I Fired the Torpedo

Is the Campy drivetrain angry about the Shimano pedals? Probably.

This dang Guru Photon has been sitting here, built, in the shop for several weeks. Many are the Thursday nights (we ride on Thursdays) that I’ve thought about taking out the bike and, you know, doing some consumer research. Inevitably it’s rained or we got really busy or some horrible thing happened to prevent me from testing the merchandise.

Sunday, everything finally came together. I’d planned to ride with a buddy, the day dawned clear and beautiful and I managed to wake up with enough time to grab the bike and get it ready to go.

So what is the 2010 Bicycling Magazine Dream Bike like? It’s freaking dreamy. Is it stiff? Yes. Is there vertical compliance? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. It is an enormous amount of fun. Should you get one? This is the point at which things get interesting.

Until about two weeks ago, every Guru was made to measure. You’d come to a shop like mine and we’d make some measurements and employ the fit bike and do some magic and then Guru would build you a frame optimized for your position.

In an effort to speed the delivery process (to a matter of days), Guru recently decided to offer a select number of its frames in stock geometry, with limited paint options. It works like this:

  • Tier One represents what Guru has always done — completely custom with every option imaginable.
  • Tier Two is stock geometry with a lot of latitude for custom options and paint.
  • Tier Three is stock geometry with a stock paint scheme.

The truth of the matter is that many of us don’t need a custom frame. I’ve ridden many stock-sized bikes with great pleasure, comfort and efficiency. Guru’s new approach gives those of us with “average” builds an opportunity to save a few bucks and get the bike quickly.

If your physical self requires (or desires) a fully custom bike, Guru represents an excellent value. If you can be happy with stock geometry and maybe a stock paint scheme, Guru now offers an absolutely killer value.

Back to the Photon. It rules. It kicks ass. It is light and neat and expensive and really, really awesome. Should you get one? I really can’t make that sort of value judgement for you, but I will say this: I have every confidence that “regret” is not a word you’d use in any sentence associated with this bike except the obvious: “I regret that I didn’t do this sooner.”