Wabi Classic update
[Note: this was written a while ago, but got saved rather than published while I was in the middle of sorting out some hosting issues. Happily, I have a new, reliable web host]
It’s been a while since my last post about the Wabi Classic, and I’ve made a few changes to it, so this is as good a time as any for an update.
First, I’m still in love with this bike. Even non-cyclists comment on what a sexy looking ride it is. With nearly non-existent graphics, and only minimal cabling, (front and rear brakes) it looks sleek and fast even when I’m going slow. And after doing a few “upgrades”, I’ve come to appreciate the stock component selection even more. When I got fitted for a tuxedo a few months back, I realized that I’m not quite the same chest size I was twenty years ago, so I replaced the original bars with some slightly wider Ritchey Pro bars. This necessitated a new stem, and a friend offered up a Thomson at a price I couldn’t refuse. At this point, I was thinking it would look better with a black seatpost and headset. Well, talk about being half wrong. The headset looks fine, but I ended up not using the seatpost, as silver just looks right after all. While I was at it, I figured it was silly to have those sweet Tektro Campy-style levers, but not have Campagnolo brakes. So off came the stock brakes, and on went a new set of Campys.
A couple hundred bucks into “upgrades”, and I have a bike that feels exactly like the stock bike, with probably no weight benefit, other than a slightly lighter wallet. Lesson learned. Richard Snook has plenty of experience not just riding and racing, but sourcing components too. Unless you like spending money for the sake of spending money, the only thing your Wabi really needs is a set of pedals. Save the upgrades for that day when something actually needs to be replaced. Given that this bike is so enjoyable to ride, that will most likely be the tires. I’m hard pressed to suggest swapping anything else, other than the seat, should you have a personal preference.
My only complaint to date is that I would have preferred a standard headset. Not that there is anything wrong with the integrated one, it’s just a personal choice. The bike has such an old school look to it, the headset is a bit out of place.
Great job giving up the skinny!!! I’m doing research on track frames since I want to get a track frame that fits and I want to make sure that if I buy new, that I’m going to get a bike I’ll really love, and that fits well. You’re write ups have been fantastic. I especially love this last one since I’m such a value oriented guy. I want good stuff, but I can’t afford to pay 2x more to save that last 3-10% in weight.
Like Snook says, its in the rotating masses that weight matters most. You get that with an Single Speed fixie and from what I’ve read, he puts together a very light pair of wheels 1750 gm for 150 USD. That’s nice.
Thank you again. I’m becoming a Wabi fan.
Thanks for the kind words. I have personally owned quite a few bikes, and have looked lustfully towards many more at bike shops and shows. But the Wabi is in a class by itself. Not only do you get a lot for your money, but it’s so good, that you would have to spend a small fortune to make any serious improvements to it. My advice would be to buy one, and the only upgrade you’ll need to make is some tires, once you wear the stock ones out.
Stumbled onto your blog while researching the Wabi Classic. I am new to cycling/bicycle commuting, and the roads in Houston, TX can be quite unforgiving. As a twenty-something, most people my age are riding obnoxious fixed gear bikes in ridiculous colors or cheap brands from bikesdirect they hardly ride—apart from my boyfriend who built up his Lotus from scratch. I can’t stand those. I just want something simple, clean, but sustainable and well-built. Apparently, this is a lot to ask, but the Wabi Classic seemed like a good fit.
I have been lingering on biting the bullet in regards to buying this bike for some time now, but your reviews were all the reassurance I needed. So, thank you! I will be buying a Wabi Classic very soon.
Chelsea, thanks for the feedback. You’d be hard pressed to find a better stock bike for the price.The quality of the ride and components is far better than expected. Let me know what you think when you get yours.