SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Chameleon Cycles #2 - Scott's Schwinn Cimarron

Another bike in the continuing Chameleon Cycles theme.... I'd been thinking about what bike to feature next, when this excellent posting from Scott C. appeared on the iBOB list, like manna sent from heaven. His writing captures the spirit I'm trying to convey so perfectly that I'm just blatantly going to steal his words:

Last night I let a Centurion Pro Tour go on eBay. It was another
almost-perfect bike--my version; roadish bike with large clearances and
cantilevers--but I just don't have the budget to fight out these online

Plus I kept thinking "why do I need this?" Sure, it'd be close to my ideal rough-stuff bike, but how much of that kind of riding do I really get to do?...

I'd been really down on the Cimarron commuter lately--it was always dirty, the chainrings were wobbling, it weighed a ton compared to the Univega, etc.,
etc. Almost every weekday, I'd drag the kid to school behind the Cimarron,
then toss it in the basement and zip to work on the Univega.

But this weekend I finally did the maintenance that the Cimarron desperately
needed--gave it a good wash, replaced the crank arm that I messed up (thanks, David!), installed a new Tange cartridge bottom bracket, put on a new chain,
and made various adjustments. While I had all the commuter stuff (battery, light, lock, bags, tools, pump, .....) off for the wash, I thought, boy, this thing isn't so heavy after all--it's all my crap that's heavy!

This morning, I didn't need to do the trailer run, and I almost jumped on the Univega for the commute. But, after all that work, I had to ride the Cimarron. And it was like a whole different bike. No frustrating chainring wobble; just smooth turning. It was quiet, smooth, and reasonably quick. Of course, it's still noticeably slower accelerate up a hill than the Univega, but it's a different type of bike. Not my mental ideal of the rough-stuff day-tourer I really want, but really a very good bike, and one that I can be happy with if I can just keep it maintained.

Just for fun, I may put my stashed Marathon Cross tires on it instead of the Big Apples just to accentuate the difference between my two bikes and to see how the Cimarron works on gravel and dirt with them.

And eventually, someday, the perfect rough-stuff/underbike will come along at a time when the budget is better, but I really don't need to pine for it now. I just need to get out and ride what I have. (note to self: repeat this until it sinks in...)

Perfect practicality!



Blogger certhia said...

Wow--like Carlos, I'm honored to have a bike on the Chameleon Cycles list. Thanks!

The Cimarron was a pretty lucky find, and I learned a lot through converting it to the current setup. And despite having started out as a mountain bike, it makes for a very comfortable commuter and country-road bike.

scott c

11:58 AM  

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