For a while now I've been debating with myself about whether to 'up-grade' Blackie or save up and get a whole new bike. Of course I could just carry on and do nothing but I've been having a strange, 'it's not you, it's me' relationship with Blackie over the past few months.
I haven't ridden my geared bike since making the conversion to single speed. In fact the Kona is still in bits since I took it apart for Strathpuffer. I've been enjoying a kind of bike riding renaissance with Blackie. Not since tearing around on my first BMX have I had such pure, unadulterated pleasure from pedaling.
However, I've also found that I've become more fearful and nervous as a rider. This could be due to a lot things-getting older being the obvious, but it's also coincided with riding the retro single speed. The extreme, stretched out racing position combined with rigid forks and brakes that just about slow me down, has left me walking sections that I would have previously had a go at. Again, maybe I just need more practice but this is the essence of my dilemma.
An 'up-grade' would mean a switch to disc brakes and carbon forks. But that's not going to change the geometry of the frame and it'll still won't have sliding drop outs. Some how it seems wrong to try and change that bike so much and at the moment with a pair of slicks it would make the perfect commuter.
So, to come to my conclusion...it's going to be a new frame. Something that fits me perfectly and will enable me to build up the ultimate single speed machine.
Orange-probally too expensive and difficult to get a test ride.
Cotic-again pretty expensive but very tempting.
On-One Inbred-excellent value for money
On-One Scandal-I'm strangely drawn to this....
Luckily Chris has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things bike and has steered me towards the obvious choices. And patiently explained the difference in materials and geometry. Even more importantly his wife has an 16 inch Inbred.
On to the the test ride, off we rode with his and her inbreds around the bridleways of Nottinghamshire. This sizing was spot on and with some adjustments to the bar height I felt much more stable and in control. It was so reassuring to be able to come to a stop with the strength of one finger. Compared to to Blackie the front end felt much heavier and stiffer but the trails were especially dry last night. And of course, on my dream machine I'll be adding carbon forks!
The inbred has the same geometry as the scandal but is heavier. So, I could either loose some weight or get the lighter bike and carry more cake. I think you know the answer! It took all of my will power not to put in an order for a new frame when I got home, that will have to wait 'til next pay day.
Thanks Chris and Sylvia!