TIPS & TRICKS: 2013 FREE AGENT TEAM LIMO
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Will this new top of the line, take you to the top of the pack?


While Free Agent has always maintained a solid freestyle team, pumped up most recently with riders like TJ Ellis and Heath Pinter, they are best known for their roots and constant drive to be the best thing is racing. The Limo was first introduced to the FA line back in 1984 when it was a hand welded chromoly frame made in a garage. Today the Limo an boast a winning international history, including a flawless Olympic record for gold in the Elite Men’s class under the feet of Latvian rider Maris Strombergs. With that sort of record, does anything really need to change? Always looking forward Free Agent took the fastest bike on the planet and reworked it from the ground up. The question now is whether or not that rebuild will make the fastest bike on the planet even faster, or is it all for show?

INSIDE THE LIMO
After a long conservative run using conventional and proven frame and tubing designs Free Agent decided it was finally time to sample some of the progressive technology that has been sweeping the sport. Since new technology isn’t always for the better, they were naturally reserved about what and how much of it they used. The frame on the 2013 Team marks the single biggest change Free Agent has made to their Limo since they made the switch from chromoly to aluminum back in the 90’s. It features custom formed, Superlight, double-butted aluminum tubing with a tapered, triangulated top tube and sweeping downtube design borrowed from their mountain bike line. Ovalized stays and 3D style dropouts bring stiffness to the rear end while a new integrated headtube brings cleaner lines to the front end.  Up front another trick feature are the formed FA Team Pro chromoly forks which taper to micro dropouts and link up with a CNC machined aluminum front mounting stem and 8” chromoly race bars fit with soft FA grips. Also new on the list are Free Agent’s Team Race Cranks. The cranks are a hollow forged 2-pc design with a hollow 24mm spindle and four-bolt interface to hook up the 44t chainring. The cranks turn in a Euro bottom bracket fit with sealed outboard bearings for stiffness and are powered by a set of aluminum FA platform pedals. The wheels are super trick with sealed cassette Team hubs, fit with hollow axles and clean looking button head bolts and are laced up to Weinman Kmax-R double walled rims, complete with eyelets and a machined rear sidewall for improved braking. To cap off this bikes world class reputation a set of Kenda Konversion lightweight performance compound tires were included (1.95fr and 1.65rr), along with a carbon fiber Q2 post, sleek Velo race saddle and to bring it all to a stop, Tektro V-brakes.

TRACK TESTING
On the track we wasted no time getting up to speed. Free Agent may have changed to overall look of the bike but they were smart enough to practice restraint and maintain the bikes winning geometry, so without looking down the bike was as familiar as last years model and just as fast on the open track. The frame and overall bike felt lighter then in years past and definitely more responsive in the air which could have been a mix of several important factors, but the largest of which was without a doubt the wheel/tire combo. The slightly lighter weight rims, paired with the newer, lighter weight version of the Konversion tire really helps give this bike that little extra pull. A few extra ounces, even grams in rotating weight can go a long ways and the Team limo is proof. Powering through some full laps, the bike felt pretty good overall. With so many parts carried over from last years Team Limo, like the hollow forged cranks, chromoly bars, CNC machined stem, seat, post and brakes, it really allowed us to single out the details we liked most in the familiar platform. The cranks are super stiff and transfer a huge amount of power to the rear wheel and thanks to the Team hub design and again the lightweight wheels, the pull out of the gate excellent. The performance compound of the Konversion tires also stood out here as it made a seamless transition from the cement of the starting gate to the hard packing dirt of the track, never slipping or spinning on us. Thanks to their 100psi rating they also provided amazing support around the track, never rolling or feeling soft, even under the weight of 175-pound A Pro rider. We were really happy to find that the tiny button head bolts on the Team hubs not only looked good, they also held amazingly well, holding the wheel in place perfectly, throughout hours of track testing. As with years past the balance of the frames geometry was superb with a 21” front end, offset with a 15.5” centered rear end, providing a well rounded feel that is glued to the ground on straights, responsive through rhythm and stable in the air. All of these traits make the Team Limo a bike that any skill level of rider would be able to benefit from on the track.

MOTO’ED
While we enjoyed our track time on the Team Limo, there were several details we feel missed the mark in the transition from the old frame to the new. The bars and stem for example are high quality but would be a better match for a freestyle bike. The stem is relatively short at 50mm, where 57mm would seem more appropriate given the XL sizing of the bike and the 8” rise bars with 12-degrees of sweep are too low and too swept amidst the 8.25” rise with 6-degrees of sweep bars taking the gate today. We really liked the look and stiffness of the new formed chromoly fork, it is very trick and very unique, but it is still heavier then your average chromoly fork and on a bike that is now $100 more expensive then last years model, we have to wonder why they did away with the Sinz Carbon fork which was lighter and just as stiff. We also feel the seat and post combo has got to go. While it works fine, there is no need for the adjustment or bulk of a railed seat/post combo, especially with the complexity of the Q2 seatpost’s guts. Clean it up and lighten it up with a Pivotal combo and let the new frame be the center of attention. Finally the frame. Everyone has been interested to hear what our thoughts were on the design, so hear it goes, it doesn’t visually bother us. It’s not for everyone, but it does stand out and help riders on a tighter budget find a place in the ultra unique frame world. As far as ultra performance goes, we feel a straight downtube would have been lighter and stronger, the excess seat tube above the top tube is nothing but excess weight and the chainstays could have benefitted from being a little stiffer to maximize the power transfer from the Team cranks to the Team cassette hub.

HAS THE LIMO LOST ITS WAY
Two years ago we found the Team Limo to be cutting edge and now we feel s though it may have lost that edge. Don’t get us wrong, the bike rides amazing and is something any aspiring pro rider should be fortunate enough to attack the track on. The frame is super fast, the geometry is spot on and the parts package top notch. The unique downtube bend, formed top tube and formed fork will turn heads and make you the center of attention on a gate among riders with bikes of twice the price, but you are unlikely to find this version of the Team Limo racking up on the Elite gate in near stock form as you may have in years past. For a bike to look unique and perform exceptionally, it will be extremely expensive, like the Phoenix Talon or Redline P79 Carbon. On the flip side, a boring looking frame can perform exceptionally, but doesn’t turn a lot of heads, unless you have a rider like Maris Strombergs riding it. So Free Agent split the difference, offering riders a bike that is both competitive and will turn heads helping developing racers find an edge in the two most important categories; performance and recognition. With a few small tweaks, like the bars and stem and seat and post, this could easily be the bike that takes you to the brink of the Pro ranks and makes you a recognizable rider at which point its on to boring looking frames, or ultra expensive ones, with a laser focus on performance.

HEAD TUBE: 74 degrees
SEAT TUBE: 72 degrees
TOP TUBE: 21”
CHAINSTAY: 15.3” slammed
WEIGHT: 20.4 lbs
PRICE: $1029

HITS
• Great geometry
• Super stiff cranks
• Great wheel set
• Performance tires
• Unique look stands out

MISSES
• Dated bar/stem combo
• Dated seat/post combo
• Unique but heavy fork
• Mild chainstay flex


TAZMANIAN PARK PROBLEMS
CLICKING HEADSET, IN LAOS
AMERICAN OR MID BEARINGS
RIDER AREA VERSUS TOP TUBE LENGTH

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