I have a summer bike. I need a winter bike.
Having regrettably sold a perfectly good winter bike quite a while ago, at the end of last year I used my second carbon bike as a substitute. Not out of choice, you understand. At the beginning of the year (2018) I bought a carbon BMC teammachine SLR01 – all 6.9kg of it – an ideal climbing bike for the Peak District. And this is why I sold my Pinnacle Dolomite 5 winter bike – to help pay for my new acquisition.
This meant using my old carbon BMC Roadracer SL01 kitted out with ‘racing’ mudguards – a compromise that just doesn’t work for me. And unfortunately, through poor choice of brake blocks – BBB – and not keeping a close enough eye on swarf gathering in the blocks I destroyed a rear wheel rim in less than a winter season – expensive!
Moving on, at the start of 2019 I began thinking about replacing the BMC Roadracer SL01 with a proper winter bike, but finances were still an issue.
Pause here: Since 2015 I’ve only had part-time work after a serious bike accident put paid to my previous occupation as a photographer, meaning I had to also live off savings. Those savings ran out in November, 2018 but I’d been promised a 4-day week from that November, so everything should have been OK. Unfortunately, the extra hours didn’t materialise until June of this year – I don’t recommmend living on fresh air for 8 months! Very stressful to say the least.
Getting back to financial stability meant I could resume my quest for a winter bike. I sold The BMC Roadracer and started giving some serious thought to the new bike. It had to have mudguard eyelets for a full mudguard set and also rack mounts should I want to attach panniers. The bike needed to be an all-purpose one. Additionally, my interest was being picqued by the idea of audaxing (long-distance cycling) and leading on from there, if I’m up to it, endurance racing, but first things first.
Anyone familiar with audaxing will know the bike brand “Kinesis UK” who are heavily committed to producing gravel, adventure and audax bikes. With one of their bikes in mind I took myself along to Tony Butterworth Cycles in Hillsborough for a chat – lots of advice, really.
Two things came out of this visit. First, I couldn’t afford the RTD (Race The Distance) model and secondly, I would need finance and the shop wasn’t geared up for that.
However, as a result of the conversation I took a closer look at the other models in the Kinesis range. And one that particularly caught my eye was the Racelight 4S, a disc brake only model. Now, as a result of destroying that rear wheel the previous winter using rim calipers, I had a mandatory requirement for disc brakes.
And whilst reading up/researching the Racelight 4S I checked out Angela Walker’s Veloelle website where she mentioned that prior to being given an RTD (she’s a Kinesis ambassador) she’d owned the precursor to the Racelight 4S, the Racelight TK3, which she’d used almost exclusively for her audaxing endeavours, and was highly delighted with it. This made up my mind – the Racelight 4S it was going to be.
Next I took a look round for a dealer I could feel confident in and eventually chose Epic Cycles of Ludlow as their website offered a Shimano 105 version of the bike. Ideally I would have gone for Ultegra kit, but as I was buying on finance and needed to keep an eagle-eye on the budget Ultegra wasn’t an option.
I further thought I could get the price down by going for a 105 brake-lever/TRP hybrid cable/hydraulic set-up. But to my surprise, because the TRP reserviors are £85.00 each and the 105’s are £35.00 the price difference only ended up £5.00 cheaper in favour of using the TRP set-up, so I scrapped that idea and went for the full hydraulic Shimano option. The only option I did swap out (at no extra cost) was going for a Prologo Zero1 saddle instead of the standard Madison Stellar/Flux one. I ride a prologo saddle on my Teammachine which is so much more comfortable than the Fizik R5 Manganese Arione fitted as standard.
I collected the bike last Saturday and I’m delighted with it. I chose it in Royal Blue (more a midnight blue, I think) over the shocking pink simply because I felt it would be easier to sell when the time comes.
I’ve been buying a 1 litre Apidura top tube bag, lights, lock and a power bank ready for my first Audax on Saturday – a 400km ride from Bushley near Tewesbury to New Quay (west coast of Wales) and back in 27 hours.
It should be an interesting ride with gales forecast! I’ll do another post with all the gory details, if I survive 🙂