Tuesday, September 16, 2014

really nice bikes

Let me start by saying I have a nice bike. It's a Trek Madone, and it's probably more than my cycling ability warrants. But when you ride a week-long bike tour, you find yourself among all kinds of riders with all kinds of bikes. And some of them are really nice bikes! There are riders of every size, shape, age and gender.
But the range of bikes is just as broad. There's brands from all over the world: Fuji, Orbea, Specialized, and Trek, Cervelo, Giant and  Scott. If you pay attention you're likely to see frames made of steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. And then there's different grades of carbon fiber, and different levels of components that one can put on a bike. I've owned bikes with cranksets, derailleurs, and shifters called 105, Deore, Tiagra, and Ultegra. And they are all made by Shimano!

 Now, the Ultegra components are pretty good; they're what I have on my Madone. But the top of the line available from Shimano is the Dura-Ace line. And something that's only been available in the last few years, and seems to be getting better all the time, is the Dura-Ace Di2 (Digital Integrated Intelligence). That's right, electronic shifting.
On this year's CRMBT, I noticed a number of bike with electronic shifting, including Stefan's new Wilier. I told him he didn't need a faster bike, he already flies by my at some point during each day and yells a quick, "Hi Jeff". Stefan pointed out that with a touch of a button the shifter puts you in the next gear. If you're descending and want to go up several gears you just hold the button a little longer. It never needs adjusting, and the chain never rubs against the derailleur.

I also noticed a trend towards road bikes with disc brakes. One rider told me he'd blown several tires by over-heating his rims on descents in the Boulder area, so opted for disc brakes on his new Seven.
As we gathered in South Dakota several years ago for the first bike tour I had ever done, we watched as cars pulled in with bikes on racks. In some cases there was a real question about which was worth more, the car or the bike! Whatever the components or frame material, it's fun to see so many beautiful bikes gathered together to do what they were designed to do, ride!

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