‘Lagom’ (pronounced lar-gom) is a Swedish word with no direct English equivalent, meaning “just the right amount”, or “when just enough is best” – In fact it’s more a concept, rather than just a word. It’s a very Swedish way to look at things, ‘Lagom’ is said to describe the basis of the Swedish national psyche, one of consensus and equality.
Sometimes moderation is key, and on that note we present a very normal bike. It’s not to be overlooked though as occasionally bikes that are somewhat everyday, possibly even run of the mill, fall into a new realm – one of emotional attachment, usually the reserve of high end steeds.
Being of a certain age helps appreciate certain points in cycling history. Any British male in their mid to late 30’s will no doubt have memories of the booming trend in mountain biking. Back when bikes had no suspension, and a few key brands along with a character by the name of Mint Sauce featured in magazines that were drooled over in preference to the usual publications a teenage boy treasures.
Through 2011 Bikefood sponsored the Retrobike National rides series. Forum members and Retrobike enthusiasts who turned up at any one of the well organised rides were offered complimentary Bikefood Energy Drink Sachets to help support a full days riding, along with a Bikefood water bottle to adorn their retro steed.
The Retrobike website is where we found this great example of a mid range rigid MTB, a somewhat iconic early Marin Eldridge resplendent with the neon fork, bar and stem combo that defined the range along with the hard-wearing funky textured paint on the mainframe.
Refined, elegant and upmarket when compared to the other offerings of the time.
The twist for us is that every penny of the asking price went to a cycling charity that is volunteer run to provide bicycles for Africa. Not only this but pretty much anyone we’ve ever dealt with through the website has been a thoroughly decent and honourable person.
Like most bikes it has issues, all of which are simple challenges to be resolved one at a time. A stuck seat post is nothing new, although often a royal pain to fix, luckily it’s set at a most acceptable position as it stands. Pedals were scrapped in favour for silky smooth Deore XT bear traps (also sourced through Retrobike) matching up nicely to the Deore group (all LX with DX shifters, a typical arrangement at this competitive original price point). Tatty grips replaced with Ritchey WCS foam, complimenting the standard Ritchey headset and a nod to the original spec foam grips. Other than that a good wash and scrub with de-greaser and the bike has been good as gold. Out the box the gears didn’t even require adjustment, just hop on and ride. A full strip down and rebuild might have to wait for another decade… there is the sneaky suspicion that it’s not just the seat post that is happy to stay where it is – the bottom bracket looks original and the headset certainly is.
Other than a bargain with a warm feeling of karma, other highlights include the period upgrades – although a little frayed around the edges… cleaning your bargain bike upside down and noticing the small ‘Titanium’ sticker on the saddle rail you can’t help but smile, ‘Lagom’ is all well and good – but a little extra doesn’t hurt.