Aside from being a good conversation piece, the Katana Disc has a very interesting set of features and qualities, some good, some not-so-good. (Tested with Ultegra Di2 components and Vision Metron 55/81 wheels.)
Great stealth look
Surprisingly rough ride
Unusual parts spec
19 lbs. 11oz.
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You don’t see a lot of Ceepos in the U.S. Maybe it’s because they’re not that popular, or (more likely) because they’re slightly difficult to find, learn about, and even buy. But don’t feel bad: It’s been a long time since Triathlete even reviewed one because they’re also difficult for us to get our hands on. Most recently the Japanese-founded brand was notable for their super-odd Shadow-R—a bike that is visually fascinating and a little scary to picture yourself riding. Still, the Ceepo Katana Disc is also a unique bike, though not nearly as unique as the Shadow-R, with some features, parts, and characteristics that surprised us.
Ceepo Katana Disc: The Ride
In many ways, the ride of the Katana Disc is where the unusual characteristics begin. We found it to be very comfortable at high frequency chatter, but not quite as capable over bigger bumps. Not that it was an abusive ride—some people prefer more road feel—but usually a bike that handles tiny bumps also does well with big bumps, though not often the other way around.
Ceepo Katana Disc: The Good
While the ride itself wasn’t perfect, the Katana Disc did track very well in the aerobars on straightaways and through wide, swooping turns. The acceleration was also middle-of-the road, but better than some of the smooth-riding bikes we tested this year. I liked the super deep front/rear wheel combo, and the fit per size is quite nice without getting too aggressive from the start.
Ceepo Katana Disc: The Medium
As the Katana did a good job of straight line handling, it also rolled through corners quite widely—not a slice-and-dice short courser by any means. And as well as it did while tucked in the aero bars, this build (likely due to the wheels, in part) was not as stable in crosswinds as I would have expected, given the fact that none of the tubes on this bike are exceptionally deep. Finally, while it’s fun to see Vision parts hanging on a bike, we found the cockpit wasn’t the easiest to work on and felt pretty fragile. It was also a surprise to see cable-pull disc brakes at this pricepoint.
Ceepo Katana Disc: Conclusions
While there wasn’t necessarily anything that stood out as being an issue on this bike, it found itself mostly in the middle across all of the big categories. While I’d probably lean it more towards a long-course bike—given its handling and less-than-super aggressive base position—it would also work fine for shorter races if those two factors aren’t an issue for you. Certainly there’s something to be said for riding and owning one of these rare beasts, and if you can get your hands on one, you’ll get something that is quite different than the usual fare.