Up until three weeks ago, there was never a question which bike I’d take on a long tour….
385 Miles of glorious bicycle miles over four days. I have a bike tour coming up next month and I have a decision to make about which bike I’ll ride. I’ve chosen the Venge every time. It’s three or four pounds lighter and it’s always felt a bit better than the 5200 to ride.
That is, until I fitted the Trek with a new seat post and a new saddle. The saddle completely changed the bike’s ride characteristics, to the point the 18 year-old Trek rides better than the Venge. There was a time, six months ago, I thought about buying a new Specialized Roubaix, the ultimate “squishy” endurance bike. You know, the bike the pros turn to for the Paris-Roubaix race.
Not anymore. I don’t need it. The 5200 is that good.
It might not be that good, of course. I’ve never ridden a Roubaix, so I really have no idea… but the Trek rides so well now, spending $4,000 on a new bike seems silly.
There’s another plus with the Venge that made it a shoe-in to go on every tour I’ve ever done; It’s fast. Noticeably, indubitably faster. Like, bounce you too close to a star and end your day real quick, faster. I know, you’re thinking there’s no way a bike frame could matter that much. It sounds nuts… but it’s true. You push on the pedals and the Venge goes. The difference isn’t enough it can’t be made up for with “want to”, but when you’re riding that far over four days, well, you to take the bike that makes you work less.
There’s an “except” now though. The Trek is a smoother ride, and that makes up a little for the vastly superior aerodynamics of the Venge.
We’re not done yet, though. Zoom into the crank on that top photo. Triple. The Trek has always been a better climber. By a lot. Even though it’s a little heavier. Add to that, the ability to carry a saddle bag on the Trek (I can’t bring myself to defile the Venge with one), so I have pocket room to spare for a vest or arm warmers, the Trek has become a no-brainer.
So, I’m going to roll the Trek exclusively for several weeks before the trip so I can make sure I’m good with the setup. I also switched out the cheap wheels on the Trek for the wheels on the Venge (they roll faster, about 5 to 10% maybe, and they’re 3/4’s of a pound lighter between the two)…. Sure enough, I’ve been trying to nail down a creak in the Trek for two years now, and I was sure it was in the bottom bracket. I tightened down everything else.
After switching out the wheels yesterday morning, I rode a perfectly silent 100k. Not. One. Creak. Not even out of the saddle. The creak is somewhere in the other wheels, possibly the quick release skewers?
Well smack my heinie and call me sunshine. I never would have guessed.