Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pimp My Bike

Finally got the parts to convert my old Cannondale into a flatbar roadbike.

But first, some background.

Back in early September I bought a used flatbar roadbike off of one of the rental bike stores here in SF that cater to tourists.


They unloaded a 2008 model bike to me. Sounds good, right?

But they had done a poor job of maintaining it. I wasn't thinking too hard when I got the bike. I discovered multiple mechanical issues within a few days of using it. It was going to cost me $100 more to address the issues. I found out later that the rental companies don't bother maintaining the bikes properly -- let the renters beat them to a pulp for one year, then unload onto a dumb cheap shmuck like myself. The bike was heavy to -- almost as heavy as a mountain bike. If I had wanted a mountain bike I would have gotten that instead.

Luckily -- thanks to craigslist, I was able to sell it and get most of my money back. Craigslist also got me replacement. A neon blue 1980's Cannondale entry level racing bike.

The neon blue makes me think of Miami Vice.

The owner had taken better care of this 21 year old bike than the bike shop did the one year bike I had before. It took forever to get the replacement parts. is cheap, but slow. JensonUSA, thankfully, is pretty quick. But after I got my parts, I was able to get sometime on the public workbench at Boxdog Bikes in the mission.

The result is what you see below.

She's still got some issues, but the flatbars made the bike far more comfortable & responsive than it was with drop bars. And the thing definitely has a lighter feel than the bike it replaced.

I usually wince when I see people here in SF taking nice older road bikes and doing a wack job to them -- like taking a beautiful Italian steel roadbike frame and making it into a fixed gear. But now I understand, and maybe it isn't such a bad thing. In a way, these oddball conversions give these bikes a 2nd life.

If you wanna know what I'm talking about -- pay a visit to Boxdog Bikes or Pedal Revolution in the Mission. The guys at these stores are great at restoring old bikes -- and converting them into something new -- often a flatbar road bike.

Thank God for Craigslist, and the Frankenstein Bike subculture of San Francisco.

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