Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The BikemanforU Show Episode 8 "Boutique Bikes"


Episode 8 of The Bikemanforu Show is a post Easter / Passover master mix of 5 bicycles that have come to the shop that are unusual or thought-provoking.  These Boutique Bikes have a story to tell, and if you're like me, you'll find some stories more compelling than others.  Rated least to most intriguing, IMHO:

#5 The Rickshaw Trike is not something I would own or ride, unless I was in desperate need of cash in Shanghai or maybe Key West.  Since this may be featured in a separate episode, I will only quote Mr. Pump as saying that this rig is "all glitz and no schmaltz".  

#4 The Gary Fisher Super Caliber MTB.  BikemanforU poses the essential question here: Why would you put super light, fragile 26 inch carbon fiber wheels on a mountain bike going 80 mph down rocky trails?  Do you want a road bike or a mountain bike? Whatever you decide,  this looks to be a poor compromise.  This late eighties mountain bike features Maguro hydraulic brakes that you definitely don't see every day.

#3 is the Cannondale Adventure 600.  For this current model, one has to decide whether different is innovative or over-engineered. A comment is thrown out suggesting that Cannondale has been known for making things difficult for a mechanic.   This bike has an interesting head shock rather than fork shocks, with the question posed of how easy it might be to deal with replacing bearings later on.

The unusual gearing components are where things really take off: No front derailleur, but an internal 3-speed cog controlled by a sliding shifter.  On the back wheel, you have a 9X array controlled by SRAM dual drive grip shifters on the handlebars, and thus 27 speeds the hard way.  Hey, it probably is a nice ride until "Cogzilla" breaks down.

At #4 and #5 are a couple of rare, small-batch production beauties from California, circa mid-eighties: The Mammoth RC201 and the Mammoth Tracker.  These bikes apparently came out of a collaborative effort that included Tracker Trucks, a skateboard manufacturer.

I came across a comment online that said the Mammoth design was "a sick XC bike with kinda BMXish geometry".  They look old-school sharp even today, and they were apparently quite advanced and a bit pricey in their heyday.  Aluminum frames and sealed components, Deore XT thumb shifters.

The Tracker model features a low slung, Shimano rear brake. The Master Mechanic says it collects a lot of dirt and gunk being down so low.  But hey, the designers took some chances, and except for this detail, it looks like most of their choices were pretty good ones.  Definitely worth a look.


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