Friday, May 22, 2015

The May Massacre

It's been an eventful month for my bike fleet. Early in the month, I sold the ERB to a fellow in Arizona. The spring concept was interesting, and maybe faster, but it finally wasn't significant enough that I was willing to compromise and go back to 26" wheels for it.

Goodbye ERB:

I sold the ERB as a complete bike, mostly to help clear out some space in my parts bin, but also to get these super swanky Bontrager scandium wheels out of the garage. As long as they were around, it was too tempting to pick up a 26er frame to go with them... only to realize I'm a 29er guy these days... but the wheels are soooo light.... Now, no more temptation.

The ERB was just the beginning.

I mentioned earlier that I was tired of trying to decide which was better between the Cross Check and ye Olde Trek, so of course I went to the extreme solution: as of Monday, the Trek is off to an iBob in Chicago:

(but with only the 27" wheels, the 650B wheels are still up for sale), while on Wednesday a tall local fellow came over and picked up the Cross Check frame from my CL ad:

I've had the Cross Check for many years (new since 2009, an eternity in my skewed bike world), but it went out the door quickly and quietly. I think part of what hastened its departure was my new low trail fork. I like the way that fork handled, but the extra 50mm of steerer tube length highlighted the short head tube on the CC. This has always been a sore spot for me:

The tall Greek that bought it was a relative newbie to cycling, so he will have an interested challenge to assemble his first real bike from the frame up. In the interest of cleaning out the parts bin, I tossed in a set of Avid canti brakes with the frame, but I'm not sure this was a kindness... I hate setting up canti brakes.

To cap off my week, a guy from work stopped by tonight and picked up the Gravity Bullseye Monster:

Selling four bikes or frames in a month is indeed a record for me (and yes, I do keep track of these things). That leaves me with just two bikes:

My Velo Orange Camargue for all road duties:

and my new Mukluk for all things mountain:

I'm happy with the VO for what it does, but I will need a lightish fixed gear again soon to complement it for road duties. On the mountain bike front, my ride today on the Muk wasn't exactly inspiring: it just felt like work to drag those big tires for a single lap around Alum, and I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with the "straddling a horse saddle" feeling of the wide bottom bracket.

With four bikes sold, my bike fund is swelling up into the rare heights of four figures, while my garage space is full of empty hooks. These lets me think about a few scenarios:

- my first (and typical) reaction is to buy a pair of mid priced frames to fill the gaps. I was eyeing a 65cm Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross to replace the CC, and a more normal mountain bike to supplement (and probably replace, someday), the Gravity and Mukluk. I had thoughts to pick up another Soma Juice, but lately I've been eyeing the Carver Gnarvester. It's aluminum, but it's also about the only mid priced 29+ frame out there that isn't a Surly. Nothing against Surly, but I've already checked the Krampus box and found it wanting.

- my scarier option would be to sell the Muk sooner rather than later, and pony up for a new Trek Stache 9+. I hesitate to buy new, complete bikes, as the eventual resale value kills me, but the Trek is so tempting with its 420mm chainstays. This would blast my bike fund back to zero or lower, even after selling the Muk, leaving me to look for another 30 year old bike boom bike as a fixed gear road bike (this part of the deal is actually quite tempting for me). Besides resale value, I worry about the new tech involved with the Trek: a potentially squeaky press fit bottom bracket paired with Boost hubs that don't match anything in my parts bin. There's a Trek demo day next weekend, so I'll check out the Stache then.

- and the really out there option is a Jones Plus. With it's 480mm chainstays and traditional steel construction, it's almost the complete opposite of the Trek. But everyone seems to rave about it. I don't see actually doing this without a demo ride, which is very unlikely to happen as the nearest Jones dealer is in Chicago.

Sometimes, it's just fun to have money in the bank and think about the options for a while.


  1. Hey Eric, I've been following your blog for a while - though I'm not sure how I landed here in the first place - and find that I've got the same tastes as far as mountain bikes go. I'm intrigued by the Stache 5 as well. On thing I've learned about it on mtbr is that the front hub/fork are *not* Boost-spaced. The fork is the same from the (non-Boost) Superfly. So you could swap in any 15-mm thru axle front wheel you've got, which is somewhat comforting.

    1. Hi Josh,

      Thanks for the comment... you're absolutely correct about the Stache 5 (which would be the only version I would consider), but even so, I don't have any thru axle wheels either!

      I think subconsciously, I'm looking for a reason to eliminate the Stache from consideration. I sort of it hope it doesn't ride amazingly.

  2. HI Eric, have you looked at the Singular Swift?
    Well made Taiwanese made frame, real good prices. EBB which you may or may not want. But 2.4" clearance, and a high BB, so you can run regular 29er wheels, and if you want, have a second set of B+ 584X58 wheels on it.
    A bit less versatile, and for more money, there's Gunnar as well:

    1. I have the Swift on my regular ebay search. It's tempting, but not quite everything I want: the seat tube is a bit long, and I think only the latest (tan) models have really super rear clearance where they can almost fit a 29+ tire. I think Sam used lighter gauge tubing on his bikes than most makers, so that makes them ride a bit better. I had a Gryphon, and it was pretty nice... but not as nice as my green Gunnar. That was a superb riding bike, hampered by a 4" head tube. Seriously? Youc an search my blog for "history" to see a bit more about my Gunnar experience.

    2. Hi have a Gryphon coming in the mail almost any day now... high hopes for it being "the" bike! I have a Rockhound and am pretty happy with it for what it is. Wish it had better tire clearances though. I have a tall stem on it, so it fits me fine :-)


City Bike Update

One post in, and my Fuji America has already gotten a pretty major update. A wave of bike changes cascaded down to it: - I sold my Trek St...