I wanted a road bike. I’ve been riding my Uncle John on the roads and it is OK, but it is not a road bike. I wanted something that was more delicate, something with thin tyres and tiny little brakes, something that looked fast even when it was still in the shed. Something that was fast out on the road. The UJ is a pretty capable piece of kit but it is neither delicate, small or fast looking.
The problem however is that I’m skint.
The good people at Cooksons offered me a hefty chunk off, which was nice, but it would still mean having to find the money up front which would take forever. Alternatively, I could get one on interest free, but I wouldn’t get the same deal. The only other way to get a discount would be to go through a cycle scheme.
When using a 3rd party cycle scheme the bike shop has to pay a fee to the scheme provider. If you set your own up then the shop don’t have to pay the fee and if they are nice (like Cooksons) they pass the saving on to the customer. So, with a small amount of buggering about I managed to set up an in-house cycle scheme through work thus enabling me to get a cheap road bike. I’d like to say that I went and bought one from Cooksons, but I didn’t. I found some 2010 stock Scott Speedster S50s going for a very reasonable price so I ordered one of them instead. However, I wasn’t the only one at work who wanted a new bike and I was delighted that I could send half a dozen people to buy them from Cooksons. I’ve been going there for ages but I’m not sure that I’ve ever spent more than £50 in one go despite them treating me very well. So I was quite pleased to be able to point a few people in their direction.
The bike then…
Is it delectate? Yes
Thin tyres and tiny little brakes? Yes
Does it look fast? Judge for yourself.
When I first rode it I wasn’t impressed to be honest. The ride was so harsh compared to my other bikes that I thought that my teeth would fall out through my arse and the cage on the front mech chattered on the chain. However, after a bit of twiddling with a screw driver and a 20 mile “getting to know you” spin I was used to it. It doesn’t help that the roads near where I lived are still pock marked with the off target attentions of the Luftwaffe and are capable of vibrating a Vauxhall Vectra to bits, so the ride of a carbon and aluminium road bike is never going to be plush round Prestwich. Out on the country roads though it is amazing. It seems to move at a reasonable speed without too much effort and riding it with its skinny tyres and twitchy handling is a real thrill. I’m converted, and this is only a cheap bike! How good must a top of the range one feel?
A by-product of getting something that is a polar opposite to my full susser Specialized FSR is that because it is so different I’m enjoying riding the MTB much more. It is solid, comfortable, predictable and has a feeling of confidence inspiring indestructibility. Another factor in me getting on so well with it could be that I’ve actually fixed it. I’ve sorted the “Chinese Water Torture” squeaky seat post, the jumpy transmission, the leaky rear shock, the air bubbled brakes and fitted a set of forks that actually work. The improvement in ride is probably not a coincidence.
Whatever… bikes are ace and now I have another one.