Background on The Phoenix Project is available here and here.
Throughout the seemingly endless duration of The Phoenix Project, I have struggled with coining a term for what type of bike is the end product.
All-rounder seems distinctly vague and is sounds like somebody trying to tart up a cheap bike. Sensible cycle reminds me of platform pedals and oddballs with oddball gizmos while extreme cost of this project is anything but sensible.
Although the frame and gearing support touring, this is not a touring bike, as the rack space is limited and it is not fully ruggedized. The same goes for camping bike, not to mention I sort of hate camping.
The 35mm tires rule out randonneur bike, at least in the modern sense of the term.
The list goes on, but none of the pre-existing categories exactly seemed to express the combination of elements in what we've done with the 1985 Trek 620 in The Phoenix Project.
But this morning, the category, a new one of my creation, finally came to me in a flash. So after a meeting in Bethesda, I took the long way home to snap a few pictures to see if I could capture the essence of this category. Here is the best of the lot:
So here it is folks, an estate bike™. First and foremost, an estate bike™ is tasteful and refined, extremely high quality but not flashy. Stylistically, it carries on traditions and elements of its predecessors but is not a slavish or cartoonishly self-conscious reproduction.
As the pastoral name implies, it is comfortable and accomodating in all weather both on and off pavement but makes no pretenses about club racing or anything more daunting than gravel and moderate mud.
The parts on an estate bike™ are the products of established vendors at the pinnacle of their domain and are exquisite renditions of proven designs rather than the latest cycling marketing trends.
A perfunctory Googling shows that this is not a preexisting category, at least not a well-identified one - I'm glad that I thought of this term before Grant Petersen, who came up with country bike. Admittedly, estate bike™ is a similar concept, but a little less rowdy, a bit more elegant, and perhaps with a trust fund in the background somewhere.
Proceeding with dignity toward the local village on an estate bike™, one is supremely unperturbed by skinny tire racer boys whipping by except to the extent that it brings to mind fond memories of one's mint but very dusty full C Record Colnago hanging in the garage.
Oooh, I do love this picture, but it does mean I am going to have to lose the plastic water bottles and get some stainless ones.