Next week I take delivery on my second new bike in the last six months.
Yes, it’s been a good year — which is also what happens when you have two expensive bikes stolen over the last year.
First, I had my trusty Serotta Ti road bike which Mavic Ksyrium wheelset and full front and read light set up stolen from work. That was a bummer because whoever stole it needed a security key card to open the building door and the elevator door. Doubt it was somebody who works in the building and suspect it was a delivery person after biz hours who had a key card.
That lead to a long, long period of waiting as a did the measurements and fitting, then waiting for a Calfee Manta custom carbon frame to be built and then more waiting as I slowly sourced discounted friends and family deals on the Shimano website and worked industry contacts for a deal on a fabulous Road-Prima Ares 4 carbon wheelset.
That took almost 9 months and I lost pretty much all the fitness I had and gained about ten pounds. I also became more mentally and emotionally stressed without the benefit of my bike rides to balance out my life. Thankfully that is behind me know and I’m back riding and feeling better about myself and the world despite having a dangerous lunatic in the White House.
But there was more waiting in store for me. Over the Christmas holidays I left my old titanium hardtail — and my daughters trek mountain bike — locked up to the bike rack in the apartment garage. Sadly I did not bring the bikes into the apartment since we were going to be gone for ten days and worse, I only used a cable lock to secure them. When we got back home they were gone.
At this point I should mention I’m 6’4″ with freaky long legs and arms. They don’t make production frames for me, they make super expensive custom frames. The insurance money was generous considering my ti frame over about 15 years old. But it was ti and it was custom and the replacement cost for something like a Moots was around eight grand. So even with a depreciated sum of money for the refund, I had money to work with — only very few bikes that would fit.
In the very small world of very big production full suspension mountain bikes, there are just two choices right now on the market: A Santa Cruz TallBoy with a carbon frame and a Trek Fuel 8 29er with an aluminum frame. I love the name Tallboy and I wanted the sweet carbon frame but after running the frame dimensions past my fit guy, he recommended the Trek because of the tallest stack to shortest reach ratio.
All other measurements were about the same and I was sorely tempted by the Tallboy. However, neither bike was going to be a total and ideal fit so it was a matter of getting as close as possible. And here, another major factor was in play. The guys at my local Cycle Cycle bike shop are super super nice and helpful. They don’t carry Santa Cruz, they carry Trek. After all their help setting up and maintaining my daughter’s new race bike for her mountain bike team, I had to reward their good works. So even thought I wanted the carbon frame, I went Trek and aluminum.
The Trek Fuel was also about a thousand dollars less — which would have been a significant factor if this wasn’t play money from the insurance company. So I did do one major upgrade that made the difference between Tallboy and Trek Fuel 8 feel better. I went with a Bontrager Kovee XXX Burst carbon wheelset on the Trek. That will be super sweet — and raises my carbon quotient.
The wait is on but at least this isn’t a long, custom bike-size wait. It’s a ship bike from other part of California and pull Kovee wheelset from Trek in Wisconsin wait. What that means is that sometime early next week I will be the proud owner, at age 59 1/2, of my first full suspension mountain bike.
Needless to say, the Calfee Manta and the Trek Fuel 8 will never, ever be outside unless I’m in the saddle. Despite the wife’s objections, both bikes will live inside the apartment. Ain’t no thieves getting these bikes and anyway, the insurance company ain’t cutting me any more stolen bike checks for a long, long time.