08 April 2009

testing night ride

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.

Choices, choices;
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!


dangerous dan said...

Just wanted to say that the name of your blog is awesome.


Jo said...

Cor, i was drooling over an inbred in one of the mags the other night. Can't add any wisdom on the technical decisions, but yay for 'new' bike!

...And how handy to get a test ride like that. Fated.

kate said...

jo-my thoughts exactly ;)

Julbags said...

I love my On One, its a grinch green 456 geared, front suspension. Its really a hardtail version of my full suspension. It weighs about as much as my full suspension Titus but its such a fantastic frame to ride. I've been riding the Titus exclusively for about two weeks due to binding brakes and I miss it already. Apart from having my eyeballs rattled out on the cobbly trails round here, not missing that yet.

jumbly said...

Hooray for new bikes but I hope Blackie doesn't take it too badly being put out to pasture as a commuter. Good choice you've made though, On-One stuff seems to be really good value for money and rides well.

Red Bike said...

Oooo new bike....

I would go with the lighter bike. From what I can gather the reason you don't ride your Kona is you prefer a lighter bike.

I'm currently looking at the same makes for my next bike(different models though)Didn't you fancy a 29ner?

I can't help feeling sorry for poor Blackie though.

kate said...

don't worry ya'll Blackie will continue to be loved!

sarah said...

I am happy to hear Blackie is still loved! The new frame looks fantastic and it's definitely wise to go lighter and enjoy more cake =) Hope you can order it soon!

Red Bike said...

Have you decided yet?

I keep looking at this

(Must of been influenced by you and Trio!)

trio said...

Inbred's make excellent singlespeeds, but I know what you mean about the scandal! But its not quite the same geometry, I thought it was more racy?

Pedalling Polarcherry said...

cotics are gorgeous but pretty pricey so if i were you i'd go for the on one inbred. There not that heavy (esp if singlespeed) and less than £200.
I know quite a few people with them and also ti versions. Everyone sings their praises.

Go for it :)

(I'm now on my 4rd frame and the different in geometry and the affects you feel are huge! if you get your new bike to fit you & your needs perfectly your confidence will increase 10 fold)

Simon said...

More options as I think you should buy steel - I reckon that might be one of the reasons you love Blackie so much compared to the Kona:

http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/series/io Frame for £200 seems excellent value

http://www.dialledbikes.com/products/mtb/lovehate.html Frame £265

http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/product/22090/Charge_Duster_Steel_Frame £260 but probably a little more with an EBB

Sorry to confuse you!!!

kate said...

nooooo! thanks for the info guys, had almost clicked for the scandal.....watch this space