Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tough call

I've been sleeping on a hot bed of charcoal for some time now. Since last week I've been doing a lot of comparing of frame materials, drivetrain components and wheels in my sleep. It really doesn't improve the quality of sleep. After a few nights of delirious arguing with myself I came to the conclusion that I prefer the Trek Madone 4.5 2008 over the Bianchi Freccia Celeste 2005. Having made the decision eases the pain somewhat, but now I'm waiting for the actual bike to appear at the dealer's. He'd ordered the bikes last week, they should have been there yesterday but weren't, and I'm waiting for a call.

Furthermore, I caught a real fever besides the bicycle fever. It passed already, but I'm still kind of feeling flu-ish and unable to do any sports. Cough. Sneeze. It sucks.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Seven days ago I vaguely suspected that I might want to purchase a new bike this season, if the financial situation so allows. Preferably an Olmo.

Six days ago, when I visited the bicycle fair, it became obvious that I need to get a new bike this season. Possibly a Bianchi, maybe an Olmo, anyway, an Italian bike, for sure.

Five days ago I was quite sure that I have to get myself a 2009 Bianchi 928 Carbon Mono-Q Veloce. The feeling lasted for several days.

Yesterday I found out that a 2008 Trek Madone could be purchased at a reasonable price, and the idea immediately became very attractive to me.

Today I visited my next-door bike shop and became aware that they have several nice bikes in my price range available. Oh boy, the decision is getting harder. Practically thinking, any bike in the price range of about 2000 € is surely good enough for me, so based on which criteria will I make the decision? Look? Colour? (Supposed) country of origin? The café racer discussion hi-fi status of the material and/or manufacture method of the frame?

Being a software engineer, I guess I'll decide the same way I do any rational decision: by defining the order of importance of the criteria, reducing everything into binary logic and ruling out options until there's only one left.

So basically there are four options available right now:

Olmo Sirius 2008:

It has a full carbon frame, Campagnolo Veloce parts and Campagnolo Khamsin wheels. The Olmo carbon frames are very good and reliable, I hear. A sensible choice, I suspect. Anyway I'll have to rule this option out based on the look of the bike. The black and red colour scheme just doesn't excite me. An ugly bike, might I say. Sorry, Olmo.

Bianchi 928 Carbon Mono-Q Veloce 2009:

This is a beautiful looking full carbon bike with Campagnolo Veloce parts. I definitely like the white colour. There's nothing wrong with this one, I'll just rule it out (at this point) because it's a new model, readily available, and therefore not "a find". However, this shall be my plan B (or C) if a bargain deal should fall through for some reason.

Trek Madone 4.5 2008:

The Trek Madone 4.5 has a full carbon frame, Shimano 105/Ultegra parts and Bontrager Race wheels. The Madone has some innovative design features, I hear. It looks pretty cool also. The Madone model is affiliated with Lance Armstrong, which is not a bad thing for me (yay Lance!). A local dealer is selling these at a reasonable price, so obviously I'm interested.

- reasonable price
- full carbon frame (which provides good hi-fi value, at least)
- interesting design
- a find.

- no Campagnolo parts
- no Italian prestige.

Bianchi Freccia Celeste 2005:

As I mentioned, today I visited the next-door bike shop, where I was offered a 2005 Bianchi Freccia Celeste. The guy at the shop said that they'd found some of these lying around in their warehouse. It has an aluminium frame with carbon forks and Campagnolo Chorus parts. The wheels are Campagnolo Zonda. They tell me that it's a bike fit for pro racing. I kind of believed it. The carbon fiber Campagnolo shifters and derailleurs do look very cool. I wasn't smashed by the grey colour of the frame, which looked kind of dull. Although it does kind of provide a cool "f**k you with your colours, I'm all business" attitude, when you think about it.

- pro quality Campagnolo parts and wheels
- plenty of Italian prestige
- a find

- kind of old bike isn't it?
- not a full carbon frame (but does it matter?).


Ok, it's starting to become obvious that I'm already deeply in love with the Bianchi Freccia Celeste. It's kind of an ugly one, but so am I. I think we could be sweet to each other.

The unbearable sweetness of choosing between two luxury items.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Today I kind of started the bicycling season by visiting the local bicycle fair. The supply wasn't quite what I'd hoped for (not a single Olmo bike in the fair), but rather enjoyable anyway. But then again, I am an elitist road racing snob. I don't get much kicks out of the dirt bikes and whatnot. You can't expect a whole fair devoted to road racing in a country of this size.

Anyway, I got a hell of a bicycling fever. Now, I don't see how I could avoid getting me a new bicycle this season. I've spent most of the evening reading brochures and surfing bike shops. Currently I'm liking the Bianchi 928 Carbon Mono-Q a lot. I guess I could settle for a 2008 Bianchi 1885, an alu-carbon frame model, which is affordable and readily available right now, but the thought of a non-carbon bike (and the colour) just doesn't satisfy me the same way anymore. BTW, thanks a lot, Jari, for throwing gasoline in the flames ;)

But then again, what's 2200 € for something you really like and would use for decades? You know, for instance, a grand piano or a Porsche would cost much more. Not to mention what a set of golf clubs and a golf club membership would cost, I imagine. Um, and a Picasso. So yeah, when put into perspective, actually purchasing a full carbon Bianchi starts to make sense.

Now that I've convinced myself, there's only the hard part left: to convince my wife that buying a 2000 € bicycle is not the epitome of futility but instead a good thing for the entire family. Which it is. Right, fellows?

Oh, I did manage to save some money in the fair too. I signed up for the Tour de Helsinki 2009 for the reasonable price of 40 € (including the t-shirt), and bought a pair of cycling shorts for 20 €.