I’ve been mum about the death of 8Ball since writing about her abrupt demise early last month. But when she suffered that fatal frame fracture October 7, I slowly and gingerly rode her home from Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook that afternoon with a heavy heart and was pretty bummed after that. Sure, I hauled out my trusty Giant OCR3 roadbike for CicLAvia3 October 9, but as dependable and sturdy and reliable as she is, I did no riding since and remained inÂ mourning over the latest loss in a growing line of my go-to singlespeeders.
First there was my cherished The Phoenix which passed in January 2008, then my first Mercier from Bikes Direct, dubbed Le Noir, that I lost to an unspecified frame instability in August 2009. 8Ball replaced her. Conventional “fool me twice…” wisdom might dictate cutting my losses and rather than going with a third Mercier frame, getting one that’s more suited to supporting my weight and leg strength — such as a built-for-billions-of-bumps Specialized Roubaix (frame-only retails for the low-low of $1900!). But the fact is each of those bikes logged more than 5,000 miles of hard urban roads below it and me above it. Shit wears out. That may be a rationalization, but I’m sticking with it.
But still, I mulled my options, which were: 1) just ride my OCR3 road bike; 2) spend too much money on a track bike frame that’s probably not really all that more rugged; or 3) take Bikes Direct’s $125 frame replacement offer (a less-taxing alternative to what ends up being an almost equally costly warranty program).
Frugality and tight finances would dictate choosing the first option. After all, it’s a perfectly good bike. But, it’s an aluminum frame, much more rigid than the chromo steel I’ve come to prefer in my old age. Plus it’s got aaaaall those meaningless gears. On top of that its geometry is distinctly different from any of my single-speeders. It fit me fine for the first six years we rode, but since saddling up with the old-school frame shape of The Phoenix and subsequent Merciers I just don’t adapt back to it very well.
Cutting to the chase, I opened Door No. 3. In contacting Bikes Direct and initiating the process I’d hoped for another black, un-branded frame, but at that time the rep told me that they were out of stock on the 60cm size in black and that my color options were full chrome, purple/chrome or orange/chrome.
Guess which one I went with:
It arrived Monday. Given my goofy predilection for naming my singlespeeders and stewing slowly over potential choices, I was a bit surprised how little it took me to settle on what to call this new gal: El Naranja. As you can see in the snap, I’ve even made her spokecard already.
It’ll take a few days to build it up, mostly with the parts removed from 8Ball and a few others in storage. Heck, if they fit, I may try to use the forks from The Phoenix that have been living under the porch these last three-plus years. If not my black carbon forks might be seeing a new coat of orange (or maybe silver) paint.