Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Debating a new bicycle

Thinking about buying a new bike, but not really sure if I need one because I really like the two mountain bikes I have. Both bikes are titanium, therefore incredibly light and fun to ride (BTW, it is still super fun to ride light bikes even when you are a Clydesdale like me). Even as old as these bikes are, they are works in progress. Currently I am trying to get the Merlin to under 20 lbs, and the Litespeed (travel bike with S & S couplers) under 23 lbs. This past fall/early winter, I bought over $2000 worth of bike parts to rebuild and upgrade the Litespeed and I even bought a new rigid carbon fork for the Merlin!

Why do I want a new bike? I am not sure...Cycling is a major focus and part of my life. People associate me with bicycles...but incredibly, the last brand new bike I bought was way back in 1992. Bicycle technology has changed big time over the past 17 years. In the last 5 years alone suspension designs have majorly improved. They are more reliable and have more travel. Frame design has swoopy lines from hydroformed aluminum and scandium, and there has been a huge shift towards carbonfiber. Upper crust CF frames weigh less than 3 lbs (1.36 kg), therefore making sub-18 lbs (sub-8.18 kg) road bikes the norm. Full suspension mountain bikes with weights less than 23 lbs (10.45 kg) are now easily attainable.

Its not just new frame technology, the big trend now in mountain biking is big wheels. I never jumped into the suspension fray, and now I'm not sure what do about the wheel size thing. Big wheels do roll faster (well they cover more ground for each revolution). I've ridden with people on them and they do go fast. They seem to climb really well too. A lot of the Great Divide riders use them, in fact I saw my first 29" wheeled mountain bike in 2005 when Matthew Lee won the Great Divide Race. Still to this date, Matthew's is the only 29er I've ridden.

Being sentimental, I really like titanium bikes as well as nice steel bikes. But for now, living by the sea, I think steel will be way more maintenance. Titanium is still, for the most part, is crazy expensive. Its a big out-lay of cash that I am not sure if I want to spend that way right now.

Then there is the real waffle-factor; what kind of bike to get? A classic touring bike, a big wheeled mountain bike, a regular wheeled mountain bike, a XC racing bike, an adventure bike, a cool cruiser mountain bike either 29" or 26" wheels? There are lots of options and choices. All I know is, when I get on my Merlin single speed and ride, I zone out and get into the flow state quickly and easily; I am suddenly places and I don't remember the section of trail I just came through. Bottom line...I love that bike! I am very loyal to it. We've been everywhere together!

Not really sure what to do, but knowing myself the way I do, I will probably get nothing in the near future and put everything on hold once again. Ugggh! I think the smartest and fiscally conservative thing to do is to rebuild my Litespeed and my Merlin with the new parts waiting in New Mexico, and see how I feel about them.


SS:Mtn Biker said...

Be advised,Mims,if you buy a Fargo,you will need to Gofar!

Mimbres Man said...

I am thinking this is the bike for the TransAm and/or the GDMBR!
Ha, ha, ha!