Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bicycles: The Terror - Columbia Trailhead, Townie Electra, K2 Easy Street Deuce

A local parkway closes once a year for a "Run the Reagan" event. After the runners clear off it's traditional to "Ride the Reagan", getting out your bike, scooter or Rollerblades to follow in the runners' footsteps. Our 20-yr-old K-Mart bikes were beyond repair, as I found out after three hours of hard work, so we decided to buy new bikes. We were going to by bikes at Target, but I wanted to see about getting a "real" bike first. We went to The Sports Authority and walked out the door with Columbia Sportswear Trailhead Disc bikes:

We were going to pay $350 ea. but walked out the door paying $250 each, not bad! These are real dirt bikes, real in the sense that they have knobby tires, short firm frames, small seats and low gearing (can be pedaled very slow). I thought it was fine because that's the kind of bike I wanted. My wife couldn't ride it up the street and blamed it on not riding for a couple of years. We used to ride for hours back when our kid was little so it's not that she couldn't ride bikes. I was excited the bike had front suspension, sequential shifters and disc brakes. She liked the color.

We missed our exercise yesterday so my "I'll try it" friend agreed to ride to her house on the new bikes while the rest of the family members rode in a car. She almost threw up she was so exhausted from the trip, so maybe it was the BIKE, not the RIDER that was making it hard for my wife to ride.

My friend bought a custom Electra Townie a few months ago and loves it. Its main feature is that the pedals are forward of the seat tube, so it's semi-recumbant. It was also a pretty color and was very unique. She rode the Reagan without a problem, so she wasn't the problem.

She told my wife and convinced her that she needed another bike or she would never ever ride. She agreed, so we conspired to return the bikes and buy better bikes at REI. I was actually happy with mine, but if I had the only true dirt bike then I wasn't going to get to use it anyway. Besides, although mine rode fine as far as I was concerned, the brakes were the crappiest discs made, the shock was the crappiest made, and was Columbia in name only, not Columbia quality in any respect. Not bad for $250 though, and no bike at REI was $250. I decided that I wanted to get a low-end good bike instead of a high-end crappy bike (a low-end BMW 3 series is better than a top-of-the-line Chevy Cavalier), so I decided to get one for $350, which is was we were going to pay for the Columbias anyway.

My wife bought a Townie Electra 21, the same brand as my friend:

She bought the man version because she didn't like the shifters and the white seat on the female bike. The top tube is so low that it's practically a girl bike anyway. She rode and rode it in the REI parking lot and fell in love with it. $430 at REI.

I bought a K2 Easy Street Deuce:

Mine was literally the first bike you come to in the store, and was on clearance for $300. It was a 2007 model and had some very minor cosmetic blemishes, so I guess it was a return since it's $480 new.

These bikes are 'comfort' bikes, not 'dirt' bikes. they are designed for street use, not 'single track' use. However, they are capable of riding on rooty dirt trails, just don't do any jumps! They have single-wall rims which means that they are heavy for their size and more succeptable to fatal dings. The manufacturer of my bike's rims isn't proud of them and calls them 'girl bike' rims as a joke.

These bikes both have trigger sequential shifters, which means you can click with an index finger or thumb to go up or down a gear, one-at-a-time. They make shifting fun.

We're going to a local bike park to see how we like 'em. I'm thinking we are going to be happy.

Columbia Trailhead Disc - the evil bike
K2 Easy Street Deuce - my new decent bike
Electra Townie 21 (men's) - Sonya's new decent bike (you'll have to dig through the site)


Jill said...

Hey, you changed the name of this blog! I think I liked "Bicycles - The Terror" better! I felt terrorized by that bike!

Pango said...

Changed back per request. I liked that better also but it seemed too silly.

Anonymous said...

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