US cyclist Tom Zirbel (Jamis-Sutter Home) is making his major return to the professional ranks at this year's Amgen Tour of California after serving an eighteen-month doping suspension for DHEA. While some have invariably lambasted the comeback attempt, it seems that the majority have welcomed the affable Colorado resident with open arms.
Either way, one thing hasn't changed: the man is a tall drink of water, standing at a towering 1.96m (6' 5").
Obviously, the numbers reflect that fact, too. Zirbel is racing this year on a 61cm Jamis Xenith SL frameset with a 590mm effective top tube that still has to be paired with a 130mm-long stem. His saddle height is 862mm (measured from the bottom bracket spindle center along the seat tube axis), setback is a generous 96mm, and bar drop is a tremendous 139mm. Compare those figures to your own bike if they don't sound big enough on paper.
Zirbel isn't just tall, though; he's also very powerful, packing 88kg (194lb) of muscle according to his profile on the team web site. Helping harness that horsepower is Jamis's size-specific carbon tube diameters and shapes with supposed "100% super-high modulus M40 carbon fiber" content, a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in front end, and a large-diameter BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell.
Jamis Xenith SL frames use BB30-compatible bottom bracket shells but as the team are sponsored by Shimano - who still don't offer a proper BB30 crankset - they have to add threaded shell adapters. Photo: James Huang
As has been the trend the last few years, the Xenith SL also does without any wild shaping, preferring instead to go with mostly roundish cross-sections and smooth transitions that apparently help the chassis behave more cohesively and yield better numbers in the test lab. According to Jamis, tube shapes and diameters are also altered across the size range to help maintain consistent ride characteristics.
Zirbel's build kit is decidedly straightforward, consisting of a complete Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical group (with lengthy 177.5mm crankarms, of course), 35mm-deep Shimano carbon tubular wheels wrapped with Vittoria rubber, Speedplay Zero pedals with stainless steel spindles, and a pair of generic alloy bottle cages.
Not surprisingly, Zirbel has opted for an all-aluminum from team sponsor Ritchey, including a forged WCS 4-Axis stem, classic-bend bar, and stout seatpost with the company's handy one-bolt head. Finishing things off are a Zoncolan Team Issue saddle and grippy bar tape from Selle San Marco.
What is surprising, though, is the bike's total weight. Despite the size, Zirbel's complete rig weighs just 7.14kg (15.74lb) as pictured.
Jamis-Sutter Home team bikes are fitted with neat carbon fiber number holders with nicely machined brass thumbwheels for easy plate installation and removal. Photo: James Huang
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar.