So, I love love love Matilda my 3-speed Kunstadt Glebe
, but this, the third summer of our life together, I'm running up against her limitations quite a lot: I need more gears, she's heavy (I don't know exactly what she weighs but it's roughly twice what random
's Norco does, even though it's an XL, leading to my thighs becoming ever more womanly and him being deeply impressed at my ability to carry it up steps and keep up with him on trails), I had to replace the lovely seat because it starts to hurt like hell at 50 km, and the frame is on the bleeding edge of being too small for me, because while I am only 5'7" I have stupidly long legs and arms, which means the seat is so high she's kind of top-heavy and the handlebars, set as high as they'll go, are still lower than I'd prefer.
It turns out that while I'm a utility rider, and I will probably continue to waltz Matilda all over Ottawa, my natural distance is, well, medium-long. It turns out that I feel wobbly and weak and thirsty and crabby for the first 5 km of every serious ride not because I'm out of shape but because it takes me 10-15 km to get warm, loose, and happy. So there is probably some gentle touring in my future, and Matilda isn't the bike for that.
I've been looking at the MEC Mixed Tape
for a while now, and now it's on sale, which MEC being MEC suggests it may be going away entirely or else being radically altered for next season. So now I need to make a call: am I buying this bike?
The main con it presents from my POV is that I love Kunstadt. I adore them. They are my bike shop forever, but they just do not have the bike I need.
However: I don't know a tonne about bikes. I'm learning — my tool kit and ability to fix minor issues is improving radically. I'm learning the lingo, but DAMN there is SO MUCH.
So, as I know there are many people here very fluent in Bike:
Is there a bike of which I am not aware which beats this bike and that you want to tell me about?
There are certain features I absolutely need in a bike, or else have decided I don't want to do without:
1) I require a step-through frame or a LOW mixte. The advantages of a diamond frame are entirely irrelevant unless you're getting me a new left hip, so please assume I'm aware of them and don't need to be told. Please also assume that I've read enough blog posts on how crap step-throughs are that I'm defensive on the topic and may bite if you take this as an invitation to air your theory, which you're certain will be new to me, about the crapness of step-throughs.
2) I require an almost entirely upright riding position. Again, unless you're an orthopedic surgeon looking for shoulders to rebuild, please don't try to convince me otherwise. My skeleton is hooped, and while conditioning can palliate this, it's going to stay hooped and throwing my weight onto my shoulders while I ride will lead to pain and injury.
3) I'm willing to put up with a lot of compromises to have an internal hub, and after serious research have concluded that the Nexus 7 is reliable, rugged, and possessed of all the ratio I expect to need anywhere in Ontario or Quebec I can forsee riding to in the next decade. It seems to be the sweet spot of affordable, effective, and reliable - the newer hubs have more gears but also more problems.,
4) I'm not willing to spend my life at the bike shop, so ruggedness and tolerance of the crappy pavement around here are more important than super low weight or incredible performance.
5) I'm not looking to pay a lot more than this - this is nearly twice what I paid for Matilda and that seemed like a lot at the time - though for the right bike I'd trawl second-hand bike ads. I love the Electra 7-is I've ridden, but they're heavy and yeowch the price.
I need it to be available in Ottawa, or at a stretch Toronto or Montreal. I'm not happy with the notion of buying a bike I have not test-ridden.
So. Anyone want to tell me about a bike I should test-ride before I go for this one?