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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.