As of late, I have been selling off my childhood one piece at a time via eBay to fund my next bicycle purchase. Who would have thought that a bunch of toys and games from the 1980s would enable you to buy a bicycle? Fascinating. As in the poll to my right, here are the current contenders for my hard earned money:
I really like the Troll, as you can check here and here. It is crazy versatile. Load it up with racks, fat tires, and hit the trail for an off road jaunt to the next county over. Or, put on some road shoes in the form of 26″x2.5″ slicks and eat roadies for breakfast. It is nice, and it is orange, which is important this time of year in Ohio.
Complete price around $1300.
26″ wheels. For me this is a pro due to the fact that I could use the same tube size that I already use for my HaroX.
Rack and fender mounts.
Clearance for large tires.
Solid component spec with durable, quality parts.
Rigid. A rigid 26er does not sound like much fun in the woods, my old rigid 29er was pretty rough.
Salsa Fargo 2
Drop bar 29er with rack and fender mounts, built for heavy off road touring. Sweet bicycle, very similar to the Troll in my opinion, difference being 29″ wheels as opposed to 26″ and drop bars and road style shifters. I would call this an adventure bike.
Complete around $1600
Rack and fender mounts.
Enabler fork with anything cage braze-ons.
29″ wheels. I do like bigger wheels for dirt duty.
Might be overbuilt for what I am looking for. Especially if any time is spent on the road. Also might be overkill since I now have the T500.
Rigid. Can you tell I am not digging a rigid bicycle for off road duties? I must be getting old.
Price. One of the more expensive on the list.
Airborne Zeppelin Elite
This bike is pretty amazing in my opinion. Good, quality components. 5″ of suspension travel. Nice, comfy trail bike, all in a budget price. I have wanted a dually for a while, I am sure it would be a different ride than the rigid 29ers that I have grown used to. Easier on the back for sure!
Complete, mail order for $699.
Price! Seriously, 5″ travel dual suspension for $700? That is amazing. Definitely in the budget, with room for upgrades immediately.
Good components spec, SRAM X7 and X9 drive train.
Company based out of Dayton. I think it is cool that a company is based out of this part of Ohio, I guess state loyalty runs deep!
Suspension. I am not sold on the fork and shock for this bike. No pedal platform on the shock that I am aware of, so there has to be some sort of pedal induced bob.
Mountain bike only.
The Surly Pugsley. What an amazing bike. I love the idea of fat tires. Just the idea of riding in the snow or on the beach, or basically any place that in inaccessible to most bicycles is tempting by itself.
Complete around $1600.
Big, fat, wide tires. Ride over most things. Extend the normal cycling season.
Price. Along with the Fargo, one of the higher prices on the list.
Heavy. Big fat tires come with big heavy wheels.
Mountain bike only, unless you buy the new Black Floyd slick tire, which would make your fatbike a fat road bike.
Step back in time with this bike. Rivendell makes some amazing bikes, but unfortunately they are a little out of my price range. Someday though, maybe for my 40th birthday, I will own one. That gives me ten years to save…
Frame only around $1500.
Beautiful, mobile, work of art.
Not something that you see everyday. Or ever.
Frame only. Unfortunately, I do not have the parts to do this frame justice, thus putting it out of my desired price range.
Road, gravel road bike only. No heavy mountain bike duties.
So there is the complete bicycle shootout. These are five very different, very nice bicycles. For me, the Troll and the Fargo are very similar. So similar in fact that I would go with the lower price of the Troll. The remaining three are very different bikes that each have a different personality. The go anywhere slowly but surely Pugs. The classy, gravel grinder in the Hunqapillar. And the wallet friendly, make you smile trail bike with the Airborne. Out of those three, as much as I lust for a fatbike, the Airborne has an edge. It is hard to compete with that price. That would leave some money left over to do some upgrades on the Zeppelin, and also the T500 and HaroX. So for the time being, the Airborne has the definite advantage.
I would like to hear your opinion about these bikes, or any others that you might think might compare to these. Also while you are here, do your duty to your country (or just this blog) and vote on which bike you would go with in the “Help me choose my next bike” poll.
After spending a little more time on the T500, I have already begun planning some changes to the final set up. I have decided that this bike is going to be my “poor man’s Rivendell.” Have you ever heard of Rivendell Bicycle Works? Basically, they make bikes that everyone should know about. I say should, because I doubt many people do. Their models have a retro feel, but at the same time is very classy and functional. And their frames are working pieces of art in my opinion. Take a look at some of their work:
These are just a few models to give you a feel for what they are all about. Basically, they make bicycles that will last long enough to will to your kids when you die. Before that happens though, you can ride them everywhere and back, probably while carrying enough gear to keep you comfortable. So, the changes to the T500 that I am pondering:
-First, a Brooks saddle.
-More cruiser type handlebars, or possible mustache bars.
-Tweed or canvas, older style bags for the front and rear.
-Front rack to support the handlebar bag.
I think with these minor changes, it will make a fine version of a “poor man’s Rivendell.” With these changes though, all of the parts would swap to a Rivendell frame, which start around $1000 and go up to $2000. Quite the price tag for just a frame, but factor in the fanciness, and the longevity, and that upfront price tag is not as bad as it seems. Not a bad price for a working piece of art.
Photos of Rivendell models are from their website, go check it!