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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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New Bike (Good Bike Shop, Santiago Chile)

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2014 10:01:00 -0400

Panic decision yesterday - my achilles tendon isn't getting better and I have
a trip to Europe in a few weeks.  So switch exercise to a bike.  So I need a

Searching around, it seemed like 350.000 CLP ($700 USD) is about the price of
a bottom line, but decent imported MTB, something like I had had before
(simple sprung fork, possibly with lockout, Acera or Alivio or S-Ram comp,
mechanical disk brakes).  The choices seemed ot be between Cannondale/Mongoose
at Intercyles (Las Condes), Kona (Oxford, Vitacura), Focus (Vitacura), or
Marin (Vitacura).

Intercycle's web site advertised a last year's Trail 4 at 380.000, which would
have been excellent - a model up from bottom at a very good price.  But the
site was wrong (and they were out of this year's Trail 5 in my size).  They
did have the Mongoose, which was fine (lock out fork), but kind-of tacky
looking.  And it's basically a Schwinn... :o( The Intercycle shop was huge - a
bit like abike supermarket, but the people seemed decent.

So then Focus.  Their Highland Peak seemed pretty solid (as the least famous I
guess they're pushing most) and so that became my fallback point.  The shop
was just one guy, who seemed OK, but it was basically an importer of boxes
with bikes.

Next, Kona.  Things got complicated.  They had a new Lana, in lime green, with
29" wheels.  It looked like so much fun and I was pretty won over.  But the
components were probably the worst of the bunch.  SRAM, no lockout.  The
guyette(?) didn't seem that enthusiastic and the shop came across as mainly a

Finally, Marin (next door to Kona/Oxford).  This was a scruffier place
(especially for Vitacura), but obviously a "rea bike shop".  A pile of
second-hand bikes and components for sale.  The bokes seemed solid, the owner
and a mechanic (yeah, a real bike shop) helpful, and they were more than
flexible on the pricing...  So I ended up with a last year's Iron Springs,
which is a model or two up from basic (Deore rear derailleur and hydraulic
brakes) for 400.000 ($800 USD).

At first I was torn.  I am pretty sure 26" wheels are on the way out, and the
Kona looked sooo cool.  But the Marin is growing on me.  I spent yesterday
evening peeling off or taping over logos and now it's looking pretty bad-ass
in it's own way.  Seat's at the right height and angle.  Brake leavers rotated
slightly.  Handlebar lowered one space.  Suspension pre-load backed off.
After breakfast I'm out the door.  Only problem - it's raining!


PS Also, the Marin is the best assembled bike I've seen.  When you look after
bikes yourself, you notice things.  Like, the tyre logos are all aligned with
the valve (and the reflector opposite).  The logos on the headset spacers were
aligned.  The gear changers and brakes were matched, and close, but didn't
touch.  The front derailleur height was within 0.1mm.  All the tiny details
were right.

But god, it had a lot of logos!

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