In case you were confused by the subject line, that is a very famous quote from the movie ” This Is Spinal Tap”. I’ve seen that flick at least a dozen times and it still makes me laugh.
But it applies to my new bike. Recall that my friend Steve was test riding my Tallerico for a couple of weeks and really wanted to purchase it. I wasn’t going to sell it, but a different bike practically fell into my lap and tempted me. Here is the story.
Around the end of February I became aware that there is a new bike shop in Lodi. I decided to check it out, and I met Ken Dovak. He owns the shop with his wife Ashley, and he is also doing all the service and repairs. The shop is pretty well stocked with the basics of tubes, tires, tools, etc., and he has a selection of cruiser, city and BMX bikes, along with some entry-level Specialized road bikes. He can also do special orders of many more items. So far the quality of the service work is excellent, repairs are done correctly and finished at the time promised. I’m happy to have someone close to home and knowledgeable to take my bikes to for the repairs and upgrades that I can’t do myself. Ken’s wife Ashley runs the smoothie/juice bar, and I’ve enjoyed a delicious concoction there on a couple of occasions. Salads and wraps are on the menu too.
I brought in a wheel for Ken to fix a broken spoke, and we were talking about his plan to become a ‘Specialized S-Works Dealer’. That would be a very big deal; Specialized sets very high standards for their top dealers and requires them to keep significant inventory of high end bikes in stock, something that is not always easy for a local shop to do. Then Ken mentioned that he had a bike for sale, but he wasn’t advertising it yet. It was an S-Works Tarmac, and it just happened to be my size.
The Tarmac is Specialized’s road race bike, and the ‘S-Works’ is the pro level model. A couple of professional teams at the highest level of road racing ride the same frame. The bike has a reputation of being very stiff (a good thing) and either somewhat harsh to painfully rough, depending on who is writing the review. The bike is equipped with SRAM Red 11 speed components, while all of my other bikes are Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed. These go to eleven….
The bike is crazy light. It weighs 14.9 lbs. including the pedals, bottle cages and computer mounts. And the wheels are very nice but far from cutting edge light. A high end set of wheels could easily drop another 1/3 of a pound. My Tarmac is stiff and quick handling, but after 200 miles on the bike I do not think it is excessively harsh at all. I feel more road vibration than on my titanium bike or my Look 586, but it is not unpleasant. I’m not sure a double century rider would want to spend a 12-16 hour day on this bike, but since my limit is around 6 hours of riding a day and most of my rides are ‘only’ 3 hours, that is not an issue. And the bike is really fun to ride.
Most nice bikes are of course, and the Tallerico certainly was. But now everybody is happy; Steve has a bike that is a big improvement and makes him much faster, Bikes and Bites sold a high end bike, and I have a ‘new to me’ bike to ride and compare to my other bikes. And while I’m happily married to one great woman, when it comes to bikes I’m a confirmed polygamist. I think one spouse and three road bikes are enough, but you never know. About the bikes, that is.