Are Specialized road bike riders the equivalent of middle aged Porche drivers?

Dear Rouleurs,

It has been a while. MMT has been busy with his day job and whilst he’s been cycling plenty, post-YAFV, there hasn’t been must time for blogging. So this post is an instant remedy to that situation. Speaking of remedies, MMT has received his first COVID vaccination, this year’s flu shot and is booked in for the second COVID shot in August. As Victoria is back in Lockdown 4.0 (really…who could be bothered counting these things :-), MMT urges everyone in Australia to get vaccinated…now. Seriously, what could be more important than being vaccinated against a life threatening illness.

MMT digresses. So whilst being out and about, MMT has occasionally crossed paths with an unknown Specialized road cyclist. MMT reckons that he’s seen this rider a few times heading to or from Mordialloc, always wearing Specialized clothing and riding a Specialized roadbike. This rider is reasonably fast, pretty grumpy but not Peter Sagan. MMT couldn’t identify the make of the bike but wonders whether the following applies. See graphic below.

It is interesting what a quick internet search reveals, such as this opinion by https://www.probikecorner.com/is-specialized-bike-overpriced/

“Specialized offers some of the most expensive bikes on the market. While they do go on sale on occasion, even their sale price is going to be more expensive than 99% of bikes from competing manufacturers.”

Or this from Bike Radar – https://www.bikeradar.com/features/why-are-bikes-so-expensive/

Ouch…so really is Specialized the equivalent of Porche or BMW? If so what does that say about individual that buys one? Middle crisis victim or merely appreciating the finer things in life?

Until next, stay safe, get vaccinated and ride lots

MMT

MMT is not a happy camper… :-( YAFV strikes back

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT is not a happy camper. After a year of really good health, presumably due to COVID lockdown and working from home, he’s been sick with Norovirus.  ‘What the heck is a norovirus?’ MMT hears his loyal readership ask.  Well, it’s a very small and very contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis aka in MMT’s case stomach cramps and ghastly diarrhoea.  In MMT’s case its about 99.9% certain that he caught from close proximity to his weaponised pathogen carriers (WPCs), aka his kids, via their Childcare. This is what the little rascal looks like under an electron microscope. 

Little bastard - YAFV
How can something so small cause so much trouble?…Ladies and Gentlemen, the Norovirus.

In case you, dear readers were wondering, the Norovirus is named after the city of Norwalk, Ohio, USA where an outbreak occurred in 1968. Apparently, this is when Western medicine figured out what was going on. So in the dubious honour of being completely nobbled by this stomach virus, aka the Winter Vommiting Virus …ghastly…. MMT now has a new FLA for his blog tags. YAFV, which stays for Yet Another F*&king Virus. After the last 12 months, MMT surmises that entire population is fed up with YAFV. After this illness, MMT is beginning to think that may be Howard Hughes was on to something.

The trouble with Norovirus is that there doesn’t appear to be much that modern medicine can do about it.  MMT visited his GP clinic a couple of times and was given a prescription for anti-nausea/cramping medicine. The second visit resulted in a ‘sample’ test which confirmed a very high viral count.  Both times the doctor advised aganist antibiotics, correctly. That kind of medicine simply doesn’t work against a tiny virus. Now in most normal human beings this lasts a few days, at worst 2 weeks.  MMT had it for 17 days.  This pretty much ruined Easter and any plans about around cycling or even being well enough watch it via GCN+ or SBS.

Norovirus is a serious business.  In fact, putting aside COVID’s awful fatality fate, Norovirus is  very bad news and its largely gone under the radar.  According to the USA’s Centre for Disease Control, there are upwards of 680 million cases a year, resulting about 200,000 deaths. Sadly 25% of the fatalities are children under 5 in developing countries. Most of these deaths arise from dehydration.

There doesn’t appear to be any vaccine for this on the horizon, unlike Coronvirus.  To make matters worse the virus seems to mutate like crazy and a victim only needs to ingest approximately 20 virus particles to become infected.  About the only effective mechanisms available to prevent the spread of the virus are social distancing and vigorous hand washing.

So there you have it, Coronavirus be damned, watch out for the dreaded Norovirus

Later

MMT

MMT’s gotta a new bike…woo hoo!!

Dear Rouleurs,

After many frustrating hours of window shopping MMT has finally purchased a new bike. Woo hoo!!! MMT has joined the ranks of cyclists that now own something loosely referred to as a gravel bike. MMT will revisit that theme later. The new bike is a 2021 Giant Content AR1. The AR bit stands for ‘All Road’.

Essentially was looking for a better quality commuter road bike that could handle more sedate offroad paths like railtrails. The other key requirement to The Giant Contend provides this via its relaxed geometry aluminium frame that can fit tyres up 38mm on 700c rims. The Contend comes with 32mm tubeless tyres, which MMT is having to get used to. MMT is struggling with the idea of running tyres at 50-65psi and not being able to easily fix punctures.

The other main requirement was for the bike have a drive train compatible with MMT’s Tacx Neo 2 trainer. MMT has Shimano Ultegra (50-34 and 11-32) on his Domane and trainer and wanted similiar groupset for reasons of compatibility. Happily, the Giant Contend is equipped with 105 (50-34 and 11-34) and not the more gravel popular GRX. Its also has hydraulic disc brakes…hooray.

Here’s the spec details plundered from Bikeradar.com

  • Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with a non-series RS510 chainset
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant P-R2 Disc wheelset
  • Giant Gavia Fondo 2 32mm tyres
  • Giant D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Giant D-Fuse D-shaped handlebars for increased comfort
  • 9.62kg claimed weight (medium)
  • note: that that its also has carbon fibre forks
  • £1,499 / $US1,550 / $AUD $2,499

It took MMT a long time to track down this bike. It first appeared on MMT’s radar late last year and has had generally favourable reviews. This one by Dave Rome at CyclingTips was one that convinced MMT, this was the correct choice.

Independant reviewers of the Contend have had consistent gripes.

a) The 105 shifters seem to rattle quite loudly on uneven surfaces – this is completely true. In fact, after riding super quiet and smooth Ultegra, its quite unnerving. MMT felt like that some bit of the bike was going to fall off.

b) The standard Giant tyres are a bit crap – the Gavia Fondo 2 tubeless aren’t very supple/grippy. Not sure about that one, they look more like commuter tyres than out and out gravel. So as long as they last and don’t puncture MMT can live with them.

c) The standard Giant rims are heavy – this is also true, the rims are heavy and the spokes are steel. A quick Google search suggests they weight just over 2.1 kgs. Hopefully this means they are indestructible and if broken cheap and easy to fix.

MMT’s other two gripes are that:

d) The Approach saddle just feels weird. Its quite hard and wide compared to the Selle C2 or quite firm Trek Montrose that MMT has placed his posterior on recently. If MMT could find a replacement Selle that was sub-$150 he would have bought it by now, and

e) The Shimano 105 shifter hoods are significantly bigger than the Ultegra hoods and feel quite bulbous to grip.

However this is all part and parcel of deciding which compromises you can live with on a sub-$2,500 bike. Coming back to Dave Rome’s review, fundamentally the bike is sound, has great quality running gear, a few minor quirks and is a bit heavy. It also only comes in a single colour…midnight blue. That sounds like a fair trade to MMT.

Until next time, ride safe, stay safe

MMT