Friday Group Ride #490

Friday Group Ride #490

I’m home sick this week with my second bout of flu for the season, which is frustrating, but also a bit sobering in light of the pandemic currently sweeping the globe. One hand I’m incandescent with rage that I’m sick again. On the other hand, I’m grateful I’m not more seriously ill, that I have access to treatment, and that I should be fine by Monday. With all that going on, I originally had an FGR in mind dealing with adversity and resilience, but frankly I’m tired of wallowing in it now.

Instead let’s just talk about great bikes. NAHBS is coming, and so is the first day of spring. We’re going to be awash in beautiful bikes soon and the sun is gaining ground on the night every day now.

I am fortunate to work with people on high-end bikes, but I am equally fortunate to rub elbows in the community of custom bike builders. I have gotten to see so many jaw-dropping creations through the years that I’m easily overwhelmed when I think about which was the best.

I was really impressed with this bike from Sanomagic last year.

And then this bike from Dear Susan, which, I think, simultaneously destroyed the idea of the “NAHBS bike” and showed all of us what creativity could mean in the context of the shoe.

The big players in the industry will have bikes out too, but they’ll mainly be iterations on previous themes. I hope to see some game changers, but I don’t expect much. Arrivals may well be late, due to supply chain stoppages caused by the coronavirus pandemic, anyway. Not to be too gloomy.

This week’s Group Ride asks two questions, the first of which I’m not answering in order to avoid conflicts of interest. The first is, what is the best bike you’ve ever ridden? And did you get own it? Or did you only get a fleeting glimpse of its brilliance? The second question is, what is the most amazing bike you’ve ever seen? The Cherubhim, above, is on my list.

 

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12 comments

  1. Stephen Barner

    Certainly, “best bike” depends entirely on context, but being a roadie at heart, it would have to be my 1982 custom Marinoni. I’ve ridden many bikes over the years, and currently own more bikes than most cyclists have ridden. The Marinoni is not the highest performance bike, and that’s a given considering its Columbus SL/SP tubeset, but for all-day comfort, it can’t be beat. The most amazing bike I’ve seen was the first-generation, California Masi frame I sold to finance the Marinoni’s purchase. I definitely did not know what I had at the time, but I was lucky enough to see it in the raw, as I stripped and repainted it myself. Actually, it was my wife who did the detail work on the paint removal, and she would kill me if she found I was taking credit for that tedious chore. It was one of the very early Carlsbad frames, with the twin-plate fork crown, and the brazing in the frame was impeccable. Naked, that frame was truly a thing of beauty, and after I painted it in a unique shade of green, it was still a jaw-dropper. I will always believe that it was brazed up by The Man, Mario, himself.

  2. scottg

    A bright red Peter Weigle, i got to ride around the parking lot
    at the Cirque de Cyclisme, that was a real treat.
    It is wonderful to see an object so finely crafted, with the thought that goes
    into each design decision so beautifully resolved.

  3. DaveinME

    Best bike I’ve ever ridden is a tie. First was a ‘94 Bridgestone RB-1, which was one of the last imported to the States. It was at home in long training rides, road races and crits. I owned it for 20 years and sometimes miss it, but I sold it to buy my first ti bike, which I don’t regret. The second is the custom Merlin I currently ride which does all that the RB-1 could but is lighter and stiffer for climbing and sprinting. The Merlin is also at home for anything I throw at it.

    Most amazing bike I’ve seen is a custom Landshark with a sunrise finish on it outfitted with all Campag. It was drop dead gorgeous.

  4. Quentin

    I can’t really think of any bikes that I’ve ridden that were particularly cool. I’ve owned a series of pretty average bikes over the last 3 decades. The coolest bike I’ve seen in person was when I entered the Colorado state championship road race in the 17-18 year old age group in 1989. A certain Bobby Julich was in my age group. He was on the 7 Eleven junior team at the time and he showed up to the starting line on one of those famous 7 Eleven “Huffys” that the team rode during the 1980s. I believe they were made by Serotta, although I think I heard Andy Hampsten had his own custom builder. I felt cool knowing the inside scoop on who had actually made his bike, and I still love that red and white color scheme of those 7 Eleven bikes. I was definitely not the only kid at the starting line checking out Bobby’s bike. Yes, Bobby won that day, and no, I did not finish anywhere close.

  5. Jay

    The first best bike that I rode was a Schwinn Paramount, circa 1973. It belonged to a friend’s brother and I was able to borrow it for an afternoon ride. That bike, on that day, changed my whole perception of what riding a bike really could be. I have had numerous bikes over the years, any one of which was the “best” at that point in time. I have spent most of the past six years riding a steel Spectrum that without question is at the top of my list. However, I just picked up a titanium Spectrum that is built into an all road bike. I have not had enough time to judge it fairly, but I doubt that it won’t be sharing the top spot with it’s steel counterpart.

  6. Michael

    The best bike I ever rode: the one I am currently riding.
    The most amazing: the one I am hoping to get.

    Flippant answer, but I honestly try to keep thinking this way so that I am happy on the one I am riding, feeling out whatever makes it cool, and I can dream about whatever bike I want and obsess on its coolness.

    That Cherubim bike caught my eye a few years ago at NAHBS, although I don’t think it is one I would covet for me.

  7. TominAlbany

    I’ve ridden precious few bicycles in my 30+ years of riding. And, honestly, I get on the bike and ride and I can’t say I’ve ever noted, ahhh, that’s a great ride. I’ve loved all of my bikes.

    So, how do you get that “ahhh?”

  8. Aar

    For years, I would have said that any Richard Sachs was the most beautiful bike I’ve ever seen. Now I would have to work hard to choose between offerings from Crumpton, Ellis, Bishop & DiNucci.

    Best I ever rode has to be one that I own just due to how long it takes me to dial in and really commit to riding a bike to its potential. So, choosing between my current S-Works Tarmac and my last steel bike – a Giordana with Columbus SLX tubing – is difficult. Best that I rode but never owned: S-Works Epic 29 or a mid-80s Serotta steel.

  9. Parker

    The best touring bike I’ve ridden is my fourth, a 1993 520. Am sure I’d prefer disc brakes and brake shifters, and might update that way sooner or later. It’s an interesting choice with two good alternatives. The best road bike for me here in southeastern Virginia’s flatlands is my second-hand 1997 Softride Solo. Besides a touch of comfort, its beam provides practically unlimited cockpit geometries. My 2003 6.5 Madone is five pounds lighter, and better for hills and speed. Am sure other bikes are even better for hills and speed; but not enough to warrant testing by a recreationalist such as I.

  10. David A

    The best bike I ever owned was a custom made Dossche Sport bike made in Gent Belgium. One of the mechanics from Eddy Merck did the measurements for me. Full Campy Super Record. It was really comfortable to the point that you wanted to ride no matter the weather or your fitness. I raced a lot of kermis races on it.

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