Monday, April 3, 2017

Fleet Update (Again)

A recent post on the Rivendell Bike list asked what is the ideal number of bikes. I should have three:

1) a mountain bike for fast single track riding

2) a road bike for sorta fast solo road riding

3) a city bike for camping, family rides, grocery runs, etc

So how did I end up with seven? I feel another downsizing event coming on. But here's the latest, this time in categories:

Mountain Bikes:

1a) Surly Karate Monkey:

I've tried to sell this bike a few times. The Jones is clearly a more premium bike, the Niner is better with B+ wheels... but I like the way the KM rides over either of them. Quick handling, a responsive frame, and dead simple technology is a winning combination for me. It's my favorite bike.

By the way, the left grip is spare orange bar tape. I ran out of grips during this build. No expense spared for my favorites!

1b) Niner SIR9:

This is my experiment with B+ wheels. I've recently updated it with gears and a sus fork to separate it more from the KM. It's nice enough, but I just don't have any attachment to it.

1c) Jones Plus

The Jones is SO capable, I should really like it better. I think the 29+ format is really just *too* stable for me. I need a little instability that encourages me to pop off things and let Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" run through my head when I'm riding. I think I'll be selling the big guy this spring.

Road Bikes:

2a) 1986 Raleigh Technium: 

Back to 27" wheels, not the 650b as pictured. The big tires are great, but the handling was too slow and the brakes sucked. That's the price of a 650b conversion, I guess. But I still really like the bike: it's heavy, flexy, comfortable, and fun. Fenders would be nice, though.

2b) Specialized Rockhopper:

Converted to 700c and fixed gear. This is another fun bike to ride, mostly because it's a fixed gear and cheap, so I don't expect anything out of it.

If I were truly downsizing, I would dump both of these and get a nice fixed gear crossy type bike, either a Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross or hunt down a Riv Quickbeam. My current two aren't really worth much, though, so the only cost of keeping them is the physical and psychic space they take up. That costs something.

City Bikes:

199x Raleigh Technium Peak:

I'm still on the shake down rides for this one. It rides pretty well, Kate likes the pink bike, and it's cheap and tough, but I'm a bit tired of dealing with the low stack height of old mountain bikes.

Velo Orange Polyvalent MKIII:

Handles well, all the thoughtful braze ons you could ask for, generous tire clearance... so what's not to like? Kind of like the Niner, I just haven't really bonded with this bike. It's like the Toyota Camry of bikes: cooly competent, but nothing you wander out into the garage to admire before going to bed.

If I could wave my magic wand and start over, I would end up with:

1) Karate Monkey. Hey! I'm already there.

2) Monstercross or Quickbeam (64cm if anyone has one for sale)

3) Clem Smith Jr? I'm not even sure what my ideal city bike would be.

and maybe a fat bike.

We'll see where this goes.

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