Saturday morning I went to Maplewood Bike to talk to Tim Ray again. I was really hoping he'd have a Ti bike fixed up for me to try. No such luck. As is the case with any bike shop I visit, really good bikes in my size have to be ordered. Tim did have a few frames to show me. I'll get to that in a minute. Before we talked frames though, Tim went back to work on the last of my "fit" problems.
Cleat position and foot pain have always been a battle. I've tolerated quite a bit of discomfort in my left foot for years. The problem is that my left ankle is off-kilter, forcing my foot out of alignment with my leg. When I ride with effort, the misalignment causes my hip to open which forces my foot to roll off to the outside of the pedal. If I try to compensate, the foot takes a lot of pressure on the ball and the arch. Ouch. My left foot is also a full size bigger than my right foot. But Tim thinks he can fix it.
First I have to stand on a contraption with laser levels that looks like a cross between a protractor and a Ouija board. I squat and alternate my weight from foot to foot. Tim takes a lot of notes. Then Tim attaches a set of pedals to my bike that are set on swivels and have a white and red bars protruding from the sides. I jump on the bike and pedal. Tim takes more notes and looks at each leg through a laser sight, followed by more note taking. After a bit of ciphering and a trip to the stock room, Tim produces a pair of Aline insoles. That's it? Insoles? Yes, insoles (and a slight repositioning of the left side cleat). Lemme tell you: Alines are the shizzle. A couple of revolutions on the trainer and I could tell the difference. A spin around the neighborhood and I knew the problem was fixed. No more numb toes; no more screaming arch. Amazing.
What about the frames? Tim showed me Litespeed Archon, Icon, and Siena frames, as well as Lynskey House Blend R220 and R320. It was nice to be able to handle the Archon frame. I've read so much about it and it really is a work of art. The Icon looks fast just sitting there. The Siena is amazingly light. Both Lynskey frames look and feel incredibly well-built.
Tim discussed the pros and cons of each frame as it applies to my riding style and needs. Then we discussed new build-out prices, and a build-out price using the components from the Cannondale. The bottom line: the R320 and the Icon appear to be the frames for me. The material seems right, the function seems right, the style is right, and the price is right. Either frame should last forever.
I left the shop to give my new insoles a thorough breaking-in. I guess I have to make a decision.