Classic Cycle Thursdays: Special(ized) Upgrade Edition!

This is to let you know that I’ve officially divested myself of my crabon fiber bicycle holdings:

I did, however, trade up to a more au courant offering from the same company:

One that is more in keeping with my current lifestyle:

Yes, my beard and I could not bear to see the RockCombo go back to Classic Cycle…especially now that it’s part of a matching set:

So when I surveyed my vast portfolio of bikes and considered which one I might liquidate in order to acquire the RockCombo (a.k.a. “The Eye of the Tiger Bike,” a.k.a. “Mudbunion”), I ultimately decided upon my Plastic Fred Sled–which is, in many ways, was the odd man out. (I will also return the M-16 to Classic Cycle, as even I cannot justify two vintage mountain bikes. Fortunately, my Chrismas upgrades will fit seamlessly with the RockCombo.)

This is not to say the PFS was a bad bicycle; on the contrary, it was in fact an excellent road bike that rode beautifully, and I felt fast every time I hopped on it, even though I definitely wasn’t. However, the reason I got it in the first place was because I had started racing again and needed a suitable bicycle. But now that I’ve announced my re-retirement, I no longer need a race bike. (And when your three year-old bike is still in like-new condition that’s a good sign you’re not using it enough.) Anyway, I’ve already got another one that checks both the “go-fast road bike” box and the “pretentious vintage bike” box, also via Classic Cycle:

Yes, when it comes to bikes, few people have gotten their hooks into my brain more inextricably than Paul Johnson of Classic Cycle. Indeed, between Paul and Grant Petersen, I have virtually zero control over my own movements and thoughts. (Sometimes I think I’ve had an independent thought, but then I realize it came from Jeff Jones.) It’s only a matter of time before every bike I own will have come from either Classic Cycle or Rivendell (or Jones)–which, if you think about it, is really nothing to be ashamed of, considering the fact that there are actually people who own more than one Specialized.

Oh, wait…

Anyway, with the PFS gone, not only did I make way for the RockCombo, but I also cemented this bike’s status as my Primary Road Bike, and to celebrate I lavished it with some much-needed attention in the form of a new chain, a new cassette, and a new pair of tires:

I performed the labor last night, and then this morning we headed up into the wilds of suburbia:

The cassette is a 13-29 (the same ratio that Paul included with the bike originally) and for a re-retired beardo such as myself it is the ideal combination:

A 29 with a compact crank is low enough to get up anything you might reasonably encounter on a road bike, and pushing anything more than a 13 tooth cog is not just undignified but downright vulgar. Plus, nothing feels better than a new chain and cassette–it’s like picking your nose after a long gravel ride, or putting on fresh underwear after a transatlantic flight.

As for the tires, I decided it was time to stop messing around with the tissue paper and switch to something with some more substance:

Thanks to the magical ride qualities of titanium (which everyone knows is akin to inhaling nitrous oxide while riding on the back of a velvet elephant) doing so does not come with much of a penalty in terms of road feel. For that matter, there’s really no penalty in riding a 20-ish-year-old road bike instead of a much newer one. (Setting aside arguments over disc brakes, of course, which in this case are moot since my PFS didn’t have disc brakes anyway.) I could even un-retire and race the thing if I wanted, but I’m hoping the “vintage” aspect of the bike is a reminder that I should relegate that sort of thing to the past.

I may be able spare the crabon, but at this point I can no longer spare the dignity.

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