I've had my ranty pants on quite a bit lately, but for some reason I've woken up in a decent mood, and as such will spare you the vein-popping details. Instead I'll write about my new track bike. I've only ridden it up and down my street so far, so this won't be a particularly well informed review. Mostly it'll be about my new bike angst.
My former bike - a Teschner Track Pro - didn't ever fit me quite right. It was a 57cm square, and I really need a 58 or even a 59. It also, like most modern track bikes, had a really short head tube, which meant that I needed a stack of spacers and a stem with a heap of rise. This in turn meant more flex through the stem. So I went looking for a bigger track bike with a bit more head tube. Eventually I settled on one of these and started saving.
I'm a notoriously bad saver, however, and it took a fair bit of time. In that time Sean the Man got in my ear, suggesting that the Pinarello wasn't so great, and that instead I should think outside the square. Better to get a bike that fits you, rather than get you to fit a bike, he reckoned.
"Plus," he continued, "Pete Bundy has just got in some Columbus Max."
"Steel?" I replied, "I'm sorry, did I fall asleep and wake up in the 90s?"
"Nah, listen. When BT first started making their bikes, their #1 specification was that they be as stiff as a bike made with Max. And Max isn't that heavy. Besides, weight doesn't matter so much on the track. You ever lifted a BT? They're fucking heavy."
I knew he was right. So I spoke to Pete, who told me he could make a bike a stiff as my Teschner, if not stiffer, and as a bonus it would fit me better. I was convinced, and put some money down.
A good two months later the bike arrived at the office. Carrying over to my car I was surprised by how light the box felt. Arriving home and unpacking the frame this surprise didn't fade - it was a lot lighter than I expected. The colour, which Dan Shifter later referred to as "Australian Flag" blue, fairly popped out of the box. It looked hot, and it felt hot.
Dan built it up for me, made it work. I was supposed to have track training at Coburg yesterday, and thus have a chance to ride around on it before racing, but the rolled in and cancelled the session. I haven't taken it out yet, and so my concerns about having a steel frame are yet to be put to rest. It is stiff, sure - true to his word, Pete probably has made it stiffer than the Teschner. But is it going to be as fast? Surely a fast track bike is stiff, light and aerodynamic - the Bundy scores a 5/5 for stiff, but what about light and aerodynamic? Furthermore, I'm not as fit right now as I was this time last season - am I going to blame my shitty performances on the bike? How will I know if it's the bike or me?
Of course, I can only really answer these questions by getting out and riding on the bloody thing, which I'll do on Tuesday night. Until then it'll just sit in the end room, asking questions.