My New Mountain Bike - Part II

When I left off with My New Mountain Bike - Part I, we were about to walk into Slim and Knobby's to purchase our 2nd 29er. Since Terry was extremely happy with his Specialized Epic Expert, the plan was to purchase my Rocky Mountain Element 950 RSL in order to have 2 different bikes that we could compare and continue to share.  We had heard great things about Rocky Mountain and hoped to at least take one for a spin around the parking lot and then make a decision.  Since it was a big purchase and we also had other items to order, Terry had called ahead and arranged a time to meet with the owner.

Things were hopping when we walked in with several customers shopping and others talking with the mechanics.  They have an open maintenance area in the back, so you can see and chat with everyone while repairs are in process.  We said hello to Duff and the crew, then went off to browse while Duff finished up with a customer.

My goal was to straddle a Rocky Mountain and try to compare the fit to the Specialized.  There was a 950 RSL right up front in its own stand, almost as if Duff had set it all up for our arrival.  Unfortunately, it was only a medium frame but we did check out all the components.  I went off to look for a large frame in the group of lower-end Rocky Mountains while Terry checked out the selection in the stand by the door.  These are bikes that are in for maintenance or already purchased, but usually fun to peek at in case there is a high-end bike to drool over.  There was a Rocky Mountain large frame so I thought maybe Duff had brought in one of his buddy's in order for me to check out the fit.  He's arranged similar setups for us in the past.
Rocky Mountain Element 999 RSL - eye candy at the bike shop
It definitely fit and produced some drool since it was the top-end Rocky Mountain Element 999 RSL.  Fun to look at, but way over our budget and probably too much bike than either of us would ever need.  Duff came over and we got down to business.  We talked about the deals we could get for the 950 RSL and discussed the differences between the Rocky Mountain and the Specialized.  Of course we got to talking about the 999 RSL and all its bells and whistles.  Then Duff sprang it on us.

The story goes something like this, Duff's friend is a racer and gets a new bike every year at pro discount.  He got this 999 RSL a few weeks before and immediately headed to Southern Utah to try it out.  We don't know him, but sounds like he's one of those guys that goes 120% all the time.  He had the horrible misfortune to endo and come down on his hands, breaking them both.  We saw a picture after surgery and it was sickening.  Thankfully, he didn't do any major damage anywhere else, but what a bummer for the rest of the season.  The bike didn't take on much damage either, the bar end on the right grip was bent and there was a small ding in the front wheel, but the tubeless tires were still holding air and had a solid seal.  Amazing and so sad.  Terry had spent most of last summer on his back and you don't wish an injury on anyone, especially when it happens on the 1st ride of the year.

I'm sure you have caught on to where this story is going.  Since this guy is out for months and likely won't even ride this season, he wants to sell the bike and start fresh with his 2014 pro discount bike.  We bite and ask Duff what this guy is asking and of course it just happens to be an unbelievable deal and not too much higher than our budget when we walked in, but still more than we had planned.  For the value, the upgrade from the 950 RSL to the 999 RSL was almost too good to turn down.  I was hot off my shopping bonanza at Patagonia the night before, plus this was going to be my new mountain bike, so I was bargain crazy. Buy, buy, buy!

We talked through all the pros/cons and then took a little break by wandering around the shop in our own mental battles.  As I looked over at Terry, he was holding onto the bike and had a look on his face that I read as "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to be the responsible adult and tell you that it is too expensive".  I asked him what he was thinking, just to make sure.  He looked up with a silly grin (similar to those from the Epic rides) and said "you know, if we buy this, I'll probably need to ride it".  He and I both knew that he didn't mean when I was working late or doing another activity, he meant that this would need to be his bike.
Was it meant to be?
At that moment, Duff who was skillfully hanging out at the fringes but not getting too involved, got a crazy look on his face and started apologizing profusely.  He was pretty sure we were going to start a fight and it was all his fault.  When is the last time any of you have seen Terry and I fight?  Well, believe me, we weren't but we couldn't convince Duff of it.  We explained that we would figure it out and it was no big deal, but he was sweating it.  Of course we didn't help the matter by starting to use possessive pronouns heavily from that moment on talking about either the Epic or the Rocky Mountain.  There were my, our, and yours being stressed in each loving and playful comment we made to each other.

We finally took the bike out to ride and for some more conversation.  Granted we were in a parking lot, but we imagined riding the singletrack and were pretty convinced that we couldn't let this baby go to another home.  I called Christian to get his opinion and he immediately gave me a bunch of reasons why it should be my bike and not to back down.  He also agreed to bring down our checkbook on the way to dinner so we could pay if we pulled the trigger.  We were outside for awhile but didn't think about Duff watching us and worrying again that he might have to step in.  Too funny.

We went in and confirmed that Duff was ok with us buying this bike rather than one from the shop and also made sure he would handle the warranty. Then, with our blessing, he called the injured owner and brokered a deal.  Now that I write this, I wonder if it was all a setup and he had the bikes positioned in the shop just so and knew our price point.  Either way, everyone was happy!

Just like that, I had a new mountain bike or at least we had a new mountain bike and ownership would be determined.  Duff put our bikes up on the stands, since the Epic needed its yearly maintenance and the 999 needed a look over before we took it home.  Crazy to think what the last hour or so had led to, but we had a great time and still had to order our other items before meeting everyone for dinner.
From matching BMCs to 29ers with their own personalities
While we were having a great time and happy, Duff was still a bit uneasy.  Terry told me later, that when I went out to the truck to grab my shoes, Duff again apologized for putting us in this position.  He didn't think about me having a nicer bike and how that would make Terry feel, etc.  Terry tried to put him at ease, but he continued to check on us to make sure we were going to be able to work something out.

We placed our order and headed to dinner both with silly grins and a good story.  It got even better as we sat at the bar and sent a few texts back and forth to Terry's coworker that had purchased his BMC last year.  He was interested in my bike for his girlfriend, so just like that, the BMCs were going to be reunited.  I imagine in a few years, they will have caught the cycling bug and be doing their own upgrades.

Since we still have a few months before the singletrack is clear, we don't have to make any final decisions on 29er ownership.  I imagine we'll take both bikes out together to a favorite trail, take a few laps on each and then make a decision.  Until then, we are continuing to bug each other with my bike and your bike comments.  For example, Terry's bike is still at the shop waiting on the shock to return while my bike is in the gear room waiting for the snow to melt.  Its last ride didn't turn out so well, but I'll be sure to let you know how it does on its 2nd outing.
Taking the 999 home... on my side of the truck


  1. On our way home, I emailed our friend Rob with the big news and the fact that we hadn't decided who's bike it would be. Here is his response.

    Still deciding? WTF

    According to the official records,

    Terry has got the last four new bikes and the sports car.
    The bike originates from Canada and you're from Montana which is closer.
    The bike appears to be a Mountain Bike, you're from Montana which has mountains, Illinois does not.
    Terry prefers to work weekends and the bike would go unused most weekends, when Park City posing is highest.

    Terry just got new skis, and will have too much trouble deciding where to mount the bindings and it may take him all summer to decide +- 1-2 cm depending on what the TGR forum people advise.
    This will leave him less time to ride MTB.

    Terry does not have e-mail yet, at least by our inbox records.

    Terry has skipped several indoor cycling classes and this is no way to reward poor attendance.

    Hope this helps.

    If not, Rob's Intense Spider is approaching the decade mark and can be yours for cheap.

  2. But it is on my stand!

  3. Well, it took several months and waiting for the trails to dry out, but I rode the Rocky Mountain yesterday instead of the Specialized. I'll try to sit Terry down soon to have him help me with a Part III comparison blog. Both have positives and negatives and although we aren't comparing apples-to-apples on components, we'll do our best.

    Funny enough, Terry likes the Epic fit & ride better so after 2 so-so rides this weekend on the 999, he jumped on the Epic and had the best ride of the weekend. I had a great time on the Rocky Mountain yesterday and really liked the fit and ride. Although I've been riding the Epic all spring, it appears that the Epic will go back to Terry and the Rocky Mountain will by mine. I'm sure we'll do a few more comparison rides over the next month, so stay tuned.


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