You've Gone This Far, So...

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my impulsive purchase of a SRAM S700 10-speed hydraulic disc brake groupset. I had no use for it, because every one of my bikes have rim brakes. However, now that Tom Boonen has started using disc brakes, I realized I had to step up my game a bit. With his retirement looming, it won't be long before Tommeke lines up in the Arctic Bike Club Road Division Masters 45+ field. I have to be ready. Sure, Boonen is only 36, but I need the time for testing and refining. All that marginal gains stuff.
 
Actually, I was just wanting a bike that would actually stop on wet descents of Potter Valley and other climbs in the area. Permanently white knuckles from my death grip isn't a look that works for me. I have to consider my potential future career as a hand model. I gots to pay for bike parts somehow.
 
After my experiences in Mississippi with my Russian titanium frame, I knew that was the frame material for this project. Durable, easy to clean, compliant, with classic lines that I gravitate towards these days (because I'm old)... yeah, this bike was going to be titanium.
 
It wasn't a complete slam-dunk of a decision, because the Fatback Haul Road checks off the vast majority of my wants, and it looks really nice, too. It really came down to frame material. The Haul Road is carbon. I wanted titanium. Still...
It's a pretty bike. So pretty that I've been afraid to ride one. I know once I do, I'll have to buy one. Everyone I know that has ridden one loves it. Chances are, sooner or later I'll dig a hole in the garage to make room for my very own Haul Road. Not just yet, though.
 
So, I started researching what was out there and what I could afford. That last bit narrowed the field considerably. I don't need a custom bike, tailored to my every physical attribute. Turns out, I'm kind of right in the sweet spot on the vast majority of production bikes in standard sizes. Sure, I'd love a Moots or a Seven or any one of a hundred other boutique brands that immediately command respect in the parking lot before a group ride (before everyone realizes the engine has seized), but my entire budget for the build was not even half the cost of a frameset from one of those fine vendors. Plus, most of them have moved on to press-fit bottom brackets, which I consider the devil and won't work with most of my power meters (clearance). Nope, I needed a English-thread bottom bracket. That narrowed the choices down to less than a handful. 
 
The brand I eventually settled on was Lynskey, who single-handedly crashed the titanium bike market on eBay the past year or so with auctions that undercut just about everyone. English-thread BB? Check. External cable routing? Check. Within the project's budget? Checkity-check.
  
Then it was a question of which model.
 
The road racing and sport models were out. I don't need another race bike and they only fit 28c tires. At the very least, I wanted clearance for 28c tires and fenders.
   
Their gravel grinder, the GR 250, looked interesting, but the geometry was a little more geared to the off-road. I wasn't sure if it would have the versatility I was looking for.
  
The 'cross frame almost made the cut, because they were selling so cheap on eBay. The frame's drop-outs are interchangeable between quick-release and thru axle, which is a plus. They had plenty of clearance for wider tires. The kicker is, I don't want a 'cross bike, especially one that will likely weigh more than 20 lbs. My body can't take the sport anymore, and the cable routing just didn't do it for me. If I have a 'cross bike, I'll likely race 'cross. I don't need the additional temptation to hurt myself. I do that enough on pavement.
 
The only real choices when the dust settled were the Urbano and the Sportive. I hate both of those names, but decals peel off of ti frames quite easily.
 
The Urbano is the 'cross frame with different routing. Clearance for 40c tires. Lots of mounts for racks and fenders and growlers.
 
The Sportive is an endurance frame, with a more compliant design than the Urbano. Clearance for 32c tires.
 
I was worried that the Urbano would handle like a supertanker, so I went with the Sportive. I plunked down my money and started buying up parts to complete the build. I was on my way.
 
The next day I actually did a bit more research (instead of just reading the manufacturer's description) and realized I probably picked the wrong frame. Frantic calls and emails to Lynskey ensued, trying to switch my order to the Urbano before it shipped.
  
I've never experienced such indecision with a project before. At this point, I have no idea how this will all turn out. Will I hate it? Will it sit around, unused, until I finally sell it for a significant loss? Will my bad choices ruin disc brakes and titanium and all of the high points for this build for me forever? Or, will I love the versatility it provides? Will it find a steady place in the rotation, opening up new roads and new opportunities?
  
I have no idea. I guess we'll see... 
 
 
 
 
 

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