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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcoming A New Member To The Stable: It's A Nag!

My wife and I would like to share our joy in welcoming a new member to our stable at home. Yes, my wife brought home her new bundle of joy last night and I thought I would post the pictures of her brand new Colnago Prima.

For the past two years my wife, Joyce, has been completely devoted to her graduate studies in Translation at Fu Jen University, and for the past year she has spent countless hours hammering away on her all consuming thesis paper on the effects of patronage in the publishing of Taiwanese literature. A magnificent and provocative paper, which will greatly contribute to the field. Unfortunately, to finish in minimum time as the top student of her class for four semesters, she hardly had much time for anything else. I am very proud of her accomplishment.

Now she has time again to devote to her physical and mental well-being and wanted to buy a bicycle, so she could get out and exercise without having to renew her membership and Taichung's World Gym, which is not much more than a self serving shithole of deceit and ignorance. Vincent Chen, the manager, is (rumored to be) a real asshole and she would rather not go there again. A bike made a great alternative. And so... and much as I protested (not)... we went bike shopping.

I tried not to be too pushy or go shopping for myself and so I first had her identify what she wanted to do with a bike if she were to buy one. She wanted to do regular rides for fitness and recreation. Mainly road riding and group rides. She wanted a road bike with drop bars and something light enough to carry up stairs and most of all, she didn't want a bike that would have frequent mechanical problems or need for costly upgrades.

After a fit session and some geometry gazing, we started shopping around to see which bikes were available and not just for viewing in brochures, we narrowed things down. In each case we tried to find WSD bikes. Unfortunately, many of the women's bikes are poorly equipped.

The final choices came down to: Specialized Dolce with Sora Triple, Colnago Prima with Shimano 105, Kuota Korsa Lite with Campy Veloce or Sram Force and a Giant Avail with Sora/Tiagra mix.

The liability for most of the bikes we were looking at was the reliance on Sora shifters and Alex rims. It can be argued that Sora takes too much hand action to shift up and down the cassette. The Alex wheelset is a staple for bringing a price point down, but they are not the most reliable wheels. Most of the bikes had too few spokes as well. 2o ft and 24-28 rear. The Sora triple crank can be quickly rendered unreliable and is known for frequent derailleur adjustment,

My wife chose the Colnago Prima, their entry level road bike, as the one she wanted and Rocky at T-Mosaic made us a pretty good offer on it.

The Colnago was the only bike we saw that came with a complete Shimano 105 gruppo and FSA chainrings. It was the only 10spd and therefore offered a little more breadth in the rear cassette. My wife got a wide ranging 11-28 cassette to get her started off to go with the 34/50 FSA compact crank. The chainrings seem sturdy. The rims are contracted out to a Taiwanese company that does other alloy rims of quality and this bike and the most spokes (28ft 30r).
The frame is double butted alloy (Made in Taiwan) and I guess the fact that Colnago is willing to put their name on the bike may be a vote of confidence. Most of all... my wife loved the fit and feel. She felt good on the bike and it made her smile. That is the most important thing. It helps that it is a pretty bike. The Kuota was just a bit on the ugly side for my wife.

Some of the other factors that led my wife to this decision was that Rocky is a highly respected builder and fitter with some scruples and opinions on proper fit and gear. Many industry people come in for builds and fitting.

There is also T-Mosaic's weekend rides where there are several women who ride and the instant support of other "sisters" is an attractive proposition. She can always join a group ride.

So, my wife got everything she needed to get started: gloves, cyclometer, clipless pedals, front and rear lights, seat bag, bottle and cage, fitting and everything for NT58,000.

That may sound like a lot, but when buying a bike you should always go a little over budget to fight off the "shoulda's". "I shoulda' got this and that."

My wife feels that as long as she is investing in herself, it is worth it. Now she can't wait to get out there and get her money's worth.


  1. It looks beautiful! I hope she finds passion in cycling as much as I do. So happy for her!

  2. I hope she can find some women to ride with and give her some confidence. She really wants to ride, but the humbling experience of starting out is always hard. Especially in this traffic. If you know of any other groups of women who have other beginners, then let me know. As the husband it is easy for her to lose patience with me. Hahaha!!! You know how it is.

    BTW: She did really great yesterday. If she does this like she took on grad school, she will be kicking ass in no time.

  3. And yes, it is a beautiful bike. Thanks!

  4. Congrats! What a great pick!

    By the way was the Kuota pink?


  5. She is welcome to Facebook me if she wants to ride with me. Before the summer ends, I have no interest in riding after 8 am if I have not even started my ride by then yet. Team Neko has a ton of ladies who are easy-going and being competitive isn't their goal (I think) which might interest her. I know exactly what you meant when you said losing patience with husbands. However, my husband is just unbelievably encouraging sometimes I feel what he says about my riding needs to be discounted.

    Well, have fun tomorrow!

  6. Congratulations Joyce on the nice ride. Good job Drew getting the missus over to the speed side.

  7. @Nathan,

    The Kuota was white and black and pink with large tubes and larger lettering. Lots of excess graphics. Worse than my bike.

    @ Virginia,

    I thought I would suggest Neko. That looks like a good starting point.

    @ Michael,

    She knew she wanted a road bike and we thought we'd bypass all the mucking around with the usual progression of bikes to a little higher up the ladder, so she can have a few years before she outgrows it. Besides... what feels better than a swift little bike?

  8. ha ha... My husband too bought my first bike from Rocky and it too was a Colnago... (XiaoMiLu)... though he wasn't patient (he put me in clipless pedals immediately and TOLD me to ride fast...took me up Big Snow with only 2 months under my belt and that was only 1 to 2 40km rides a week!!)... now... he wonders about that purchase... it's let to many more purchases.

    that said, all of his buddies congratulated him, "Gj, now that you got Tina asking for gear... you have carte blanche!"


  9. Ha! I think the clipless pedals are always tough to get used to no matter how experienced you are. It takes some time to train the brain to simply react. My first time out I saw a woman with motorcycle trouble in the middle of a dark, lonely part of the city. I figured I looked non-threatening in my "tights" and stopped to offer help with a stronger kick start. As I stopped, I forgot to unclip and just fell over.

    We will be taking it nice and easy at first. "Attainable goals".

    I would have no problem with her spending money on bike stuff. It is always worth it.

  10. Looks wonderful! I am so jealous! Yes, I'm going to upgrade my Soras next. I can't stand them -- it's not just the hand motion; it's the overshifting that means extra clicking. Very imprecise.

    Your wife is AWESOME! Can't wait to ride with her. What a power couple you two are.

  11. This is helpful. I'm hoping Wendy will take up riding so am looking to find a bike just about like this. So far, we've been looking at Giant bikes - either the Comp 1/105 or maybe an Aimez - also 105 I think. Hadn't been considering a Colnago but perhaps we should! She's real reluctant to start with clipless pedals so I'm thinking about SPD sandals and two-sided pedals. What I use for my commute bike. Anyway, the goal is to make this easy and fun so that she gets good and hooked.

  12. And hooked she'll be.

    My wife love to be on the bike. She thinks it is pretty and comfortable.

    She really likes the SPD pedals and can feel the difference.

    Maybe my wife should talk to your wife.