Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nyah, nyah....

Not to try to make you feel that I may have done something that you have not, but I just did something that you probably have not. 

I walked a few blocks to Turin Bikes to replace the disgracefully worn tires on my Lighthouse. As it happened, the Shimano rep, an independent rep who also represents Scott bicycles, was there. And he had brought with him his Scott Addict, said to be the lightest frame one can buy, equipped with...wait for it...the new Shimano electric shifting!

And because the Turin guys are good guys and the rep is a good guy, they insisted that I ride the bike. Naturally I resisted, just as you would. We aren't into ultralight carbon bikes and mysterious shifting. We like steel and cables and what we think of as "proven stuff." 

So I rode the Scott just to make you jealous, not because it could possibly impress me.

It was the rep's personal bike, and by chance he's the same size I am, 5'11" and long-legged. The seat height was exactly the same as mine, really to the sixteenth of an inch. The stem length was also perfect or nearly so. I could've just ridden off into the sunset on that bike as if it were mine.

As you probably know, the brake levers do not move side-to-side as they do with Shimano's mechanical shifting. There are two small buttons tucked in behind each lever, one for up and one for whatever the other way is called. 

There's a battery case on top of the downtube, down low, and the front derailleur has a motor encased above the cage. It isn't pretty but it isn't a bike-ruiner either. The rear derailleur is different-looking but not ugly. It could all be worse, esthetically. And it works fine. Reminded me of old Mavic Zap electric shifting, and I liked Zap. 

Nothing moves much when you push the buttons, by the way. You're not powering the shift, only selecting when and which way it changes gears.

I liked the shifting okay but I would not buy it to replace perfectly good mechanical Dura-Ace, for instance. I'd buy it if I needed a new group, not because it would change my life.

What I really liked was the bike. It was SO light and SO stable and SO easy to ride. I rolled over a few bumps; the bike was not disturbed. It was absolutely intuitive to steer. Seriously, I could have ridden it this afternoon instead of my Lighthouse without an adjustment of any kind except a pedal change. How often can we test ride a bike that's perfectly our size?

Oh, I'd have had to switch the brake cables: I use the rightside lever for the front brake. But that's all. I even liked the Fizik saddle.... Sigh....

I'm in the process of writing a piece about lugs and how tired I am of hearing about them. Folks rave about 20-year-old Fuji touring frames today because those undistinguished old structures have lugs, for heavens sakes. Who cares?

Today I rode a bike that is the furthest thing from a lugged steel icon, and I loved it. I am surer and surer as the years pass that guys who rave about old stuff maintain their mindset by never trying anything new. They already know all they want to know.


Christopher Johnson said...

Yeah, and some folks just like to drive classic cars, etc. even when they know that something newer, faster, higher performance (whatever that is), and more sophisticated and complex is available.

Hey, its great to hear about you on a bike. I hope you are continuing to recover.

Earle said...

I still have questions about how well carbon fiber frames hold up to real-world beatings. I commute on my titanium bike, locking it to a bike rack, where the wind has bounced it around enough to take all the paint off the rack at the contact point. Just what would that do to a carbon bike?
Not everybody can hang the bike in the garage (or living room) unless its in active use.