I bought it, but don’t let the kids dad be the one that sells the bike.

A 2008 Fuji Cross Comp. Closely inspecting the gears, I suspect that the dad is right. This bike has not been ridden even a thousand miles. The person on Craigslist that I emailed and texted with about looking at this bike never told his dad or sister (who answered the door) that anyone was coming to look at it. Once I showed the ad that was posted, and the emails we sent back and forth, where the kid said he was a very motivated seller of this $480 bike, the dad understood and proclaimed that the price he asked was accurate and was the price to sell it at. Great. so much for the kid who wasn’t there to be motivated enough for me to have it at $400. Once I pointed out the front tire being cracked from the UV light soaking it all day at the high school bike racks, he let me have it for $440. Overall, I think that’s a good deal as the components of the drive train are barely used and the rear Ultegra derailleur is only one step down from the ultimate part Shimano makes for it’s pro riders of the time.

I had some work to do. I washed it and cleaned it and de-greased it and lubed the chain. I adjusted the brakes as best as I could using the original bend-o-matic cabling leftovers sticking out of the cantilevers to get the well used pads to be somewhere near a normal distance from the rim, and finally a week after buying this thing, went for a ride. I went around the three mile gravel trail around a small lake nearby. I took it easy and was not aggressive on purpose. I had no idea if that cracked front tire was going to work out. It wasn’t bad it was just on the way out soon. After the loop, I went on the street where riding on the shoulder, or riding on the dirty gravelly shoulder made no difference at all. With narrow knobbies on a roadie, you really can go anywhere. This thing is wonderful in the end. The frame was nice and stiff. The configuration of the frame was lending itself to more entertaining handling on a whim. The rain was coming down harder and…rain?

Christ it was really coming down right after the turn around. I was riding in to the head winds of approaching weather anyway but I was sure it was not blowing over towards me. Once The headwinds were making the 36×25 gearing VERY hard to pull along I decided to turn back. Once the rain opened up, I had 6 miles to go. talk about the baptism of riding a cross bike for the real first time. “Give it to him!” they said from above. It was a bath. Sweat began to run into my eyes and the other eye was hard to see out of with the blurry glasses. this was a hazard and the wind was pretty strong from my left side. I was soaked but enjoying it. I wasn’t freezing. I wasn’t getting hailed on. but I was on my way home and the rain helped me motivate to power along at a probably anaerobic rate.

There is a shopping list now. For cross I am not going to ride some 5 pound 6 year old rims built for road tires. I need width and grip and tubeless is the way to go. I found a good deal on some tubeless compatible rims that are for road wheels but are extremely strong and wider for cross wheels. I will use my post and seat from the road bike as once in the tube, is actually fit pretty close to optimal. the only thing left is a handlebar replacement and re-cabling of the whole thing because the top bar mounted in-line brake levers just have to go. Not only do they add about a pound or so but they are just in the way and not where I want any levers. Oh, and some much stronger cantilever brakes I just found on craigslist for $30 for a whole set. Adding it all up, I think I can get the bike down to a nice twenty pounds even, without having to change to a single gear up front. Not so bad really. to go much lighter will require investments in carbon handlebars and seat post and possibly a different fork and definitely some tubular wheels. I would only drop another two pounds if I did that but the cost to do so would much better be spent on a disc frame to move all the parts to.

Wish me luck. The first races are in Early September. I will plan a race in that month sometime. I’ll try to be ready.