Save the Elephant!

Last weekend, I went for my first big ride since the Pyrénées trip: 156km on Le P’tit Train du Nord. (50% gravel, 50% paved.)

From Prévost to Mont-Tremblant and back. Paved portion begins approx. where it says 117.

The twist? I wasn’t riding my Masi.

Prior to our Pyrénées trip, Yann shocked me with the news that he was thinking about selling his Elephant National Forest Explorer.

Elephant National Forest Explorer

Of the four bikes we own, in my opinion (and yours, probably), the Elephant is the most spectacular. If I wanted a chance at saving the Elephant, I had to ride it.

Longest test ride I’ve ever done.

Yann is only an inch taller than me (at 5’6″ I am “taller than most women” without actually being tall), which means any bike that fits him could easily be adjusted to fit me. My hip flexibility even compensates for Yann’s longer reach, eliminating the need to swap the stem for a shorter one.

Fear of commitment has led Yann through at least twenty-five bikes in his adult life. I lost my first two adult bikes due to theft and sold the third to buy the Masi. The Ridley came into my life just a week before the Masi. Now that I’m a bike mechanic, I’ve gotten picky about my bikes.

My job has me do road tests after each repair job, from the smelliest, rustiest single speed beater to a $15000 Pinarello Dogma with electronic shifting. I’ve also done laps around a parking lot on every bicycle model carried by my workplace. However, a fraction of the bicycles I’ve tested have been quality bicycles, and an even smaller fraction of these bikes have actually been my size.

I can tell how well the components are performing; I can tell whether there’s any roughness or looseness in the wheels, hubs, and/or bottom brackets. I can absolutely tell if the brakes are squealing even though I’m totally deaf.

But, can I really tell the difference between two similar bikes in good working order that fit me? Especially within the constraints of a parking lot? Not as much.

Le P’tit Train du Nord was the perfect place to test the Elephant. It allowed me to test it on gravel as well as pavement. This is also a path I’ve cycled on many times with the Masi.

The road frequently travelled.

The most obvious difference with the Elephant was the large tires: 47mm mounted on 650b wheels vs 35mm on 700c wheels on the Masi. At one point I bulldozed through chunky lumps of mud with ease. Here, I would have thrown the cyclocross frame of the Masi over my shoulder to schlep it through the muck.
The second advantage the Elephant has over the Masi is the brakes: TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes vs the Masi’s TRP Eurox canti brakes.

I’ve tested some disc brakes that had the limp grip of an arcade claw machine, proving that disc brakes aren’t always superior. In this case, though, the Elephant wins at… stopping.

If I knew more than the basics of frame geometry, I would go into details, but as I mentioned earlier, the best way to get a sense of how a frame’s geometry changes how a bike handles is with multiple bike ownership.

So, how am I going to claim the Elephant as my own?

Humans not included.

Sell the Masi.

Selling a bike at the end of cycling season won’t be easy, but all I have to do is sell it before Yann can sell his Elephant.

$1200 CAD will get you a beautifully maintained bicycle that requires zero new parts. This money would go directly to Yann, who will then surrender his Elephant to me.

Interested? Read on…

2010 Masi Speciale CX 53cm frame.

Fork: Tange Prestige Touring (pictured) OR original fork (max 35mm tires *without* fenders versus 40mm max with the Tange)

Crank : RaceFace Cadence 46-36 (172.5mm)
BB: Shimano XTR
Chain: Sram PC1071
Front Der: Campagnolo Veloce
Rear Der: Sram GX 2×10
Cassette Shimano HG500 11-42 OR Sram 11-36
Shifters: Sram Apex 2×10

Hubs: Miche Primato
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
Rims: DT Swiss TH540

Contact points:
Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 42cm OR 4za Stratos Compact 40cm
Stem: RaceFace Evolve 70mm
Seatpost: RaceFace Ride
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow
Pedals: Shimano XT M8000

Front and rear brakes: TRP Eurox

Headset :
FSA Orbit-X

Front and rear: Clément (Donnelly) X’plor USH 700×35

Rear rack: Blackburn exp-1
Bottle cages: Blackburn
Fenders: SKS longboard
Goatlink: Wolftooth Roadlink 10 (not needed if using 11-36 cassette)
Bar tape: Supacaz Super Sticky Kush (not pictured)

If you’re in Montréal, or even Vancouver or Victoria, and would like to spend that kind of money on a bicycle–in October (!)–get in touch with me.

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