Apr 30, 2008

Saying goodbye to an old friend

I enjoy having a garage full of bikes, but at some point enough is enough. When a bike sits unused for the better part of a year, and I have no motivation to take it off the wall, it is time to say goodbye.It's silly to get attached to full-suspension bikes. At the end of the day, they're disposable. The shock, linkages and bearings will wear out eventually. Even if you can find replacement parts a few years down the road, the pace of lighter/faster/more efficient hype has passed you by.

Full squish notwithstanding, this bike is hard for me to let go of — 2004 Specialized Stumpjumper, 30th Anniversary Edition. She served me well through my undergrad years, skipping class to explore the unending maze of trails that crisscross the George Washington National Forrest. My first expert race, first Shenandoah 100, my first 24 hour race and many great trips to Moab were spent aboard this bike. Fit and performance were perfect for my riding style...at the time.

A few years ago while in the throws of a bad case of bike shop burn-out, I'd had enough. I couldn't stand working on my own bikes anymore. Something was always broken, needed adjustment, etc. I'm very particular when it comes to bike setup. Full suspension magnified this. Shock pressure, rebound and damping all had to be just right. Enough was enough. Bikes should not be money pits, and more time should not be be devoted to upkeep than riding.

In a fit of "fuckit" I stripped the gears off my Gunnar Rockhound, tore apart an old cassette for its 17 - tooth cog and got lucky, 32 x 17 work without a chain-tensioner. Perfect.

The Gunnar was a stopgap until I acquired a 29'er single speed. Since then the Stumpy's four inches of travel have not been needed. And, honestly, the bike feels damn weird to ride now.

Ciao bella.

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