Sometimes, you just get on a bike and it says, “Dude. I’m your bike.” And that’s it. And sure, you could spend several more months comparing features on an 800-row spreadsheet, and debating frame materials with indulgent people who really couldn’t care less, and waiting for that new bike with the titanium DooHickey 9000 that is coming out in November… but why. When your bike is right there.
So here it is. The all-steel Gunnar Roadie. I took one ride on it, after another test ride on about my 10th carbon bike, and that was it. Story over.
I’m not arguing that this is a rational choice. I could have bought a lighter bike, or one with disc brakes, or slightly better components, for less money.
But this one is more fun than those bikes. It’s a puppy dog of a bike. You get on it, and it just starts yapping. “Let’s go! Let’s go faster! Let’s lean into that turn! C’mon!”
It’s lurid green. It’s a color that says, “I’m not cool, I’m happy!” Which is exactly what I want in a bike. Because I’m never going to be one of the super-cool-skinsuit-rolling-billboard-racer dudes. Or a hipster-goatee-Chuck Taylor-flannel shirt fixie-dude. I’m an I’m-outside-having-a-great-time-on-my-green-puppy-dog-bike dude.
Plus it’s got one killer feature that none of other bikes I tested has: It’s handmade in the U.S.A. Wisconsin, to be specific.
Gunnar frames are made in the old Schwinn factory, where America’s greatest bikes were made before that brand dried up, blew away and auctioned itself off to China. Sure, I would have bought a Chinese bike if I really, really liked it. But I didn’t. And I really, really like that this one is made here. Yes, I paid extra for that particular bragging right. I’d love to see us build more bikes here. And I’m voting for it with my wallet.
So what makes the right bike for you? I have no idea. You can add up all the features you want, but in the end, you just want something you can’t wait to ride. Something that makes you want to quit writing your blog post that only six people are going to read so you can go get on your