After one solid year of being without a Mountain Bike, I was starting to lose my mind. Granted I have been shredding on two wheels but it was on a much smaller 20" BMX. Don't get me wrong I love BMX racing and while it does fulfill my desire for competition, it doesn't help my desire for exploration.
So, with little money but great desire I searched every corner of the internet for a good deal. When my lovely wife suggested I grab a cheap Walmart bike I could feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, there are some lines one never crosses.
My brother Kevin made the same suggestion but only after a friend of his had a minor breakthrough. The friend had bought a Genesis 29er for about $200. at Walmart. He then changed the fork for a Rock Shox and had a bike shop fine tune it. He had since survived several rocky rides in Massasoit State Park in Taunton, Massachusetts.
I studied the Genesis 29er carefully. I hunted it down, sat on one in the store, played with the gears and really considered the possibility. I would be able to do local off road rides and long street rides but the sheer weight of the bike (38 pounds) would make it a tank on climbs. This was clearly the best that Walmart had to offer but I just couldn't do it.
My desire is to keep up with the crowd in group rides, climb without getting a hernia and change gears without swearing. I guess trust is the real issue. Either that or I'm trying to convince my readers that I'm not a bike snob. Anyways, the search is over I bought a Mountain Bike.
I had tested a Specialized HardRock and a Giant Talon 29er but they were both heavy with slacker geometry, just not the ride I was looking for. That's when I met my new friends at Sarasota Cycle gave me a great deal on a Trek 4300. The most important aspects were fulfilled and first among them was affordability.
The Trek 4300 is reasonable all around: Spinner fork with 100mm travel, Shimano derailleurs with Bontrager wheels, tires and handlebars. The Tektro V-Brakes would have been a NO GO if I were still riding in New England but here in Florida it is flatter and there is a little less trail trash so I can probably get away with it.
Thus my prohibition of Walmart bikes continues. Even in a moment of financial weakness I could not, would not contribute to the evil empire. Just kidding but seriously I'm glad my money went to a real bike shop. Now, if I can just stop staring at the bike long enough to take it off the roof of my car. After all, it's so pretty.