A bike is a really personal thing. It’s a machine, but because you’re using your body to power the machine, there’s a unique synergy and relationship (unlike driving a car). It may not happen every ride, but that feeling of oneness between you and the bike is pretty amazing.
Baby Jake was the first new bike I ever bought (excluding my Wal-Mart bike in college, cringe; I won BUB), and I quickly turned the cyclocross bike into a great urban commuter.
For about a year, Baby Jake and I spent [almost] every work day together — six miles there, six miles back. When I took my car commute job at the end of 2009, our time together was relegated to errands on the weekends and some evening outings.
Once Gabriel came along, Baby Jake became my trailer puller, but once I got the IBert front seat (which didn’t work on Jake’s frame), I returned to BUB for many rides.
Last Monday, the bike shop declared Baby Jake totaled, due to a bent frame. It was really hard to photograph the damage, but with the naked eye, it was clear that, at the very least, I would be replacing the fork, front chain ring, bottom bracket and crank, front wheel and tire (and fender), and possibly the rear shifter. These parts may have added up to the cost of a new bike, in and of themselves, but the bent frame sealed the deal.
Today, I received the check from the insurance company [of the driver who hit us] for Baby Jake’s replacement. So now the question is, what to buy???
The 2014 and 2015 Kona Jakes are a bit different than my 2009 version; most obviously, they have disc brakes rather than rim brakes. They also lack the dual brake levers I enjoyed on Baby Jake (two sets of brake levers, one for a more upright riding position and one in the drops).
So, do I stick with the tried and true and buy another Kona Jake? Or do I use this as an opportunity to try something a bit different? Since I purchased Baby Jake, my eyes have been opened to the world of bikes out there, and I’m not 100% set on going with the exact same thing.
- A touring bike — like the Kona Sutra or Surly Long Haul Trucker
- Pros: Drop bar (which I like in the Jake); should be a comfortable, reliable bike for commuting — maybe more comfortable than a ‘cross bike?
- Cons: The Sutra is $300-$400 more than the Jake; not crazy about bar end shifters for urban riding (lots more shifting than you would do when “touring,” due to frequent stops and starts) — could I swap for STI shifters?
- The Novara Safari at REI also caught my eye yesterday, though I’m not crazy about the twist-grip shifting.
- A folding bike — for example, a Brompton or Bike Friday bike
- Pros: I would have a folding bike, which has been on my eventually list; with the Brompton, I could add the IT Chair for transporting Gabriel; I should be able to get a model with a drop bar
- Cons: I don’t really know much about folding bikes — would I really want this for my primary bike??? Also, once designed to my specs, this would probably end up costing significantly more than the Kona Jake.
- Something else???
- I do like having at least one “fast” bike with drop bars (but still sturdy for commuting), so I’m not sure what other options there are, but I’m open to suggestions . . . .