This week's Three for Thursday column on bike culture, bikes and gear as celebrated by local shops focuses on FASTER in Scottsdale, Arizona. Almost more of a testing and training facility than a conventional bike shop, FASTER doesn't just want to improve your bike, their folks want to improve your performance, too – legally, of course.
FASTER opened its doors in August 2012 with the aims of being "the most comprehensive cycling performance center in the world," according to company president James Kramer. In addition to housing a high-end retail boutique and service area, FASTER's walls also surround a 2-D/3-D bike fitting area (armed with proprietary software), an athlete recovery area outfitted with compression boots and hot/cold water dunk tanks, a metabolic testing clinic, plus locker rooms and shower facilities.
Does your local shop have a wind tunnel?
The highlight, however, is the in-house wind tunnel. That's right – a bike shop with its own wind tunnel. Many shops and fitters can tweak your position for what they think will be a lower-drag result but FASTER will actually be able to produce numbers to back up those claims, too.
1. What's the coolest thing in your shop?
"[There are] lots of new and cool items coming in all the time like Kask Bambino helmets and 3T Integra Limited stems this week," said Kramer. "But the coolest thing most people would probably say is a bike on our retail floor: a new Cervélo P5 with custom Shimano Di2 hidden battery installation and Rotor time trial cranks with a Quarq power meter setup."
This is a Cervélo P5 with a Rotor TT chainring set-up. FASTER's bike also features a Quarq power meter and Di2
That Cervélo's latest P5 aero machine is such a draw doesn't come as a surprise. Cervélo debuted its time trial flagship back in January 2012 to much fanfare, and by many accounts the company's aerodynamic claims seem to be holding water.
2. What are you lusting after right now?
"Personally? I’m lusting after a Campagnolo Bora Ultra aero carbon crankset (that accepts Rotor Q Rings)," Kramer admitted. "Customers would probably say they are lusting after Garmin power pedals, and for too long now."
Campy's Bora Ultra crank has caught Kramer's eye
We can't help but agree with Kramer on the latter as Metrigear – as the company was once known – first showed their innovative power measuring Vector pedal design at Interbike in 2009. Garmin has since acquired the company and transformed it into a Look KéO-compatible platform but after several missed deadlines for an actual release, it's been nothing but crickets.
3. What's your best-selling item at the moment?
"For accessories and components, probably Rotor cranks and Quarq power meters," Kramer said. "Clothing-wise, anything Castelli."
When SRAM purchased Quarq, it made the power meters made in South Dakota more readily available