Let me know if you do not agree, but I am finding more and more that “New Bike Day” is the best day of the year. Last year, when I traded in my aluminum road bike in for a carbon frame, women’s specific bike lovingly named Princess Lady Lovely Locks, I thought to myself – this is it, this is the only road bike I will ever need.
Famous last words, right? This season after panicking over countless potholes and some frame sizing issues, I decided rather than trading sideways to another bike-in-a-box, that this would be the year to invest in a titanium frame. An article by Bicycling Magazine described precisely why I chose titanium over carbon this time around:
[Tom Kellogg] points to ti’s nonlinear modulus as the source of the metal’s unique ride: That characteristic means the more force you apply, the harder it becomes to bend. “If you try to bend a piece it will at first give a little,” says Kellogg. “But the further you try to flex it, the more resistant it becomes.” On the road, that trait means you know exactly what’s going on at the intersection of your tire and the pavement—a sensation demanded by performance-oriented riders—but the initial flex means you’re not bothered by rough pavement. Bikes made from steel, aluminum, and carbon can also achieve that result, it’s just that titanium does so with a blend of ride sensations nothing else quite matches…”
I decided to hand pick each component with my body and riding style in mind to really make it roll. This process led me through several stages that looked something like this:
1) How hard can this be? I can totally do this, I know what goes into making a bike!
2) Wait…what is that? and does this go with that? How are there so many choices for that?!
3) This is impossible.
4) I am a genius.
After a lot of research, phone calls to my bike shop, article reading and part searching, I finally had a box together with everything I needed to officially start the build. 30 minutes into a youtube video describing how to build your own bike, I decided to hand it off to the professionals for fear of crushing the beautiful headset I had just spent over a week choosing. One wheelset debacle and a cracked bottom bracket later – I have one sweet ride and I have never been more comfortable.
It may be the curse of our sport, that as long as you are riding, you will find a reason to upgrade, modify and trade up. But this time, I firmly believe – this is the only road bike I will ever need.
Maria Mikulich says
I bought my first carbon fiber bicycle 5 years ago and said the same thing. This will probably be the last bike I will ever own, especially at my age. After reading your article, well maybe something new will come along and I’ll want to upgrade. Who knows.