Singled Out

In the spirit of hard-hitting cycling journalism, I have been conducting a Dated Singlespeed 29er Shootout in which I analyze how this cheap bike:

Compares to this eerily similar fancy bike:

After riding them both back to back, I came to the conclusion that, well, the fancy bike is in fact better. But! Would some judicious parts-swappage narrow the gap between them?

While some bike bloggers out there pretend to be experts, I recognize that I am eternally a student, and that as Socrates said, the most important thing I know is that I know nothing:

As such, each bike that comes under my purview teaches me an important lesson about the nature of life and existence, and during my time with the Softride I learned some valuable lessons:

For one thing, I learned a great deal about shame, and that when it comes to humiliation, being run out of town on a rail has nothing on riding around town on a beam:

For another, I learned that it’s not about suspending the bike, it’s about suspending the rider, and so I removed the bar and saddle on the cheap bike and replaced them with a bamboo stick and a piece of dead cow:

In addition to the bamboo bar, I also changed the stem for a longer one:

While the saddle and bar change made for a smoother ride, the longer stem probably made the most difference in that it tamed the front end somewhat, and overall the bike felt more refined:

It also grazed on leaves like a hungry cow:

While I wouldn’t say these changes enhanced the bike’s appearance (if anything I think it’s even more homely now), they’ve certainly made the bike feel a bit more “premium,” while at the same time improving the handling:

I’ll have to go back to the Engin to see what (if any) gap still remains between them.

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