For those who are willing to leave behind the traditional looking bikes and enter into the world of dreamers, welcome to the Falco V. This is a beam bike that gives a nod back to the late 90’s early 2000’s beam bikes in looks while focus is clearly set on modern adaptations.
Falco is a company that sells bike frames as well as wheels and a single front ring so for those who will find this writeup interesting, you will want to get to know some bike mechanics. This will also be a bike that will take some time to get all things together. Bikes are not sold as a finished product at this time and the turn around time from order to shipment has proven to take some time. (I have a paragraph about this at the end of the write-up)
Frame: Falco V 2015
Wheels: Flo 90’s with ceramic bearings
Crankset: SRAM Red 53/39 167.5mm 11speed
Bottom Bracket: SRAM Press Fit GXP BB86 Road Bottom Bracket
Cassette: SRAM X-Glide 1190
Derailleurs: SRAM red 22
Bars: Zipp Vuka base and extensions
Controls: SRAM with return to center shifters
Seat: IMS Adomo Podium
Your first impression of the bike is that the packaging weighs more than the frame. Getting the box open you notice that it is a standard shipping. The bike was well protected and came with a little box with the TRP brakes and a few little extras. The bike was ordered with a custom TRS paint job on it and that looked great. The front fork is a slick match and was ready to fit the bearings and install right out of the box. The only negative thing to notice about the bike out of the box was that there are no instructions. Without instructions then you may want to be a mechanic, have good cash for one, or be willing to read this and hope it’s not too frustrating.
I began the build with the brakes. It is easy to install the brakes while the front fork is off and there are no tires to get in your way. TRP has some basic instructions on their website but putting the brakes on is mostly straight forward. The rear brake mounts to the bottom of the frame and has springs that mount into pre-drilled holes and I found that those were a touch hard to get installed. Be patient and be willing to start over a few times if it is not lining up. With the brakes one, go ahead and get that fork in place and a part of the bike.
Once I got the brakes installed I went ahead and put the rear cassette on its wheel and then mounted both wheels onto the bike. After mounting the wheels I mounted the bike to my fluid trainer, I don’t have a shop stand so this worked great. As a perk, I could “flip” the bike upside down with it resting on the seat bracket to access the bottom cable routing.
Falco uses the BB86 standard for their Bottom Bracket but do not ship one as you can choose your own adventure here just know that they are all press-fit. I went with the SRAM red with GXP standard and they make a dandy little bottom bracket. Take your time pressing in the bracket, I will be honest that doing this job may have been my most stressful part of the build. Once installed go a head and mount up your crankset and tighten everything down.
Now is the lest fun thing to do on this build. You have to run cable housing through the three holes in the top front of the bike and into their designated locations. Help yourself some by removing the battery plate under the water bottle in the frame, this access helps you guide your housings through the frame. First try to do the rear derailleur, there is a metal piece that the cable will run through out of the frame that you must take off. bounce the cable down to the far end and then use a hook of some type and catch the housing so that you can pull it out. Give yourself some time and if you get stuck with the hook tool try to use a very small allen key to not only hook the housing but catch it from the inside and lead it out. The next two cables must go through the bottom slot of the frame. There is a hole near your front derailleur but that is not for a mechanical setup and I don’t want to publicly shame myself by telling you how I got one through there and back up to the top. The brake housing is straight forward but the derailleur goes through a hole in the bottom of the frame so the cable can be ran up. Be sure to install a inline adjuster on that derailleur housing for adjustments later.
With the cables ran things get easy. Mount you bars and controls so that your cables all line up right. I gave enough play for the bars to be adjusted since the Falco now comes with a standard stem and will need shims to adjust the height of the front-end. Falco had been shipping their own stem but that proved to be faulty and cost us on the TRS team many weeks of delay while the guys at Falco figured this out and came to the conclusion that the standard stem was the only solution. At this point I will also point out that I went with Zipp bars even though Falco sells 3T at a good discount as a part of their system. This was only done due to delays in Falco’s ability to ship them to me and amazon.com’s amazing ability to get these to me in 48 hours.
Things get straight forward from here and I won’t bore you with how to install basic things when YouTube.com can do that for me.
Impression from the build
The build itself was a mixed bag. The things that were easy for anyone to do, those things went smooth. The cables were a pain to do, the brakes did take some time for the mounted springs in the TRP system and having to press fit your bottom bracket were all things that were frustrating. A hook tool, a light and a small screwdriver help you a lot. The seat post is very tight, not just on my bike but on everyone I have spoken with. You will believe you are going to brake your bike getting it out the first time but rocking it back and forth while pulling it out helps a ton. Also mind the metal shim that is used to tighten it all together, after you pull the seat post out it is a bugger to get back in right and will take creativity. overall built quality was good but there was some overspray issues from the painter that could have been taken care of better. Falco is good at responding to technical questions, just as ones about bottom bracket fit but communications about delays were frustratingly nonexistent. We are not sure if the guys at Falco will resolve their stem issues but the 3T is solid and there are other aero options out there for those with a few bucks. The parts that are removable on the bike were well built and the frustrations that I encountered would have been reduced with a set of instructions.
Riding the Bike
I have not been able to spend much time in the saddle but the time I have has been amazing. The bike is stiff and responsive. The tight spots on the bike all have enough space to move their parts and enable the rider to execute well and with 2 hours in the saddle I am still feeling strong and comfortable. There are those who are concerned about weight limits on the beam, I hope Falco does have a solid number but I would have to say that most all triathletes could ride this bike well.
I am really enjoying this bike. The look is straight up sexy, the paint job was a good option against the TRON plan that they went with early on. The fitting process, cable work and overall build were fairly smooth. The only major issue I have had with the entire process has been in delayed or missing communication from Falco. They experienced issues and went about the correct process of fixing those problems and I respect that. They should have been more transparent in that time frame. If you have some time, and mechanical skills then you could have an amazing triathlon bike for a good bit less then the rest of the “super bike” market.
Note: If you are interested in saving 10% on a Falco frame in this style or another color scheme, contact Ben at TRS Triathlon.