Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Too many choices, too many spots

Once you’ve worked at a bike shop, you start to develop a warped view of how bikes should be. As a consumer, you are limited to buying a bike as a package and dealing with any shortcomings you may feel are in the manufacturer’s build, or you can go the ultra expensive route of purchasing everything yourself and having the shop assemble it, or worse yet trying to assemble it yourself. As a shop guy, not building a bike yourself from all the parts you want almost doesn’t make sense. Most manufacturers and the bike industry in general are pretty sensitive to this. There are various standards for things, but at least there are standards. You can do stupid mix and matching to make monster creations and have it all work without needing to do any fabrication on your own. When you get out onto the fringe of the industry, sometimes that isn’t the case. Some companies are working in a small enough niche market with little enough competition that they can afford to market a system. Most consumers aren’t bothered by this, it is easier for them. But for shop guys, it just doesn’t seem right.

So right now the weather sucks and since I can’t seem to get excited about summer riding, I am dreaming about changes to make next winter even better. The Pugsley frame and fork will probably go, but what to replace them with? I was in Skankorage (I have to admit their definition is wrong, but funny. Alaskans call is that because it is just a big nasty city) for the weekend and stopped into the fat tire shops down there to investigate answers. Sadly I didn’t come away feeling any more confident about a plan. I am leaning toward a 9:Zero:7 Ti frame and possibly upgrading to a Fatback crankset (unless of course someone comes out with a non-shop branded lightweight 100mm crankset before then). I am hoping that a manufacturer I talked to this winter will stick to their plans and have a 135mm spaced carbon rigid fork out this summer. If not I’ll be looking at the carbon fork that they have coming for the Fatback, or failing that, a Ti fork.

All this keeps blazing through my head despite the fact that my morning commute was three times long as normal (owing to forgetting something and having to go back home to get it and then ride back to work again). I really hope the local trails clear up soon.

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