So the cat is out of the bag. Jane has a new bike. A very discreet Bish Bash Bosh from On One:
The professional image from their website (of a slightly different spec) is:
So why a new bike? Lots of reasons:
- Jane picked up a leg injury last summer. There does not seem to have been a single specific cause but, at the very least, her road bike made it worse. In particular a bumpy downhill which required a complete stop at the bottom. Jane has struggled with the brakes on that bike and we have tried various pads to improve them. However, she could never apply them hard enough to be confident stopping. We think that made her very tense and rigid over the bumps and it jarred her leg. It also sapped her confidence.
- Jane is going on a Women’s Cycle Tour in France in the summer. While I had fitted a rack to her Specialized Dolce Elite Equipped, with 25mm tyres and weak brakes it wasn’t going to be ideal.
- This year is one of those milestone birthdays that is worth celebrating.
So we looked at lots and lots of bikes. In particular Jane test rode a Specialised bike with hydraulic disk brakes and discovered that she could stop exactly where she wanted with no fuss and without having to strain at the brake levers. For her this was a complete game changer (and sadly we didn’t see any women’s road bikes with disk brakes, even cable operated 18 months ago).
So we looked at lots of bikes, mostly on the internet because finding stock isn’t easy. We did like the Specialized Dolce Comp Evo. Again there are not a lot of women’s road bikes with hydraulic disk brakes, 30mm+ tyres and both mudguard and rack fittings. We noted all the key measurements from Jane’s current bike to see what else might fit. In particular that was the:
- Stack height: the vertical height between the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube. This tells you how upright you will sit and Jane prefers a fairly upright riding position even on a drop handlebar bike (it can be adjusted by adding some spacers under the handlebar stem but only to a limited extent).
- Reach: the horizontal distance between the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube. This determines how stretched out you are going to be (two other key factors affecting this are the saddle position [forward/backward on it’s rails] and the length of the handlebar stem.
- Seat Tube: Distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. Determines how low the saddle can be.
- Step over height: Jane finds bikes with the handlebar and saddle in the same position but a higher cross bar intimidating. So a sloping cross bar giving plenty of clearance when standing over the bike was essential.
There is now quite a lot of choice for men of bikes with hydraulic disk brakes but very little for women. So we looked at buying a frame that we could fit out exactly right. That is when I came across the Bish Bash Bosh from On One. The frame ticked lots of our boxes but at £999 for the frame only was going to be an expensive build. However, when we looked at the build options we realised that the Rival 11 Hydraulic Gravel Adventures model was pretty spot on and a lot cheaper than building up from the frame. So we went up to Sheffield and looked at one before deciding to take the risk of a less well known bike.
This is a very unusual bike in lots of ways beyond the colour scheme (which attracts a lot of attention). It is very rare to find a carbon frame with rack mounts. It has the latest axle standards (bolt thru 15mm front and 12mm rear) but despite the large bulk of the bottom bracket area of the frame it has old standard bottom bracket sizing with external bearings (which I like for their easy servicing and replacement. They are going to be plenty stiff enough for the power Jane can produce).
I then ordered a few upgrades:
- Tubeless tyres. Specifically: Schwalbe S-One Evo Microskin TL-Easy Folding Road Tyres 700 x 30c
- Beautiful Portland Design Works mudguards from Shand Cycles
- I moved over her rear rack (Tubus Logo). Needed some work to fit to the lower rack mountings which bizarrely are rearward facing. I have used 2 x Tubus Stayholder Mount for Roundstays (just the black part)
- New flat pedals. Again from On One: the Park Hill Flats.
- Reused Jane’s Sella Italia Women’s Diva Gel Flow Saddle which she finds very comfy although it is not proving to be very hard wearing.
- Reused the two nice bottle cages we had already upgraded her old bike to.
The proof of the pudding is in the riding and the proof is really good.
- Longer rides (much longer than any since the injury)
- Now ridden all the way up the hill through South Croxton 5 times on the new bike. (only once or twice ever before)
- Setting personal bests on segments on every ride.
- Lightest bike she has ever had.
- The SRAM brakes and gears are excellent (and the levers very easy to adjust for small hands, even spacing the gear levers in from the brake levers is easy). Jane has found adapting to the doubletap gear change very easy too.
And apparently it is the most comfortable bike Jane has ever ridden. It stops better than any other bike she has had . Pus she is already feeling more confident of it’s handling, especially on bumpy roads and poor surfaces than she has on any other bike.
On our ride today I was following Jane who was at times cruising along at about 20mph which is completely new territory.
Finally Jane really likes the colours and cartoon style “Bish Bash Bosh” writing inside the chain stay and front fork. It certainly stands out (Jane wanted me to point out that the same bike is available in boring grey or bright lime green colours)!
We are very pleased with this!