Posted by: Ian | December 27, 2009

A new bike for Paula

A few weeks ago Paula took delivery of her new road bike – a Trek Madone 4.7 – from Bicycle Chain in Taunton. We looked at several bikes on-line and a few in the metal, but this caught my eye early on and I was pretty sure that for Paula it was the one to beat. Off the bat I like the big manufacturers, even though many don’t. Companies like Trek have large R&D budgets and can invest in componentry as well as frames. Also, they assemble finished bikes at very competitive prices – much more so than niche companies, who seem to charge a chunky amount for the frame and then more or less full price for the rest.  (See, for example, Condor – I love my Tempo and love them as a company but buying anything more than a fixie requires true dedication and deep pockets.)

This Madone (I know it’s pronounced “mad own” and could even stretch to “mad own E” but they must know that it’s open to the more literal “mad one”) is badged as WSD, for Women’s Specific Design. This means that it has an even more relaxed than usual compact geometry with less stretching over to the bars, narrower handlebars and a women’s “anatomical” saddle. For Paula, it is a very comfortable bike. I don’t know much about Bontrager parts, but since Trek owns Bontrager and uses them everywhere I’m sure they’re very good. I do use Bontrager buzzkill bar end plugs in a couple of my bikes and they’re surprisingly effective at dampening down road noise. The Madone comes with a SRAM groupset. I have tried this myself and didn’t get on with it but I suspected Paula would, and I was right.

The main difference between the Madone and Paula’s Kona, though, is the full carbon frame. It makes for a much lighter bike and has that whooshing sound that makes you feel as if you’re going faster – because you are.

Paula’s cycling goal for 2010 is to do 2,000 (or maybe 2,010) miles. That requires steady commitment but is achievable and very worthwhile. I like burning up the road miles too, and do them for free on my London commutes, but for me the sportive programme is the big goal for 2010, particularly the Tour of Wessex at the end of May. I’m also drawn to the idea of a full-on cycling tour of a week or two, probably somewhere on the continent; but since I don’t really want to sign up for an organised holiday and have limited vacation time it probably won’t happen. Cycling most days around Somerset and London is no bad alternative.

So far the Madone is proving a good choice. Yesterday we cycled a kind of square from Hill Farm House to Ilminster towards Sea to the A30 via Cricket Malherbie and then back home. Paula got up the hill defining the third side of the square, which would have been a stretch before.

My recommended new bike for Qasim had a different outcome. Several of us went down to Evans to check out the Trek Soho and Qas took it for a test ride. Apparently the ride was good and we all thought it looked fantastic. I wanted one. But Qas didn’t like the colour and ended up buying a powered transportation device instead of a bike. There is a loophole in the Cycle to Work scheme that enabled him to get part payment towards this from our employer, despite the fact that human effort is replaced as the motive force by fossil fuel depletion through the National Grid.



  1. […] couple of years or so ago I wrote about choosing a new bike for Paula. Then, we picked out a Trek Madone, which was a nicely spec’ed bike from a good company that […]

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