Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Sh*tbike Challenge

In Bike Magazine, published by Rodale, there is a feature found on the last page of each issue.

Bike has found an old Softride MTB. They have given this bike to members of their staff, pro riders, and other folk, who have taken this POS to some outrageous events, and then those people write about the experience. This bike has caught big air, danced in rock gardens, and raced mega-events against some of the best riders anywhere. It has garnered a following among Bike readers and those that have seen it at events.
The pic above is only a representative photo, and compared to the actual Sh*tbike, is completely cherry.

I have requested to ride it on the DK this year. E-mails from Bike, in response, haven't shot me down, as yet. I am almost scared to think about taking this thing out for the day, but I've already ridden this race on a 'cross, so it expands the challenge. I expect that finishing on this thing will certainly be challenging.
It is absolutely Sh*tty. It is heavy. It makes lots of noise and is probably unreliable. It apparently handles better than expected in treacherous terrain, and has successfully traversed sand, mud, singletrack, downhill, and other routes.

I have no idea what the parameters of the challenge are - how much I can modify the ride is probably limited. I've thought about lightweight hoops, XC tires, carbon this-n-that. I expect the limit will be my own seat and pedals, and maybe new cables as necessary. This thing has been used like a rental car, so I may slip in a fresh chain, have my mechanic check the bearings all around, and I'll carry a ton of tools. If I get it.

I'm jazzed and a little nervous about this - I'll keep you posted.