Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wooo Hoooo! What could be better than....another bike

Today is my birthday!..........ok, so that's not exactly true.
Um, today is Father's Day!.........Yeah, fine, that's not quite here either.
Ultimately, today needs no other occasion because today is New Bike Day! (is it here yet? is it here yet?)
I've been really good this year. I'm getting all my homework done and eating my vegetables. All want in return is a new bike (or bikeS). I have been feeling the need to add to my stable; so I've been doing research, fretting over this and that, trying to craft the perfect gameplan.

Earlier this year (think winter) I nearly pulled the trigger on a sweet deal for a full suspension, carbon fiber Scott Spark 20. It was a demo bike, meaning it had been ridden ~ 10 times at little events and was basically new. Man, it was a sweet deal, but I didn't have the scratch right in hand so I drug my feet a little and it got sold right out underneath me. What kind of sicko buys a bike when there's still a ton of snow on the ground? Some people.

So then I've been thinking about joining the 29er crowd. For those that don't know - the standard mountain bike wheel is 26 inches. A relatively recent "movement" has people riding bikes with a little larger wheel. 29ers reportedly roller better over obstacles, have better traction when climbing and are generally a bit faster - depending on the conditions. People just rave about them. Count me curious. I almost pulled the trigger on a great carbon fiber 29er frame the other day on ebay, but I hesitated too long (1 day) again and it was gone.

Grrrrrr. Me want bike.
At the same time I have been keeping my eyes open for a cyclocross bike. These are like traditional road bikes but with clearance for a wider, knobby tire. People race them in a fashion similar to cross country mountain bike races, only with little hurdle obstacles mixed in, meaning the rider will have to dismount, hop over and remount the bike - all in one fluid motion. Its pretty cool.
Bottom line is these bikes are extremely versatile. They are great for commuting, gravel road rides and bad weather (think winter) conditions and also be great for touring rides, like RAGBRAI. The right cyclocross bike could probably also hang on faster group rides like the Ritual (really, its all about the motor anyway).
I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a cyclocross bike because I still have a 29er in mind and I may get the chance to get another demo Spark, so I had been looking at more reasonably (reasonable for me which is completely unreasonable for non cyclists) priced bikes. Most of them are aluminum, which can be a bit of a harsh ride for cyclocross, transferring a lot of the vibrations straight to the rider. Because of that I was starting to lean toward steel. Steel is smooth but the trade off is they can be heavy. I had been looking at a Surly Cross Check, which is a great bike at a good price, but they are a little chunky (or is it just big-boned?). The Surly's stock components are pretty basic, so that could always be upgraded (and really that's half the fun). So, I was thinking I would hold off until fall and get a Cross Check to brave the winter cold. Well, then there's this thing called ebay, you may have heard of it. While perusing there I came across another steel bike, a Lemond Poprad.

Even though its namesake is a bit of a jerkface, this one is already upgraded and very light for a steel. It weighs about the same as my all carbon fiber road bike. That's pretty impressive. Not wanting to have the same bikecus-interruptus problem as before, I snapped it up - effectively making today New Bike Day. Woo Hooo!

I've gotta go now. I'm going to set up shop on my front porch and wait for the UPS man to arrive.

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