Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Pros:

  • Good value
  • Lightweight
  • Good customer service
  • 'Group buy' system means you could get a bargain

Cons:

  • Racing-oriented geometry may not suit sportivists

Product:

Pedal Force QS3

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1700.00

Pedal Force is a web-based company with an innovative approach to selling carbon frames. It first came to CW’s attention a couple of years ago when a few local riders were spotted on the sleek, unbranded and swoopy-looking RS2 frames. Our interest heightened when we were told the frames were bought online at a super-low price.

To our further surprise we found Pedal Force was offering a number of substantially discounted ‘build’ options, allowing the customer to purchase frames with all levels of groupset or combination of groupsets from Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo, to best suit their needs. Wheel options also appeared very competitive.

To test the validity of claims that, despite being an online company, importing from manufacturers in the Far East, the quality frames and customer service were sufficient to assuage any fears, we put our money where our mouth was and bought an RS2.

Pedal Force QS3

Using the Force

So just how is it possible that Pedal Force can do this and still make money? It’s down to a ‘group buy’ system, which allows potential purchasers the chance to sign up for a frame at the maximum price they are prepared to pay (up to a predetermined ceiling), the more people that sign up for the deal before the cut-off date, the lower the cost. Simple.

Pedal Force doesn’t need to pre-order hundreds of frames from the manufacturer so there’s no occasion where it has to pass the costs of unsold frames on to the consumer. When everyone has signed up for the deal (remember, at this point you haven’t spent any money) Pedal Force informs everyone of the final price, you pay a deposit and the deal is done. If the initial number of purchasers then fail to come up with the money as pledged, compromising the low cost, you’re simply returned your deposit and nobody has lost anything.

When everyone is signed up, you pay the remaining balance on your account, sit back for few weeks while the frames are manufactured, and eventually the postman knocks on your door with a beautifully

packaged carbon frame. You’ll need to pay the tax man a few quid import duty on it (£36 in our case) but even this doesn’t add much to an astonishingly good deal.

And don’t think that this is some faceless, virtual e-company you’re dealing with. At all points of the ordering and manufacturing process you’re kept in the loop as to what the status of your order is and what the likely delivery date is going to be. You can pick the phone up at anytime and talk to a real person in the company’s Connecticut USA offices and at one point I even got a call from a shipping company CEO in Singapore telling me that my frame was being loaded on to the plane.

Pedal Force QS3 seat stays

Let the Force be with you

So at all points the service has been of the highest order and from my experience entirely dependable, but of course all of this would be entirely meaningless if the bikes themselves weren’t any good.

Fortunately we can confirm that this is not the case and where our original purchased RS2 proved very good, 2011′s group-buy QS3 is even better, excellent in fact in both value and performance terms.

Where the RS-2 was sportive focused the QS3 is much more race oriented both to look at and to ride. This is evident in the design of the oversized asymmetric headtube and the inclusion of the new standard BB30 bottom bracket (although shell adapters are available should you favour the use of a traditional crankset).

Clearly Pedal Force has gone for increased stiffness over the RS2 in these key areas and it’s paid off with a livelier, more responsive ride where the front-end handling is razor sharp.

The excellent build-quality of the tube-to-tube construction jumps straight out at you and suggests the quality of a much more high-end manufacturer, and the rear triangle somehow offers a degree of comfort at odds with how responsive the bike is under drive. Pedal Force is also famous for its weight, or lack of it, and sure enough the QS3, equipped with a modest mix of SRAM Rival/FSA and Rolf Aspin wheels for our test ride weighs in at well under 17lb.

Verdict

As a blank canvas on which to build your own project bike, the QS3 offers good quality, and excellent value too.

Cost: Ceiling price for the 2011 QS3 group buy is $850 which converts to £544 at current exchange rates. If 60 people sign up that reduces to $549, or a mouthwatering £350. Our test bike bought with the build as seen would cost an amazingly low £1,700. At time of writing the scheme had just gone live and 30 potential purchasers had registered in the first few days. Check the website to follow the status of the Group Buy scheme.

Contact: www.pedalforce.com

Full Specification

Bars:
Ritchey Logic WCS II
Chainstay:
410mm

Fork Rake:
40mm
Frame:
Pedal Force HM carbon

Gear Ratio:
53/39 with 11-25
Group Set:
SRAM Rival

Head Tube Angle:
73.5 deg
Head Tube Length:
155mm

Saddle:
Fizik Aliante
Seat Post:
Pedal Force

Seat Tube Angle:
73.5 deg
Size Range:
47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62

Stem:
FSA OS 150
Top Tube Length:
565mm

Tyres:
Michelin Pro Race 3
Weight:
7.2kg

Wheelbase:
1,000mm
Wheels:
Rolf Prima Aspin

Supplier:
www.pedalforce.com

  • Costas K.

    I’ ve been tempted too to get one QS3 , early in 2010 and I did so!
    I joined the group buy and the frame , along with an excellent FSA SLK light BB30 crankset , arrived in a card box , at $1080 !!!
    Imagine that in the time I bought it , the crankset alone cost was $500 !
    And I came up with a finished bike weighting just 7,5 kilos , with Ultegra groupset and Easton EC70SL wheelset,
    The bike is a revelation to me , as it transfers power into the wheel without any losses and it’s very accurate in handling, though it is , as said , racing frame and not so sportive oriented …
    I am not a racer , and that does not bothers me , so I enjoy long rides , without loosing …power in the transmission ! The bike is very very good for the money paid and unless anybody wants some major firm signing his frame , I am totally happy with the brand !
    Recently , a friend of mine , also owning one , won the painting contest and the new bikes will come with even more attractive finish !

  • matthew

    futher to my review dated may11, my qs3 did turn up in july(over 5 months after ordering) and i will admit that it is quite impressive.
    very light @ 897g painted! size 47cm
    quality of the frameset is very good indeed
    built up with 10 speed record, prolite bracciano wheels and deda kit weight is only 6.4kg with plenty of room to upgrade and get below 6kg
    frame is very enjoyable to ride, stiff, responsive, suprisingly forgiving at the rear end.
    have covered just over 2000 miles and it has been faultless and the frame and forks are still as good as new. (no cracks or lacqer peeling off)
    overall,
    very good frameset, good prices available on framesets and whole bikes, and despite the long delay for mine i would recommend the pedalforce qs3.

  • Rick

    I received my QS3 exactly on time as promised. Excellent quality and service. I also know of at least 4 other people who have received frames in PedalForce group buys exactly on time and are completely happy.

  • Anthony

    Contrary to Matthew’s experience, my 2011 QS3 came without any hiccups. Deliver to California was as promised. Customer service was excellent as I was kept informed of the status of my bike. I was even able to outfit it with a combination SRAM Red/Force group for a good deal less than if I had purchased elsewhere. The new paint job is icing on the cake. I’m very happy with it.

  • matthew

    don’t get envolved.
    ordered my qs3 in feb and still waiting and have been told i will have to wait another 8 weeks before my qs3 turns up. just short of 5 months in total!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    customer service has been poor and have been told many stories as to why the delays
    customer service will NOT provide me with the contact details for pedalforce ceo so i have no one to complain to.
    nice looking framesets, very light, just can’t get one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!