Kross, or a bike for the people
When I hear the word Kross, the same unfortunate visions appear in front of my eyes: a dude in a sweatshirt riding crazy speed to the top of the bike path (although Panda claims it is Giant's domain), Critical Mass, creaking highlanders on the sidewalks, colleague asking, or how I am looking for a bicycle for PLN 1200, this model will be suitable and so on. This is a harmful sentence, because I do not know if you noticed, but in the MTB and Enduro category, the company is already entering the first league in the world. If you are interested in this topic, I invite you to the blog 1Endurowhere there is a good entry about them. Majka Włoszczowska's medal seems to confirm this - the Polish athlete, on the Polish bicycle, on the second stage of the Olympic podium is a hit. The creation of the Le Grand brand and throwing out city bikes is one of many steps towards changing the image to a more sporting one. The unfortunate opinion about the company is simply the effect of scale, because Kross's annual production exceeds 300,000 bicycles per year (sometime 900,000). Every 5th bike sold in Poland comes from Przasnysz. There they are also designed, tested and assembled. Good.
Are road bikes able to achieve similar success? Thanks to Kross Media Days (however it is explained) in Świeradów-Zdrój I had the chance to find out about it. I appreciate the fact that I was invited as a blogger and not as a journalist. A weekend in an expensive hotel with SPA is always worth traveling this thousand kilometers by car, and if you can not ride your bike and talk to people who are responsible for creating these machines ... who would refuse?
(...) in a bike for 16 thousand. PLN are already the best components that are produced in the world. The rest is fun for the jeweler, not for the cyclist. You can, of course, afford extravagant accessories in the style of a gold-plated steering wheel with diamonds or Svarowski crystals in the frame. But why?
~ Zbigniew Sosnowski, founder of Kross, book "Hunters of millions. Decalogue of an entrepreneur ", December 2012
Entry level, or numerology
I respect companies that can name bikes in such a way that I can figure out where in a quality ladder a given model is located. Kross did it in the simplest possible way: the road is now called Vento and is marked with numbers from 1.0 to 9.0, where one is total cheapness, and 9.0 is full grazing. The first 4 are aluminum, with a recreational position, another 5 carbon and with a slightly more sporty character. In each subsequent change the color and accessories change, the rest is similar, at least visually.
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to run on basic models. Maybe it's better, I do not know if I could objectively evaluate the bikes a few kilos heavier than the ones I have the pleasure to ride recently. One thing is for sure, they do not make the price of crazy, and to conquer the market - they should. Let's take such a 4.0, a classic bike for a completely beginner, equipped with a full Tiagra - catalog price 4000 PLN (although thanks to numerous promotions, it is cheaper to buy). For 200 PLN more, we can buy almost a kilogram of lighter Canyon Endurace, also on Tiagra. Vento 6.0, i.e. such entry-level for chase: full 105, list price: PLN 7600, but again - for PLN 200 less is Canyon Ultimate CF SL weighing less than half a kilogram. Just in case, I will not mention bikes like the B'Twin Ultra 700 AF, which for less than 4,000 offer a very good highway of 105.
This begs the question: how will it be with the top models. Will the demanding target of the road brothers accept the brand that has so far been associated mainly with the city and the area, or whether they will be targeted at the customer who enters the store and buys a bicycle recommended by the seller.
I am Mariusz Max Kolonko and I say how it is ... At most no one will ever visit me again.
Vento, or: "hey, do you have a moment? Take, make some road bike "
The fact that the company treats waxes after neglect can be seen immediately. In fact, you do not even have to look under tents (under which you can wait from 90 bikes for off-road driving, two electric and from 6 highways), just look around the hotel. People with muscle atrophy in the upper body are very few here. They are dominated by those in loose shorts instead of a yajka. Well, at least I will not have to fight anyone in the morning for these few bikes. It is vain to look for detailed information about this framework in the catalog or hear about it at the presentation - until today I do not have such basic information as the weight. But that's nothing, let's focus on the most important - look, drive and action. At first glance, some strange solutions are striking in the top models. Unfortunately, the first thing I see is the Vento TR 4.0 triathlon. Because of the mountains around me, I do not even get on him.
The specification is cool, because in PLN 10,000 we have a carbon frame, a lemond and an Ultra, but ... the highest time trial model can not be sold on low rims! It neither looks nor has a logical justification. Even at the expense of weight. This does not apply only to Kross, but unfortunately there is an entry about it. I give you a look at the picture, because I try to make the blog aesthetic, so I just link to it manufacturer's website and we will go to the creme de la cream, that is:
(...) mine and your generation should not spend your earned money. Money is needed to do something bigger.
~ Zbigniew Sosnowski, founder of Kross in the book "Hunters of millions"
Vento 9.0 - with a shield or shield?
The highest model, with the catalog price of PLN 23,000, well thick. If you have enough, then according to the advice of Mr. Sosnowski, you better not buy it. Fortunately, the approaches to life are different and instead of investing and planning, you can sometimes afford to debauchery. Vento 9.0 on Kross's website it is described as equipment on DA Di2, meanwhile, both in the specification and in the picture, it is on the Reda 22 with hydraulic disc brakes and this is the version I see in reality. This is probably the remnant of last year's (2016) model. Exemplary wheels (Zippy 202 are beautiful, mainly due to a texture resembling a golf ball), a strong aerodynamic steering wheel, a massive bridge, a solid seatpost ... all from Zipp. You can see that there is some serious cooperation between companies. Only she was able to push her with a sprinting cockpit for a bike, which, looking at the frame, is supposed to be an all-rounder. The frame, about which we know nothing in total, except that it uses the same solutions as other, competitive models in this price range. There is nothing to write about the operation of the equipment, because it is known - although it is badly chosen from my perspective. The mechanical Red is usually placed where weight is important. This bike, although light, with a weight of over 7kg to the top does not even approach ... it is known - shields. Much better (and MUCH CHEAPER) would fit here, for example, Ultegra Di2, but it's a matter of individual preferences. The most important question - are the shields working?
The answer is simple and everyone who visits the Czech side of the Karkonosze will know it at the first better exit. I say this: going down with ordinary brakes (Super Record on Sunday, Ultegra on Saturday) from places like Modre Sedlo, hidden walls near Pec pod Sněžkou, or even Rebirth are moments in which stopping to 0 is almost impossible. Even if you succeed, you can easily make a fried egg on the hoops. If we are padawanami old school and despite the bad asphalt we stick in the tube 10 atmosphere, there is a good chance that we will hear a burst of our wheel. With my technical shortcomings, I am an enormous fan of shields, especially in the Giant Mountains. Even when the sun is shining. I do not mind even a few hundred grams more.
When it comes to the appearance and purely aesthetic aspects of the Vento series, it's OK for me. Not crazy, but OK. There are no bold movements that catch the eye. Elements that some would praise and disturbing others. You can see some aiming at the mask, but of course it's not a disadvantage. The chainstays are thin enough to resemble climbing bikes, the rest of the tubes are standard - neither aero nor overly exhausted: a universal bike. When Panda sees them for the first time, she is convinced that it is Rose (a day later we start looking for new corrective glasses). The first 'K' runs away somewhere, the last 'S' looks minimally like an 'E'. As they say: "de gustus, do not discuss"And I can imagine people who will like Vento. Nobody should exclaim: "OMG, how ugly !! 11". It is a pity that the Zipp components are shiny, and the matte frame - somehow it does not play with each other.
To sum up: for PLN 23,999 (probably you can count on promotions) we get a bike on a decent (just) frame, built on the principle: take what we have and put in there the best components that we can get, regardless of whether they fit. Is it a good bike? Certainly yes, especially that the competition with Red and shields is very limited. At Canyon, for the same price, we'll get a bit more comfortable Endurace with shields and Dura Ace Di2. U Speca, the new Tarmac Expert with shields and eTAP costs PLN 22,000 (EDIT: probably the error caused by the outdated Specialized website has crept in - this bike probably has no dials: - / There is a version for Ultegra for 18k PLN). Both of them have a slightly better position in the road world, and the frames are checked by the best. The only advantage of Kross is the fact that we support Polish industry, unfortunately.
Vento 8.0, which is as light as possible.
Cheaper by PLN 6,000 and lighter by 0.4kg. On mechanical Dura Ace, classic DT Swiss RC28 Spline brakes and wheels. From Kross's offer, I would choose his .... of course, if I had to choose something ;-) A bike made to weigh an acceptable 6,8kg, so you can suspect that its purpose is to race in the mountains (racing, because no shields, in the mountains, because the weight). The cockpit is the same, which is the most serious disadvantage of this bike. Very massive bridge and probably the most aero (from the look and feel) steering wheel on which I rode, it is not a composition for the mountains. I do not know where the guys from naszosie.pl rode relationship state that "aerodynamic steering wheel SL-70 Aero and SL-Sprint bridge are designed for fast driving, but do not lose their comfort"But it does not suit me in the mountains. Yes, the rides are good on rides (although in my copy the links on the steering wheel are dramatically wrong, instead of expanding it a bit too high and for the first 30 minutes I have the impression that something does not get in my gloves, then I agree with the prints The top position is very OK, if we put our hands on it (it's like a shop counter), but ... nothing can be taken over by the steering wheel in the upper grip. It's too wide, too low, and does not make sense at all. , mountain roads, this is my favorite way of driving. Cockpit to change at 100% - it will be easier and easier.
In addition, I quickly discover other hidden savings on weight. In the driveway near Zlaté návrší (22.4 km - 4.3%, or 966 meters up!) I grab the slippers. Schwalbe Pro One TL tires are tubless ready, they are extremely hard to take off (2 spoons needed), and inside they hide some ultralight tubes. Plus, in all 3 Vento tires have a minimum size I accept, or 25mm. Ultralightom for mountains and bitumens of dubious quality, I say firmly no. On this day, the tube is pulled out (or more precisely it is Łukasz, because I am an invalid) 6 times. Twice we unscrew the valve (from the inner tube ... for what) while pulling the pump and sticking the patch four times. The bladder lets off in a different place every time, but on the seam. She had to get faulty. It deprives me, unfortunately, the joy of going down to the end of the day. You know a feeling like when you fly down a fast flight you see trees in front of you and hear shots
s? Probably yes, from television (political joke). This fraction of a second, between the sound and the moment when you grab the brakes. I missed the shields.
In addition, the bike is very cool, it drives well and I have no serious reservations. I say this after about 7 hours of cycling on a M-sized bike (and I'm 188cm tall), so you have to look at it through your fingers. Anyway, as for all one-day reviews. Before man finds the optimal position, it takes some time. The bike is OK, but as usual - I would convert the mechanical Dura Ace to an electric Ultegra. The wheels are cool: light, full of carbon, and yet they brake quite well. They squeak terribly, but apparently because both the pads and hoops are new. A very big plus for gear selection - lightweight bikes often use senseless small cassettes to reduce weight. Here we have 52/36 and 11-28, thanks to which almost all hills are podjeżdżalne (greetings THIS segment).
For the same price, we will get, for example, ROSE X-LITE TEAM-4000 on the newer Dura Ace and lighter by about 700 grams or recently described Fuji SL 1.5in which the set frame + fork weighs less than one kilogram (that is half of what Kross bike and accessories catalog for 2017). Again, the only advantage of Kross is native production ... that is, testing, designing, assembling and so on, because the frames, like almost everyone, come from the east.
Vento 7.0, i.e. a bicycle for a beginner chaser ... or not.
The people gathered in **** (in the sense that the four-star) hotel Malinowy Dwór states that it is the most beautiful frame. This is probably the yellow-aquamarine color. Almost PLN 11,000 for 7.95kg. The bike on the Ultegra can only mean one thing: the discs come back (hydraulic of course). I spend one afternoon on him and I know I do not like it. I do not know what the matter is ... Maybe a lightly pressing brake on the front that makes the wheels roll with some resistance. Maybe that, during uneven descents, the bike makes noises as if it was about to fall apart. It's bad. Ultegra saves the situation, works well as usual. Another plus is the normal steering wheel and the normal Easton bridge. I do not know, maybe it's a matter of these sounds, because this bike can not be bad. With time, I get used to the bike, probably if I devote some time to it, it would be quite good.
Especially, that the competition is hard for roads with shields at this price, especially at Ultegra. After searching for a while, I discover that Merida has a half-kilo heavier Ride (which puts on comfort, which explains the weight), and Rose a lot of lighter XEON CDX-3000 DISC on the same equipment.
Here, however, there is a problem. As I have already said, Kross focuses further on the area, the roads are there as if by the way. Should I describe a specific specimen that I drive, or bike in general - I do not know. Such a question should not fall, because presenting bikes it is necessary to ensure that they are 100% pampered. Although it offers great, carbon bottle baskets (at the price of PLN 149), test bikes are not equipped with them. Seriously? The highway is intended for mountains, and there is no basket? It's good that I have my bike in the trunk that I can borrow from. Frayed end of lines? Nothing, but it leaves a disgust.
Applications and curiosities
It's a great feeling when you are sitting in a paid, expensive hotel with a SPA by the pool and after a moment of thought you come to the conclusion that you can not write a leash for the company that paid for it. Off-road company bikes from Przasnysz are a world league. Potentate (because that's how you can proudly call them - it is the largest bicycle manufacturer in Europe) begins to fight also in the road world. These bikes have apparently been available for years, but it was only this season that I began to notice them modestly. Later no-one I know of does not drive, but they are already showing somewhere. Vento needs some more time. A few changes in the equipment, some marketing, maybe some group that will show that on these bikes you can win or at least compete as equals.
As for now, I doubt that many more willing people will find more expensive models. There is no spangling, there is no confirmed technology. I am hoping in the bottom segment, the emergence of aluminum models in average cycling stores gives a chance to popularize this sport.
And finally a curiosity. In weekend tests, the best are the evenings where you can get to know designers, engineers, journalists from other magazines and portals and exchange opinions. Confront your views, point out mistakes and ask for details. You can also take advantage of the fact that the atmosphere is loose and everyone sips their ... cola and learn things that are not known in all, whether they are official news or leak. Like, for example for 2018, it is planned to transfer the route from Kross to Przełajówka / Gravel :-)
Kross, I wish you all the best. There is no other bicycle company that I would support so much. For the fact that it is Polish, that almost all production takes place with us, that they invite bloggers, that Majka won silver with them at the Olympics and for how well they are doing. I would like to buy Vento one day and, to my friends' surprise, say that this is the best bike available in the given price range. This is not the time yet, but looking at the pace of the company's development, there is hope for the near future.