Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Should I?

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Is it time to sell the Raleigh?
My 2007 Raleigh Sport. My only modern road bike



I'm having a struggle coming to terms on whether or not I should sell my Raleigh Sport road bike. I have seen a couple of nice Italian "grail finds" listed on craigslist recently and I have been debating on getting them. That would mean I would have to sell my most modern road bike that I own in order to purchase another one. Should I sell my modern, STI equipped aluminum road bike for something that might have a full Campagnolo and Cinelli gruppo  and made of Reynolds 531 tubing? Should I break my six year relationship with this bicycle that reintroduced me to the world of cycling? 

This is a not so new thought that I have been having. I bought this bicycle off the shelf as a beginner's bicycle to get into cycling. I never upgraded anything on the bike, everything is stock except the tires and handlebar tape. I have pushed this 25 pound bike over 18mph average speed on 30 mile rides. I have ridden over 3,000 miles on this bike alone and have taken it over rolling hills in the countryside as well as around the DFW airport. Recently I got back on it after a while of riding my older, steel framed bicycles. The ride was jarring to say the least. I guess I have gotten accustomed to the flex the steel frames provide as well as the dampening effect of the thicker 27" tires. I averaged a slow 15.9 mph overall speed on a 22 mile ride (granted I was fighting against 24mph headwinds) the last time I rode it. Maybe I have let the older bikes make me seek too much comfort rather than speed, although I do not feel like I am going any slower on my old bikes.

I have always had the mentality of "If it's not broken don't fix it" when it comes to my bicycles. So far I have thrown everything I could at this Raleigh, and its still going strong. But I do want to go faster and am hard pressed not to at least upgrade this bike to make it a little lighter. Maybe replacing the chromoly fork with a carbon fork and the current wheelset with a low spoke count one. But if for the same price I can get me a custom made Italian bicycle I am almost persuaded to sell my bike for an old school "upgrade".

The other option is just to keep this bicycle and work at upgrading it's engine (that's me). Parenting duties, shorter days and bad weather have kept me off the saddle more than I would have wanted to this winter. In other words, compared to a few years ago I'm probably fat. In fact, if my cheap scale is telling the truth, I am 15 pounds heavier than I was last year. So the engine probably needs a sugar and carb free diet to get lean and mean again.

What do you think, keep it as is and upgrade the engine, upgrade components, or trade in for old Italian steel? Send me your opinion in the comment box below.