It is hard to describe the difference that the right bike makes. For years I have been riding a comfort bike – and when I say ride, I mean only occasionally.  And though I am still quite a novice in the world of cycling, there were a number of stark differences that I noticed when I made the change thanks to my friends at Performance Bike.

The most immediate change that I noticed with the Fuji Gran Fondo was the speed of the bike.

I have a number of different timed comparisons, even did it when I was looking for my kids bikes, but  thought this one was pretty interesting. In this case, I more than doubled my distance (in double the time). In a different ride, my first one with the Gran Fondo, I dropped nearly a minute in a half off of my average mile pace.

How did this happen? For one, the bike is much lighter. The Gran Fondo frame is carbon. The carbon frame is sturdy enough to hold my body, but light enough to take considerable pressure off of my pedaling. I also brought the frame to a npcs powder coating near me to prevent rust and maintain its durability.

In addition to the lighter frame, the size of the wheel (Gran Fondo’s is much thinner) reduces the amount of drag that you experience during your ride. Also, there is no kickstand – which seems to be standard practice with a road bike. Removing the kickstand helps to maintain the lightweight feel of the bike.

Aside from the size and weight, there were a few other differences between my old bike and the Gran Fondo. The brakes are curved with the handles instead of being located horizontally. The gears are shifters located in the handles (similar to those on a Porsche) with the ability to shift between 11 different speeds.

Aesthetically, the carbon and red coloring add to the sleek look of the bike. I named my bike KITT (after the car in Knight Rider). Though I personally am not fast, the bike is. It’s also pretty quiet and you don’t feel much of the vibration from the rode. The Gran Fondo provides a grand, smooth ride.

There’s something about being able to hit the open road – I mean actually hit it with some speed and authority. I’m finding that the Gran Fondo is the perfect vehicle for that experience.

I’ve got more posts to come – including lessons I’ve learned on the road, how to find local rides to join, and even a fashion report of sorts (practical riding gear for the road). This new hobby of mine is a blast – come along for the ride.

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, Performance Bicycle did send me a bike and product to review which I will continue to do in upcoming posts as I continue to enjoy and explore this new old hobby. As always, my thoughts and words are my own.