Wait, sorry, wrong picture.
(Thick, swoopy frame just can’t pull off low-profile rims.)
Alas, the creaking continued.
At that point I figured the source of the offending sound could be pretty much anything, and with my time in even shorter supply than my patience we agreed that I’d send the bike back to Renovo who would get it all sorted out for me. Lazy? Sure. However, I’m supposed to be evaluating the bike, and would the sort of person who buys a $10,000 wooden bicycle deign to figure out why his or her bike is creaking? I think not.
Nevertheless, I’m so deeply and profoundly lazy that I never even got around to packing the bike so someone else could fix it for me, and instead it just sat there.
Cunningly I’d included in my resolution a test bike loophole, because obviously as a semi-professional bike blogger I’ve got to be able to evaluate bicycles, right? Hey, without me it’s just the sphincter-tightening reviews over at VeloNews or Bicycling or CyclingTips or whatever the Freds are reading these days, or else the douchechill-inducing himbo bro-fest over at the Radavist. I consider it my mission to provide you with the sort of edifying and substantial fare that on a good day hits at least freshman English major levels of pretentiousness and word bloat masquerading as erudition.
Anyway, as you can imagine, after riding the monstrosity above multiple times my thought began to drift to the test bike in the basement. Drop bars… electronic shifting… crabon wheels… It all sounded so dreamy!
Hey, I am a recovering Fred after all.
So on Friday evening I headed down to the basement and, determined to eliminate the creaking, went to work on the Renovo. (I also threw in a couple loads of laundry because that’s where the machines are.) The wash cycle was just enough time to swap cassettes and brake pads and restore the wooden bike to its original crabon-wheeled state, and as the clothes tumble-dried I pulled the cranks, tightened the bottom bracket, and put on some of those quick fenders. Then the next morning I went for a ride:
Not only was the bike now blissfully creak-free, but it was also an absolute joy to ride. Is at least some of that joy attributable to the fact that for the last few week’s I’ve been riding a 30-pound mountain bike almost exclusively? Almost certainly. In fact, while I’d always been a bit uncomfortable with the sheer lavishness of the Renovo, I was now positively reveling in it, so starved had I been of my Fredly vices. So between the juxtaposition factor and the resolute silence I have to admit that I am currently in love with this bicycle.
Speaking of the fenders, not only do I think the bike looks much better with them than it does with bare wheels:
But they also work almost as well as proper full fenders thanks to that rear wheel cutout:
At this point you’re no doubt thinking I’m a massive hypocrite, and of course you’d be right. Isn’t committing to bicycle austerity and then hopping on a sumptuous Fred sled when the mood strikes you no different than declaring veganism but saying it’s fine to eat cheeseburgers just as long as you don’t pay for them? Of course it is, which is why I put the loophole in there in the first place.
Hey, I’m not as stupid as I look–and I look pretty stupid:
(Photo by Grant Petersen)
Nevertheless, I maintain that my resolution is no less valuable for it. In fact it may be even more valuable, since sticking to Ol’ Piney means when I do hop on another bike I’m more able to appreciate it and discern its best features, thus making me a better bike reviewer. Then again, a vegan sneaking a cheeseburger after two weeks of chia seeds will probably declare even a mediocre one the best burger they’ve ever had, so in that sense I suppose it’s possible the resolution will make me a worse bike reviewer.
All of this is very troubling to me for about fourteen seconds, after which I decide I don’t give a fuck. Plus, the Renovo is not at all suited to riding in dirt, so you can be sure I’ll continue to spend much of my time on Ol’ Piney.
Nevertheless, I will continue long-term testing of the Renovo for the benefit of cycledom in general and people interested in purchasing high-end wooden bicycles in particular, and I will also allow myself to revel in its decadence.
Someone’s gotta do it.