A retro classic returns

You will find no large bicycle company making bikes from steel these days.  Aluminium is easier – ie cheaper – to work with, and it’s lighter.  I’m sure it’s much easier to sell a light bike to the average bike buyer, than it is to try and sell the ride qualities of a steel frame.

All of which makes this bike a real surprise.

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The 2014 Kona Explosif.  Reynolds 520 steel frame, 27.5″ wheels, 120mm Rock Shox fork with 15mm axle, 142 x 12mm rear end with sliding dropouts, and a retail price of $2300.  Old skool frame tubes, new skool design.  It’s a mass-produced Chromag Aperature.

I bought the Mountain Bike Action Buyer’s Guide recently just to see what I could buy with $2500.  I don’t have $2500 by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a dollar amount I could comfortably amass after a year of saving.  I didn’t see this bike in the Guide, but it’s my clear winner.

If only Rocky Mountain would bring back the Blizzard in this style…

2014 Wish List

This year marks the third year for the Alberta Bike Swap in Edmonton, and it’s become my bicycle Christmas.  Year one was all about selling off bikes; I went on a building rampage and had four complete bikes to sell.  And all four sold.  Year two I only sold one of three that I brought, but I came home with a very nice Bridgestone MB-0, which is a unicorn for a lot of VRC guys.

Most cyclists get excited for all the new bikes and gear in the spring, I get excited for the old bikes at the swap.  Here’s my Wish List for this year.

1.  Rocky Mountain

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Of course, a Rocky is always on my list.  Pretty much anything up to 1992, but preferring 1990 to 1992.  I’d be interested in anything, but given a choice between a super clean Hammer, and a dodgy Altitude, I’d probably go with the Altitude.  That would be a tough choice though.

2. Full suspension bike.

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I’ve had a project in mind where I compare old suspension bikes to today’s bikes, and I grabbed an awful Trek 9200 last summer partly for that purpose.  The problem being that it’s so bad as a suspension bike it’s really pointless.  So, if I can find something with a real rear shock that would be much better.

Also, TeamCow is ready for the Freeride Revival, so finding a Cannondale with a Moto fork on it, or a Rocky Pipeline would just be a bonus.

3. Solid hardtail frame.

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I plan to do most of my riding on my Blizzard this year, but it’s a special bike, and there are times when I think I shouldn’t use it up if I don’t have to.  Instead, a hardtail from the near-vintage period of ’98 to ’02 (this is when V-brakes have replaced cantilevers, but discs haven’t taken over yet) would be just right, because I could just punish it, and I wouldn’t feel bad about wearing it out.

I do have a Fisher frame in the garage that fits this description, so looking for another is really not necessary.  Also, the Fisher is not of the highest quality, so it really does fit the role of beater bike nicely.

The Bike Swap is May 10th this year, but the location has not been announced yet, so keep your eyes on the website.