Purchasing Decisions

Goodie but oldie, should I get it used or brand new?

As I gather parts for my frame build up I continually have to address the question: should I buy used or should I buy new? Unless you have an unlimited budget I’m sure you’ve probably asked yourself the same question.

Much of this answer will be determined by how much your build budget will allow and what level, or weight, you’re hoping to achieve. In my situation the bike I’m building up is a full suspension 29er and my budget is “really small” while also shooting for durable, weight conscious (not weight weenie) bike.

Sounds like an oxymoron right? Finding parts that are durable and weight conscious but are light on the budget are typically not compatible features in bike parts. But, I think it can be done or maybe I just hope it can be done. To help along this process, I had to consider buying used equipment. But what should I buy used and what should I buy new?

Durable and weight conscious, too bad it’s not cheap

For some advice on this, I turned to a friend who enjoys shopping for bike parts and asked for his thoughts. His rule for his bikes, of which he has many, is that drivetrain stuff like cranks/cassette/chain should be purchased new as to avoid weird wear patterns from prior usage. Control stuff like handlebars, stems, saddle, seatpost, can be bought used as long as they’re not too used.

Practical advice. Another piece of advice that I’ve learned is to be patient. A major factor I have on my side is time. I am not in a rush to build this bike up because I have access to other bikes. This gives me the option to wait for great deals to come along or to search the classifieds.

Score! Time permitted me to wait and I was able to nab this for cheap!

Having time allowed me to score a great deal on some gently used Easton Monkey Lite XC bars. Initially I had set my sites on any brand’s high end aluminum handlebars as this fit my “durable and weight conscious but also wallet friendly” budget. I figured that a manufacturer’s top of the line aluminum bars would be light weight and durable but not as expensive as carbon fiber bars. However, since I had time I was also keeping my eyes peeled on the used market which turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.

In the case of these bars I was able to achieve all of the parameters previously outlined for the build. Will this happen for all the bike parts? Probably not. But a man can hope, right?


Singletrack this morning, before going OTB

I went Over The Bars (OTB) today. Not much fun. You’d think that after breaking a finger having gone OTB that I’d learn not to brace myself for my fall, but you can’t teach this old dog new tricks.

It was a great ride up until that point. I decided to take it easy again, taking a slow pace and getting off for multiple “photo shoots” for your viewing pleasure. But it seems that whenever I stop and get started again, it always takes a little while to get back in the groove.

Don’t worry, the bike is OK

Just after taking a quick break to shoot some shots, I got back on my bike to tackle a section I typically clear about half the time. It’s a mixture of tall roots (almost 6 inches off the ground), a sand pit and a quick steep sandy climb that in certain spots is less than half the width of singletrack. Well, I never even got close to the sand pit. The 6 inch root tripped me up. I mentally was not engaged and manualed my front end too early. The tire then proceeded to drop right in front of the root, got stuck and OTB I went.

There is a surreal feeling of turning your head sideways and watching as your bike seat and rear wheel fly by. Of course the rear wheel was making a noise as it kept spinning in mid air. Couple this with my shin banging sharply against the handlebar and you’ve got sight, sound and touch that just goes to enhance the surreal feeling.

More singletrack to explore before heading home

Thankfully nothing was broken, except the skin on my shin. I can already see the icepack on my shin at work today to reduce the swelling to of course minimize the downtime allowing me to get in a ride this weekend. I just have to keep reminding myself: I need to engage my brain when I ride.

Ultimate AM Spolitght: IRD components

Often overlooked, you bike’s cockpit components are crucial. Interloc Racing Design (IRD) provided the Headset,

IRD Techno-Glide Headset
Headset Specs:
* Tange Sealed Cartridge Bearings
* Precision CNC-machined 7075 Aluminum Cups
* O-ring seal
* Stainless Steel Race
* 6 anodized colors: black, silver, red, blue, gold and titanium
* 110 grams, stack height 26mm, 1″ & 1-1/8″

The Stem,

Stem Specs:
* Cold forged aluminum
* 4-bolt bar clamp w/ OS M6 bolts (40mm wide)
* Opposed bolt configuration on the steerer clamp for more even clamping pressure.
* Black or Silver finish; laser etched graphics
* 185grams
* 25.4mm clamp diameter
* Extensions: 90mm, 100mm, 110mm, 120mm, 130mm
* Rise: 10°

and the handlebars for our Ultimate AM bicycle.

Handlebar Specs:
* 7075 T6 aluminum
* Butted construction
* Shot-peening for fatigue strength
* Laser-etched graphicss
* 640mm (25″) length
* 9° backsweep
* 30mm rise (1.2″)
* Black or silver finish
* 250 grams

All the IRD components have proven to be very reliable. The Headset is stylish and smooth, the Stem and the bars really compliment the geometry of the bike. All IRD components are competitively priced, they are definitely worth looking at.