Happy New Year to all. I am super thankful for my wife surviving my first year as bike shop manager. 2005 was great with the lines that I bought into for the biz. Going up against the big blue 'T' isn't an easy thing to do. That Kool-Aid is widely consumed in this area and my goal in 2006 is to keep chipping away at that wall with the 'T' on it.
The lines I stock have great personalities behind them. Reps and Inside Sales guys/gals. They have many years in the bike biz and are great to call on as a resource.
The Road Bike market is still growing. The Moutain Bike sector is a bit stale. Due in part to marketing of the sport and the LBSs in the area that have made their meat and pota-toes with comfort bikes. Ya need a 2 grand full suspension bike in 2006, come on in... Jamis, Rocky and Haro has some sick bikes for next season.
Back to road. Masi has some serious ammo for the year. Their committment to making bikes that don't suck include a line of carbon fiber road bikes. 3 units graced with 105-Dura Ace. The design and graphics are elegant. The construction is tight with internal lugging. I can only pray that the '07s include Campy Chorus (at least) or SRAMs new road groupo. Masi's tube sets on the Gran Crit are still wicked light and this year brings their pearl white GC in with what is basically Ultra Light tubing. Along the lines of Kinesium tubing as per stamping on the tube near the head tube, there is a light and responsive frame matched with an Ultegra/Dura and FSA parts. Masi doesn't cut corners with the parts spec on any of their bikes. Steel, aluminum and carbon are your frame material choices, why ride anything else with options like that.
Jamis is hitting there market this year with 14 some new models. Women's specific, black diamond riding, fixie/commuting or NORBA racing; there is a bike to fall into these slots. Value and fab shelf appeal are obvious on all their models. Colors are tighter with white backing on the company name to make it stand out. Aren't we all brand whores...?
Bianchi has expanded it's line with an Ultegra carbon 928 bike. Single speed cross/commuter bike, new color options on the fixies and a catalog that is way spanking beautiful than anyone elses. All their carbon bikes I ordered are coming with Campy, gotta do it. Italian made, put Campy on it. Mmmm.
Bianchi and Masi in the shop make me smile. One reason, Fausto raced for both. Love that kind of spirit. Once riders get one of these bikes in their quiver, they are fans for life. Masis ride quality is hard to beat. They boast a slightly longer top tube due to the shorter chainstays. This gives the bike line the Gran Crit a smooth feel rolling into a corner.
Bianchi's 120 years of bike-dom has bread a color that is either loved or hated. Passing another rider on a loop with a Bianchi may earn you a more enthusiastic wave because of the celeste. Their Giro in my opinion is a frame that is WAY more capable than the 105 group that's spec'd on it. It's the old EV3 frame/tube that I would ride Centaur on it in a heartbeat.
2006 is looking promising to be very tasty indeed. Not if we can get through this winter...