Monday, February 21, 2011

Time to Buy

The time is finally here.  We are ready to start laying cold hard cash on the counter at Steve's and start buying.  There are a couple of small items yet to be picked, like a seat for the boys' bikes and the specific stem length on all of the bikes, but other than that, let the ordering begin!  Here are some broad strokes of things we are buying.

Brakes - We are going with Avid Brakes on all of the bikes.  Elixir XO's on my bike and Elixir CR's on the boys.  After reading about a few of the brakes out there, we decided that Avid was extremely well regarded and priced well.  We did splurge on these, but in part because it was so much less to buy just these, rather than the brakes, shifters, derailleurs, etc.  Somehow that made sense when we were looking at them, but not so much when I write it.  Sue me.  Or actually, please don't, but you get the idea.  Why the difference between the bikes.  Again, not a great reason.  The CR's are a bit less, but the XO's weigh a bit less.  Frankly, I don't think there is a big difference, but thankfully, there isn't much difference in price.

One other note on brakes.  We did talk about hydraulic disc brakes versus mechanical disc brakes.  I did have a race ending cable problem with hydraulic brakes once, so I know that the range of solutions for "just get back home" is more limited with hydraulic, but it was also acknowledged widely that hydraulic offered better modulation and control.  And really, what more is there to life than modulation and control?

Wheelsets - This is another area where we are spending a bit more than necessary for the boys, but they will end up with very strong, very durable, reasonable weight, long-lasting wheelsets that should get them down the road for literally years to come (and yes, that does curse us to the taco-ing of wheel in the next three months through a freak accident).  We decided on a Shimano XT wheelset.  One riding buddy thinks that everyone should ride this wheelset - great combination of everything you want from wheels.  They are ready to go tubeless and the boys selected Continental Mountain King 2.4 tires.  The extra width of this tire, run tubeless with a bit less pressure, should help provide some cushion that will be lacking from the fixed fork.  Plus, SSK1 is totally jazzed about the graphics.  There should be some fun here, right?  I am using a wheelset from a prior bike with Industry Nine hubs and spokes.  I'm not crazy about the rim they are built to, but it will do the job for now and I love the loud, obnoxious click from the pawls in the I9 hub.

Major splurges - There are some parts on my bike that I just wanted.  There are a few things that I will readily recognize about these particular parts: 1) They are more expensive than many or most of their counterparts; 2) There are alternatives that would meet "most" or "almost all" of the qualities of these parts; and 3) I cannot clearly and specifically articulate multiple good reasons for wanting them over less expensive alternatives.  If I stipulate to these things, would you agree, however, that these parts are really, really nice; that they truly are engineered well; and that if you were honest and price weren't a consideration that you would want them also?  I think that is fair.  Here are the splurge parts - Chris King Headset, Thomson Seatpost and Thomson Stem.  So take that road riders everywhere - my splurges are all aluminum - not carbon fiber.  Ha!

We have made selection on most other things, and most of them aren't too exciting.  Race Face cranksets on the boys' bike, Truvative on mine, although final gear ratios have yet to be decided.  More on that later. 

One thing I thought the boys were unnecessarily excited about were the handlebar grips.  They selected a silicone grip called a "Chunky" grip from a company called Extreme Steering, Inc.  Once I heard the name, I was sold on them.  Besides, the boys liked the idea that I didn't know anything about them until they found them.  Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks?

Bottom line here - we will be ordering bike parts this week and then anxiously awaiting every stop from the UPS or FedEx guy at Steve's door until everything is ready to assemble.

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