Hooey who? This F400 rides like a luxury sedan | AspenTimes.com

Hooey who? This F400 rides like a luxury sedan

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that mountain bike technology has advanced since I bought my last 21-speed. But my old Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo was such a dependable ride for these last eight years that updating my bike was far from my mind. Until I brought the Hooey in for repairs and found that the clunky, old steed required $200 to get moving again. I inquired if we were approaching the point where a new bike might not be more economically wise than a $200 repair bill for a junker that cost under $800 in 1997.

No sooner had I asked than the wrenchman wheeled in a sparkling new Cannondale F400. OK, not exactly new – it was a 2003 model that had yet to find a home. But the price was sparkling, 40 percent off the list price, making it some $300 less than I paid for the Fisher. And with the promise that it was a flat-out better ride than Hooey ever was.

Jeezumcrow, what a difference! First of all, if lightness is the first criterion for mountain bike excellence, my hats off to the industry for their work over the last eight years. The Cannondale might as well weigh nothing. Combined with the flex of the steering and the major upgrade in suspension, this has required major adjustments. Every time I jump a curb, for example, it feels as if I’m about to take off. I’ve had no small number of near accidents over the last few weeks, and I attribute it to the ease of handling the F400. Sometimes I plum forget I’m riding a bike. The big question, to be answered very soon: Is this piece of tinfoil able to handle a real singletrack ride?

So far, though, for tooling around town, the F400 gets a wholehearted recommendation. Especially if you can pick it up at a steep discount. Now there’s the small matter of remembering I’m on a bike, not in the back seat of a luxury sedan.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com

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