I went on a lunch ride with the “fast guys” at work. I’ve done this ride with them before on my rando’d out AHH, but this time I wanted to try out a bike I recently set up for my wife. It was unencumbered by fenders, racks, lights, and all the things I normally ride with. It also had 28mm tires at about 60-70 psi.
The frame/fork is attractive, and lugged steel construction (made in China) and designed by a local Washington company, so that much is consistent with my Rivendells, but everything else was very different. The bike is unridable no-handed. It wanted to veer left every time I let go of the bars. The steering was twitchy – high speed and low. The ride was harsh and bone-rattling – all on pavement, no less.
When I got home, I decided I never wanted to ride that bike again. I felt like it wasn’t worth my time riding a bike that wasn’t up to the normal comfort level I was used to. It makes you wonder all the work and time folks waste building and riding uncomfortable bikes.
It also made me realize how little difference the components make. I had used all the parts on this bike before on other bikes, yet they felt completely different on this frame. The cockpit was on prior road and mountain bikes. The shifters (Silver Friction) and derailleurs (Sachs and Shimano) worked great and did what they need to do – simply shift gear. The wheels were definitely part of the negative equation, but most of the issue I had was the handling and “rigidity” of the frame. Too twitchy, too stiff. Feh…
I rode a total of 36 miles today, and never “got used to the handling”. Talk about a great way to make you appreciate how great the frames are that Rivendell designs and sells. I was mentally comparing the ride of my Hunqapillar and AHH with this thing all the way home. They are in another class altogether. Next time someone says that the components make all the difference, I’ll just have to smirk.