Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Bike

So I bought a new bike yesterday. I had agonized over whether to buy a new one or keep the old one for quite some time, but there were some unexpected developments that finally convinced me to go ahead. So we headed over to REI and took a look at their offerings.

I'll be honest, I've been to their stores a couple times and totally scoured their website in the last couple weeks. I've been a little bike-obsessed.

My old bike:
From Bikes New and Old

I was actually torn between two fairly spendy bikes: the Big Buzz and the Safari. I wanted a couple "extras" that come stock on the Safari but not on the Big Buzz, so the $50 price difference was a non-issue. After the add-ons, they'd cost about the same.

But after a few questions about me and my ride, one of the sales guys suggested the Buzz. It's about $200 cheaper than the two I was looking at, and it's really a great fit for what I want. That $200 was basically enough to put some add-ons on the bike and still get me out of the store cheaper than the list price on the other bikes.

My new bike:
From Bikes New and Old

One problem I have in my ride is, it's a 12 mile commute (one way). That's a long way to go on a mountain bike, but the roads here are kinda rough, and I frequently hit significant gravel and so forth. That effectively eliminates a high-efficiency road bike.

The Buzz seems to be a good compromise: it's noticeably lighter than my mountain bike, and rides a lot easier. Just on my short test drive last night (before it started to snow) and this afternoon (between amazing intermittent wind and hail storms), I found the bike is a lot faster and a lot easier to pedal.

This is my first bike with disk brakes, and I'm really interested to see how well they measure up to the hype. My short ride around the block gave me a little taste, but not enough to really get a feel for how they work in "real life." My longer ride out of the neighbourhood today gave me a better taste, but I really want to try them on a real ride.

From Bikes New and Old

One thing about my commute: the two worst hills are within two miles. And since I live on a hill, the end of my ride home is always uphill. And although every ride from home starts out downhill, they generally include a brutal uphill struggle in the first couple miles.

The good news is, I can test the new bike on the worst hills without going more than ten minutes. And so far, this bike is wowing me on the hills. The disk brakes give great control on the downhill stretches, and the narrower tires and lighter frame make the uphills a lot more friendly. I have to admit, I was loathe to part with my mountain bike, as I relied on the low mountain bike gears to beat those hills. But now I wonder whether they were more necessary because of the heavy frame and bulky tires than because of the actual roads. Time will tell.

So the add-ons... I bought a rack for the rear and a trunk:
From Bikes New and Old

the trunk contains some light-weight fold-out panniers:
From Bikes New and Old

and I moved my lights and water-bottle from the old bike to the new
From Bikes New and Old

So I'm admittedly enamoured of this bicycle, but the initial response is that the new bike is much better in every way than what I've been riding, and I'm extremely excited to ride it to work.


Stace' said...

Got any junk in your trunk?

Nice bike! Happy riding.

Ames said...

I think you should get some riding attire that resembles a police uniform. Maybe people will give you lots of space.

It is a pretty slick bike.

freedomnan said...

I am constantly amazed at your commute and therefore think that anything which helps should be a given. I am so glad you have a bike which can face the music!

Gwen said...

Good job, Farkus. I'm so impressed with anybody who rides to work. I salute you!

Shan said...

I don't have a bike after butt-face stole it. Buy me one, would ya?