New Bike

There’s only one scenario where getting a new bike is a bad thing, and that’s when you’ve had a bike stolen from you. Especially if it’s a bike you’ve built from the ground up. But, even considering that – new bike!

Of course I’ve had several “new” bikes in recent years, but they’re always been vintage bikes. Getting a brand new bike from a shop i haven’t done since I worked at Redbike about ten years ago.

Before I even started looking, I new there wouldn’t be that many for me to choose from. For starters, I wasn’t going to spend a lot on it – $2000 was my target. And I just don’t have any interest in a lot of the bikes out there now.

I’m sure trail bikes like the Rocky Thunderbolt and Kona Process/Precept are awesome, but I don’t ride enough to warrant a bike like that. I wanted a hard tail with a long fork and 27.5″ wheels. And it pretty much had to be steel. Aluminium is fine, but steel is just a better fit.

That really left me with only two choices.

Chromag Wideangle

Chromag Wideangle

Chromag has been making super cool steel bikes out of Squamish, BC for a few years now. Most are overbuilt for my needs, but they have lighter options too; The Stylus (made in Canada) and the Wideangle (made in Taiwan).

It’s an awesome bike to be sure, but at $3200 for the Wideangle (and $4500 for the Stylus) – more than I need to spend. Honestly, the amount I ride probably warrants spending no more than $1000.

2013 Kona Explosif

2013 Kona Explosif

That means I had to buy the Kona Explosif. I wrote about it when it returned to their lineup in 2013, and called it a mass produced Chromag. It’s made from Reynolds 520 steel and features all mod cons like; ¬†27.5″¬†wheels, 142x12mm rear end, ISCG tabs (for chain guides), a “slack” 67.5 degree tapered headtube, internal cable routing for a dropper post, and sliding dropouts.

One modern touch it thankfully doesn’t have is a press-fit bottom bracket. It has an old style threaded shell attached to a very cool monocoque section that links to the chainstays. Not something that you see fabricated in steel that often. And all the cables are smartly run under the top tube – easy to service when necessary.

It’s just perfect for me. It’s an old bike with the most useful new features.

A new bike that’s kinda old.

Luckily, I had the choice of the ’16 model running a SRAM 1x drivetrain and a Fox 34 fork, or the shop’s last remaining ’15 with Shimano SLX 2×10 drivetrain and a Rock Shox Recon 120mm. The ’16 was a clearly better bike parts-wise, but it was $700 more than the clear out priced ’15. In flat black with orange decals, it looks bad ass.

Kona @ TeamCowHQ

Kona @ TeamCowHQ

The price of the ’15 was very tempting though, and sealing the deal was the eye-poppingly gorgeous flat orange paint. I just couldn’t resist it. Between the colour, the vintage profile it cuts, and the 1994-style Kona decals; it’s easily one of the best looking bikes I’ve owned. A set of ENVE wheels in orange would really set it off, but I think would cost as much as I paid for the entire bike.

Chromag BZA/OSX

Chromag BZA/OSX

Back to Chromag; there was no question that I was going to put a Chromag bar and stem on this bike. Especially when I saw their black and orange colourway, which sure feels like it was made for the Explosif. Luckily for me, the shop I went to had just taken delivery of a bunch of Chromag bits, so without even thinking about it, we had a OSX 35mm Fubar, and a BZA 35mm stem. High priced, but very high quality.

I’m super happy with it, and I’m amazed at how happy everyone else is too. Guys I work with saw it started talking about dusting off their old rides. My neighbour who hasn’t been on a bike all summer for health reasons saw it and started talking about going for a ride. My son gushes about it every time he sees it and wants me to put the seat down so he can try it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *