I'm at a loss and not sure what to do. No, it's nothing bad, just confusing. I'm not really looking for answers. Just doing some online thinking.
DH and I went to another bike store to look at recumbent bikes today. We tried out one and he really liked it. Meh. I had a good time, but wasn't worried about having one. He loved it.
As I was looking around they had a Salsa Mukluk that I tried out and really liked. It's a bike with 4 inch wide tires and rides like a tank over anything. Perfect for rural gravel roads and the snow. Then the guy showed me a Salsa Fargo and it was almost love at first ride. It's a touring bike/mountain bike with 29 inch wheels and has funky drop bars. I thought I loved the bikes I have, but this was different.
What's hard about bikes is the same about sewing machines. You think you know what you want until you start getting better and then realize you may have gotten the wrong machine/bike.
When I first started looking the guy asked "Where do you plan on riding?" and "What kind of bike are you looking for?" "Ummm...dunno. Just want a bike." I had no idea so many kinds of bikes existed, touring, mountain, racing, cyclocross, racing, hybrid, time trial, cruisers and whatever else is out there so I just winged it. Then there are price points between all of those depending on the level of bike.
After today, I realized I don't like racing bikes. I won't ever race. My Madone is hard to handle because it's so light and despite several fittings, it just doesn't seem right. Rural NE doesn't have roads built for light carbon bikes and blowing semi's don't help. I thought I wanted a racing bike. Really. I did. But the more I ride it, the less enthralled I am. It's a gorgeous fast amazing bike, but not for where I'm at.
My Sirrus is a hybrid and I bought it before the Madone. I was told a hybrid was the perfect match between a racer and mountain bike. No. It's crap. You can't ride the trails and it's not fast enough to race. Hybrids suck. Don't bother.
I've realized cruiser and comfort bikes are not my style, but I already knew that.
I LOVE my Mamba 29er. After doing a real ride yesterday I realized I picked the perfect bike and no regrets. I regret the Sirrus and Madone purchases and selling them is awfully tempting.
Like I said, it's a touring bike with 29 inch wheels. I rode it around and it was incredibly fast, agile, light and stable. Never once did I fall off the bike or feel like I was going too. I have spent the entire summer falling of that Madone. I've had bruises that have taken weeks to heal because of it. Since it's not a racer, I wasn't bent over like a pretzel. Since it's not a crappy hybrid, you're not stuck sitting upright with straight bars wondering if the ride will ever end.
A touring bike is made for going long distances in comfort. They are also built to hold luggage and bags while you ride. I didn't look at them before as I figured I would never get farther than a few miles so why look at them? I thought they'd be slow and cumbersome, but this wasn't even close when I tried the Fargo.
If you truly live rurally, you know what the gravel roads are like out here. I thought my mountain bike would do great, but all you do is control slide the bike over the gravel. This bike makes going over anything easy. You can glide over snow from what I've been told. There are miles and miles of gravel road out there. Oh, the possibilities.
There are several disadvantages. It's a tank. It's not going to handle nimbly around a mountain bike trail unless it's a wide trail and if you have to stop while going up a hill, good luck gaining momentum. It's huge. I'm not sure I could take it anywhere and it's really location specific. People stop and gawk at you as you go by. While that's not a bad thing, I found that while riding it, people kept coming up and asking about it.
The shop that sells these bikes is in Council Bluffs. That's over an hour away if I need quick adjustments. The shop was fantastic though and almost worth the drive since my store can get cranky. I'm not sure my bike store could order the bikes in either. If they could, would it be worth it for easy service?
Anyone who has bought machines through dealers know that dealer availability and help is necessary. However; a brake adjustment that is 5 minutes makes it hard to drive up that far, even though you like the dealer better.
I'm not sure my shop would let me trade up the bikes I own and I'm not sure how easily I could sell them myself.
If I had to choose one, it would be the Fargo. The guy said he was putting together a Fargo that was my size, but a lower model. He said to come in and check the size for reference as the one I rode was 19 inches after he got it built.