Today I cleaned the Man Cave and saved myself £100 into the bargain.

Confession time. I have six bikes and one unicycle, as you do. Not for a second do I think I have too many bikes you understand Dear Reader. A man can never have too many bikes. What I do have, however, is a mess. So today I thought I'd clean the cave out. In doing so I saved £100.


Well my Tassajara needs a wider handlebar and a shorter stem; the bike is just a bit too long for me, especially with the 100mm stem. A new handlebar plus decent stem is £100. £100 I didn't fancy spending on what is essentially my spare bike.

So, where did I find this £100 just in clearing out the Man Cave? Simple really; three of the bikes I've not ridden for a good three years. OK I lie a bit; the Klein Mantra I took out recently only to find that I don't like it anymore. Unified Rear Triangle you see; horrid thing. But the Cheeta full suspension bike I have has only been ridden twice since I built it up four years ago; it's essentially new. The BMX I bought for my son. I rode it home and that was it. The gearing was all wrong, even for me so there was no way he was going to ride it, not with his little legs. Sure I could change it all out, but have you seen how much Halford's are charging for new BMX bikes? £80. OK you don't get much, but my boy is only 7.

The Klein first. This was my main bike for ten years and I loved it to bits. Rode it all over the country, plus a good few trips into Europe. Must have done 40,000 miles on that bike easy. But since going on an MTB course last year my riding style has changed. Not substantially; I'm still crap, but enough to make 1990's geometry redundant. Instead of just sitting on the bike like a sack of potatoes, I now move said sack around a bit. Last time I rode the Mantra it scared me coming down Reigate Hill. Not through speed, but just because I'd moved away from being able to get something out of that suspension design. So today I thought I'd make a bit of room in the Cave by stripping the Mantra down a bit and selling some components on....

Well once you strip a bike, that's it isn't it? I'll put the frame on eBay and move the parts on. And here is my £100 saving Dear Reader, and it was a simple one. The Mantra had on it a 660mm Salsa back sweep handlebar. Hmm, thought I; what would happen if I put that onto the Tassajara? So I did, and blow my cotton socks it did two jobs in one. It widened the handlebar from 560mm to a full fat 660mm*, and also brought the bar back towards me a good 40mm as it has a massive 17 degree backsweep. So one small change meant that I didn't have to spend any money on that bike to get what I wanted. Brilliant. Even better is that the existing handlebar was a USE.Com carbon unit, so that should sell well, and the stem was also from USE.Com. Few more £££'s. [Although saying this have you seen how much original Salsa Pro Moto handlebars go for on eBay??]

Of course the downside of using older components being older = heavy. My 25lb bike has now morphed into a lardy 27.5lb monster. OK I put on a set of mud tyres, flat pedals, fitted some mudguards and a few other bits to make it winter proof, so a lot of changes. Wonder how the new fat bike will ride?

But there's more. The Cheeta I'll put on eBay also, so that'll bring in some cash, as will selling the redundant BMX and the Mantra frame. There's also a set of Hope based wheels to sell. Possibly not much cash in either case, but better than nothing. Where I'm happy is that I put a set of Magura Menja 100mm forks on the Klein. Taking them off revealed newness and niceness. I'll keep those for my next project......

The Man Cave by the way still for some unexplained reason still looks shit. Guess it always will.

Now I've run out of play time, so can't take the refreshed Tassajara out for a spin. I did take it up and down the road and could tell instantly that the rather long stretch had gone. Not as much as I thought; the bars are after all 100mm wider but this is in the control direction so better for me. I still maintain that the Tassajara is the Clockwork Orange for the new millennium. It's a bit of a do-it-all bike; good for the hills as it is fast off road, I've used it as a commuter into London, and it could even be used to tour on. Put some XTR on it and the 1700g frame weight comes into its' own. Not race light, but with a set of rigid carbon forks you could get below 20lb. I think Gary Fisher missed a trick with that bike, and undersold it to the public through poor component specifications and odd colour choices. Mine is an absolute blast to ride - hate to say it, but it is better than the PACE RC303 by a long way. If I ever have to chose between either of those bikes, the Tassajara would be it as it is so much more useful, as well as better in most respects.

Incidentally I still have my original C-16 Orange Clockwork that I bought in 1995 for £750. It's changed a bit since then, and has done something silly like 60,000 miles - back in the day I'd do 70 miles each Sunday riding from Sutton to Guildford, then use it to commute to work in South London. It was the only bike I used for years. It comes out infrequently now, and I did try and sell it once but wife wouldn't let me. I use it when out with the kids as it slows me down.

I'm not sure how much cash all of this will raise. My aim is a new frame to be built up around the bits from the PACE RC303, but if I don't get enough for that, then a nice new dropper post from Thomson should be on the cards. That or a week in Africa!

*This was pretty radical back in the day, having such a wide bar and quite possibly it gave the Mantra a few more years use from me. But the downside I guess being that the Mantra gave me a whole hog of bad habits and poor riding style. It certainly explains why I like to keep my wheels on the ground as the Klein would buck under you once the suspension was unweighed. It threw me off more than once that way.