2000 Specialized Rockhopper FSR
Original specifications are nowhere to be found as this is appears to be classed as a "retro" bike now!

The newest addition to my extended Specialized family, is also the oldest. I picked up this "beast" in early 2011 when I fancied a change of scenery. I had a road bike, a cyclo-cross bike and a front suspension, hard tail bike. I had fleeted briefly with a single speed, fixed gear track bike and killed a hybrid bike. All that was left to try was a full suspension bike. Then I spied this fella. As the usual story goes, this bike had been bought new but was "hardly ever ridden" and had been "stored in the shed for the past few years". A likely story, but in this case, possibly true(ish) as it was in great condition and everything seemed original. The rear shock spring and headset both had shock boots on them and underneath the parts had clearly been well protected. The chainstay also had a protector on it that had been given away free with an early edition of MBR magazine, I know because I remember getting the same one years ago. That too was in great condition save for a coating of grease. So, I took a chance and handed over €220 euro after the obligatory "haggle" from the €250 asking price. First ride out, it performed very well. I did manage to bust both toe clips and pedals in the process, but as I was planning on replacing them with spd anyway, no real damage was done. Since then, it's been mudplugging, swimming, jumping and bumping over all manner of nastiness and after each good wash and re-grease, it still looks as good as new. It's built to last this one!

2003 Specialized Allez 24
Original specifications can be found here
Whereas the time I spent with the Fuji was short, the time and distance shared with the Allez is most definitely at the other end of the scale. I bought this bike in February 2011 and completed about 90% of the 12,000km I cycled that year, on it. It had recently been given a complete overhaul by its current owner and although only sporting a Sora groupset, this Allez was a must buy upon first glimpse. €400 euro maybe a bit steep for some to spend on an 8 year old bike, but it had clearly been well looked after and its recent overhaul had clearly been carried out with the care and attention only a bike lover can give. The fact that the chap I bought it off had another 14 bikes in his house only made me feel better about this purchase. It had been upgraded to include carbon forks but the original ones were also supplied with the sale. I have also upgraded to a carbon seat post, as it was tough to go back to anything else, after three years on the Tricross. After cycling all those kilometres this year, the only part I have so far replaced, is the chain. The bearings in the headset will need to be replaced though as several of them now resemble triangles rather than spheres! I am by no means at a level requiring professional grade components, far from it, but anyone who tells you that a Sora groupset is only good for a few thousand kilometres, is clearly wrong. This groupset still has many thousands of kilometres left in it. Only now am I contemplating replacing the brake pads!

2004 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
Original specifications can be found here
Strolling around the town one afternoon I spied the gorgeous blue paint job of this bike and I was drawn in. It was sat on the pavement outside a branch of Cash Converters with only battered and bruised Trek's and Raleigh's for company. I felt duty bound to rescue the little fella and help it to live once again. The frame was in fantastic condition and other than a broken rear spoke and a drivetrain drowning in oil, the rest of the bike looked great too. I promptly parted with £200 of birthday money and savings and peddled away happy. I was still living in Ireland at the time I bought this Rockhopper, so when I was away it remained stored in my parents garage. But, when I came back to visit, we were out and about together every day. When completing my Cytech Level 2 mechanics qualification in November 2011, I used this bike to learn on. It is now in better condition than ever and is running like it did when it first left the bike shop. Everything has been stripped, trued, re-tapped, faced, serviced, re-greased and rebuilt. Plus, with all new inner and outer cables along a new chain and a ruddy good polish, this little gem looks as good as new. This Rockhopper has much more life still to live.

2004 Specialized Sirrus Sport
Original specifications can be found here
This was my first foray in to the world of Specialized. At the time I was just getting back into cycling more regularly and had decided to commute by bike as I was getting a bit tired of walking the 28km each day! Yes, I really was walking that far each day! See the "About" section for the reasons behind this. Anyway, it was a choice between a Claud Butler something or other and a Specialized Hybrid. The sales guy did his job and after parting with the money I had gotten from selling my 1995 Orange C-16RS and an old road bike I had purchased the previous year, I rode off on the Specialized Sirrus. Three years of happy and trouble free commuting ensued until this happend one Winter evening!

2007 Specialized Tricross Sport Triple
Original specifications can be found here
Following the death of the Sirrus, I chose to stick with the Specialized brand as I had only been unlucky. Until then the Sirrus had been a joy to ride, so I saw no reason to change. Although the guys at Cycleways in Dublin had initially only offered me trade in value for the three year old Sirrus against the purchase of a new bike, my reasoning that I was not intending to trade it in at that time and would expect it to last several more years, made them see sense. I now had the full €749.99 I had initially paid to put towards my chosen upgrade. As Xmas was approaching I decided to treat myself to the Tricross Sport. And boy am I glad I did! What a beautiful bike and what a wonderful ride. With carbon forks and seat post, my riding experience was changed forever. Anyone who is still to experience carbon forks and/or seat post on their bike, should treat themselves to one or both as soon as they can.

2010 Fuji Track Comp
Original specifications can be found here
I spent the shortest amount of time on this bike than any bike I've ever owned. I bought it in April 2010, after joining the track team at the velodrome in Dublin, but sold it in June 2011 when I left Ireland. In total I cycled just 233km on it. Lovely ride though. Track cycling is so exhilarating, as those that have done it can attest to. I actually bought this bike through the "Bike to Work" initiative, saving 30% off the original price. Biking to work, it seems, is clearly not one of the necessary criteria of the "Bike to Work" scheme!


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