BB30 Threadless Bottom Bracket
I don’t know about you, but every time I blow out my birthday candles, put a penny in a fountain, or wind up on the business end of a wishbone, I wish fervently for a new bottom bracket standard. Thankfully, FSA was listening, because here comes the BB30. And not only does it require a dedicated crank, but it also requires a dedicated frame. That means I get to go shopping! The BB30 is based around Cannondale’s 30mm spindle diameter, which they’ve been using awhile and have “made available to the industry for free.” This is less an act of generosity than it is the kind of “If I get everyone else to do it too, I won’t feel so dumb” mentality that makes you buy your friends that fifth round of drinks at 11:30 on a weeknight. Of course, every dumb idea needs an excuse, and the one behind the BB30 is reduced Q-factor, as though up until now straddling a bike was too much like going to the gynecologist. "The biggest concern is from rider physique, related to the crankarm curvature," [Matt Van Enkevort, FSA general manager] said. "Heel hit was a complaint, from CSC riders especially.” Van Enkevort went on to not disclose the fact that FSA don’t like the way their cranks look in pictures with heel rub marks on them, nor to admit that various sponsorship obligations prevent CSC riders from trying more simple things like wearing different shoes or dialing the excessive slop (or “float” if you consider slop a feature) out of their Speedplay pedals. Yes, heel rub is a great reason to redesign both the bottom bracket and the frame, and if the past is any indication, the BB30 system will be a resounding success. Just look at Klein and Merlin, both of whom once offered proprietary press-fit bottom brackets, and both of whom were subsequently subsumed by larger companies.
Some time ago a reader alerted me to the fact that someone is making and selling wooden handlebars. While my request for an interview with the maker went unanswered, I’ve since seen them here and there on sites like Fixedgeargallery and Velospace, so presumably they’re out there. And while there are safer ways to achieve that flammable look on your bicycle, these bars give you two things a roll of wood-grain contact paper cannot—susceptibility to termites, and that thrilling feeling that your bars might splinter at any moment. Together with a brakeless bike, wooden bars will transport you to that next level of sublime uncertainty, and simply arriving at your destination with all your teeth will feel like a Tour de France stage win. I’m not sure what sort of special care these bars require, but I’m guessing that you treat them like Mogwai: avoid bright light; never get them wet; and never, ever ride them after midnight. I’m also not sure if they come with a warranty, but maybe the builder will make you a nice set of wooden dentures in the event of a catastrophic failure. And if you still want to buy them, I'd suggest getting two, as the second set might be helpful in defending against beavers.