Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Choosing a Bike Like an Expert: Part II

Well, if you remember where we left off with the first segment, we had gotten to the point where we were actually throwing a leg over the bike we had 'expertly' evaluated.

There are only a few things that we need to be able to pull off to keep the aura of expertness going right to the very end. Do we consider the top tube length, set the saddle height, check for standover clearance, or rotate the bars or brake levers to fit us? Naw. Who needs that stuff? We are experts.

This is what we will do:

Find the bike shop parking lot. We are test riding a full suspension mountain bike, so there is no need to have any dirt to ride in. There will be several tests we will perform.

The Full Bounce -

Riding the bike, we will bounce the fork and rear suspension up and down like some crazed flashback to our pogo stick days. This will tell us nothing, but if we add a few choice sayings like, "Slightly overdamped, with a rising rate to the spring curve and an oakey aftertaste" (...oh, wait, that last part is for wine tasting), we will be lookin' good.

The Curb Huck -

To finish the suspension testing, we need to make the big drop off of a curb. All experts can huck. You can huck too.

The Wheelie - A parking lot wheelie will tell so much, that to leave it out just won't do. The shop monkey is watching for this to see if you are simply acting the part of the expert or are the real deal. SO, let's not dissapoint. It does not have to be a big wheelie. Actually the front wheel can barely leave the ground, but if it does not impress, just shake your head and repeat the "overdamped suspension" part. Leave out the oakey aftertaste. Save that for lunch after the test ride.

If you can find which brake lever works the rear brake, lock up the rear wheel just as you stop in front of the shop guy. By now, you are a legend in his eyes, a keen eyed, bike choosing wizard.

You, my friend, are an expert and I salute you.

Post Script: Now, this is, of course, all in fun as there is waaay more to it all than this. The person working in a good bike shop is typically a knowledgable employee and can easily help you choose the right size and type bike for you. But just in case it requires a little bit more on your part, you are good to go.

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