Thursday, October 25, 2007

BSNYC Infrequently Asked Questions

Occasionally people write to me and ask me questions about bikes. While I’m flattered they think I’d know the answer, I must confess that the only subject I’m truly an expert on is stuff that annoys me. Nonetheless, even though I can’t offer the sagacity of “Ask Zach,” I do think I have some knowledge worth sharing. Here are a few random questions and answers in no particular order. So if you don’t mind misinformation feel free to email me, but just check here first since your question might already have been answered:

What is a freerider?

Freeriders are people who sit bolt-upright on their bikes, wear baggy clothes, and look for high things to ride off of. If you think of your favorite mountain bike trail as a human body, freeriders are the people who focus on one tiny part of it. They are the ear, nose, and throat doctors, bikini waxers, and foot fetishists of the mountain biking world.

Why are the woods squeaking?

No, you’re not about to be attacked by spider monkeys. If you’ve noticed recently that your local sylvan refuge sounds like the boxspring of your overly amorous neighbor, this is probably due to the fact that it is full of mountain bikers on dual suspension bikes who don’t maintain them properly. While these contraptions are admittedly complex, it would be nice if these riders would occasionally lubricate their pivots. Or failing that, they should take a cue from your overly amorous neighbor and discover the joys of riding rigid.

How can I overhaul my Shimano STI lever?

Well, the official answer is that you can’t, since they’re not meant to be rebuildable. However, some people claim to have done so successfully. If the lever’s dead anyway, you might as well try. Here’s an exploded diagram.

How can I overhaul my Campagnolo Ergo lever?

Unlike Shimano, Campy levers are designed to be rebuildable. This is why Campy owners exude that infuriating aura of smug self-satisfaction. If your Campy-equipped bike starts missing shifts like a cashier with a short register, here’s a simple diagram for you to follow. You’ll be clicking and gloating in no time.

I think I need a new bottom bracket. How do I know which type I need?

If you’re not sure what kind of bottom bracket your bike has, use the Samuel L. Jackson method of BB identification. If at the time you bought your bike Sam Jackson was an extremely talented character actor who appeared in films like “Goodfellas,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Patriot Games,” then you have a square taper bottom bracket. If Jackson had already done “Pulp Fiction” and was now getting top billing in films like “Jackie Brown,” “Unbreakable,” and the new “Star Wars” movies, then you probably have Octalink. If your crank is neither Shimano or Campy, Jackson was starting to do movies like “Changing Lanes,” and you were starting to ask yourself, “Is Sam even reading scripts anymore?,” then you’ve probably got ISIS. Finally, if Jackson had completed his transformation to camp-mongering schlockster specializing in B movies with serpentine references like “Black Snake Moan” and “Snakes on a Plane” then you’ve most likely got an outboard bottom bracket system.

If you’ve got a Campy crank, it’s a square taper. Unless your crank is ugly. Then it’s one of those Hirth joint things.

I just bought a new high-end road bike. How do I keep it in good working order?

You paid top dollar for a bicycle, and part of what you paid for is durability. Don’t compromise that durability by riding your bicycle in the rain, during the winter, or in any situation where it might get wet, dirty, or subject to damage of any kind. If you don’t already own a “rain bike,” make sure you get one immediately. You should also get a “crit bike,” a “training bike,” and a bike for long recreational rides. It should stand to reason that the more you paid for your bicycle the less you should ride it, and that you should spend most of your riding time on crappier bikes instead. Remember—your new road bike is less about riding then it is about your idea of what a road bike should be. It should be preserved in amber so that you can sell it on eBay when it’s time for an upgrade next year.

I want to sell my bike. How much is it worth?

If your bike is a vintage mountain bike, a track bike, or has horizontal dropouts, ask whatever you want and you’ll probably get it. And do it now, before the bubble pops. If it’s anything else, put it up on Craigslist for $20 less than you paid for it. Be sure to mention the many upgrades you’ve made to the bike, like the new American flag bar tape, suspension seatpost (bonus points if the suspension post is on a road bike), and bizarre handlebar attachments. Be sure to mention also that the bike has sentimental value to you, that CannondaleSpecializedBianchiTrek doesn’t make this color anymore, that it has completed the Five Boro Bike Tour, and that it deserves to be ridden and that you want it to go to a good home. Also throw in something extra, like a used pair of shorts. After four weeks and seventeen posts give up and put it in the basement. With any luck in ten years some new trend will come along, aluminum bikes with vertical dropouts and integrated headsets will be all the rage for some reason, and you’ll make a killing.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a fixed gear conversion with a brake because of hills in my town. I'd like to do bar spins at Fast Friday but my cable gets in the way, is there a 1" HS compatible GYRO I can install? Thanks!

Matt in Seattle

VeloStrummer said...

As usual, I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Matt,

Maybe an old ACS rotor?

http://www.sportwheels.ca/olsloolbmx/os_acsrotor.jpg

Or if you've got a threaded stem, maybe you could try the old Potts Modification.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_p.html

--BSNYC

leroy said...

Excuse me.

You three on the First Posters podium...

We're going to need blood and urine samples.

You too BSNYC.

No exceptions.

Chris Mayhew said...

I'm pretty sure you posted a diagram of Campy 9spd for '96 which is not compatible with the fall, spring or brunch versions of Campy 9spd from '96. Or anything else Campy made either.

Karl Rover said...

I beg to differ on your "freerider" description. A proper freerider does not even need a trail to ride. They can pretty much ride down anything. Thus, they are sort of like a doctor who practices medicine without a license...or a degree.

moocow said...

I actually fell for the 'Exploded STI lever Diagram' I laughed then felt better because that's what mine looked like when I tried to rebuild it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Ask Zach thing is pretty awful. Nothing like wading through endless rambling and really bad, kludgy analogies only to learn that "Deep V's come in plenty of rad colors."

Niki said...

Shouldn't that be the "Five Borough Bike Race?"

K said...

Wow.
Snakes on a Plane reference, Samuel L. Jackson...you never cease to blow my mind!

Anonymous said...

No, it's the Five Borough Bike Tour. They are very explicit that it's not a race, and apparently run a pace car at the front to keep the speed down. It's way to crowded with riders of, well, varying skill levels to have people racing.

Nick M said...

I am from France and would like to submit some question to your immense sagacity please: over here we do not ride bikes without brakes and freewheels on the roads because of two reasons: overall calculation shows that there is about 15% more downhills than climbs in France, so it is counterproductive. I guess that in America you have more flats and climbs than downhills ? My second question is that obstruction of all the body pores leads to death through inability to skin breathe, and bad juvenile acne thus leads to permanent brain damage, which in turn leads to riding fixies. Over here it is compulsory to use neutral ph Dove soap which keeps the skin clear of acne. I guess in the states you don't have this soap? Regarding bar spins on bikes with brakes, there is a simpler method of doing a spectacular bounce and spin stunt without wiping out all old ladies in a 3 meter radius, it is to ride head-on into a tree.
Nick M.

Anonymous said...

nick m,

http://www.hetzijzo.nl/historie/escher-stair.gif

plenty more flats/climbs than downhills here in america

Schorsch said...

I have read your "blog" from the beginning, sir, and I can usually enjoy your "humor," but today you have gone too far.

"Changing Lanes" was a very good movie. So suck it.

sh said...

the Samuel L. Jackson method of BB identification cracked me UP!
Nice one.

Strayhorn said...

Thanks for the original Campy instruction set. I'll take that across campus to the Romance Languages Dept and get a good translation because the factory-translated instruction set advised me to "check the wheel, if envisaged."

Makes the Shimano instructions seem written by Hemingway.

Shiprek said...

nick m, i'm callin bullshit! theres no way you're french...i dated a couple of french girls before and even been to montreal once. no fuckin way do they use that dove bar. i mean they don't even shower, let alone shave. c'mon dude, nice try...

spokey dokey said...

Anon 12:36- you are kicked off the tour for being a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

To 12:36

So you don't get sarcasm much where you're from, or have never read a Craigslist post. Since every bike for sale post does mention the 5 boro ride as a "RACE" even though anybody who's ever raced thinks that 30,000 riders walking their bikes up 6th avenue hardly constitutes a race.

Ahab said...

Your freerider description is lacking. Your forgot to mention the 4 accompanying full-armored riders who do nothing but watch the fifth guy go off said ob-stackle.

Niki said...

Anon 12:36 -

It's totally a race! I won last year!

Schorsch said...

nick m-

15% more downhills than climbs in France? Even the land prefers to surrender!

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrn!

Clayton said...

shiprek: and even been to montreal once.

this gave me a good laugh.

Clayton said...

the french have proven couragous in battle time and time again, though your comment was funny, schorsch.

Anonymous said...

I always forget that Samuel L. Jackson was in Goodfellas. It was all pretty much downhill from there for him. So what does that say about BBs?



Stacks Edwards: What time is it?
Tommy DeVito: It's eleven thirty, we're supposed to be there by nine.
Stacks Edwards: Be ready in a minute.
Tommy DeVito: Yeah, you were always fuckin' late, you'd be late for your own fuckin' funeral.

swaged said...

But is it JOA?

Jimmy Osmond Approved

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/9338/swbro1.jpg

Jim said...

I've about muvafunkin' had it, with these muvafunkin' references, to these muvafunkin' Snakes on a Plane.

/s
Jackson L. Samuels

Anonymous said...

ok, i'm late and just read your post on cyclocross. perfect, at times i felt this same way this past weekend. by the way do you know Charlie Issendorf?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:14pm,

Thanks--sure, Charlie I. is a huge asset to NYC racing.

--BSNYC

bikesnobchi said...

A question that we're receiving in Chicago: "My bicycle often doesn't fit with my partners bicycle when walking down the street. Is it a faux-pas to share one fixed-gear bike between two people? Should we take turns walking with the bike? Will people start to 'talk' about us?"

BikeSnobNYC said...

BSCHI,

Good question. I will answer it with another question: is it a faux-pas to adopt someone's online identity? In both cases, it's difficult to say. On one hand, somebody had the bike and the identity first. On the other, immitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So does one get proprietary, or does one share and share alike? Thought-provoking indeed...

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Roam? I don't care what you call anyone, but these guys are pretty awesome!!

http://www.thecollectivefilm.com/roam/index_roam.html

Click "teaser".

Rosie O'Donnel's Bibshorts said...

Yeah, Bike Snob Chicago is little creepy. Almost along the lines of Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Single White Female". You may come home one night and find Bike Snob Chicago standing in your living room wearing your Weezer tshirt and Dickies peg pants. Scary!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Rosie's Bibs,

OK, now that was funny. The joke's on you, though--I don't have a living room.

--BSNYC

leroy said...

Dear Anon 1:52:

Oh dear me, you may be mistaken about the 5 Boro Ride (but not about the Craig's List descriptions).

Although the 5 Boro tour is mainly a ride, the part you describe where everyone walks his or her bike up 6th Avenue is in fact the Cyclocross race portion of the ride.

Don't feel bad.

I didn't know this either until I read Mr. Bike Snob's description of Cyclocross and learned that on some portions of the course the racers don't actually ride their bikes!

Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had participated in a Cyclocross event on 6th Avenue without even knowing it.

Gracious me, was my face red.

In retrospect, the potholes should have been the tip off.

Anonymous said...

Bikesnobchi is a cheap imitation. Second city bikesnob stay off the blog.

Anonymous said...

Elvis said "impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery"

Anonymous said...

I've had very good luck rejuvenating a Shimano STI lever (Tiagra 9sp) by blowing a can of wd40 through it, letting it dry and adding some light oil.

I've had similar good luck in rejuvenating a Campy ergo lever by not buying it in the first place.

bikesnobchi said...

Bikesnobnyc: we do not attempt to imitate you; there's enough brakeless douche bags riding through all the trendy neighborhoods in Chicago to keep us busy. From those riding through the greater reaches of Wicker Park on their fixies (no doubt in white tennis shoes, with matching white belts and square-framed glasses) to the contrived and convoluted chicago critical massers, we have enough to attack here. No doubt, when we exhaust that avenue, we'll attack cruisers, recumbants, and the bmxers that are plaguing our streets like cock roaches in a vintage, gas-heated garden apartment in Ukranian Village.

We're second city, and can never be as great as you. Nor can this blog.

Love,

bikesnobchi

p.s. if you'd like for us to show up and play out a scene from Single White Female, we're happy to oblige.

jeremy said...

bikesnobchi is a wanna-be and a sesquipedalian stinky-pants. I can't believe you use the same blogger template.

leroy said...

Oh "Bikesnobchi" with "chi" as in Chicago.

Now I get it.

Goodness, I thought a "Bikesnobchi" was some sort of Italian road bike.

Silly me.

Sometimes it's not just my bike that's slow.

bikesgonewild said...

...do sesquipedalian stinky-pants come in a bib model ???..
...just askin'...

Sean Lynch said...

27 years ago, thanks to the 1980 census, Chicago stopped being the second city.

It was a good thing for Chicago. There used to be a whole group of wannabes here that couldn't be top dogs in the Big Apple, so they tried to be second best.

Most of 'em weren't from here and they didn't know Oscar Wastyn from Oscar Mayer.

After 1980 almost all of them moved to L.A.

I'm sure the people in L.A. noticed something about this influx, but weren't quite sure what was going on.

Chicago has been much better since
they left.

It got to figure out how to be itself.

How can a town where most of us talk like the "Bear's superfans" from SNL, eat Maxwell Street polish sandwiches all day and deep dish pizza all night ever truly be snobs?

BSCHI is probably from Berwyn or Naperville.

sh said...

bikesnobchi! wtf!

steal someone's blog idea down to the aesthetics, then announce it by posting on the OG BSNYC, then actually defend your imitation?

Is this what irony has given us? (i thought the current wave of mustaches was punishment enough, but your blatant Idea Theft has turned the screws that much deeper.)

That you actually think this is clever pains me considerably.

Anonymous said...

"How can a town where most of us talk like the "Bear's superfans" from SNL, eat Maxwell Street polish sandwiches all day and deep dish pizza all night ever truly be snobs?"

you gotta see chifg.com or chivolvo.com . its all full of snobs... peace bikesnobnyc

Anonymous said...

Wow bikesnobchi! That blog of yours is shocking. How did you do it with a straight face?

bikesgonewild said...

...chi-snobs attempt at satire resembles 'evel knievel's' snake river canyon jump...ill-fated, unsuccessful & not much to view...a puff of smoke & quick spiral into the rocks below...

...but ol' evel successfully earned that right to fail....

dave said...

probably the best part about the samuel l. jackson method of BB identification is the fact that it's actually a pretty accurate guide.

the diagrams for overhauling shifters weren't so far off from the truth either.

i've actually managed to overhaul the old rsx levers a couple times though. anything newer than that is more or less impossible, but the rsx's are merely extremely aggravating as opposed to why-did-i-waste-an-entire-hour-on-this.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

[...] is it a faux-pas to adopt someone's online identity?

Probably. It's one of the reasons I decided against changing the name of my blog to Cheese Snob MSN. That, and midwesterners are just too fucking polite to get it.

Starving Trial Lawyer said...

because Bikesnobchi deserves a public flogging--I give you this re-post:

____________
Starving Trial Lawyer said...
Who knew one could put so much time and effort into copying a literary genius and yet still produce something as mundane and uninspiring as this piece of trash.

This blog is to bikesnobnyc what a 90s mountain bike with vertical dropouts is to a Vanilla. Sure, you can spend a lot of time and effort trying to convert the mountain bike to a fixed gear, but after a lot of time and effort, you still have an ugly piece of crap that is useless in the end.

Please, for the sake of everyone, stop now. You cannot write and are just not funny. Reading your blog is like sitting through some drunken redneck's version of "stand by your man" at karoke night.

http://starvingtriallawyer.blogspot.com

bikesgonewild said...

...starving trial lawyer...stop hedging & tell him how ya really feel...

Anonymous said...

Wow BSNYC you've got alot to live up to these days! Just read your Bicycling article yesterday, and now I can totally understand why you don't want your identity revealed! Interesting!

gttim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gttim said...

Dammit! I was going to rip off bikesnobnyc with bikesnobatl but I see bikesnobchi has already beat me to the punch! I hate it when people steal my idea!

mander said...

A guy I know did a short "Bikesnob 604" (604= vancouver BC area code) segment on his cycling blog where he ripped on local craigslist ads, but this bschi guy is really summinelse.

leroy said...

Dear Starving Trial Lawyer:

Very nice cease and desist letter.

Anonymous said...

BSNYC, maybe you should licence city franchies, that way you can control the BS brand and prevent unathorized use of the BS concept. Thus saving the fine people of Chicago the horror of having to read BSChi for another post.

Oh god that was awful to read...Even if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there is the assumption in that statement, that the imitator is actually competent.

Josh said...

So is "bikesnob" a franchise now? Who is going to be the first to register bikesnobla, and bikesnobpdx?

Seriously, this bikesnobchi is absolutely asinine.

Anonymous said...

The diagram of the exploded Shimano STI lever made me shoot diet Pepsi out of my nose.

Anonymous said...

what is a mountian bike?

Bikesnobbos said...

Bike Snob Boston checking in.

bikesgonewild said...

...mexico sez...immigration is the sincerest form of flattery...

Matt Bort Sucks said...

You kook, most dual suspension bikes have air shocks. Unless your fat neighbor is sleeping on an air mattress it doesn’t sqeak as well most pivots contain bushings which should not be lubed. So as you ride your fixed gear through the woods of prospect park remember that sqeaking is probably coming from one of the numerous perverts in the bushes workin it.


If the body was a freeride park freeriders would launch off the breast and land somewhere around the BOX. Although I know it is common for fixed gear geeks to lump all mountain bikers into one category. Don’t confuse your sub-cultures with on a another. You sub-culture freak. (I wouldn’t show my face either)

Anonymous said...

BSNYC, what about fast people wearing normal (non-lycra) clothes who also sit up straight pretending that they aren't fast (but are anyway)? They are not quite FreeRiders, but I see enough of them to think of them as a separate group.

Anonymous said...

License the BS Brand? Why would anyone want to license this BS?

Anonymous said...

Can I be bikesnobrdu, cause bikesnobtriangle sounds gay.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Matt Bort Sucks,

Yikes--I guess you came here for some fixed-gear bashing and got upset I mentioned mountain bikes. Sorry to have riled you up. You might want to adjust the rebound on your sensitivity, or look into installing a blow-off valve.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

bikesnobnyc and bikesnobchi holding hands, roller blading......beautiful!

Nathan said...

I have a pivot-less, air-shock rear suspension bike that is the noisiest bike on the block (Trek STP). It is a result of first generation equipment and good old fashioned American laziness and neglect. When I actually ride it, the result sounds like something out of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds".

My point? Yes, air-shocks can squeak.

The boob-to-box jump was right on and funny.

Matt Bort Sucks said...

Seeing how your samuel l jackson timeline is relativly acurate to the evolution of the bottom bracket. Most fixed gear riders ride such crap it could be out of silent pictures. Even the bowery boys laugh at you guys. I've never seen a track crank with octalink or outboard bearings(except FSA vigorelli cranks,ISIS). It is a passion for fixed gear fad freaks to ride old crap and out dated technoligies. As for me give me a cotter pin and i'll show you a crank.

ps Black Snake Moan was a good movie.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Matt Bort Sucks,

You make valid points, and thanks for acknowledging the SLJBB technique. Just some bike-geeky points on track cranks: the Dura Ace 7710 is Octalink and the SRAM (or Truvativ) Omnium is outboard. (First outboard track crank I believe.) So they are out there.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

Track crank technology lags behind because bike makers sell about 1/10th as many track parts as they do freeride mountain bikes and other high tech bike sorcery. Those who remain in the market often produce products primarily for the Japanese Keirin racing circuit, where technology is a snapshot of track racing circa 1970.

Anyway, despite all that, outboard bearings and Octalink track cranks exist, are actually fairly common among high-lever racers, and increasing in popularity, especially since they're included in top-shelf track bikes like the Pista Concept and the Track Pro.

Matt Bort Sucks said...

Thanks for pointing out those two sweet cranks if i didn't suck I'd have known that. But the technoligies of this trend are moving faster than a drunk tryin to do a track stand toward the pavement. Even Samuel L Jackson as a jedi couldn't have seen this fad moving so fast. later.

ps visit my site.
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=135849650

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