Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rock on a Giant Boulder

At the end of last year I designed a web site for my friend, Mike Henley's new bike shop, Mike's Got Wheels, in Gaffney, South Carolina. Last time I owned a bike I had a lot of trouble with my legs and thought my bike riding days were behind me. I test rode a few recumbent trikes and had no leg pain! I thought Hallelujah! I have a hundred pounds to lose, here is my answer. I was all set to get a recumbent trike when I rode several upright diamond frame bikes on a whim. No leg pain! Wahg! Mass confusion set it before I learned that the problem was most likely a poor fit on my previous bike than my legs.

So after learning a ton about recumbent trikes and even setting up a recumbent bike web site, BentNuts.com, I decided I liked the upright position, agility, and better vision and visibility of a traditional bike. I visited eleven bike shops and manufacturers, dozens and dozens of web sites, read books and magazines, and finally created a list of the things I wanted on my perfect bike that I would love and ride forever.

It had to have; the recommended medium sized aluminum frame, 29" or 700c wheels, a rigid fork or a fork with a mechanical lockout, disc brakes, double walled rims, trigger (not twist) shifter, low enough gears to handle all of the nasty curvy hills in SC, and a fairly wide tire in case I had to ride on the shoulder of the road. I narrowed it down to four that met my "needs", all of which ran right at around six hundred dollars; Felt Trail 9, Trek PDX, Giant Roam 1, or Giant Seek 2.

Today I bought a new 2010 Giant Boulder. It has a large Cro-moly (steel) frame, 26" tires, caliper brakes, single wall rims, trigger shifters with a 14 - 34 teeth cassette, and 26 x 2.10" Kenda K-Rad tires. The bike cost $299.00. I enjoyed the test ride on it more than some $1,200.00 bikes I rode. The Shimano components shifted flawlessly.

The steel frame absorbs vibration much better than an aluminum one. I like the "improper" fit of the large frame much better than the cramped feel of the recommended medium sized frames. The 26" wheels are a bit more agile and since I am riding for enjoyment and exercise, not speed or transportation, I didn't need the bigger 29" wheels. Double walled rims are really for off road riding or riding on really crappy roads with lots of potholes. Disc brakes are a nice option, but unless I am riding Cyclocross, have a bent or out of true rim, or ride in the rain a lot, they are really just a luxury.

It came down to getting a dependable, solid bike that I would enjoy riding and that would last me for a good long while. Most of my wish list was frills, not necessities. I can't see a need to upgrade anytime soon. Sometimes the saying "You get what you pay for" just isn't true. A lot of it is just marketing and brand recognition. Nobody is going to convince me that a ten thousand dollar bike has eight thousand dollars more value than a two thousand dollar bike. Take off the price tags and labels and it comes down to which ride feels the best. I'd guess less than 2% of riders can see any difference!

I got a bike I love for half the price of the bikes I "wanted" by shaking off the advertising (and some of the experts), and trusting my body and my intelligence.

Should a Rock ride on a Giant Boulder? My answer is definitely yes.

Thanks to Mike Henley and the guys at BikeWorx, The Great Escape, Sunrift Adventures, Carolina Triathlon, TTR Bikes, Sunshine Bikes, Ride On Bikes, Gusto Cycles, and others for their patience with my endless questions.


  1. It sure looks the goods! The frame geometry is very similar to my 07 Specialized Hardrock. In Australia, it was the "cheapy" at $750.00.

    I too had considered the much more expensive bikes but could not quite justify the expense. I figured that as parts broke down I would replace them one by one with higher quality bits. 3 years later, nothing has broken.

    I could not be happier with the "Cheap" bike!

  2. Giant has been making a great bike for years! I hope you love your bike. I have a really old Mongoose, back when they made one of the best bikes ever, now they sell cheap ones at Wal-mart. Bike riding is like a drug to me, Live to Ride-Ride to Live Dave.


I appreciate mature feedback. I don't do pissing contests though and will delete comments before posting them if they are hostile or blatantly offensive. Thanks for visiting!

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