Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Bought a New Bike

Ok. I have been wanting to buy a new bike for about a year now. When I first got into cycling last summer I borrowed one of my dad's bikes (a Giant OCR1). At the end of the summer I bought an old Trek 5200 for $1000 on eBay with the idea that I wanted a decent bike but didn't want to buy a brand new Madone if my interest was going to wear off. In the last year I've upgraded the Trek somewhat but I always planned to buy a new bike if I was still "in to" cycling a full year later. Well, a year later I'm more interested in cycling than ever.

I really thought I'd buy a full carbon fiber bike--perhaps a Pedal Force or a top-of-the-line used Giant/Trek/Felt on eBay--and I've enjoyed lusting after all kinds of different bikes but ultimately I concluded that I really want TWO bikes: a road bike and a TT bike. So rather than spend $2k-$3k on a road bike I decided to spend about half that on a road bike and put the rest toward a set of Mike Garcia wheels with a PowerTap SL. I'll buy a TT bike next summer if I'm still cycing a lot (gotta keep those carrots out there as motivation!!) and I can use the PowerTap on both bikes.

After looking at the Motobecane Le Champion SL for quite some time I finally took the plunge. I didn't think I'd buy an aluminum bike but the compact carbon crank, carbon fork, and optional full carbon bars seemed like enough carbon for my comfort and the amazingly light weight of the bike was a real bonus because my two most important events for the coming year are a couple of epic hilly century rides.

Anyway, the bike arrived last Wednesday and I completed the assembly myself (which means it's not too hard). I had already purchased and gotten used to a carbon fiber seatpost and a lightweight saddle I got from Performance Bicycle during one of their mega sales a few months ago so I moved those from the Trek to the Motobecane. Obviously I need to spend a few weeks/months with this bike before I'm absolutely positive it was a good buy but I've done rides of 35, 22, and 80 miles thus far and I'm extremely happy with the bike. Yesterday's 22 mile ride yielded a new best time for that course by nearly 1mph (yeah I know it's the placebo effect but still)!

As pictured, this bike is at least as comfortable as my Trek (which is old enough that it doesn't have a carbon fork) probably due to the fork and the extremely comfortable carbon bars. The bars are absolutely fabulous. It's a sweet bike at any price and an unbelievable value for the price.

Still to do:

- Put on my new Look Keo Carbon pedals when they arrive from

- Swapt out the Ultegra 11-23 cassette with a DA 12-27 cassette I got a while back on eBay (less weight, better for monster hills)

- Swap the AC420 wheels with the Mike Garcia wheels and PowerTap SL (I already have these wheels but I didn't include them in the picture because my PT is being serviced right now due to having been caught in a horrific rain last week--by the time I made it home the water level on the side of the road was above the level of my pedals. I should have just called my wife for a ride home.)

- I might switch out the 110mm stem with a 120mm stem because the 58cm Motobecane has a top tube length that is a bit shorter than the 58cm Trek, but to be honest the bike is extremely comfortable as is.


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