My bikes. I have a number of them (and sad to say, I will probably add more). Each has a use and often each one is ridden in any given week.
Big Blue: This was the first new bike that I purchased as an adult. It is a flat bar Schwinn SuperSport. When we purchased it (and a bike for Trisha, but more on that later) it was a HUGE expense; about $250. It is an all aluminum frame, including fork, running heavy duty 36 spoke rims and a 24 gear, triple ring drive-train. I had initially planned to do a one day STP on it, but later upgraded, and for awhile it was my commuter bike. Right now it is a work bike. By that I mean, it is set up for panniers, to tow the tag along or the trailer. It is a great bike for cycling with my family, rugged and versatile.
I don’t have the true mileage on it, but I would estimate around 4000 to 5000 miles. The chain, tires, crank and shift levers have all been replaced but I would estimate that it will continue to serve in it’s current role for the next 10 years.
Little Red: Sadly this bike has been retired. It was my first foray into “building” bicycles and I picked out every piece and put it all together. It was a Scattante aluminum road frame with carbon drop outs and a carbon fork. With its large oversized aluminum tubing and really cheap carbon bits the frame was incredibly stiff and road like a car without suspension. Of course at the time I had no idea. All I knew is that it weighed less than half of my existing bike (Big Blue) and was very fast.
I built it up with Campagnolo Centaur components after months of research and equal grade Campy wheels. By finding deals on parts here, there, and everywhere, before the seat I managed to get it all together for about $400-$500. The seat itself was about another $150 (at the time it was a HUGE expense, and for a seat would be now), but the saddle was especially designed to prevent certain boy parts from going numb on long rides. With one exception this has proven to be the case and the Selle SMP Evolution is still my saddle of choice.
Little Red was decommission last year and striped of most of its parts to help build up/pay for a new bike. I still have the (very beat up) frame and in two years probably put about 8000 to 10,000 miles on it.
Master Fixed: Thank you to a long time friend of my FIL I was able to acquire an early ‘80s Motobecane Grande Jubilee. This became a challenge as I had to relearn many of the older components and sizing while I turned it into a fixed gear. It has fantastic Reynolds tubing and big 27” wheels. It now sports a flip-flop hub with a 17 tooth fixed and 19 tooth freewheel gear attached to a 46 tooth crank. It recently had the crank replaced due to my ripping the other chainring from the crank arms; gotta love metal fatigue.
The bike is outfitted with full fenders and flop/chop pursuit bars as well as my winter light set up. It rides great and though it isn’t particularly fast going up, down or along the flats it is simple, durable and perfect for cycling in great Northwest winters. I would estimate that I have put nearly 3000 or so miles on it so far.
The Ibis: This is my current race bike. The Ibis Silk SL was the lightest frame I could afford and is built up with (again by me) Campagnolo Chorus and Campagnolo Zonda wheels. I have my trusty Selle SMP saddle, generic carbon (but light) seatpost, stem, spacers, pump and water bottle holders. I do run a Specialized aluminum handlebar (I can’t bring myself to run carbon for that sudden “snap”) that fit and have the perfect drop for me. Altogether, weighed properly my bike comes in a touch over 15lbs. Not bad for a sub $1000 bike.
I have probably 6000 miles on this bike already and outside of replacing the computer (Garmin 305 under warranty), a set of tires and a chain the bike has been great. It is outfitted with a compact crankset paired with a 12/27 (my modification) cassette. I easily cruise on the flats between 22 to 24 mph and it climbs like a dream. I attempted the S2S on it this year and was the first person into Orondo, placed 20th at the HPC and been able to keep up with the High Performance Cycling club (led by Tom Meloy).
For the spring I think I am going to try the new tubeless tires and see if I can get a better ride without sacrificing the speed, as well my 15,000 mile pedals are about done and need replacing. Look has a new pedal that is reasonably priced and seems to be a good performer. The only other modification may be a trying a set of aero bars in preparation for RAAM.
Future bikes: The next immediate bike (well next spring depending on finances) is a semi-recumbent-tandem. A what? It is a tandem in which the captain is on a standard upright configuration BEHIND the stoker who is sitting on a recumbent style bike. This configuration should work well for Trisha and I, allowing us to do longer rides together, putting each of us in our strongest position. Initially I was looking at the Hase Pino and Bilenky Viewpoint: new between $4000-$6000, used $3000-$4000. That is not even remotely in our budget.
I found another source that will allow me to buy just the frame for $600 and I have enough components lying around to build up the rest. With the sale of a couple of our existing bikes (good bye Little Red), we should be able to do it for next to nothing.
Further down the road (read two or three years), I will probably play with a triathlon setup and bike again for the long flat areas of RAAM. Based on the overall cost saving I will probably build that one up as well. I will be curious to see what new technologies come out over the next 8 years, before RAAM and which ones make sense (tubeless tires) and which ones don’t (electronic shifting?).