Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Bike Day 2

I woke up this morning and was just itching to go for a ride. I checked the weather and it was meant to be sunny and warmish 24°C. I got straight out of bed and put on my riding clobber, grabbed the iPod and glasses and set off on the new bike. I decided to stick to the eastern trail today just in case anything went wrong with the bike and I had to walk it home. It is an absolutely brilliant bike, it is just so well made and everything works as it should while riding. Gear changes are so smooth and the bike feels so comfortable due to the dual suspension . The dual suspension really swallows every bump and bounce while riding and you instantly wonder why you put up with a hard-tail bike all the previous years. Here's some photo's from today when I gave it it's inaugural "spin".

Pausing at my usual "breather" spot

Next break by the lake.

Action cam of the trail

More of the Trail

Monster hill climb

Saturday, November 08, 2008

New addition to the family.

For a while now I have been considering getting another bike. While there is "technically" nothing wrong with my current bike I have had it for 5 years nearly and I started entertaining the idea of getting it a playmate.

I had my eye on a Trek Fuel EX8 and was pretty sure this was the bike I was going to get. It's top of the line in every aspect and accordingly came with a hefty price tag of $3700. There are however many different "brands" of bikes and what many people don't realize is that there is really not that much difference between brands. They all use the same componentry (Shimano, RockShox, SRAM etc) and this is even more so when you get to bikes costing thousands of dollars. They are all using the BEST components from the same manufacturer and only the bike frame really differs. Then it basically comes down to aesthetics, whether you look at the bike and go "hmmm..that's ok" or "Wow, that's nice!" or "Holy shit!!! That is like what an orgasm would look like if it had wheels and a seat!"

Today I went into the city to various bike dealers because at the moment the weak Australian dollar coupled with the credit crisis and the imminent release of 2009 series bikes across every manufacturers range means that current stock is being run-out. Also, pretty much every brands 2009 bikes would be significantly more expensive than the current years stock. I had a list of bikes that I liked the "look" of and wanted to see if any of them "did it" for me in the flesh.

One bike company has pretty much cornered the market in the "Orgasm Inducing Aesthetics" category, and if they made cars they'd be a kin to Porsche or Ferrari. That company is Specialized and they make arguably the best bikes in the world and are usually ridiculously expensive. They are so expensive that you put them in the "If I won the lottery" wish list and cast your attention realistically at Avanti, Giant, Trek etc brand bikes. Well, during my quest I went to look at Total Rush ( a dealer who only sells Specialized bikes) because they had a HUGE discount on their awesome "Stump Jumper FSR" dual-suspension mountain bike. It was $700 off!!!

I had loaded up my debit VISA card with the required moneys just in case one of the bikes I saw that day was worthy of a purchase there and then. When I got to Total Rush the place was pristine and perfect. It just oozed "quality" and the array of bikes on show were very impressive. There were mountain bikes, road bikes, bmx's etc all with prices on them that made you whistle and step away in case you accidentally broke one and then had to mortgage your house, or kidneys, or sell your kids to cover the cost. The most expensive bike there was as expensive as a new car (over $25,000). I found the Stump Jumper FSR comp bike and gave it a once was absolutely amazing. I picked it up and it weighed only a few kilo's but it just looked so damn nice. I got served by a guy called Simon who was very nice and definitely knew his products. He asked me all sorts of questions about what I currently rode, were I rode and why I thought that this new bike was what I wanted. I answered his questions and he said "you've made a very good choice in the stump jumper". So I took another look at the bike and asked if I could sit on it, he said "yeah go ahead" and smiled, he had probably seen what was about to happen a million times already and was chuckling internally because he knew what was just about to transpire was inevitable.

I hopped on the bike and sat down...the bikes dual suspension adjusted under my weight and it felt like I was sitting on a cloud. I started to grin and looked at Simon and said "Oooooh, I really like this bike!!". He nodded and said "Oh I know, you won't ever regret buying it". So then we start talking options, the bike needed pedals first and foremost (as high end bikes don't come with're meant to BYO so they match with your bike shoe clips). Simon asked what pedals I have on my Avanti and I said "clipless". He tried to persuade me to get "clipped" pedals on this bike but I said i really didn't like them and that I actually had some at home that if I ever felt the urge to try them again I could put those on. We settled on some clipless flat-pedals and moved on.

Simon rolled the bike out back to the "work Stand" and hoisted it up, he tightened and adjusted all the gearing and derailleurs, installed the pedals and then told me to follow him to the dyno-trainer. He installed the bike on the dyno and told me to get on and start pedaling. I did, and straight away the reason this bike cost $3600 was apparent. The gearing was as silky smooth as I have ever experienced, you couldn't actually feel the gears change?? That was a huge "WTF" for me. Simon measured my pedal gait and adjusted the seat height and shock absorber rebounds so they were perfect for "me". This was quite an awesome feeling to know that this bike was being made and setup for me and me alone and if anyone else was to get on and ride it the settings would be all wrong and it would ride like crap. After the dyno testing and rider measurement and tweaks I was asked if there was anything I thought was wrong with the current setup? The only thing I didn't like was that the handlebar grips were extremely thin in diameter and it really didn't feel right while holding them...BAM off they came and on went thicker ones which were better but not perfect...BAM off they came and different ones went on until they felt right. Awesome. The bike was just so god damned perfect in every way that I just had to buy it....what was weird (and encouraging) was that no mention had been made up until that point that I would *actually* buy the bike. They obviously just knew that once you'd sat on it and had a pedal and experienced just how perfect the whole thing could anyone say no??

Needless to say, I left the store this day with that bike :)

So now I am the very excited (and proud) owner of a Specialized mountain bike :) It's like a dream come true and hopefully the first of many that I have in the pipeline at the moment. It's such a shame that it's raining here in Melbourne (who'd have thought??) or i'd be out riding this thing like .... well ..... I'm sure you can come up with your own suitable metaphor ;)

Here is the new baby in all it's glory.

And here is a picture to give you an accurate idea of just how brilliant, awesome and SEXY this bike is!!