Saturday, June 16, 2007

Update on the bike situation

First, I tuned up the Outlook last night and took it for a spin around the parking lot. After dealing with RapidFires on the Sorrento, and Tiagra STIs on the Trek, Grip shifters took a while to appreciate again, but I do still like them. The front derailleur is a lot less finicky when you have a non-indexed ratcheting shifter.

Today, I rode it 7 miles. I met Jim, a member of my bicycle club for the first time at The Daily Dose to help him troubleshoot the club's site as he migrates it to a different web host. Of course, I started at JCCC, went to The Dose, and rode back to JCCC.

You know what? I give my Outlook a lot of smack-talk that's not always deserved. Sure, the bottom bracket is cheap and unreliable in the wet, but this bike is still great! I'd almost say for short distances, it's better than the Trek. If I sprung for a real cargo rack (it has braze-ons) I might actually use it more often.

Going up hills, I think it actually climbs better. It still has "mountain" gears for the most part, which helps. Going downhill, I can cadence-out, but I'm going more than 40 MPH by the time that happens. I can get my Trek up faster than that, and I've never been able to wring my legs out all the way on the Trek, but for practical purposes, the Outlook is about the same speed as the Trek going downhill. In the flats and up slight hills, the Trek shows its true colors. The problem is that there really isn't that much flat land on my commute. So, while the Trek is hands-down the most efficient bike I own, the Outlook is perhaps the best bang for the buck.

Once I move to Lenexa, I think I'll be doing some round-trip bike commute experiments with these two bikes. I have a feeling the Outlook might not fare too poorly against the Trek 1200 in terms of speed. Build quality and fun factor will probably skew the overall results toward the Trek 1200 though.

When I got back to JCCC, it was after 10:00, and the bike shop was open. I took the wheel, tire, and ruptured tubes off my Trek to the shop.

Somewhere along the line, my brand new Bontrager Select tire got a slice in the sidewall, again, right near the rim. This wasn't anywhere near the flatspot, but Kevin at Bike America pointed out the slice, and when I told him that I'd mounted the tire the same way both times (with the stem pointing right at the Bonti logo) he knew it was probably the sidewall, and started pressing his finger around the inside of the tire. It didn't take him long to find a minuscule slice. He said it looked like the kind of slice caused by chunks of glass or metal in the road. It wasn't very big at all.

So, I bought my new wheel, had them put YET ANOTHER new tire and tube on the new wheel, and swap the cassette off my OEM wheel. Yes, Bike America gave me the uber-hookup yet again, and I appreciate it. I haven't had a chance to give the Trek a proper shakedown run yet. It'll happen soon enough, though.


TimO said...

Hey, I got back from BAK yesterday....quite an experience!! More as I put a blog together on it.

Which Monday night ride you going on?

Noah said...

Can't do Monday night this week. Packing the Explorer up to move starting on Tuesday.

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