Thanks wphamilton and nfmisso. I appreciate your support.
Banzai, I said a long time ago in this thread that this has ceased to be a Denali lifetime report and is more of my own bike blog for whatever bike I happen to be riding. I upgrade the Denali because I want to. Could I, in the end, have gotten a better bike for less as it is now? Maybe, and I'll freely admit it. But it doesn't change the fact that it's been a long road getting to where I am now and the Denali has been there every step of the way, taking whatever I throw at it, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. THAT is why this thread is so long, and again, for those that may have missed it the first time...
This is no longer a lifetime report thread. The Denali has changed significantly enough that it no longer makes sense. This is my ongoing bike blog for those that may choose to read it. I had hoped that throwing another bike into the mix would make it a little more clear, but I guess it didn't. I would edit the title, but I can't.
Yes, I freely admit I praise the bike that you call a 'train wreck' and my accomplishments on it pretty often. You know why? It might shock you to know I'm actually proud of it, and proud of what I accomplished on it. I'm invested far more than financially in this bike at this point. So in essence, no, I don't know that the 'train wreck' factor is the appeal of this thread, but if it is, then so be it. I'd like to think that those who read my admittedly long-ish posts can see what my friend nfmisso sees...a simple joy in cycling that I continue to rediscover every time I ride, and that I can hopefully share with others. That is, after all, what I feel when I write these things. And, maybe users like wphamilton and other Denali owners, who may see a modification I do that they might like to do to their own. And yes, for those who may not connect with either but simply want to see what this idiot is doing now, as I hinted at earlier with my somewhat sarcastic tone about throwing Campagnolo on a Denali. Which, I did...and it's still working great.
As wphamilton stated, there is nothing unusual about the Denali's componentry, everything is very standard which is why I am able to slap anything and pretty much everything on it. Not that it's necessary, wphamilton, CigTech, and others have gotten many thousands of miles on their stock components.
Want to know the true limitations of the Denali frame? I'll freely admit them to you.
It has a heavy steel fork, which, with narrow road tires and stiff aluminum frame, makes for a somewhat harsh ride over rough surfaces. It does not have a separate detachable derailleur hanger. It does not have braze on points for downtube shifters (that may apply to me more than others, I like DT). I'm having trouble coming up with much more, and yes, I'm being fully open and honest. It's a very standard frame, and as wphamilton states, it really is not all that heavy. It's the stuff that comes attached to it that makes the bike seem heavy initially.
I'm really sorry you can't appreciate the merit of enjoying the simple joys in life. Not everything needs to be approached on the basis of price tag, or optimal value for the bottom dollar. I'm willing to bet I've gotten as much joy out of my Denali as you have out of your finest road steed, because it's helped me learn everything I know about cycling and been there with me as I changed from a fat couch lard on the fast track to having a stroke as my grandfather and father before me to where I am now. Can you place a dollar figure on that? Probably not...but on that standard, I think I got a hell of a value out of my Denali and every cent you and others feel I've wasted on it.
If you stuck around for all that, then I commend you.
On a more positive note...
Today, I made up for the ride I didn't get yesterday due to rain. I rode the Free Spirit (Sovereign) for a little over 29 miles. I was reminded of why I chose that bike to be my long distance/touring bike. So smooth, it's like riding on air! As a result, I seem to get less tired over longer distances on this bike. As you may remember, this was the bike I rode 53 miles on last fall, and other than my butt being a little confused, I really wasn't that tired or sore.
Of course, it is a bit of a chunk, so it won't be winning any races. I think we averaged about 15-16 according to one of our riders' GPS units. And that's about as fast as I'd want to push it on any kind of reasonable distance with our terrain. Higher speed cruising in top gear on flats is relatively easy, but it's best to take the hills with a more leisurely pace. I'd really like to do a century on this bike.
Today was also the first day I've rode without the clipless setup and I have to say...I don't really miss it! That's not to say I don't appreciate the merits of clipless but I did just fine without it and with less foot numbness. I'm sure that means I need to adjust something. I did notice that my feet were moving around more when doing some hard cranks uphill.