I’ve been doing a bit of mental bike shopping recently.
What I mean is, I’m in the market for a new bike. Or, more accurately, I’m in the market for a new bike frame to fit some beautiful Campagnolo components to. This is a perfectly reasonable position for a mildly obsessed cyclist to find themselves in, but I’m not sure how I reached this point.
Making the leap from owning two bikes that I’m perfectly happy with – a winter bike and a good bike – is not straightforward. At the risk of over analysing this, there must have been a point where I went from being happy with my lot and reluctant to part with a significant amount of cash on an upgrade, to where I am now…
…mental bike shopping.
I’m not sure how others make these kind of decisions, but me? I resist, and resist, and resist, and then something – a financial windfall, some barely noticeable tacit approval from the wife, a couple of glasses of wine too many – trips a little switch in my head. Once I’m convinced that a new bike frame is the ideal use for my hard-earned cash the decision is signed, sealed and set in stone.
But then comes the real indecision.
Ironically the thought of mental bike shopping is actually, surprisingly, better than the reality of mental bike shopping. Although I suppose, to be accurate, both the thought of it and the reality of it are, well…the thought of it.
Are you still with me?
The point I’m rather clumsily trying to get at is that once you’ve committed yourself to a new bike and you start to trawl the Internet with budget in mind, the world is suddenly your oyster. Give me two or three options on any subject and I’ll make a decision as quickly as the next man. Give me a whole Internet full of bike frames to peruse and before you can say Specialized S-Works I’m confused and wracked with indecision.
Buying a really good bike is a once-in-a-decade decision – get this wrong and I’ll find myself riding the wrong bike for the best years of my life.
No pressure then.
A big part of me wants a sleek and stylish piece of Italian art – a Colnago, a Pinarello, or a DeRosa, for example – but I have nagging doubts about the wisdom of this. I’m no slouch but neither am I a sprightly twenty-something with energy (and flexibility) to burn. Buy something too racy and I might end up self-conscious and conspicuous on a bike that’s too quick for me.
The sensible move might be to go for something a little less racy and more suited to long days in the saddle over bumpy roads (but still a quick bike, by anyone’s standards). In this department the Ridley Fenix C is a current favourite. Built by a Belgian bike company with cobbled roads in mind the Fenix would surely be a good option.
But if someone rode past on a DeRosa Merak I know I would suffer pangs of jealousy.
Can I live with that? Should I live with that? Am I being over-dramatic?
Maybe, probably, and yes.
Now that winter is almost upon us I have some time to mull this over of course – whatever bike I end up building won’t see the tarmac until the first sunny day of next spring. I’ll try not to bore you all with the months of mental anguish I’m about to put myself through about the simple purchase of a simple bike.
Having said that, if anyone out there has any pearls of wisdom in this department, feel free to share.