I must admit I was taken in by this clever fabrication, and only realized it wasn't real when I tried to place an order for one to put on my Ironic Orange Julius Bike. While you might think that makes me gullible, keep in mind Performance have already referenced this blog in the past, so a prêt-à-rouler AYHSMB wheel is really not so far outside the velodrome of possibility.
And if you're looking for weird and real, look no further than this mind-bendingly freakish geared singlespeed cyclocross bike, photographed by a reader at the SSCXWC this past weekend:
At first glance, a bicycle with dual 39-tooth chainrings up front and eight 16-tooth cogs in the rear may seem pointless. But upon further reflection, it becomes apparent that this bicycle is not so much about functionality as it is about challenging the very definition of a singlespeed. Is a bicycle that shifts still a singlespeed? After all, there is only one possible gear ratio. Then again, does this bicycle offer the rider an advantage that the traditional singlespeed (or even the dinglespeed) does not--that being the ability to continue on in the event of a damaged cog or chainring without dismounting? Is this advantage cancelled out by the fact that damage to the derailleur could render the bike unrideable? Most importantly, what does this bicycle say about the world we live in? I put forth that it says a great deal about fate and the illusion of choice. If one believes in fate, then certainly one believes that regardless of what choices we make the end result will be the same. Are we not all shifting and shifting our whole lives yet never out-shifting inevitability? The fatalist would probably argue that we are. Whether you love or hate this bike may say less about your definition of a singlespeed than it does about your views on predestination and free will.
After viewing and pondering this photo I then visited HTATBL. I can't say with certainty whether I did so by fate or free will, but I can say I learned from the photo at the bottom of the page that the Predestination Bike belongs to none other than Chris DiStefano of Chris King as he is pictured with it. He confirmed that the bike shifts across the entire range front and rear, but he would neither confirm nor deny that Chris King is planning to bring a geared singlespeed drivetrain to market. (Though in fairness to him that was probably because I didn't ask him.) In any case, here's a closer look if you'd like to meditate on it further.
And this isn't the only perplexing bike out there. Not by a long shot. It appears that there's a one-man operation in Denver that specializes in freak bikes:
Fixie/Single Speed conversions, frames and complete bikes for sale. - $100 (Hardsole5280)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-11-11, 11:46PM MST
*High quality single speed and fixed gear conversions *I can build anything from a sturdy polished turd to a fully blinged out race machine, as with anything the sky is the limit. I like to help people build wacked out bikes I have a few frames for sale on hand right now, they come cleaned, waxed and ready to build with rebuilt or replaced bottom brackets and headsets. Call or email for brand/size/price.
Single speed conversion:
$100.00 plus parts (single speed cog, chain ring bolts and wheel dishing if needed.... there is really only one reason I dish wheels, its for people who run big front chain rings, and cant get the proper chain line with bb replacement alone.) you will need brakes for a single speed build too.
$80.00 Plus parts (wheels, track cog, locking ring, and chain ring bolts)
Frame up build:
$115 and up
Custom Shifter brake conversions:
$50.00 for a single brake (front)
$75.00 for dual (front and rear)
Prices include: levers, cables installation and adjustment I can sell you side pull brakes if you do not have them
I take pride in the bikes that I build, and I get excited every time I see one of my own in the streets. I have all the correct tools to do conversions properly, several years under my belt as a bike tech at a few diffrent shops and I take my time to do the work right. I stand behind my work and will always tune up one of my bikes as long as you can bring it to me. On that note, I can do tune ups on all bikes, but my rates are no less then that of a reputable shop, and I am all for people supporting their local shop. I do however like to wrench on vintage hi end stuff, and have seen most everything out there.
Need advice building your own bike? I am glad to help however I can.
720.352.---- (email is best as I cant always get to my phone and I am horrible about checking my messages, but you are welcome to call.
For me, the dual drivetrain and the shifter-actuated brake caliper are not especially compelling. If you're going to make an impractical mechanical choice, I feel that choice should at least serve some higher purpose. It should strive to provoke thought, challenge people's preconceptions, or allude to some greater truth. These on the other hand seem to have been done simply to prove they can be done. They're irreverent at best, and ostentatious and dangerous at worst. And both have been done already anyway. But some mechanics can raise the freak bike to an art form. Their medium is the workaround, and their art is a symphony of kludges that can be heartrending to behold. Or at least highly entertaining.
Then there's this, spotted in Tucson:
Even though I generally discount a bicycle once a motor has been applied to it, I feel this one is noteworthy in that it employs a Spinergy Rev-X. Even though that engine probably puts out less horesepower than an electric pencil sharpener, I'd still be frightened to send any horespower to a wheel as brittle as the Spinergy. Then again, judging from the right side, it looks like the bicycle can also be operated in regular pedal mode. (Unless that gear is simply there to kickstart the engine.) In any case, I'm sure you could at least raise the wheel off the ground and use it to cut meat, so congratulations to the builder on what is surely the world's first offroad deli slicer.
Yes, contradicitons can be cacophonous or mellifluous, and here's an example from the fixedgeargallery of the former:
Now, I should be clear that I have nothing against people who own both bicycles and cars. It's the 21st century after all, and sometimes you just need a car. Sure, some people choose to move by bike, or to transport their wives to the hospital in bicycle cargo trailers when they go into labor, but the fact remains that sometimes it is OK to drive. (Though I don't understand why Papa John's uses cars to deliver pizzas in Brooklyn--nor why anyone in Brooklyn would order from Papa John's.) However, I can't stress enough that car ownership automatically disqualifies you from having a "One Less Car" sticker on your bicycle. Period. We've seen this sort of thing before. Sure, I suppose this person think's it's OK since when he's on his bike he's not driving his car at the moment, thus freeing up some space on the road. But that's like wearing a straight-edge t-shirt and taking it off when you get high. Or maybe he was contemplating buying a Lancer Evo in addition to the car he already has, but decided to use the down payment on the Jamis instead, so he figured the sticker was acceptable. But it's just not. A theoretical car that might have been is simply not an actual car. The sticker makes even less sense since it's pretty obvious from his choice of vehicle that he enjoys cars and driving. Self-hating car drivers at odds with their own automobile ownership drive things like Priuses; they don't drive rally-inspired sports cars like the Subaru WRX. And whatever they drive, they don't use it as a prop when they submit their bicycle to an online gallery.
Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I should go back to gazing into the eight-speed singlespeed Cassette of Predestination.