Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Good Review

The owner of the Fuji Cross Comp for whom I installed a complete custom drive train came in a couple of days ago just to say how great the bike was now.

"I can go up all the hills like a jackrabbit," he said. Or he might have said rocket. Something fast, anyway. The bike finally would do exactly what he wanted it to do.

The future of the independent bike shop lies not in sales volume of new bikes but in repairs and adaptations like this. Major bike manufacturers don't see it this way. They think the sport of cycling is the sport of buying bikes. Economic realities will catch up with them. Meanwhile, active cyclists ride ten-year-old mountain bikes on perfectly enjoyable adventures.

Last week I installed a new suspension fork, threadless headset, stem and rise bars on a customer's older mountain bike. He did end up dropping a chunk of change on that, because the rear rim turned out to have collapsed from brake pad wear. Building up a new wheel tossed about another $100 onto the bill. But it kept a bike in service. A comparable new bike would have cost almost twice what he put into the work on this one.

All my major jobs this fall have been adaptations of older bikes. I still have to finish the stem update on a Litespeed road bike for a customer who wanted to bring the bars up and closer. That one is old enough to have a one-inch quill stem. Nitto Technomic saves the day again.

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