Monday, July 16, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of poor, misguided souls.

Every picture tells a story, but on fixedgeargallery that picture is sometimes only part of the tale. There are times when the real story is in the owners' copy. But sometimes just a picture is enough. Here are two of the former, and one of the latter:

I bought the frame on craigslist from a guy in S. San Jose who (supposedly) had it built for him by Jeff Richmond, to race for Specialized. fillet brazed unknown type of steel, black sparkle paint, undrilled fork. this machine has the most responsive handling i have ever experenced, yet is extremely stable at high speeds and cornering. super predictable track skids. ridiculous power transfer with the disc. high bottom bracket + 61.5cm seat tube sits me face to face or above most drivers. i would probably kill over this bike.

carbon/titanium HED alps front wheel, suicide disc rear. dura-ace 172.5 njs cranks. thank you Chris Miller for the seat: flite. thank you Bicycle Works, napa, for the bars: WCS 44cm. thank you Recyclery for the stem: black. thank you fixed gear wizard for fixedgeargallery: great.

Ah, yes. The story of the bike. The dog show continues--if people aren't dressing their bikes up in bandanas and top-tube pads and walking them up and down the sidewalk, then they're concocting lengthy pedigrees for them. And I'm sure that in this case the story behind the frame is true, because Craigslist doesn't let just anybody post an ad and say whatever they want. By the way, it's not a car. Just because it was built for a racer doesn't make it fast. There's the small matter of the rider as well. Of course, for all I know the current owner could be the fastest guy on two ugly-ass wheels. And if he spends nearly as much time riding as he does scouting picturesque settings in which to pose his bike, or making ominous decals for his rims and frame, then he probably is. And he's obviously tested this machine to its limits. It delivers "super predictable track skids." Awesome. This is certainly due at least in part to the "suicide disc" rear wheel. I may be letting my ignorance hang out and flap in the breeze here, but what the hell is a "suicide disc?" Does he mean it has a freewheel-threaded hub that won't accept a proper track lockring? Or is it some kind of boomerang frisbee that comes back to decapitate you after you throw it? Why do people need to make the act of riding a bike sound like some kind of death-defying endeavor anyway? Even on a brakeless fixed-gear you're really just riding an efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly machine around at something like 15-25mph. You're not launching a motorcycle over 75 cars before a capacity crowd in Vegas. Get over it.

i bought this off craigslist and really like it. its a 42 16. i feel like a baby for putting a brake on the front but i haven't mastered the sliding brake maneuver. i want to get a brooks seat though. (but they are sooooooo spendy) anybody know where to get them cheap?
great site! i browse it often.

Peer pressure is so depressing. Why do you feel like a baby for having a brake on the front? Is it because all the cool kids are going without one? Don't worry, you'll master that "sliding brake maneuver" one day. But you know what's also cool? Stopping with both your legs and a front brake and toeing that line just before the rubber breaks loose from the pavement. That actually takes some finesse, and is the fastest way to stop. But then again it doesn't make a noise or a mark on the street, so that dreamy guy with the star tattoos, pedal-pushers and bandana around his neck like some kind of French bread vendor won't notice. Did you ever see the movie “Heathers?” I don’t mean to be hard on you, but I sense you’re a spoke’s width from ditching that brake out of vanity and conformity, and that’s not good. Please don’t be the one making fun of the fat kid because everyone else is. You seem nice. Keep the brake, you’ll like it.

Hey, I'm Alex from Los Angeles. I bought the new Swobo Sanchez and I just started upgrading parts . Here is an "out of the shop" photo followed by a much more recent photo.

Pic says it all here. Nice upgrades. Now your bike is half white, half green, and all ugly. You should put it back the way you found it. Somewhere under all that paint a bike is crying.


Anonymous said...

Spoke cards drive me crazy. It looks like they rode through a mound of trash and some of it got stuck in their spokes. They destroy the whole radial symmetry aesthetic of the wheel.

Pete D. said...

More reviews!!! Please!

Tears of laughter and side pain from too much enjoyment.

Thank you!

Bobby said...

a "suicide cog" usually means a fixed cog epoxied or jb welded to a hub since a proper lockring won't fit.

i don't know if suicide's really the right term though. "death by stupidity" style might be a better term.

RE: the swobo bike, i love that the 'out of the shop' pic features the spoke cards. i can just see the kid going to pick up his bike with a fistful of spokecards and spending an hour trying to arrange them just so.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

awesome reviews, always a great read. Thanks for the frequent updates!

fxdwhl said...

Spoke card etiquette question?

Can you only keep spoke cards on the bike you did the race/alleycat on or are they interchangle between bikes? Intant cred on a new big smells kinda fishy.

Also are the thickness of the spokecards calculated into proper spoke tension? What about the additional rotational weight?

At least sewups haven't broken out on the scene yet. Brakeless conversion with elmers glue rear/super glue front holding the tires on for all they're worth. Now that's rolling death.

Ben said...

haha yeah the dude didnt even bother to take the reflectors out before putting the spoke cards in

Anonymous said...

I've got the same old HED disk for my track bike. It is threaded for a "freewheel", but there are adapters out there that will get a track cog on the correct chain line.

Problem with the adapter is there is no locking mechanism for the adapter. Mine usually breaks free before the cog, so I drilled/tapped for a set screw (its ok, I'm an engineer). I like suicide breakaways on the track, but not dangerous bikes.

I'm ok with the punk/grunge aspect of the fixee trend, but I have a hard time watching someone roll up to the bar on a track-ready bike. It's like watching someone working at a construction site in $200 dress shoes. There is a time and place for everything, and my race wheels only roll at the races.

My beer bike, though, looks like crap so it will be there to roll my drunk butt home at the end of the night.

Anonymous said...

yeah, putting spokecards on a new bike YOU HAVE NEVER RACED ON, is insanely lame.

Anonymous said...

pffft that last guy's handlebars arent even chop flopped hes losing some serious speed there.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if you put enough spoke cards on your wheel, you sort wind up with sort of an aerodynamic ghetto disk.


Art said...

"track skids"? Pardon my ignorance. I've never raced at a velodrome, but isn't skidding on the track the kind of thing that will get you kindly asked never to come back?

I also can't help but wonder what's happening to all of those rear Aerospokes.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Yes, the new fixed gear rider who does find his or her way to the velodrome will have a lot to unlearn. I have personally encountered a rider skipping his rear wheel to scrub off some speed in a paceline and then apologizing, explaining he did it out of "habit."


jamespark said...

That poor Swobo Sanchez bike! That is so wrong, I just have to cry. How could they DO THAT to such a clean and simple design? Please BSNYC, deliver us from this evil!

Anonymous said...

i still cant get over the guys "creative pix" and the note to the webmaster to allow all the pics but if you have too ...dont use no. 4

Colin R said...

yeah, putting spokecards on a new bike YOU HAVE NEVER RACED ON, is insanely lame.

what the heck does racing have to do with spokecards??

filtersweep said...

That Sanchez bike? Am I hallucinating? Reflectors? Is that for safety or something?

Jim said...

i want to get a Brooks seat though. (but they are sooooooo spendy) anybody know where to get them cheap?

Aaaah, the agony, Aimee, of tragic hipness... The best price on Brooks is available at Nashbar. They sell them below retail. But Nashbar is wayyy too uncool for you, my burgeoning hipster, and they were just bought out by Performance, which means they are DoublePlus Uncool. If you're thinking about demonstrating your slavish devotion to fashion by taking off the front brake, then you are exactly the kind of person who should just accept paying full retail. Instead of being ashamed of getting ripped off, cite your willingness to pay retail+ as one of your strong points. I suggest checking the price for a Brooks Swift at, multiply it by 40%, then place a WTB ad on Craigslist. A local fixed gear artisan in your area, a specialist in building high end fixies out of Nishikis and Fujis and Schwinns like yours, will surely spring to your aid and give you the hookup. As part of the built-in Craigslist advantage, the saddle will probably come with a great pedigree, such as "broken in by Chris Boardman at Worlds last year," "hand carved and stitched by a homeless busker on Haight," or if it's really old, "broken in by Major Taylor at the Berlin Six Days in 19 aught 6." You may want to get some lanolin and Brave Soldier while you're at it - you can throw money at a bike problem to fix it but cash alone won't fix the quarter-sized perma-hole the Brooks is going to wear in your taint, at least until you build up an attractive callous.

Anonymous said...

what the heck does racing have to do with spokecards??

I don't know if you're kidding or seriously asking, but it used to be you'd get a spokecard for racing in an alleycat. Nowadays people print 'em up just to have cool spokecards in their wheels without having actually raced.

Colin R said...

I don't know if you're kidding or seriously asking, but it used to be you'd get a spokecard for racing in an alleycat.

I was seriously asking :/ I've seen enough spokecards, there's no way most of those guys are getting from alleycats.

Anonymous said...

HOLY F*&K that Swobo is akin to buying a used 1988 Honda Civic and adding lots of cheap plastic ground-effects. And he stole the paint scheme from an older Lemond Poprad. Why oh WHY?

Unknown said...

The 1st guy even went out of his way to add that ginormous Volcom Stone sticker to his silly-cide disc wheel. I wonder if he bought it at the Pac-Sun store in his local suburban mall or maybe it was Hot Topic instead? Kids these days....

Anonymous said...

WRONG... a suicide cog is one that's screwed onto a freewheel (or track even) hub. some riders screw on a bottom bracket lockring to hold it on, some don't. it's called "rotofixing" and has been done by track riders for years. because they don't backpedal to brake, it's not an issue for them.

Matt said...

Dear Mr. Snob:
I am having difficulty getting spoke cards to stay in my radial-spoked wheel. Is it ok to use clothespins? Duct tape? Is it cool if the duct tape matches that on my top tube protector?

Philip Williamson said...

The stock Swobo is only a little bit prettier than a chrome "full suspension" NEXT with an unhooked front V-brake. Mostly because there's less of it to love. Galvi? Is it actually made out of conduit?

I can't believe I don't have any spoke cards in my unlockringed NJS colored wheels with speedblend tires. Maybe I'm in remission?

Anonymous said...

WRONG... a suicide cog is one that's screwed onto a freewheel (or track even) hub. some riders screw on a bottom bracket lockring to hold it on, some don't. it's called "rotofixing" and has been done by track riders for years. because they don't backpedal to brake, it's not an issue for them.

Rotafixing != threading a track cog onto a hub without lockring threads.

Anonymous said...

Hey Colin,
Regarding the spoke cards- they were started from allycats but in the past two years or so have really evolved into a more general thing. Used to be very rare, only those who raced. NOW they're making spoke cards for EVERYTHING! parties, events, whatever!
Spoke cards used to mean cred- now (a lot of times) it means douche! Esp when someone tries to BUY a race spoke card from someone who actually raced... OMG.

Anonymous said...

"Why do people need to make the act of riding a bike sound like some kind of death-defying endeavor anyway? Even on a brakeless fixed-gear you're really just riding an efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly machine around at something like 15-25mph. You're not launching a motorcycle over 75 cars before a capacity crowd in Vegas. Get over it."

Jesus...I was laughing my ass off after reading that part....brilliant! Why do people need to make EVERYTHING into something "brag-worthy", or even noteworthy? That's half the problem right now. I honestly don't understand what's happened to the used to be that you had to actually USE the crap you were spending untold $$$ on to avoid being laughed off the, it's like nobody gives a rat's ass what's what...they just wanna see what you've GOT.

With bikes, cars, owning a home, art, business, anything and everything. It's a horrible, horrible, WILLFULLY fake-ass, "ME FIRST!" era and it sucks.

Cycling is about riding a bicycle. There's nothing destructive about it. Let's stop turning the sport/activity/art of riding bicycles into a 2007 version of a 1987 Bad Boy Club T-Shirt, destined to be laughed at in 10 years.

(But then probably dug back up out of a closet and "brought back" by a circa-2017 hipster, ironically. Or un-ironically. Or un-un-ironically....I'm not sure where that'll be at that point, either.)

Anonymous said...

Bad Boy Club t! Hahhahaha

Anonymous said...

My gf pointed me in the direction of your site, she apparently thought your critique of 3 bikes from fgg was funny.

I didn't laugh. you may have totally valid points about most of what these people are doing/posting, I guess it wasn't funny to me because I just don't care too much about what other people think about their bikes.

I live in the nyc, I was born here. I've been riding bikes all my life. I anticipate that elitists disapprove of other people trying to ride the wave of trendieness. Your site to me is mere confirmation of my suspicions, that people will interpret bike culture, which is perminent, as a trend, something temporal.

The more people ride, bmx, mtb or fixies, the better off we are as a country and planet. To criticize them is to create division where there should be unity and pride. The motorists are the enemy, not the yuppie who just bought a Gary Fisher Triton with front and rear hand brakes. I would argue that however dorky these three people come across to you and your hip army of qualified bike judges, that they are more creative than you and said army because they interpreting what riding fixed means to their lives, while you are just negating their efforts.

Just throwing a little bit of that criticism back in your direction--you understand.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Thanks for the comment, and for the criticism. Sorry the site's not for you, and I certainly won't try to convince you otherwise.

However, since you took the time to comment I'll take the time to respond. I just want to say that what I'm poking fun of (mostly) is vanity for vanity's sake. Like when a bicycle is extremely uncomfortable, impractical, or even dangerous to ride because its owner was more concerned with making it look a certain way.

I'm certainly not about being hip--quite the opposite, in fact. I think we're in a time where people interested in getting into cycling feel self-conscious about riding a bicycle with a brake on it because brakes aren't cool anymore (just to give an example). I don't think that's an environment that fosters new riders. And I do hope that a new rider who does stumble upon this site and takes the time to read comes away encouraged to do whatever he or she wants despite what's trendy at the moment, and to make the smart choice. In fact, I want that new rider to come away feeling secure enough in him- or herself to laugh at those cooler-than-though riders who at one point might have seemed intimidating.

Again, I am glad you took the time to read and to comment.


Anonymous said...

You should check out Your brains will ooze out of your ears...

Unknown said...

You mean like this one?

How long did he look for the perfect curb to match his bike?!

Anonymous said...

its funny how all you mother fuckers wanna hate on a bike you aint snob says hes the opposite of hip just like an emo kid is uncool in order to be kool...your an idiot..if you dont like MY whip dont look at it...
p.s your mother says"don't say nothing if you have nothing nice to say"

brianfmorrissey said...

The current fixed culture = Early 80's skate culture.

It's the bell curve of any trend I suppose. Early messengers started on track bikes because they could order them out of classified ads for cheap because who else rode them? Track racing was at a complete nadir after it's hey day in the pre-war years. Now the whole culture is just a sad copycat folded over on itself many times over.

Keep up the great work. This site is hilarious.

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