BatBike Soul Transplant

I've blogged several times about my faithful commuter bike, The Bicycle of Theseus:

It's an incredibly old beater: I've had it since about 1989--yeah, my undergrad days. Being an inveterate tinkerer, I have continuously replaced and upgraded parts since then. The original parts are: the frame, the front fork, the handlebar stem, front & rear deraileurs, and the left crank arm. It's faster to list what's original instead of what's been replaced.

...the title of this post is a reference to The Ship of Theseus--that Philosophy 101 paradox: if an entire ship is replaced, piece by piece, would it be, in the end, the same ship?

However, on these daily commutes, I've toyed with the idea of getting myself a new bike. I know, shocking, given my engineering cheapness gene, and my buy-less-stuff attitude. However, my folding bike (from 2008) was a noticeably nicer bike than my main one.

Then a few months ago, REI had a clearance sale... including a bunch of bicycles... I was sorely tempted by the Marin Bolinas Ridge Mountain Bike ('09 Closeout). After hemming and hawing, I ordered it and had it delivered for pickup. Man... I probably shouldn't agonize about amounts of money of that magnitude, but I do. More importantly, with my close-to-daily cycle commute, it would definitely get used well; I would be getting my money's worth, and it would be a long-term investment. After all--I've had my old bike since friggin' 1989... at this rate, I'll be buying another replacement bike when I'm age 60 or so.

Anyway, on to the new bike, as I got it from the store:

Time to tear it down, and customize it into the new BatBike...

There were a load of things to do:

  • Soul transplant: to maintain some continuity, I just swapped over the rear fender, handlebar ends, rear view mirror, and the pedals with toe clips. Yeah, I'm not hard-core enough for clipless pedals.
  • New bright lights, front and rear. Be visible, people!
  • Front fender: I was worried that with a front suspension, that a fender would be hard to come by. No such problem--SKS Shockblade was on the display rack at the bike store... simple and secure attachment.
  • Tires--had to transplant over the Schalbe Big Apple city slick tires, of course.
  • A new lock, to keep it all safe.
  • The handlebars were way too high in the original setup... I felt like I was leaning back and driving a crosstown bus. I had never played with a threadless headset, but changing the stem height wasn't that big of a deal.
  • I prefer "straight stick" handlebars, with bar ends--bought new handlebars and swapped them in. Plus I like to customize them by cutting them as narrow as practical... all the better to get between cars without worrying about thwacking a side mirror.

And the finished result:

So how do I like it, and how does it ride? I'm definitely happy. Nice light frame, ergonomics are now set up like I want them, and all new components means shifting and pedaling are smooth.

But all of you are definitely free to mock me, for totally modding up a mountain bike, primarily for city commuting use. Duh, I know, I know, I ought to be getting a skinny tire non-suspension city hybrid. Or a touring bike. But I think I need to maintain my identity as "fat dude riding on fat tires, pedaling until he gets there"... so I'll call that my excuse.

However, I now have a faithful old commuter bike left over. Does anyone know of a good home? Or should I keep it around as a "guest bike," like Jofish does?


At 9:48 PM, Blogger j4 said...

Guest bikes are good! My sister is the most common user of mine.


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