Archive for December, 2006

2005 Lemond Fillmore Single/Fixed

December 26, 2006


So when your bicycle quiver contains all the utilitarian models, Road, Mtn., Tandem and Commuting, you crave and desire what you don’t have. It relates back to the mathmatical formula for the correct number of bikes to own (n+1, n = the number of current bikes you have). For many years, this desire was for a fixed-gear bike. I read a lot of hype about the simplicity and difficulty with riding one. “Don’t ever use the rear brake” “Don’t ride down a steep hill” “It takes weeks to learn to ride” “It is illegal in many cities to ride without hand-brakes”. Well the little devil voice inside had been chattering for years and hell it was time to shut him up.

My wife, son and I were out for a Saturday morning ride on the tandem with a Topeak child carrier on the back. Being the captain, I chose a right turn down towards Outback Bikes in Atlanta. No diapers, no food or drink provisions and we are headed south for 15-20 miles. The main objective at the bike shop was a new front tire for my Trek 520 commuter. Truly, this was my only objective. OutbackBikes is a cool shop, they have Arkel bags, Chrome messanger bags, fixed-gears bikes, many unusual items and bikes, most shops miss out on. While browsing through the store, I latch onto a clearance Lemond Fillmore, black with creme decals and no damn derailleurs. Flip-flop hub, good. Front and rear brakes, good. Carbon fork and seat-post, not necessary, however good. Clearance price, unresistable.

A little sweet talking to my wife, a quick swipe of the credit card, and I am the new owner of my first single/fixie. They arrange paperwork so we can pick-up the bike later in the day. We needed to ride the tandem 15-20 miles north, get our car and drive back down to pick-up the bike.

Now if you get as anxious as I with major purchases, you cannot wait. Not part of a day, not an hour, not a minute. When I want something, I want it then and there.

So more sweet talking, and I was able to talk my bride into riding the Fillmore home, while I sherpa’d the tandem and kid home. This was not a easy trek, our journey took us through the climbs of Buckhead and Marietta.

Stay tuned for riding reviews.


Merlin Roots and Newsboy

December 24, 2006

Early Newsboy

In 1994, Merlin introduced their Newsboy bicycle with incredible reviews at Interbike. Photo album. The frame design had beautiful curves that mimic a 1950’s beach cruiser and hidden cable routing. The design was nearly perfect, except for the rear brake mounted on the chainstays. Production was limited to 100. Brushed titanium frame, curved tubes, intelligent cable routing and very limited production make this bike highly desirable. However, the lacking mud clearance and maintanence nightmare of the rear brake limits the bikes rating to 8 coffee beans.

In 2002, the Newsboy was reintroduced with front and rear disc brakes, front suspension and two sets of wheels. Merlin Newsboy is Back. With the improvement with the previous Newsboy brake design, this bike receives a rating of 9 coffee beans.

Merlin Roots

For 2005, Merlin produced the “Roots”. Similar to 1930’s bicycle frame designs, it was the desire to reproduce the early mountain bikes. Roots Website. Only 50 were produced and one can be found on Ebay for $4,500. I would be afraid to leave this bike locked anywhere. With the limited # stamped right on the frame, even a blind thief could calculate the black-market value. I love Merlin for adding a 14 speed internal Rohloff hub and a Brooks saddle. Rating 9.5 coffee beans.