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New Bike Day for My Wife! A Classic Comes Home.

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You’re going to need a little background for this post… and this next bit is especially for Brent who will undoubtedly wonder why we needed another road bike. Stay with me here, this is a very cool story. If that bike had been a 56, I’d have snapped it up long before my wife even gave it a glance.

My wife had expressed enthusiasm about doing triathlons years ago. Her first bike was an alloy road bike and, at the beginning of 2014, Specialized announced the Alias; a road bike with triathlon-specific geometry and aero bars so the bike could be legitimately dual purpose. I wanted for my wife to have a nice ride like I had, so I bought her one for Christmas that year. I bought that bike from our local bike shop. My wife and I are very good friends with the owner. We ride with him regularly, volunteer with him and for him. His brother was my grade school gym teacher. He and his wife are a blessing in our lives.

He’s also a fantastic frame builder. He’s built world-record frames (and has one hanging in his shop). He apprenticed in England building Matthews frames and came back to the states, eventually settling in Flint, then Swartz Creek, Michigan where he owned bike and frame shops. I’ve wanted an original Assenmacher for years but there hasn’t been a 58 that’s come up for sale and Matt only made classic frames and tandems. So, when an astonishingly light Assenmacher with Campagnolo components and Eurus wheels showed up on the display, Matt offered for my wife to take it home and give it a ride to see what it was like to ride a steel bike.

She didn’t like it at first. The handlebar was all wrong – too much reach. The stem was too long, and the saddle was less than fantastic. I put one of my stems on the bike and a Power Mimic saddle that we borrowed from a friend, and set her saddle height, fore/aft position and tilted the handlebars up so that brought the reach a little closer. After the modifications, she took it for a spin while I was at work and loved it. I’d gotten the saddle perfect and the reach was closer to livable. Best, she said the bike was more comfortable than the triathlon geometry of her Alias – and that it was livelier in the handling and when putting power to the pedals. This is what we were looking for.

And so my wife will forever have a frame built by a friend.

I wrote the check the other day and she went in to pick it up.

I’ll have a full write-up with photos once we get all of the new parts on it. A new short reach handlebar that we bought with the bike, and we have carbon fiber bar-end plugs, carbon fiber cages (all matching the carbon fiber weave of the derailleur, crank and shifters), and some slick Cinelli bar tape that’s got gold flecks in it to tie in the gold trim on the beautiful blue frame. It’s going to be exceptional when done.

I’ll get the thing on a scale after the modifications but if it tops 18 pounds, I’d be shocked. It’s currently showing 17.5 without bar tape on the big scale. My wife’s carbon fiber Alias is a pound heavier (though it has aero bars and the Assenmacher doesn’t). I’m stoked for her.

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9 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Ben’s Cycles in Milwaukee has incredible hand-built bikes too called……Milwaukee Bikes. He custom makes them for the individual using Waterford’s tubing (steel.) I WANT ONE!! He, Ben, is a super nice guy too. I met him on a bus trip. His prices are actually pretty reasonable, especially if you compare to Waterford. I’d love to have him build one for MY wife!

  2. Dan says:

    Ive found the Waterford people to be pretty snobbish when I’ve called them and online. Another reason I like the more local folk. Ben’s shop had a warehouse like a museum, but everything was for sale. There were probably 200 machines in there. He’s a true bike lover and not a snob about HIS brands!

  3. Dave Talsma says:

    Looking forward to seeing it, although maybe I have seen it hanging around the shop.

  4. Brent says:

    Nice job on finding the loophole in the contract, where you can defer the inevitable purchase of a fat bike to buy a custom-built classic road bike with a frame built by someone you actually have a relationship with. It’s always fun to see what can happen if you actually read the fine print.

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