Bear with me, I’m about to tell a story.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I were driving through her old stomping grounds when I spotted a bike shop. We pulled over and when we went in, I found a Specialized Epic test bike in Medium–17 inches–MY SIZE. I asked the shop worker if he could put some pedals on the thing and let me take it for a spin around the block, and he said ‘sure.’
That is, until I said something about not being able to buy the bike right away. Then, he put his tools down and said it would probably be too much trouble if I wasn’t looking to buy it right away. He’d just finished praising the Epic up and down and giving me a very firm sales pitch, but he wasn’t willing to let me ride the thing.
I kept looking around until I came across a Cannondale Rush. I asked the same shop worker what he thought of the Rush and he proceeded to bash on the Rush like it was garbage. "There’s no comparison with the Epic …" I was also very entertained when he began explaining full-suspension engineering to me like I’d never seen a bike before.
The funniest part was that he kept including himself when he talked about Specialized– "here’s our catalog …" "we have the best full-suspension bikes …" I can’t imagine they sell many Cannondales at the shop despite having a large, glaring Cannondale sign outside the building.
Anyway, the guy thrust a Specialized 2007 Catalog into my hands and sent us on our way.
This is a really long story just to get to a completely unrelated point, just so you know.
As I looked through the catalog, I came across a page I hadn’t spent a lot of time looking at before: racing hardtails. Granted, the top-of-the-line racing hardtails are made of carbon and cost $5,000, but there were also some less-expensive models that were probably pretty lightweight. In Specialized, for example, they have an aluminum Stumpjumper going for $1,400. That’s not too bad for about a 22-24-pound bike.
So now I’m thinking about saving up for one of them and canning the whole full-suspension gig. I mean, really, the weight savings on a lightweight hardtail would be enough for me to climb faster, and I can’t really think of any event I’d want to do where I’d necessarily need a softail for, so why not?
In retrospect, it really didn’t kill me to do almost half of the E100 12-hour on a hardtail, so maybe doing the sort of races I’d like to do would actually be possible–especially with a lockout front shock that I could set really soft when it’s unlocked. Something to add a little bounce to my step.
Yeah, like that.