That's right, folks, this blog has made the big time. We're reviewing a new bike today. Now, unlike a lot of bike-blog-reviewers, the big players don't just ship bikes to our World Headquarters and -- with a knowing wink -- tell us to "review" the things. No, here at The Cycle, we actually go out and BUY the bikes we review right off the showroom floor, thus guaranteeing an absolutely unbiased report of the bike's performance.
Our test steed is a superlight aluminum bike from REI -- not the usual stuff I ride, but it seemed like an interesting opportunity to get outside my comfort zone. Here's the bike in its stock form:
Anodizing? I know! Welcome back to mountain biking in the 1990s! I guess it must be lighter than a painted finish. It looked a little small for me, but I saddled up for the first test ride. And -- as expected -- it rode like every other lightweight aluminum bike in the world. Laterally stiff, vertically compliant, cornered like it was on rails, beefy bottom bracket transmitted my power to the pavement when the road turned up, yadda yadda yadda. Just read any bike review in Bicycling and you'll get the idea.
But race bikes aren't what we're all about here at The Cycle. We value versatility. So I decided to see if I could fit a Fat Tire into the frame:
Surprisingly, it fit! But one Fat Tire didn't really change the ride much, so I tried a second. Sure enough, that was the magical combination. With two Fat Tires, I started to feel good on the bike. Really good. I wanted to chat with every cyclist I encountered -- in fact, I tried to hug a few. At the rest stops, I swear the Fat Tire-enhanced version of the bike even made me a better dancer.
Suddenly, it dawned on me -- a bike that was this great on Fat Tires and made me so charming and attractive around large groups of cyclists was perfect for RAGBRAI. But with no provisions for racks, where would I carry my gear? Luckily, the manufacturer planned ahead and provided a trailer with the bike:
With the bike now loaded up for the long haul, I decided to test it with a few more Fat Tires. Unfortunately, that's where the handling started to degrade:
After another Fat Tire, the handling was so bad that I could barely hold the camera straight:
... until finally, it got so shaky that I crashed:
Still, a successful test, wouldn't you say? I think I'll clean up my road rash and call it a day now, since I feel like I could just pass out at any minute. Guess I must be bonking?