I finally made the leap from a 1981 to a modern 2016 bike!
After some recommendations from friends and family to make the upgrade, I listened. The 1981 Free Spirit Pinnacle road bike, as I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, has some somewhat serious issues. Both rims on the bike are shot (they also couldn’t accommodate modern, high-pressure tires) and the bike was going to need some serious attention to get it back to reliable condition.
So, I was posed with a question: do I spend the money and repair the Pinnacle, or do I just replace it with something new?
If you couldn’t tell, I chose the later option. After running figures, replacing the wheels, installing a new kickstand, and some other things – the price tag of getting it back up to speed was over 3/4 what I was quoted for a new bike. And the figures didn’t include labor and ongoing maintenance in the future.
I finally came to my senses and decided it was time to “replace” the Pinnacle.
So, what did I get? I went to my father’s for Thanksgiving, giving me an opportunity to peek at the bike. Since he picked it up from the bike shop, it has been hiding in a makeshift storage room.
Introducing… the 2016 Sedona
Sounding like a luxury SUV, the 2016 Giant Sedona is a decently-featured although “basic model” bike. Giant touts the Sedona as a “comfort” bike that can be ridden on the trails and the street.
The 35 year difference in the two bikes makes quite a bit of a difference. Let me talk about the differences, the features, and the highlights and downfalls of the Sedona.
I should clarify: I’ve only ridden the Sedona once, so I can’t really give it a fair shake. Like some other things, I (plan on) following this entry up, although sometimes that doesn’t fall through.
Let’s start at the rubber and work our way up. The tires that came with the 2016 Giant Sedona are 26×1.95″ Kenda tires, which is the same size the Huffy Superia I had came with. The stock Kenda’s have fairly good tread and seem to be comfortable on my test ride, although with some noise. The tires are mounted on alloy rims with a quick-release mechanism on both rims. The rims look fairly decent and I actually like the black spokes.
From the rims we should make our way up to the brakes. Similar to the Pinnacle, the Sedona features the popular caliper brakes. Unlike the Pinnacle, however, the brake pads used on the Sedona are readily available and are a fairly common size. On my test ride, the brakes worked too well.
The drivetrain on this bike is much superior to the one found on the Pinnacle. Thanks to 35 years advancement in technology, my “base model” Sedona features indexed shifting – something the Pinnacle lacks. Nearly everything on the drivetrain side of things of the Sedona are either Shimano or Sram, which are reputable manufacturers of bike parts. The shifter on this bike is the common grip-shifter, made by Sram.
However, one pitfall with the drivetrain is the added level of “complexity” in shifting. The shifting is different from the Pinnacle and is going to take some getting used to. Unlike the Pinnacle, where “backpedaling” could be tolerated, backpedaling on the Sedona could cause some major damage to the drivetrain. But with 21 gears in comparison to the Pinnacle’s 12, the mechanism is going to be somewhat different.
The appearance of the bike is so-so. I’m saying this because it looks like every other bike made today. While the Pinnacle stands out in a crowd of bikes at a rack, this bike will blend in. But its metal-flake grey with reflective blue accents do look nice over some more hideous color combos you can find at your local bike rack, and the alloy rims on this bike don’t look too shabby, either.
Under the paint and makeup of the bike is the sturdy yet light aluminum frame. This bike is extremely light. Which is nice, in comparison to the all-steel Pinnacle, which weighs at least a good 35 pounds.
The seat and the handlebars on this bike are really comfortable. The positioning is more relaxing than the Pinnacle. It reminds me of riding the single-speed bikes you can check out for a day from our university.
One thing that does worry me is the stock plastic pedals. On the Huffy Superia, the pedals didn’t last too long before falling apart. I’m hoping these pedals last much longer.
My test ride
I took the Sedona for a quick spin today. The weather happened to be unseasonably warm, especially given since just a couple days ago the ground was layered with snow and ice – and the forecast shows a return of that.
The Sedona rode extremely smooth. The single-speed bikes I mentioned earlier when talking about the seat ride very similarly to the Sedona. The Sedona gets up to speed fairly quickly. The Kenda tires do produce some noise, but not too loud. Overall, I was impressed with the bike.
There are some “mods” that I’m planning on doing to the Sedona. I’ve learned – due to my experience with the Pinnacle over the last semester – that a storage basket isn’t just an option, but a necessity. I’m also going to be transferring the Pinnacle’s lighting kit over to the Sedona. In addition to the basket, I’m going to purchase a helmet – something I never wore with the Pinnacle.
I’m planning on taking advantage of the Sedona’s “trail ability” by taking it for a spin on the local trails sometime this spring. With the 26×1.95″ tires, it should be very comfortable on the trails.
What about the Pinnacle?
The Sedona isn’t going into action immediately. I will likely start using it this winter/spring.
The 1981 Free Spirit Pinnacle isn’t going anywhere. It is actually going to stay inside, and will be used as a backup bike or a bike that friends can ride. At least, after I get the whole derailleur problem sorted out.
The Pinnacle has served well, but as mentioned in the beginning of this post, it was going to take some serious efforts to return to stable reliability. It was going to take a lot of money to repair it and bring it back up to speed – some would argue much more than its worth.
But since I’ve owned the Pinnacle since I was 11, and I rode it everywhere (school, friends houses, even on trails) it would be impossible to sell or recycle. Besides, most of the major components on the Pinnacle are still in excellent condition.
Upgrading from 1981 to 2016 feels nice… let’s see how the Sedona treats me.