So towards the end of last month I bought a bike.  The main reason was that the cost of getting the train became silly.  Out of no where it’s now $4.20 for a return between North Sydney and St.Leonards.  What made it worse was that when I decided to walk, I would get to St.Leonards train station at the same time as the train I would normally catch would arrive.  That was kinda the last straw and a bike was sought.  I don’t know why I hadn’t done so earlier.  Ever since my second year of university I would cycle everywhere, regardless of the weather.  I loved doing so; it was quicker than walking and I would push myself to go faster and faster.  That meant I could leave the house only 5-10 minutes before lectures and still get there on time.  It was only straight bar mountain bike, no suspension and thick tires; you felt everything!  That bike lasted my well into my final year of university until I bent the crankshaft and broke the bottom bracket.  I almost cried when I did it as that was kinda it for the bike.  It was at least 10 years old at that point and cheaper to buy a new one than get the parts for it to be fixed.  So we parted ways. I’ve had other bikes since, but that one was quite a favorite of mine.

So I went down Clarence Street Cyclery to have a look at what they have to offer.  I new that I was going to be doing road riding for the majority of the time and at the same time I wanted something that I could use for fitness (given that Sydney roads are crap for skating, a bike would be better).  I also didn’t want a mountain bike, well not one at the moment.  So really there was two choices for me; a hybrid or a racer.  Now, the hybrid is kinda a strange one as it’s basically a lower entry race bike with a flat bar handle.  This gives you a couple of things as an advantage: it’s not as an aggressive seating position; better visibility; almost as light as a race frame.  It’s not something that I’d really considered before going in there.  Mentally I was looking for an entry level race bike, but then they showed me the Garry Fisher Mendota.

mendotaIt’s a pretty sweet setup – an aluminum frame with carbon forks, seat post and disk brakes.  The disk brakes where a new thing to me.  I’d seen mountain bike with them on, but not road bikes.  I know that they can stop you quicker and better in the wet, so this was start of selling point.  The other thing was the visibility; Sydney drivers are really not the best drivers around and well, don’t give any respect to anything else on the road.  Being able to see them was probably going to be a good idea.    Plus this bike is light; well, it’s light for me anyway and what I can remember of my other bikes.  So that’s was it really I just made the decision there and then.  I didn’t even look  at the race bikes in the end.

So how does it ride?  Well it’s quick, light and extremely agile.  The agility comes from a mixture of the riding position and tires.  The tires are Bontrager Satellite Plus 700x32c, so they are not as thin as a race bike, but getting there.  This does make riding in the rain also an interesting experience.  This took a few rides to get used to, but something that I’m really quite happy for now, it allows you to be able to move around traffic with ease and speed (keeping an eye on making sure that traffic has seen you).   The lightness of the bike as a whole comes into play when you really ‘put your foot down’ so to speak.  Before you really know it you are speeding away from anything else around you.  The problem then comes the upright position as you are big wind block at this point.  It does mean that anyone who wants to draft you gets a really good ride.

The brakes are solid; I’m still a bit wary of really pulling on them hard.  At the moment they seem to be stopping me quickly without an issue and regardless of the weather.  They are only Avid BB5s, and some people have commented for the cost of the bike, they would expect more.  Maybe bb7s or hydraulics.  To be honest, they are simple and really work quite well of the setup of this bike.  Gears are smooth and have a reasonable section for every day riding; it will need adjusting soon as it’s still in the breaking in phase and parts are stretching.  Clarence Street Cyclery give you free adjustment service when you buy the bike and I’ll be dropping into them in a couple of weeks I suspect.

The only thing that I don’t really like are the pedal setup and this is only a minor nitt.   They are Wellgo single-side clipless; this is great if you if you ride in a mix of pedals and normal shoes as one side is flat the other clipped.  As I ride with clips the whole time, it’s kinda annoying as the clip side always falls to the bottom of the pedal, so you are fiddling about with that when you are trying to your shoe in.  Like I said, a minor issue with the bike.  

I’ve put a CatEye Micro Wireless computer on it (cause I’m sad like that and I like to know distance and speed etc) and I’ve done nearly 70km with that on.  Not a massive amount of riding I know, but that’s been back and for to the gym for the most part.  What I have found is that because it’s such an ease to ride it, I find myself trying to get a longer ride home.  I want to go further and faster on it.  At the moment, my fitness is kinda limiting me do that, but that will change.  Helping me track all of this I’m using cychosis, a great little app for the iphone.  It just allows you to track the rides you do and gives you average speeds/be able to set goals/set routes etc.  It’s not a GPS I went here app; the CatEye tells me how far I have gone, so I don’t need that .  It’s a simple app but does what it does very well.  There is also some basic graphing, so you can see how you are progressing etc.  If you are wanting an app that will track your rides/distance and that you can add goals etc, then you should get it.

So we’ll see how we go with the Mendota, certainly for me it’s a pleasure to ride and one I plan to keep riding for a while yet.  If you are looking for that mix of a city bike but not a race bike, then this is certainly a bike for you.  I also highly recommend the guys down at Clarence Street.  They were pretty helpful and are always ready to serve you when you down there.  I’m sure I’ll write something more about them when I go for a service on the bike.

~ by monkeypushovertree on February 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “mendota”

  1. Ha …. I post pics of push bikes today and you write about a push bike.

  2. Thanks for the Cychosis shout-out. Much appreciated!

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