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Blue Triad SL Review
article & images by Nick Salazar
Nov 20, 2011  hits 106,597

As a whole, the frameset is well-rounded.

Like the rest of the bike, the Triad SL's frame is all about ease of maintenance. Starting up front, internal liners make it very easy to build up a bike. Just put cable housing in one end, and it pops out the other end like magic. Both brakes are exposed, so there's nothing in your way when making an adjustment. And the BB30 bottom bracket means you can use just about any crank out there without issue. If you want to use non-BB30 cranks, you just get a simple adapter. I prefer the ones from Wheels Manufacturing, and they make them for Shimano and GXP cranks. Of course, there are a lot of great BB30 cranks out there too, like the Lightning SL.

The bike uses horizontal dropouts. I prefer the easier-to-use vertical variety, but once you get the hang of using the horizontal ones, you'll be able to change wheels just fine. The seatpost clamp is a two-bolt system as used on bikes like the Cervelo P3, the Specialized Shiv, and others. It's an easy and sure method of clamping the post down, though I'm starting to prefer the simplicity of single-bolt top-tube wedge systems as found on the TM01 and Speed Concept.

The ride is wonderful. The Blue offers a slightly more compliant ride than the ultra-stiff Speed Concept I'm used to, and this was a welcome change. The front end and BB areas still feel like they offer a lot of torsional stiffness, so perhaps the compliance comes from the difference in tube shapes or layup. In any case, it's a nice ride.

Nitpicks

Cabling is easy, but if you want Di2, you have to order that specific frameset.

If there's a drawback here, it's that the tube shapes are perhaps not as advanced as on some other bikes. Offerings from brands like Specialized and Cervelo seem to have had more design maturity. That is, their tube shapes have had a bit more time to be refined and developed. What we see on those bikes are typically shapes closer to 50/50 airfoils - tubes with blunt front and rear sections, that handle a little better in crosswinds. That's not to say that the Blue shapes aren't fast, and I certainly haven't done any quantitative analysis, but I would guess that there are good reasons that the engineer-heavy manufacturers have generally shifted away from pointy teardrop cross sections. Regardless, the Blue still rides very well, and handles just fine in the wind.

The other gripe I have about the frameset is that, while the cables are quite easy to route, you have to choose your drivetrain before buying the frameset. As with many manufacturers, there are separate frames for Di2 versus cabled setups. That's annoying, and means you can't upgrade a cabled bike to Di2, you'd need a brand new frame for that. Blue says they're working on a revision to integrate both systems into one frameset, but as of now, you have to be careful and know what you're buying.


Tags » blue,  frames,  triadsl
  • The Blue Triad SL, in all its glory.
  • The Triad SL's bayonet fork is easy to wrench.  Just a single M6 bolt locks it down, and the aero spacers work just like standard spacers on a round fork.
  • The aero spacers are a nice compromise between usability and aerodynamics.  Still, it's generally a good idea to pick a bike that fits you without many spacers, if any.
  • The aerobar is a nice bit of kit indeed.
  • Minimal bolts on the bar: one (or two) for each arm cup, and one for each extension.  Compare that to fourteen bolts for the Speed Concept.
  • The underside of the bar is nice and clean, no junk hanging out.
  • As usual, my first order of business was to slap on my trusty Dash Tri.7 saddle.
  • The rear end is angular and mean-looking.
  • Another shot of the rear cluster.
  • Just a single bolt grabs the extensions - this is a very nice bar to work with.
  • The rear brake cable housing is lined internally, making it SUPER easy to install.
  • The rear derailleur cable is internally-lined as well for easy installation, but you have to order a frame specific to either cabled systems or Di2 - beware if you plan to upgrade in the future.
  • BB30 means just about any crank will fly on this machine, though you may need an adapter.
  • The bike looks great equipped with SRAM Red and a 54-tooth chainring.
  • You can see the large shim in the background - normally this would be trimmed, but Blue asked that I didn't cut the fork down any further, so it stayed on.  The shim itself is what gets compressed by the headset - not the stem - so it was a simple matter to ride slammed without cutting the fork.  That's a nice feature to have if you're still fine-tuning your position.
  • Add on a slim brake like this rare Hooker SL, and the frontal profile is as clean as they come.
  • I was loaning this brake from Heath Dotson of HDcoaching.net, just for the photos.  It would be nice if there were a more readily-available brake of this kind ... and I think I'm going to look into producing one - stay tuned!
  • It looks lean and mean, and it rides that way too.
  • The Blue Triad SL
  • Another shot of the Hooker SL brake that I borrowed from Heath Dotson of HDcoaching.net
  • The fork uses a standard 1-inch headset and bearings, so it's easy to find replacement parts if necessary.
  • Blue hides the rear brake beneath the bottom bracket, a move that many manufacturers are doing these days.  This one isn't as sleekly integrated as the brakes on the TM01, Speed Concept, or Felt DA, but this is exactly what Specialized has done with their rear brake for years, and it's worked out well for them.
  • Just a fun little shot I took when dialing in my position on the Blue.  It was a great bike to ride, and I was sad to see it go out the door.

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