Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pappa's Got a Brand New Ride

After a bit of humming and hawing ("hawing"? Is that right?) I decided upon a simple, affordable, no bells and whistles Fuji Bikes, Declaration – like the one pictured above. It's a no-fuss single-speed 44/16 set-up that will be my day-to-day ride. So yes, I'll add a rack and fenders (and a chain guard when I get around to it) which will remove any urban cool it may have had. They sell them in a variety of colours with fun coloured tires and rims but my goal was to get a simple bike that didn't break the bank and didn't call attention to itself. The only thing I didn't really like are the super-grippy handgrips and the brakes, which I'll adjust to my liking. I like the diamond frame, and that is lighter than it looks. In general, I like riding more upright but the geometry is good enough that my toes don't strike the front wheel in a track stand stop. Okay, I can't do that, but on my Specialized bikes and even my 1980s Bianchi road bike, that is a problem when stopping to yield at an intersection, and it's always bugged me. I'll be picking it up this week (not sure why I didn't just take it on the spot – I had other errands to do).

If you're interested in testing some of these, in Toronto, Bikes on Wheels in Kensington Market have plenty of sizes in stock (I tried a 54 and a 52 and a 48 cm model was on the floor) and at $525.00 CDN it's as good a price as you can expect for a new bike. It remains to be seen how long the finish on the chain and gears will last – I'm generally suspicious of painted chains and cogs.

UPDATE: I don't know the "why" or "how" of this, but just felt the need to report that my new Fuji is not to spec - rather than being a 44/16, it's actually a 46/17. This stuff matters to some people - I still plan on getting that front cog knocked down to 42. I understand from the Twittersphere that the 65-year-old Erik Speikermann rides a 48/16 set up. Should I worry that a man 20 years my senior rides a higher geared set up than myself? Maybe, if he were like, French or something. But he's not, he's German, thus stereotypes would have us believe that he probably enjoys more forms of self-punishment than others.