Stick A Fork In It

    This is a busy part of the world, and much of it has been cut up by highways, but if you go over them:

    And under them:

    And alongside them:

    You’ll soon find yourself in the woods, where you can take a break from your busy day to scamper around your bike for a bit. As I mentioned yesterday, I think the deer may be at war with us, and so I shuddered when I returned to the same place and quickly found myself surrounded by them:

    One seemed to be moving a bit more slowly and awkwardly than the others, and I wondered if perhaps it was the one that had been hit by a Prius:

    I don’t know, but scooting in for a closer look with my phone in my hand and my top tube between my legs I did manage to hit a log:

    Which in turn sent my groin slamming right into the stem:

    As for why I returned to this spot, I also mentioned my intent to conduct a Dated Singlespeed 29er Shootout, and so I wanted to do the same ride on this bike:

    As I did on this bike:

    And see which one is better.

    While it may seem odd to root against the custom bicycle you commissioned for yourself at considerable expense, I was sort of hoping the Engin wouldn’t be meaningfully better than (or maybe even not as good as) its budget parts bin counterpart, since that would represent a blow against pretention, and I always like to see pretentiousness exposed and undermined, even when it’s my own. Alas, I’m sorry to report that the Engin is in fact better. The budget bike is nimble–almost too nimble. The Engin is also nimble, but it is balanced and composed in a way the other bike really isn’t. I guess that could be a function of fork length and offset and trail and all that stuff:

    Or it could be that the builder was able to pick and choose various tubes to ostensibly tune the ride quality, putting thinner ones in some places and fatter ones in others, blah blah blahh:

    Though I think it might be just as simple as the fact that the guy who made it for me measured me first and so it fits me really good.

    But I’m not sure that’s sufficient to explain why the Engin also has a certain smoothness to it that the other one doesn’t, though that could be the titanium bars:

    Or the foam grips and rubber saddle:

    Or even the lighter wheels–though I rode the Engin with a plastic saddle for years, and I’ve even ridden it with the same bars, grips, and wheels as the ones currently on the other bike. But while all those things are noticeably different, I don’t know if they change the fundamental feeling of the bike.

    So yeah, it’s better:

    Though the bargain bike isn’t out of it yet, and I may have to make some changes to it and see if I can close the gap.

    Hopefully the deer don’t get to me first.

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