Monday, February 17, 2014

What abomination am I bringing into my quiver?

I bought my first road bike in the fall of 1999, after a pathetic novice class MTB race performance. I learned the fast guys put a lot of road miles in. I picked up a Specialized Allez. It has served me well for over 14 years. I know multiple riders that bought the same model over a couple year period back then and broke their frames a few years later. You'd think with all the high Wattage climbing I've done, my frame would have failed long ago. But no. The fork is going to shit the bed before the frame does.

The fork crown is heavily corroded at the bearing race. Much of the alloy is just gone. I could keep riding the bike, waiting for it to fail, so Specialized can warranty it, but what good would that do me? I could end up being fed through a tube for the rest of my life. So it is time to retire that bike, strip it, recycle the aluminum. The frame can only accommodate a 1" steer tube fork, and I don't want to invest any more money in such an old relic.

The crown is about half gone. Should I not be going 50mph down hills with this bike anymore?

Most of the years I've owned the Allez, it was used as my salty/wet/dirty roads bike. It could not readily accommodate fenders, so I too got disgustingly dirty each time I rode on messy roads. It was time to invest in a bike that was more pleasant to ride in unpleasant conditions. The problem was, I just couldn't see spending serious coin on a bike that was going to get trashed right away.

I considered $99 Nashbar frames. Reviews weren't that encouraging. You get what you pay for. The cheapest route was to buy a dirt cheap frame and transfer the parts. But if I wanted an all-weather bike, I pretty much needed a cyclocross frame. That made costs jump dramatically, as I'd need different brakes. I could not use the old fork or stem either. And the Allez bar was original 25mm and probably way past due for replacement. When you start adding all these things up, you are quickly into many hundreds of dollars.

Googling cheap cross bikes, I came across BikesDirect.com. Reviews of them weren't bad. Basically they deliver straight from Taiwan.  A Motobecane caught my eye. Frame and fork seemed decent, disk mounts on both for future upgrades. The component build was pretty low end, 8-speed Shimano. The bike shipped for $599.

Replacement winter beater. Toe clearance with fender looks suspect.

I'm working upwards of 60hrs per week for the foreseeable future and don't have a lot of time to build a bike up from scratch. So I made an impulse purchase. Took less than a week to hit my doorstep. All I had to do was mount the handlebar, seat and wheels. Everything seemed pretty dialed on the bike stand. I also ordered Planet-Bike fenders. I think it is going to be a long, messy spring on the roads. At least I'll be prepared.

With Pedals and fenders on the Motobecane, it weighs as much as my long travel 29er mountain bike. It is beastly heavy. It'll be great resistance training, I'm sure. On the positive side, this new bike cost only a tenth of my previous bike.

5 comments:

Eiric said...

Doug
I outfitted my FORT cx bike with fenders and use a Camelbak for hydration. It was a smart move on my part after a messy road ride I can clean the whole bike in 10 minutes.
Eiric

plum said...

Don't scrap it; it deserves a proper retirement.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_T5v1173oI90/TBGEYSKY2-I/AAAAAAAAB4Q/wxtrzYUNCaA/s1600/DSC02816.JPG

jason_ssc1 said...

I love my Motobecane titanium bike from BikesDirect. Can't beat their prices!

kevin Johnson said...

I went the same route 2 yrs ago when i picked up my GT alum cross for 699 and its been great for R2D2 type rides

Steve G. said...

hill climbing doesn't break frames. Biceps do.