Saturday, 11 December 2010

Goodbye Bob Jackson

I'm increasingly enjoying riding my cheap n cheerful Kona Smoke with its lovely steel frame and huge fat slick tyres that absorb the worst that Sheffield's roads can throw at it. So much so that lack of use has seen my Bob Jackson Olympus road bike stripped down and the frame is now with its new owner in Australia (courtesy of ebay).

Before the Bob Jackson went to start its new life in the southern hemisphere I conducted a little experiment where I did the same ride on two consecutive days, first on the road bike with its skinny 700 x 23 tyres, and then on the relatively heavy Kona with flat bars and a fairly upright riding position.

The ride I chose was a hilly route from south west Sheffield into the Peak District. A very steep climb up Winnats Pass in Castleton was followed by a steep fast and twisting descent back down into Edale and a long pull back out of Hathersage to the Fox House and back home. A distance of about 40 miles in total.

I'm not going to attempt a complicated analysis of the difference between two completely different types of bike. However, what I can say is that (for me) the advantages of a softer ride, more upright position and what I percieve to be stronger stopping power of V brakes over the road bike's Tiagra brakeset went a long way to offset the weight disadvantage.

The fact that day one saw me with my head down trying to keep progress as swift as possible with day two being an altogether more relaxed affair with plenty of stops to take photos and sample cornish pasties from a shop in Hope means that an objective comparison of speeds can't be made. However, for smiles per hour the flat bar Kona came out way above my roadie.

I will, no doubt, replace the road bike when I get a renewed urge to punish myself with time trials or some such nonesense. For now the Kona is my daily ride and has been upgraded with Deore gears, brakes and hollowtech bottom bracket.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post. I also thought it was interesting (and why) in your choosing the Kona. They are pretty popular over here, which is a hilly area. However, road bikes are so popular now - a resurgence actually. But I like the way you summed it up on what is appealing to you right now. I think one "goes" for different bikes for not only where you want to ride, but also for what you want to do... having a bike thats not only fun but that you can also stop and smell the roses with, seems to be it for you.

  2. Hi PaddyAnne, Glad you enjoyed the post. Your summary is spot on - Sometimes it is nice to stop and smell the roses and not have your head down all day.