Bikes Fleet

I am the proud owner of three bikes in my fleet!

Vilano Shadow

  • Date Acquired: October 2019
  • Date Sold: March 2020
  • Odometer: <250km
  • Mods: None

I picked up this bike from Neighborhood Bike Works on Lancaster Ave in Philadelphia. The NBW is run entirely by volunteers and sells used bikes donated by other members. I didn't know anything about bikes when I picked up this one, and for the first few weeks, I regretted my purchase because the bike felt completely different from anything I had ridden in the past. Not only were the brakes nearly impossible to fully actuate unless I used the drops, the bar end shifters felt downright dangerous to shift in some situations. That said, in a few weeks I learned to love the bike for what it is. It was fun as hell to run down hills on its 25mm tires. It also helped me cut my 30 min walking commute by 20 mins for the few months of in-person classes before the world almost ended in March 2020. Speaking of which, I probably picked the worst possible time to sell a bike by selling it the day before COVID was declared a national emergency in the US. So much for my plan of using the money for getting a new bike on Spring sale. Bikes were hard to come by for weeks after COVID started, but I luckily found a new one in the color I wanted, bringing me to my next entry…

Trek FX1 (Mickey)

  • Date Acquired: 18 May 2020
  • Odometer: 2325km (July 2023)
  • Mods: Back wheel replaced after a crash

I owe a lot to this bike for helping me get through the long and lonely days of summer 2020. As a hybrid bike, it doesn't do anything particularly badly or particularly well either. The seating position is quite comfortable for long rides and the transmission does a decent job with shifting through the gear range. There's quite a lot of overlap in ratios of the 3x7 gear setup here and I think a 2x7 setup would have worked just as well. I also don't care much for the annoyingly mysterious clunking sound coming somewhere near the bottom bracket which keeps popping up after every 15 minutes. The rim brakes are worse for wear after over 2000km of riding and it just doesn't compare to the braking control offered by a disc brake setup. I don't ride the FX1 much anymore, but it serves as a great intro bike to get my friends hooked onto cycling ;)

Specialized Diverge A1

  • Date Acquired: 10 August 2021
  • Date Sold: 22 October 2022
  • Odometer: 1423km (Nov 2022)
  • Mods: Gravelking Panaracer 700x32mm knobby tires, 70mm stem, seat replaced after a crash

This was my pick of the fleet before I upgraded to the Giant Revolt 2. I'm not quite sure if it's a gravel bike or a road bike as the geometry says gravel bike, but the narrow tyre clearance of the rear chainstays says road bike. Either way, the Diverge A1 handles magnificently on its short wheelbase. It's easy to cruise 20-30% faster than I could on the FX1 and the knobby tires make this bike viable for some technical riding. This bike made me fall in love with mountain biking and exploring new trails in the Bay Area. At 56cm, it's definitely too big for me, but replacing the stem and adjusting the handlebars has helped me fit to the bike's dimensions. The bike's mechanical disc brakes are a step up from the rim brakes I was accustomed to and I've noticed they get amusingly hot after some spirited hill bombing. The carbon fiber fork suppresses vibrations a lot better than the steel fork on the FX1 does. When in the right gear, the transmission is completely silent and the miles begin to melt away. Bliss.

Trek Marlin 5 (Monty)

  • Date Acquired: 12 October 2021
  • Odometer: 124km (July 2023)
  • Mods: RaceFace Chester pedals, Bontrager XR3 Rear Tire

The Marlin 5 is the newest addition to the fleet and its solely used on technical mountain biking trails. Tipping the scales at over 14kg, the weight was the first thing which struck me when buying this bike. The next was the massive 29 inch wheels, which make rolling over obstacles which seem terrifying on the Diverge A1 a non-issue. On the road, this bike feels unwieldy and slow. On trails, the bike is a completely different animal and I really appreciate the confidence afforded by the big tires and the squishy fork. While this bike has a 3x7 setup like the FX1, the gear ratios are a lot shorter to make climbs easier. The brakes here use a hydraulic disc system and even the smallest actuation of the brake lever gives a lot of stopping power. The shifters are crisp, but the derailleurs themselves are budget bin parts and take their time to get the bike into gear. I plan to use this bike a lot more during the summer when the trails are good for riding again!

Giant Revolt 2 (Riya)

  • Date Acquired: 1 October 2022
  • Odometer: 1675km (July 2023)
  • Mods: RaceFace Chester pedals, Bontrager AW1 HardCase Lite Tires

The latest addition to the fleet has quickly become my favorite bike of all time. It feels like a smaller, sharper version of the Diverge A1. The transmission is as quiet as they come and the dual-piston disk brakes work far better than the Tektro Mira's which I was running on the Diverge. The handling characteristics are not very different from the Diverge so I felt at home almost immediately. Mountain descents feel very controlled on this bike. I'm really looking forward to covering more road bike trails in the Bay Area now that I have a bike on which longer rides don't result in debilitating back pain.