($6,300 with Shimano Dura-Ace 7900) from Blue Competition Cycles.
You haven’t really lived until you’ve felt the purr of a sport car’s engine, right before gunning it on a straight, traffic-free country road. I don’t care what your day job is: librarian, nurse, ditch digger—when you’re behind the wheel of a piece of fine machinery you feel like the queen of the world. Revving the engine on a Volvo or a minivan just doesn’t give you that same thrill.
It’s the same with a full carbon bike. You can tell just lifting it off your bike rack that it’s lightweight and sleek build was built for speed, and if you add in top-of-the-line components, then you know you’re in for one hell of a spin. Blue’s RC8 road bike, which comes in both a men’s and women’s specific build, is truly a sports car on two wheels. I tested the RC8 with a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, and was immediately impressed at how much control and speed could be generated from such a lightweight frame (roughly 1080g). It can also be built with SRAM Red, SRAM Rival, Shimano Dura-Ace 7800 or Shimano Ultegra SL.
The Aerus Carbon Wing handlebars feature a wide handle bar grip and an Aerus integrated headset and stem. The women’s specific build has a shorter stem and narrower handlebars to match the narrower shoulders and shorter torso of the female form. The handlebars are especially responsive during those quick, out-of-the-saddle jaunts up hills, and with that much stability in the front along with powerful components propelling me forward, I had no trouble dropping a few riders heading up the hill beside me.
The Aerus Composites C4SL carbon fork with carbon dropouts offer the stiffness you need on long road rides, along with the vibration-absorption power that rivals that of the Specialized Roubaix—minus any of the flex that can make steep descents and sharp turns sketchy.
Aesthetically, the RC8 is definitely a head-turner. The blue, white and black frame stands out in a good way; with sleek design marks and color pop in all the right places. I give Blue extra props for staying away from the flower motifs on their women’s specific build. The only major color difference is a slightly lighter blue than the one pictured here.
You don’t always get what you pay for with full-carbon bikes, because the design doesn’t always perform, especially on longer rides. Blue took the time to not just throw carbon into a bike to jack up the price; they made sure the frame was stiff and road chatter absorbing as well. Add in the great components and women-specific options, and the RC8 is a Ferrari just waiting for the perfect country road.