Last weekend brought about a sad state of affairs. I’m totally committed to hitting Rovaniemi next year but with a new challenge means new tools for the job. For those of you that aren’t to o fay with the cycling world you’ll likely be of the frame of mind that a bikes a bike right? Wrong. Oh how wrong you are. You see there’s not just one bike or even a different bike for each cycling discipline for that matter. Its a complex web defined by the ride, the weather, the terrain,what you want to carry, the fun you want or the speed your aiming for…. it goes on and on. Confused? Let me try and break it down for you.
You want to ride on the road? that’ll be a road bike then. But what if you want to race? You’ll need something lighter, a pimpy race bike should do it. That’s expensive though so you better train on your normal one and keep the race bike for best. Sorted. Your getting fitter now so you join a roadie club but they’re a bit precious in the rain so you best get a winter bike that you can whack some mud guards on. You fancy giving cyclocross a bash, after all, most of the roadies are raving about it, best get a CX bike then.
Wow all this getting muddy business is pretty fun!!
Let’s get off road then and get a MTB bike. You can start with a Hardtail MTB but soon enough your mates are leaving you for dust on the descent’s so you better go get a Full suss MTB. Now where talking!! But if your gonna race you’ll need something light, but again you don’t want to ruin that expensive set up in the winter so you better get a winter hack, better still get a Single speed and build up some proper strength.
It’s easy to get carried away and we haven’t even touched on Touring bikes, Trail bikes, Downhill bikes, BMX’s, 4X, Enduro’s, Track bikes etc etc and that’s all before you start to talk about wheel sizes… 26″, 29″, 69er, 750b???
I’ve always thought that 7 was a good number of bikes to have in your stable but space, money and women often put paid to that magic number. As do children, especially when they start to have bikes of their own to add to the mix. To simplify things though there’s a formula often used in cycling fraternity’s… Optimum number of bikes = N+1
N represents the current number of bike you currently own.
So basically new challenge means new bike. Seriously, this isn’t even one of those excuses of “I really need this all singing and dancing bouncy bike because it’s a new shade of black”. I actually really need it!! If your aiming to ride around the Arctic circle then a normal bike will simply not cut the mustard. The main reason is float. wwhhoooooaaa calm down, I’m not talking about getting some spangly hover bike or some such. I mean float of the tyres. Mountain bike tyres come in lots of different shapes and sizes and you get a massive variance of size, depth, tread, grip etc each designed to work in a specific condition. Now you can get tyres for snow but most are simply too thin and will cut through the snow leaving you buried deep and getting no traction. That is unless you get some fat tyres. Fat tyres are fairly niche so haven’t exactly been seen around much, they are growing in popularity but it’s unlikely you’ll see someone rolling past you any time soon. All bikes have a space restriction both in the forks and rear triangle so you can only physically fit so much in there. That is unless you have a specific frame built for the needs.
Fat bikes are nothing new but they are becoming more main stream as people realise that they aren’t the one trick pony’s you might think. You may think that they’re only good for snow but more and more people are experimenting with what they can do. Your not going to be breaking any speed records but they are massively adaptable as long as your motivation is in the journey rather than the destination.
So what’s the downside? Well remember me mentioning before about space, money and women? Well they’ve took there toll again. Adhering to my own one in, one out rule I had to forgo a bike to make space for the newcomer. Since passing my motorbike test last year I’ve been rocking a Ducati Monster which I totally adored. Sounds a bit much but it’s true, I bloody love that thing. Unfortunately so did the bloke I bought it from. I think he instantly regretted selling it to me as he mithered me pretty much every month asking if he could buy it back. It was my first bike though and I always felt it may have been slightly small under my 6’2″ frame. I nothing to compare it to though so it might be perfect. With a new challenge on the horizon and a need for a new bike I finally gave in and gave him the call that would make his day. He’s probably done me a favour as it’ll give me a chance to keep an eye out for something else this summer like a Triumph Tiger, Honda Hornet etc and gauge how they compare. I honestly think I’ll come back to the Monster at some point in the future. Maybe the 1100 evo though to give me a little bit more seat height and few more CC’s under the tank.
So last weekend had its high’s and low’s. I saw my Ducati taken away from me but to make up for the sorrow I promptly went and through a wedge of cash at Jon over at Bicycle Smithy. John’s a top lad with a passion for biking who’s started Bicycle Smithy from scratch after realising that his hometown needed your old style bread and butter bike shop. He’s but the time in and seen off bigger competitors that have tried to bite at his heels. So support your local bike shop and get down to see him. After a bit of research and a lot of umming and arring I finally made the decision of the build that’s hopefully going to have me smiling for the next year.
I’ll do a full write up when I’ve got the build finalised and in my hands but as it’s mostly niche and tarty stuff I reckon it’ll be another week or two.
For now here’s a little taster of what’s to come after I received a message earlier to say the frame has landed. I reckon the forks should be wide enough if they can fit a big northern head…