Hot and Sandy

Travel writing, pictures and stuff for people I know. Quite a lot of cycling talk, and some semi-controlled ranting. Hiking, outdoor and two-wheeled stuff, perhaps a little computing when it's worth talking about. Meandering thoughts.

Tuesday, October 3

Want It! The need to buy...

I have a steel bike, which was made for me. It's really nice - actually that's an understatement, because it's fantastic. I am truly attached to it through shared experiences which mainly entail me suffering, sweating and drooling on it! If I was being cranky I'd say there are two main problems with the frame. 1) It has more than enough battle scars, testament to me riding it more than I polish it. 2) It is a little on the chubby side when compared to modern frames. When the Sirius was made, the only carbon-fibre bikes were Look or Vitus frames, ridden in the Tour de France. They were heavy CF tubes bonded into heavy CF (or more often ally) lugs. Aside from being ugly, they were flexy and unreliable. A bit like 3G phones at the moment in the UK, it was a great idea that was in its infancy. Early adopters paid through the nose for something that just wasn't as good as the old-school alternative.

This has all changed now. I think it's fair to say that the frame is now the limiting factor on the bike. All components are upgraded to lighter versions, that are more recent and work brilliantly well. I took a step towards upgrading the chassis (a cheesy Americanism it seems, when applied to a bike), when I fitted some very nice and eye-wateringly expensive Vitus CF forks a few years ago. The original wheels, groupset and other components would be laughable if fitted to a top-level bike nowadays. Yet I cling to the frame.

One of the problems is that I am not fast. There have been many times in my life when I have been far faster than I am now. That has two consequences - the primary one is that my current frame never holds me back. Sure, it would be lovely if my bike was a couple of kilos lighter, but I would be deluding myself if that would make much difference to me at the moment. I would, I fear, be one of those riders who do not, frankly, deserve the equipment they ride. It would almost be embarrassing to throw my leg over a thoroughbred frame and take it out for a club run. Surely these things are designed to have every joule of energy thrashed through them by some tanned pro? My perceptions of normal have not really moved with the times, to the extent that I see people commuting (slowly) on frames that would have literally been beyond my dreams when I was racing..... It would seem a shame to put such a thing of visceral beauty through the shame of being ridden by ... me.

On the other hand, should your bike not be a thing of beauty? Do yourself a favour and Google "Kuota Kharma". Then imagine that you could have one for £400 instead of £850 and tell me you're not tempted... Perhaps in the spring.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Kuota Kharma, with Chorus groupset. I can heartily recommend it. I also used to live in Docklands, on Westferry Road. Isn't it a small world.

27 October, 2006 06:34  

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