By Guy Perry The biking industry has certainly changed over the years and I imagine it will continue to evolve for many years to come. Most of the changes have increased the enjoyment level or fulfillment from the sport. Thankfully there are a handful of companies that are refusing not to change when in comes to the art of handcrafting bicycles.
GURU is one such company. Not only do they handicraft every frame they make here in North America, but each frame is fully customizable to the individual rider. They can accommodate for all body proportions, body weight and your riding characteristics. And, as a finishing touch, the paint scheme is even open for input.
They can work with four different materials, steel, aluminum, carbon, and titanium, and purchase only the best grade of material in the marketplace. Their carbon bikes have more carbon and less resin than any production bike. This is a pivotal reason why the ride quality is unsurpassed. Their titanium bike may be the last bike you ever own.
Carbon bikes are getting a lot of exposure these days, and for good reasons. They are light, responsive, and in many cases very sexy. The Guru Chrono is their flagship carbon bike and was ridden to a 2nd place finish in the Ironman World Championships in 2006. While the bike is not exactly chump change, what it offers exceeds anything else in the market place. Certainly there are cheaper bikes, but they are made in mass, in limited sizing, inferior carbon, low grade paint, and not customizable.
People have often say that you get what you pay for. While that may be true, I’d like to think that the lasting effects of your purchase go well beyond the initial buying decision and I maintain that “you PAY for what you get.” You will pay for what you get, now or later. After the “first cost” has come and gone, the “lifecycle costs” begin to accrue and beyond the obvious benefits many of us forget the intangibles associated with a well crafted machine. Time spent on your bike will reveal both its frailties and perfections.
Over the years, the lifecycle cost of something that doesn’t fit right, doesn’t handle precisely and smooth out the road, and doesn’t manifest all the power you put into it, isn’t t worth any amount of money. Well, almost any amount. Most folks realize this after their first bike purchase and are determined to remedy the problem on the second go-around. Except, they forget the fact that the cost of the first bike plus the cost of the second bike is more than they would have spent initially. Not to mention the inflationary and opportunity costs that already been accrued!
Does this mean you have ride carbon? Certainly not.
Over the years, steel, and most recently aluminum and titanium, have become the material best suited for most people. What has begun to happen, however, is that bikes are being sold at the cost of the components, specifically the drive train, on the bike.
At first look, this sounds great. The problem is that it leaves little or nothing to be spent on the frame itself. These manufactures, by cutting costs (and corners) on the frame and then the wheels, rob the end user of the “guts” of their machine all for the sake of “dura ace”. Give me a bike that will transfer the power I give it, and a set of wheels that will allow me to defy aerodyaminics, and I give you a faster bike split. The cost of power is high. So high in fact that you can’t afford to ever give it away.
Three final words. Bike. Fit. Matters.
Too many people sacrifice their power for an eye-pleasing aero position. Money spent on a proper bike fit saves money down the road. There are as many opinions on bike fits as there are bike fitters. Bottom line is finding the position that allows you to produce maximum sustainable power while at the same time lowering frontal resistance. Notice, I said at the “same time.” Do not trade power for aero. Once you have found that position, ride in that position.
There in lies the beauty of an indoor trainer. No matter the time of day or year. No matter the weather. No matter if the light turns red or a young teenager just learning to drive saw you when he pulled out. The trainer allows you to control, eliminate, and stack the variables in your favor. It allows for quality time on your bike, in your position. Perfect practice does indeed make perfect. I recommend the same trainer endorsed by the USA Cycling, Kurt Kinetic. And then if the universe aligns for a three-hour ride with your friends through the rolling countryside on your bicycle of choice, BONUS!