Thursday, August 23, 2007
Fixedgeargallery...of duelling styles
One of my favorite things about Fixedgeargallery is the incredible variety of styles. There are infinite ways to ruin an innocent bike, and thanks to online galleries new examples are paraded before us every day. And unlike the real world, where devotees of certain styles tend to band together, online you can see them all side-by-side. Here are two that, while completely different, compliment each-other in a Turtle-and-Drama kind of way:
Years ago hip-hop culture was shipped wholesale to Japan only to return in a much more potent, refined and marketable form. It was then sold back to us through expensive periodicals with lots of pictures and little text and in overpriced boutiques in trendy neighborhoods. Somehow track bikes got caught up in this as well. Owners sought graffiti murals in front of which to photograph their bikes, chose their upgrades based on pictorials in style magazines, and began referring to their bikes as "whips" that are "mad fun to ride." You're now more likely to find a track bike in a sneaker shop than in a velodrome, and the rider's more likely to be wearing untied Nikes than Sidis. (Sadly, though Nike has left cycling, their influence remains.) This Pista (complete with dope rear rim) embodies this aesthetic well--I count at least four things on this bike that could have been upgraded to better effect for the money spent on those ridiculous wheels, which I hate to say are mad ugly, yo.
On the other hand, we have this specimen. Largely a relic from another decade, it has tried to reinvent itself in fixed-gear form in order to fit in with a younger crowd. The owner has duly noted the aero-wheel-in-the-front trend, and so he sourced the Hed from an old tri bike. Unfortunately it misses the mark--that wheel's not deep dish, it's a Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizza. He also dug out the Alter stem, which, along with the mullet and the zebra-striped kit, is right up there with the things of which Mario Cipollini is most ashamed. Then there's the "Dura Ace" crank (sure, Shimano made a 110bcd black Dura Ace crank, didn't you know that?) with the mind-bogglingly absurd 60 tooth chainring. I guess the owner figures he'll blow out what's left of his knees in order to try to hang with the kids. (Gearing rule-of-thumb: your chainring should not be larger than your front wheel.) Lastly, and perhaps saddest of all, is the Garmin so he can find his way home.