Rediscovering the Crested Butte

It’s sort of funny: I’ve talked about the death of the Crested Butte many a time over the past couple years, yet I still have the bike. Well, “death” may be too strong a word, but I have definitely talked about selling the bike, and did actually try to sell it in October, but that didn’t go over well. So, I still have it. And guess what: I still like it!

I can’t promise that I’ll keep this bike “forever”, but right now I don’t have any other plans of getting rid of it. I may reconsider in spring, when the bike market gets better, but that’s still months away. Yeah, despite the talk of redundancy, it’s hard to get rid of this bike, with how it looks, the quality components, and ride quality. There’s something about old mountain bikes…

Now I’ve been trying to figure out where to place it in the stable, and avoid too much redundancy while being cognizant of the overlap. I have previously talked about how the Bantam Rambleneur will be the more special/fun bike, and I’ll be using the Crested Butte along with the Raleigh Wayfarer three speed more the daily drivers. With the new-to-me rear rack, both the Crested Butte and the Wayfarer can take panniers, so easy for commuting and errands. (The Crested Butte has a leg up for rainy commuting due to cantilever brakes.) I removed the front rack before the sale, and don’t think I’m going to put it back on. I’ve been liking it in its no front load setup so far.

Now onto lights. Man, I have gone through too many switches with lighting systems throughout the course of three years of owning it, starting with battery, then getting bottle dynamo generator lighting, then back to battery, then hub dynamo generator lighting, then back to battery as I sold the wheel and light separate. Yeesh. Of course, if I had known I was going to keep the bike, I wouldn’t have sold the dynamo lighting, but too late now. So I could keep doing the battery system, as my Cygolite Metro 300 USB rechargeable light is still going strong.* But I do have a Spanninga bottle dynamo I got for cheap in the parts bin, plus the other day I picked up a B+M basic headlamp for just $20, the same headlamp I paid about $70 for just four years ago. (LED dynamo lighting just keeps on getting better and better, so what was good a few years ago is merely adequate now, and cheap.) So I could go dynamo again! And a bottle dyno plus headlight would be easy to remove if I do decide to sell this bike again. So we’ll see.

I also picked up a Brooks B68 saddle for cheap. I had the B66 on briefly, but it needs to be repaired because of a broken spring. The B66 is the unsprung cousin to the B66 and B67, a wide city/upright saddle. Looks and feels good. Though I do have another B17 in the wings which may go on here…

The final piece of the puzzle is handlebars. I still like the Civia Duponts, especially after my failed try with the Surly Open Bars, but I’ve been eyeing the Nitto Bosco bars for awhile. They have more rise and sweep back further than the Duponts, which just might solve once and for all the fit issues with this bike. Of course, because it’s a nice Nitto bar, it’s not cheap, almost $70. Wasn’t I trying to sell this bike just last month? On the other hand, isn’t it a small price to pay for making the bike “work”? Also, Nitto bars retain good resale value, so there wouldn’t be as much of a loss if they don’t work out. Or, I could switch them over to the Heavy Duti.

So here she is again, folks, the Crested Butte in all its glory. A bike that hopefully will keep on serving me well.

*To note: Cygolite makes their lights here in the US, and are great with warranty issues. I think I have replaced the bracket and USB port cover twice over, and they send the replacement for free.


5 thoughts on “Rediscovering the Crested Butte

  1. Shawn, I always chuckle when you try to get rid of the Crested Butte because deep down you know those 1980’s mountain bikes are real commuter gems and you must always keep one in your stable. That bike rocks!

  2. I think if you can afford to keep the Crested Butte it’s a sound decision. Since you’re car – less and the Bantam will be a adventure bike it makes sense to upgrade to bars that make it more comfortable. And you just wouldn’t be the same with this great steed.

  3. I don’t know. There is no way I could sell one of my bikes. It would be like selling my dog.

    “Hey Daisy! Come over here! This guy wants to kick your tires.” That would go over big. I gave away my ’91 Mongoose Alta once, but when I found out that it had been left out in a barn somewhere with a flat tire, I went and got her back. That’s the last time THAT will happen. I’m just too anthropomorphic with bicycles. Any given motor vehicle I will relinquish with joy…but I would have to know that any bike I gave away would go to a good home. It’s weird, I know…but very much the truth, all the same.

    Save yourself the guilt, me lad, and keep the CB. She’s earned a place in the heart and hearth of one of cycling’s most esteemed riders and any other home would be unworthy.

    BTW, congratulations on your steady gig with Bicycling!


    • Yeah, selling bikes is hard, and I do have “feelings” with many of my bikes. But it isn’t always hard for me to sell bikes that even meant a lot to me, like the Long Haul Trucker. Then of course, there are those bikes that I felt became “albatrosses” like the Cycle Truck and those were damn easy to sell. (And that was the easiest bike I ever sold!)

      But like you, I have sold bikes to people I know, to see them treated like utter shit. I sold my Giant Rincon, the entry-level MTB that I bought when I moved to Portland, to a guy I knew for $30. A few months later I saw it parked near his work, in a particularly sketchy area. He had left town for a week, and left the bike there. It was stripped down to the bone. They even took cables and housing off that thing. While after five years I was beyond done with that bike, wanting something better, it did hurt seeing something that was once a valued possession come to that.

  4. Shawn, do the Bosch bars in the wide version 58cm aluminum! I have them on two of my bikes my fendered GT commuter and my old trek 820 mtb that I have still have. For sure the most comfortable bars ever, three good hand positions including down by the stem aero style into a headwind. Even for slow trail riding on singletrack their great! They come back a lot/rise 4 inches so you might need a stem with longer/flatter extension. I can’t recommend them enough.

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