North by Northeast

New Set of Wheels
2 May, 2006, 6:36 pm
Filed under: bike

I’m happy to report that we finally picked up our new bikes last night. I’ve posted a gallery of them here.

I had a picture of a blue, front-suspension Cannondale XC bike from the C’Dale catalog hung on my room while I was a teenager. Actually, it is still there (although it will be removed, soon). Now I own one. I hope it lives up to my childhood dreams. No pressure. If nothing else, Cannondales are still some of the coolest looking bikes on the planet.

Amanda’s is all set, and she is only waiting for her birthday helmet. We got her a mid-entry level Gary Fisher, a Marlin GS. A good looking bike that should serve as an excellent entry in to the realm of trail riding. One of the major reasons we selected the Fisher is two things: price point for a women’s-specific truly xc trail worthy bike, and that Fisher builds its frames in Waterloo, Wisconsin. When we went to try out some bikes for her, they didn’t have a Marlin, so she tested a Tassajara, which would have the same geometry, but just better components. She liked it versus the other bike she tried, and we decided to order it. When it finally came in, everything looked great. With one exception: right on the head tube read “Made in China.” There went one of our major buying factors.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the quality of Chinese-made bike frames. I’ve had two that held up just fine. Billions of Chinese bike riders, right? That wasn’t our problem. We were attempting to support American frame building. Gary, we’re very disappointed in this, despite an otherwise fine bike.

There’s still a bunch to work out with my bike. Ace Wheelworks was being very accommodating to me, with my requests to swap out a few parts. Other stores I’ve been to have been hostile to this. This combined with their policy of discounted accessories for a period after purchase really show their commitment to their customers, and I will certainly turn to them first for parts in the future.

First, I asked that the SRAM trigger shifters be switched out to GripShift. They were happy to. But something got gummed up in the works, and they only swapped the shifter for the rear. The front shifter still had a trigger. I was boggled by this, but the salesperson who was helping us said he had GripShift only on his front, and triggers for his rear. Anyhow, he apologized and ordered the other side for me. The one they gave me was an X-9 model, which is top of the line, but apparently a 2005 model, since SRAM’s site no longer lists that as a current product. That’s fine with me, because I’m pretty sure they didn’t charge me for it at all.

Second I needed to swap out the saddle. I need a very ergo seat, and the Cannondale’s was simply a stock saddle. The salesperson suggested a certain Specialized one. My LeMond was already sporting a Specialized saddle, so I went along with his suggestion. Ordered.

Lastly, I has to toss the Cannondale clipless pedals. I was happy to see that he’d actually give me credit for them. Not much, because “Not a whole lot of people come in requesting CODA pedals.” But of course, that’s why I am dumping them too. I asked for a certain set of Crank Bros pedals. They hadn’t heard of them. I guess they’re new. When I got home, I looked them up… Smarty. they looked at me like I had two heads because the Smarty line is very similar to the very popular Candy line, but at a greatly reduced price($59msrp). Hopefully, they’ll know about them when I return to pick up the other goods.

We’re excited to get riding. Amanda for the first time, and me, for the first time on trails for about 5 years. It will be fun introducing her to riding.


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