My Bike

So yeah, I have a bike and a tent and some other stuff.

GT Timberline29er mountainbikeMy ride is a GT Timberline 29er Mountain Bike.

It’s never worked right from new. The thing always jumps gears and won’t stay adjusted. I’ve put a new chain on it and a new cassette, after only 1500 miles or so and it’s no better.

I’ve paid for two tune-ups at different bike shops and it still doesn’t hold tension.

On Friday I rode over a small speed bump at 2 mph and the back wheel collapsed.

In the 4 months I’ve owned the thing I’ve spent around $300+ on parts and service - no customization, just replacing shit that’s worn out.

I may as well have bought a proper bike from the outset and I’d probably be better off financially, though with less to piss and moan about.

But then again, I look at stuff from Trek in the bike shop and I see the same crap parts, probably made at the same crap factory in Chine or Malaysia or wherever.

Truth be known I may as well have bought a bike from Walmart.

The company I bought my GT from is ***Removed***. I should never have gone there, my mistake. I took them for a bikeshop when in fact they’re really not. Don’t be fooled by the half dozen or so shiny bikes hanging off the wall, in my opinion it’s not what they do. And I’m entitled to my opinion.

First off, I talked to the guy and explained my situation clearly. I am not a biker, I know nothing about bikes, I’ve been riding my wife’s old mountain bike for two Summers, a Scwhinn I bought her from Kmart. I said to the guy ‘I’m looking to step up the ladder to a better bike, something that fits me properly’. I’m 6′ 4″ and my wife is 4′ 6″, so me riding her bike was like one of those clown show fiascoes at the circus. I naively made a comparison between the parts quality on the Kmart bike and the GT bike he was showing me, and he mocked me, saying there could be no comparison. What he meant was that the GT is shit and the Kmart Schwinn is better.

I’d ridden that Schwinn for two Summers, at the end of the season I left it sitting out in the yard ‘cos we don’t have a garage and it wasn’t worth hauling to the storage unit. In Spring, after the snow melted, I’d put air in the tires and ride it again. Two fucking years I rode the thing around and never spent a bean on it, other than buying a comfy seat. I never adjusted the gears, brakes, nothing / nada.

So anyway, back to my story, which I’ve told 100 times ‘cos I’m that pissed and resentful. So the guy says he doesn’t have a Large frame in stock but the medium will be just fine. He yanks the seat up as high as it goes and says ‘straddle the seat, you should just be able to touch the floor’. And sure enough it seemed to fit OK. I wasn’t asked to take a ride around on it and I was too naive and awestruck to ask. I bought the thing for close to $480 and took it home.

Right from the get go the gears crunched. It was a new experience. I’ve never messed with gears and resented having to. But worse still came when I tried to jack up the height of the bars to match the seat. They wouldn’t move. I spent an hour online trying to find info from GT about raising the bars. It was a 30 second job on my wife’s old Schwinn. Eventually I called the bloke at the shop and he told me they were not adjustable.

In the morning I hauled the bike back. The guy clearly wasn’t happy. I’d ridden it for a couple miles and the tires we marked. I complained about the size of the bike and the gears. He didn’t want to exchange it at first. He rode it around the parking lot and told me the gears were fine. I’d explained that they crunched on hills. He said I’d have to wait a couple days until his bike guy was in. Further proof that this is not a bike shop any more than I’m Eddy Merckx’s long lost cousin.

Anyway, reluctantly he said he’d exchange it. Of course there wasn’t a larger frame in stock so I had to wait. He said he’d order an XL which would work for my 6′ 4″. A week later he called to tell me the bike was ready to pick up and that he’d actually ordered a Large, ‘cos he thought that would be a better fit. Bastard.

So I got my new bike home and rode it around. Within an hour the gears started crunching. I took up the slack on the derailleur tensioner. They worked for a bit then crunched. I rode around for most of the Summer with the chain falling off whenever I shifted up to the large crankset gear. I took it to a different bike shop. They charged me over $70 for a tune-up and shifted the problem to the cassette. I bought a new chain, then a new cassette from yet another bike shop.

Anyway. The saga continues.

Aside from the above, I’m not sure that I like the 29er riding position. I seem to be perched on top of the bike with a too high center of gravity, like one of those old blokes riding the bike with the big front wheel.

It doesn’t feel safe on the rough stuff either. It’s a hardtail and it just doesn’t track well over dirt and tree roots and stuff. I’m a frustrated MotoCrosser who can’t afford the engine, but off-road is where I want to be. But not on this thing. After I’d had it for a few weeks I tried to ride it down 4 small wooden steps that lead off the deck. I went arse over tit. The bike hit a small Webber charcoal grill and busted two of the legs and I rolled into a large Weber gas grill and banged up my head. I can’t cook-out now without remembering how I nearly killed myself doing a stunt that I used to do easily on my wife’s old Scwhinn.