Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: The Bike Acquisition Syndrome

When you work at a bicycle shop, and you love bicycles, it is hard not to indulge yourself in the acquiring of more bicycles..........

As my first year went along, I became aware that the cutting edge of off road cycling was in suspension front forks, anodized, CNC'ed parts, and narrow rims. My Klein didn't really have any of that. The one thing I really was wishing I had was a suspension "device". 

Yeah.....not a fork, and not a "suspension fork", because calling anything designed to absorb impacts and hold your front wheel on your mountain bike back then was giving it way too much credit! Some of these designs for suspension were weird, didn't really work, or were flat out dangerous to use. No, if you wanted a "real" suspension device- one that worked- you got a Rock Shox Mag 20 or Mag 21. Nothing else was even close back then. Oh sure, you had your Manitous, your Lawhill Leaders, but Rock Shox was the fork you wanted.

Well, that is unless you could get your hands on a Specialized Future Shock. Basically a re-badged Mag 20, the Future Shock was a good deal. And it became an even better deal when Tom, the boss at Advantage, got a bunch of them on close out, or something. Anyway, several race team memebers got them, and when those bikes were done for the season, they were traded in, or sold for next years models. That is how I came upon getting a Park Pre 925 Team model one day.

It was traded in, cheap, steel, had a Future Shock on it, and was........ugly! Neon greeninsh/yellow with a pink squiggle separating a blue rear triangle. Not very sell-able in our market. That was perfect for me though, and it wasn't long before I had myself a steel hardtail with a suspension fork. Trouble was, the fork needed an overhaul. So, in another round of Tom saying, "You can do this", and my being unsure, I ordered the rebuild kit. I came in on a day I didn't have to work and spent the whole day rebuilding this fork very carefully. I laid out the parts one by one, and read the manual to make sure I didn't goof it up. I got oily, I got a bit confused in a couple places, but I got it done. That fork worked again!

Not long afterwards I got some Paul Components brakes for it. The long armed cantilevers with more leverage. I ditched the old DX brakes and slapped those on, (in a blue anodized finish, of course!) and went out back to see how good these really were. Boy Howdy! I about endoed the rig! These brakes were awesome! Or so I thought at the time. In reality, I had better brake pads, which was probably 95% of the gain in performance right there, but back then it was all about getting the new/different rig, and pimping it out. And I didn't stop there either!

Next week: More Bike Acquisition Syndrome!


mw said...

for my first fork i went with the mongoose badged amp F-2, the cromo legged version. i think that's the right number. great fork new. not new=terrible fork. clangy like a mo-fo.

Guitar Ted said...

@mw: I still have two Amp forks in the basement. Both with Rock Shox standard disc tabs. Those were pretty amazing forks when new.

Vito said...

I find it difficult to squelch the desire to acquire new bikes and I don't work in a bike shop.

mw said...

i'll have to dig up pictures of my first working at the bike shop dream bike. that amp fork i mentioned with custom paint on the front of a fat city with an amp b-1 alum rear triangle. grafton brakes, levers, bb, crank. all xt otherwise. dean ti post. it was killer.

Marla said...

I remember seeing Hairball racing in what was the downhills of NORBA races with a spanky Rock Shox. I think my first device or fork by the time I could afford one was a Trek DS2 or something? Hmmm....what was that! A far cry from the forks of today!