I came from a preexisting philosophical perspective that I needed a different bike for every job. A road bike for road, a gravel bike for gravel, a touring bike for touring, a winter bike, etc., etc. I had lived under that paradigm for years, and wanted to embrace simplicity. I wanted to have fewer bikes. I had found that I was building different bikes around the same geometry and components–I was starting to ride the same bars, the same saddle, the same saddle height, the same reach and drop–on different bikes. It was getting to the point that the only differences were wheels and tires.
While I wanted that simplicity, I was also scared that one bike could not rule them all. I was worried that I’d downsize the fleet and find myself missing a dedicated road bike. I’d miss a dedicated gravel bike. I’d miss something I once had–I’d wax nostalgic for the Vaya, for example.
It hasn’t happened. Life has been about much change in the past 2 years. Unbelievable, unforeseeable change. Priorities have changed, available time has changed, riding patterns have changed.
What hasn’t changed is my love for this bike. Since the day I built it, I’ve loved it. I’ve never come away from a ride and wished for more, or for something different. The ride quality is amazing–a perfect blend of compliant and responsive. A fantastic frame enhanced with amazing components. It’s beautiful to behold–I smile every time I see it.
Swapping wheels has proven to not be a chore. It takes about 3 minutes and a Y wrench. And the wheels I’m using on here (Zipp 202 tubeless for gravel, ENVE SES 3.4 for road) are as good as they get.
Every once in a while, I think I should have gone 1×11 rather than 2×11. I think that, and then I go out and do a group ride and am thankful for small increments between gears. I do a windy, hilly ride and am thankful that I can put an 11-32 on the rear, and run 36-32 to crawl up a headwind climb.
There’s not a component I’d change–across the whole bike. I can’t envision a (foreseeable) adventure that I couldn’t ride this on. I can throw a rack on the rear with ease…and if I had to put a rack on the front, a fork change could enable that without much difficulty. I don’t really see that happening, but it’s possible.
What amazes me is that the bike is so versatile. When last I rode it, the wind was kicking at 25mph. The bike was as stable as possible on the road. I ground out slow miles, suffering in the wind, and decided to drop off road and cut through a forest preserve. The trails were frozen, with clod-bumps from a muddy day’s horse ride. At regular intervals there were patches of ice and snow. I dropped some pressure from the tires and pressed on, winding through single track, delicately picking the tires up over fallen logs, deftly gliding over patches of ice, feverishly churning through deep snow. The Dune did it all, without complaint, and then hopped back on the road and took me home like a quintessential road bike.
If you can have one bike that is THIS GOOD at everything, it makes me wonder why you’d need more bikes. Sure, if you’re doing races where the 3 watts of savings you’d have with an aero frame matter, then god bless you. But I don’t want to go back to a garage full of bikes.
Some day, I’ll get a cargo bike again, if I live somewhere that supports its use. Someday, I might get a singlespeed to not feel bad about abusing on salty, slushy, crappy days. But the Dune is the bike that rules the roost.
I did a group ride in Downtown Chicago, where there were guys on $20,000 custom-ordered Italian carbon wünderbikes. People on the ride walked right past those bikes to gawk and gape at the Spooky. It’s just that great.
I’m happy to have joined the aluminati. I’m in on a secret that few know–and the secret is just how good these bikes are.