Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Alex at 2020 Cycle is tempting me to buy one of his lovely, custom-built Kalakala bikes, using the devious strategy of appealing to my sense of self-worth, my conception of personal identity, and the exact sort of anti-cool aesthetics that a semi retro-grouch bike nerd like me thinks are actually pretty cool.

That’s okay; I’m encouraging him to do it. 

I’m curious to see whether the process will result in my purchasing a bicycle I really don’t need, probably shouldn’t afford, and normally—given its lack of a one-inch threaded headset—wouldn’t look twice at, in spite of the frame’s magic paintjob that comes alive only in the sunshine.

But I keep being drawn back to the Kalakala like the proverbial moth to a flame, as Alex and the mechanics at his shop continue modifying it to fit my suggestions born from both theoretical speculation and empirical experience.

Initially, I thought the bike should run with mustache bars and road brake levers, sort of an update on the Bridgestone XO-1.  But when I rode it in that configuration, I felt too stretched out and pitched forward; it might be good for cyclocross, but for the kind of riding I do, not so much.

Now, they’ve got it set up with, something like these Velo Orange Montmartre bars and mountain levers, making it into a real “gentleman’s bike,” much more suited to my riding style, not to mention my generalized conception of what a fellow at my stage of life ought to be.

I’ve found the Kalakala’s steering a little quicker than I usually prefer and so have suggested some weight in the front to mitigate that.  Alex and I agreed that a cheap Wald basket is potentially the perfect contrarian choice, from the standpoint of both utility and aesthetics. 

When I left the shop yesterday, he was already planning to install it. 

And I’m already planning to ride over there today and see how it tempts me.


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