You thought it was simply a matter of going fast, but what sort of fast do you want? For instance, the Look 486 is an out and out sprinter's weapon made for that dash to the line. To that end it is built along the lines of a Chieftain tank with stiffness and (relative) heft to match. At the other end of the scale are the Specialized Roubaix Pro or the Trigon EX3, that get you to the end of that long road by putting the accent on comfort and lightness. In the middle are the great all rounders like the Trek Madone. There are of course those that flout the boundaries of categorisation like the Cannondale Synapse, a bike whose roots are in the comfort end of things but which allies that to outright performance. On the face of it Storck's Scenario CD1.0 is a single-minded piece of sprinting kit in the extreme. And yet, Storck have set out to offer the stiffest frame money can buy but without the weight or discomfort normally associated with such a design.
Marcus Stock began his involvement in bicycles by developing the Klein bikes in Germany and pioneered the use of rear facing dropouts that are still used on Klein's (and indeed on some of Storck's own bikes) today. More recently he has developed his own range of aluminium and carbon frames headed by the sub kilo C0.9 model.
By the time you read this, the very limited edition 10th Anniversary paint finish you see here could be very thin on the ground, if not sold out. The upside to this is that the standard gloss carbon black finish is a hundred pounds cheaper. At 1226g the CD 1.0 frame is only a few grams lighter than the less complex C1.2 and C1.1 models and it shares its sibling's relaxed frame geometry. But the use of higher modulus carbon, super-sized seat and chainstays and differences in the lay-up of the materials set it apart. The entire monococque (and it is a true one-shot moulding with no jointing of tubes) is of large diameter section to reduce torsion and the head-tube is the most heavily reinforced tube on the frame. This tube and the stays are wrapped with random weave high modulus carbon to maximise stiffness in these key areas.
The frame geometry is familiar for a Storck; a long top-tube with a relatively relaxed set of numbers - the long trail for example, making for stable steering. The rear-facing dropouts are already used on Storck's off-road frames and are considerably stiffer and stronger than the usual forward facing type, but they have not been met with universal approval as the chain has to be hooked backwards and over the cassette when withdrawing the wheel - this was complicated on the CD 1.0 by the need to hold the skewer over to the right-hand side to clear the rear mech when removing the wheel.
The 100 per cent carbon Stiletto aero fork is 75g more than the normal Stiletto and each fork blade sports a 'fairing' with an almost imperceptible joint. A neat bung and carbon top cap keeps the headset components properly adjusted.
First impressions are of smooth refinement that is very similar to the C1.1 but with a tad more sense of security from the stiff back end that you can feel when cornering hard. Every Storck that we've ridden is high on the fun factor and where this frame really scores is the way that it turns an everyday training ride into a race - we found ourselves trying to beat the traffic lights before they changed to red on several occasions and the sheer sense of speed makes you feel that every ounce of energy is being converted into forward motion.
According to UK distributors Poshbikes, the frame's efficiency was put to the test by Storck's development team. When they took it to a velodrome and fitted it with power measuring devices, they found the test riders were able to output 3 watts more power to the back wheel than they were on the massively constructed track specific carbon BH bikes.
The short head-tube allows the rider to adopt a more aggressive stance for tackling uphill gradients and the long top-tube makes it easy for the rider to adopt an aero riding position for greater speed.
With the focus on beefing up the rear end and bottom bracket stiffness we were fully expecting a harsh ride but we were pleasantly surprised by the level of comfort through the seat of the pants. However, the low riding position caused one of our leaner built riders to say that it felt harsh through the handlebars.
Previous experience with Storcks led us to expect the long trail to numb the senses when climbing out of the saddle. But we were surprised to find that the inherent stiffness of the front end serves to enhance the feeling of speed when climbing, to the point where it actually feels lighter than it really is. Point the Storck downhill and it is hard to imagine any other similar weight bike that instills as much confidence. The stiffness of the Storck's back end really comes into play and keeps the wheels perfectly in line through fast switchbacks.
Last year Shimano completely revised their flagship Dura-Ace groupset so it should be futureproof for some time to come. Refinements aside, there are still some niggles that remain from the original design - namely that it is possible to accidentally nudge the brakes while changing to a larger cassette cog and the pewter finish is no more than a varnish coat that chips easily when brushed against a kerb. In all other respects the Dura-Ace kit fitted here works very well - we think this is due in part to the stiffness of the gear hanger to which the rear mech is attached.
Distributors Poshbikes can do a range of finishing kit options to suit all tastes, and the kit used here consists of the very cool-looking Tange carbon seatpost in the unusual 31.8mm diameter, and a Tange 11cm oversized aluminium stem. The Storck aluminium handlebars are of the anatomic type but the downward bend happens rather too gradually for the Shimano STI levers, so we would change these to Bontrager or Ritchey for more comfort with the hands rested on the hoods. We do however like the flat tops of these handlebars that make a comfortable perch for the hands on those long arduous alpine climbs. When sprinting there is little if any flexibility in the handlebars and stem, so these components are a good match for the stiffness of the frame and forks. The Fizik Arione saddle gives plenty of room for those who like to move fore and aft, though try before you buy.
The Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL was for many years Mavic's flagship model but now plays second fiddle to the Ksyrium ES. As is the case for any high-end bicycle, the Storck's performance can only be as strong as its weakest link. Also, wheels are a vital performance component, largely determining how a bike feels to climb with or accelerate. Happily then, the Ksyrium SL is a proven stiff and light-to-middleweight wheel package with a good reliability record. They're also wholly appropriate for any rider who see him/herself as handy in the sprint. As we feel this bike is going to be bought by racers intending to do just that with it, we feel some will be better off with hand-built wheels, as crash-replacement rims and spokes are both cheaper and more readily available.
Tyre choice is a largely personal thing for the experienced elite rider and many will prefer to stick with a tried and trusted formula such as the Vittoria or Continental range. But some less well known brands, such as the Schwalbe used here, are emerging as highly competent performers come wet or dry. Their 23mm Stelvio has a Kevlar beaded carcass and while no better than the Continental Force/Attack combination, grips on damp surfaces and during our short time with them collected no cuts to the tread.
The CD1.0 is a bit of a street sleeper in that it needs a powerful rider to bring its true character to life. So its incredible stiff ness could well be overkill for the majority of riders given that the C1.1 and C1.2 are already the best handling bikes we've come across. But if you prioritise the ultimate in craftsmanship, attention to detail and the added strength of rear facing dropouts then the extra cost is justifiable.