I’ve had a number of bikes in my adult years, and I’m counting every bike I’ve had since I turned 18. Let me take a sec and count…seventeen? Yeesh. A lot of bikes. Out of that number, I’ve only had a handful that have lasted five or more years:
- The crappy Huffy MTB I got from Kmart in 1994, my first “adult” bike. I had that until 2000, when I left for the West Coast and abandoned it in the garage of my mom’s house.
- The Giant Rincon MTB I got from Citybikes when I moved to Portland in 2001. That lasted until 2006.
- My Long Haul Trucker. Purchased 2008, sold 2013.
- The Raleigh Wayfarer three speed. Purchased 2010, disassembled 2015.
- The Raleigh Crested Butte that I bought in October of 2012
So the Crested Butte joined the five year club in October. That means this blog post is a couple months late, sorry! I’m bad at this anniversary biz.* And this five year mark is significant, as it means I’ve gone through a lot with the particular bike, got to know its quirks, made a lot of changes to adjust my idiosyncratic riding style. It’s survived the urge to jettison and move on to something else. And the Crested Butte is quite the survivor in that department as I’ve attempted to sell it, what? Once? Maybe even twice? Yet I’ve come to my senses and taken it back, even improve it.
And improve it I have. If you remember, back in January I sunk about $500 into changes and upgrades, as a lot of stuff had worn out. Since then, I really haven’t changed the bike (I think the only thing that’s changed is a bottle cage), so rather than bore you here again with the details, read that earlier blog post for enlightenment. (Yer welcome, Stasia! 🙂 ) It’s performed beautifully in the past nine months.
It’s come a long way since I got it on that damp Sunday in October 2012. It was a barely ridden garage queen, a reminder of what a top-of-the-line production mountain bike looked like in 1984. I got it on a lark, since I wanted something with fatter tires than my Long Haul Trucker,** something that would be more able in exploring off-road areas, something a little more rough stuff worthy. I never did “true” mountain biking with the Crested Butte, as that slack geometry isn’t great for it, but I have definitely gotten off the beaten path with this bike.
But the Crested Butte realized itself as the Ultimate Commuting Machine. The slack angles make for a Cadillac ride. Adding such swept back bars like the Nitto Boscos alleviated the issue of too-long top tube and helped with the general undersizedness of it all. The giant Wald front rack can haul a lot of stuff. A dynamo lighting system means I never have to worry about recharging lights. Full fenders mean an all weather commuter. Just get on and go.
What’s next? Not much. The Crested Butte has settled into its role, I don’t think there’s going to be any drastic revisions. No, what else can I do? Sure, the consumables will need to be replaced at some point, but the only thing I can think about changing in the near future is shifters, as I don’t care much for the current ones (but they get the job done.) There’s always the notion of putting an internally geared hub in back, but after the major updates/changes to drivetrain in January, I’m not even going to pursue that option for a few more years when things wear out. If I wear out the front wheel anytime soon, I’d most likely go for something with a dynohub, so the bottle dyno would go. But as I said, if/only when things wear out.
The Raleigh Crested Butte has given me five years of faithful service. I’m looking forward to many more. It’s funny, besides the whatever Huffy I had in the 90’s, I have never owned a bike for more than six years. Maybe this will be the one?
*For example, I have not mentioned that Ten Foot Rule hit the 20 year mark.
**There was a brief moment when I had a Raleigh M-40 mountain bike right before the Crested Butte, but I don’t think much of that bike.
I enjoy a great deal of satisfaction when I see bikes that are built up with such personality. They might not match my own ideal setup at all. But when I can see the authentic wishes of the owner displayed so sincerely, so functionally, and without a hint of copying anyone else, I simply grin. It makes me want to celebrate bicycles and bicyclers. Hoorah, for the Crested Butte…and hoorah, for its rider!
When you find the bicycle that whispers the magic of bicycling the best to you it may not be obvious at first. Each bicycle is an experiment and only time will tell you whether that experiment went well or not. The longer you own a bicycle the more I would say it satisfies a basic need and function that you desire. I find that my best bicycles have me smiling before, during and even after the ride. If not, then that bicycle finds another home. My present favorite has been in my possession for 10 years. My recumbents last the longest with a tandem lasting 20 plus years. A much harder question to answer is how many bicycles have I owned including childhood. I think 17 altogether. This doesn’t count my kids or wife’s bicycles. I have 5 currently in my possession. Three are operational, one needs a broken frame repaired and one is a spare for my favorite and of course possible project for the future. Good luck with the Crested Butte.
Ha! Uh, thanks? 😉
You are welcome!
I have always loved your Crested Butte. Like many bikes of that generation, they lend themselves to many adaptations and yours has seen a few, all while giving you a comfortable commuting machine. I also find the names of particular interest: The Ross line after Northwest Mountains (plus Shasta) and yours after a Colorado town. Schwinn had a High Sierra, etc. i guess these early MTBs marketing was all about riding bikes in the mountains…