Franco Bicycles – Balcom S
Reviewed by Aaron C.
|Photo Credit: Franco Bicycles|
I want to start by saying that I’m not your typical review blogger, my wife is. I have reviewed one item before and that was my previous bike purchase and it took me so long to do I told my wife I would never do one again. So here I am writing another review (insert chuckle). I’m writing this review because I felt the need to share my experience and input on my new bike purchase.
Let me start out by saying that I came off of an aluminum bike that I had been riding for over a year so my enthusiasm for this new bike was and is high. I do have to say that the whole ordering/purchasing experience added to my excitement and enthusiasm.
I started out this adventure looking for a new race bike. I raced a lot this past year and I had done it all on an aluminum Giant Defy1, which was a great entry level bike. I had even won and placed in some races with it, but it was time for me to upgrade. I have honestly been searching around for a bike for about 6 months, tiring my buddies ears out with the statement “I’m getting a new bike soon”. I started out looking at the new Giant Propel’s then went to LaPierre, to Cannondale, then to the bike I finally purchased, the Franco Balcom S.
Every bike I looked at had some awesome qualities and definitely had some things I was looking for but with every purchase I was running into a problem, components. In my budget range I was finding bikes that needed a lot of replacement parts, wheels, seat, handlebars, sometimes even the full group set. I am the type of person who likes “plug and play” purchases. I hate getting a new item and having to remove things, sell them, and then go out and buy new parts all while my brand new purchase just sits there not being used. This is why Franco Bicycles is different.
I had been alerted by a friend that I really should check into Franco Bicycles. When he told me this I was thinking “I’ve never heard of Franco” and I casually told him “Yeah sure, I’ll do that”. A couple of weeks went by until I finally did some research and made some calls. I got into contact with Stormin’ at Franco Bicycles, super nice guy and really personable. For me, this is where it gets awesome. I told him my budget and the things I wanted and he and I proceeded to build options that suited my needs. We ended up putting 4 bike options together that were all around my price point, with no “take off parts”. These bikes were all ready to race. This was exactly what I was looking for.
After about a week of making minor adjustments and Stormin’ going way out of his way to make me happy, I finally pulled the trigger and made the purchase on my Franco Balcom S.
The bike itself is awesome. It is very smooth and very comfortable. I had come off of an endurance frame to this full race style frame. I find that this bike is far superior in comfort to my old bike. My bike is also very stiff and that makes the power transfer more abruptly than my previous bike, which is a good thing. The Balcom S that I built is in the 15 pound range with a Garmin mount and bottle cages. I have a Quarq power crank that is heavier than the original crank I was going to go with. Ultegra 11 group set and Ritchey Wet bars, stem, and seat post.
I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with my purchase. Of course, the bike is great compared to my previous one but the best part of this whole experience was the purchase process. The guys down at Franco are honestly happy to help. I repeatedly made calls into Stormin’ (his name is Norman) asking to swap little parts here and there and listened to his ideas on how to keep it within my budget. I think he even cut one of his meetings short to take my phone call.
Franco Bicycles is very particular about the fit of the bike and Stormin’ made sure that I was getting an appropriate fit because I couldn’t make it down to their shop for a Retul fit. He wasn’t trying to push me to over-purchase, either. He actually tried hard to do everything he could to give me the most bang for my buck. This type of treatment is not very common which is what lead me to write this review.
When researching the bike I didn’t find much info on the people who had purchased the bike other than them being happy about their purchase. I hope you find this information useful and I honestly hope your next bike is a Franco. Don’t forget to tell Norm Aaron sent you.