Strengths: 1) weight vs. sturdiness: the handmade lugged carbon frame is extremely durable on any terrain it's likely to see while still maintaining a reasonable weight. It's not as light as a VXR or a Vibraser, but it costs half as much and is a more versatile machine for people who want more than just a lean racing machine.
2) Price: This bike allowed me to get a Time, hand made in France with the same RTM technology as their high-end bikes, for the same price as similar bikes from other, larger companies who outsource their production. Also, this price includes a very good set of Time pedals, a value of almost 200 EUR.
3) The standard wheelset, Fulcrum Racing 5 Evolution, is pretty good for this price level. They are a huge improvement over the old Fulcrum 5s and have served me well through several thousand kilometers and a handful of races (and it's been a very bad weather year).
4) Road chatter: it might just be because it's my first CF ride, but I'm amazed at how much less beat-up I feel after a long day (6-7 hours) in the saddle. I've never spent 6 hours on a Look 566 or other similar bike so I can't compare, but the difference from my other bikes (steel and alu) is remarkable.
Weaknesses: 1) Sizing: I don't like frames sized in S,M,L,XL, as it forces most riders to round up or down by a centimeter or two here and there. Mine is an XL, which means about a 58.5 imaginary TT; I would like it better if I could have about a 60, but that's impossible with this sort of sizing. It fits me fine, but I think if/when I get a custom rig it will probably be a bit larger.
2) The stock cranks were FSA, which has had all sorts of problems with its cranks for a few years now and shouldn't, in my opinion, be sold stock on expensive bikes. My LBS was kind enough to swap them out for an Ultegra crankset as a condition of the sale.
3) I'm not thrilled about the color scheme: there is only one choice, the grey weaved carbon look is tired, and the red and white trim is uninspiring. However, I don't really care that much and color was the factor of least importance in this purchase. It's a handsome bike from 10 meters away, but it won't win a bicycle beauty contest.
This review is for a 2009 Time Edge Pulse with the Shimano Ultegra option (it comes in a Campy Centaur version as well, for 200 EUR more). This bike is available in the United States, although I do not know the MSRP. NOTE: In order to avoid the vagaries of a shifting exchange rate, the purchase price noted is in EUR, not USD.
I bought this bike in January of this year (2009) for the upcoming riding/racing season. I've been saying "steel is real" for a long time, and it was hard to buy my first carbon ride. It has been a great experience so far: although I'm not convinced that carbon is the solution to all bike material problems, this is a fantastic ride that races as well as it goes all day. I do a lot of long, Euro-style races--usually in the mountains--and I am very happy with both the perkiness on the way up and the solid, tight handling on the way down. Any bike can go fast and sure on a flat straight road; the real test is in the mountains, and this bike is everything it should be and more.
Similar Products Used: Look 566, LaPierre S-Lite 400, Trek Madone
Bike Setup: drivetrain: Ultegra 10sp compact double with 12x27 cassette (it came standard with 12x25, but the Alps demand more teeth)
saddle: Time (for the first time in my life I kept the stock saddle!! It's quite nice, but this is obviously a personal choice)
Specialized water cages (the matching Time cages were 50 EUR each!!)
Sigma 2600HR computer with altimeter (works OK)
FSA Wingpro shallow drop bars (alu): they came stock, and I really like them. I'm not going back to deep drop bars...this allows me to have a more aggressive setup on the hoods without sacrificing the drops, which has really changed my riding.
FSA OS190 stem (stock, alu, 130mm)
Time Quickset headset and Safe+ fork (NOTE: although I haven't taken them apart yet, it seems that there is some proprietary technology in the headset that requires special knowledge to work on.)