Friday, November 7, 2008

No Hope, No Pants: the CKHCI and the SSCXWC

I don't like to end the week on a negative note. Unfortunately though, I have no choice, because I believe in honesty before diplomacy. And the honest truth is that things are really, really bad. As you may remember, when I first started tracking the Chris King Headset Composite Index on October 27th, it was at 89.79. Just over a week later, on November 4th (Election Day here in the United States), it was at 67:

That's a 22.79 point drop in the CKHCI. If you've got an old box of tires and tubes lying around, I highly recommend boiling them, as the resulting broth is both high in nutrients and surprisingly tasty. It's also what you'll be subsisting on when society comes to a grinding halt and we all start living a real-life version of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," except with bicycles instead of shopping carts. Actually, it will probably be more like a combination of "The Road" and "Red Dawn," with elements of the "Mad Max" movies thrown in for good measure. It also goes without saying that many of us will resort to cannibalism, not only for sustenance but also to keep our bicycles working. Think bar tape made from human flesh, lubricants of blood, and drivechains of bone. Yes, I know it's horrible to contemplate, but we're not going to survive if we can't face the truth.

And if numbers and graphic imagery won't convince you, perhaps Poorly-Rendered Graphing Technology (PRGT) will:


Or, to put it another way:

What's more, these aren't freakish 1 1/4" headsets, like we saw last time. These are 1 1/8" ones, and they're in good condition, too. The one that went for $51 is "still butttttterrrrr smooth," according to the seller. Sure, it may have had "a very light, faint perfect circle line" from installation, but it was also in a Moots frame, which should count for something. (After all, they have "meticulous Moots welds.")

Likewise, the only thing wrong with the $60 one (besides one "minor abrasion") was that it was missing the Chris King top cap. Now, we all know that Chris King is famous for their precision and tight tolerances, which is why they charge $30 for their headset spacers. (Just try going back to normal spacers after using the Kings. You might as well use the cardboard cylinder from a roll of toilet paper.) So it would stand to reason that their top caps also set headset preload with a degree of accuracy no other top cap can approach. Still, the seller has compensated for this by supplying two--two--non-Chris King top caps, one of which even espouses a non-homophibic affinity for singlespeed bicycles:

Alas, the only conclusion I can draw from this is that we're all doomed. Cyclists everywhere are no doubt pounding the Chris King headsets out of their frames and liquidating them before the bottom drops out completely. In the meantime, they're almost certainly replacing them with cheaper headsets, which probably means the price of cheap headses will increase. So as the price of King headsets drops and the price of "inferior" headsets goes up, we will see the dreaded "headset price inversion scenario," which I'm pretty sure is also what caused the rampant inflation in Weimar Germany in the 1920s. And as we all know, things didn't go so well after that.

Speaking of singlespeed-specific top caps (never, ever use a singlespeed-specific top cap on a geared bicycle by the way), this weekend will see the running of the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. I'm not even going to bother mentioning where the SSCXWC is being held since it should be obvious. But if you still need help, let's just say it's someplace moist and bike-friendly. (And don't mean Mario Cipollini's crotchal region, though I hear they may hold it there next year.) And if there are two things singlespeeders love, it's ironic world championships and gender-bending. Here's the winner of last year's men's race, Barry Wicks, wearing the SSCXWC "golden speedo" (otherwise known as the hamac de banane d'or) at the regular non-cyclocross-specific SSWC in Napa, CA this past August:


We truly live in a, well, golden age of irony when a professional cyclist can wear the disgustingly revealing bikini he won at one ironic world championship while competing in another.  And while wearing a golden speedo isn't necessarily crossdressing, I do think it's noteworthy that so many competitive male cyclists will seize upon even the slightest opportunity to wear women's clothing.  Apart from the SSWC, in which a sizable portion of the male competitors wore skirts, there are also such things as the Urban Outlaw Cyclocross Dress Series.  Frankly, I don't have a good explanation for this behavior, nor for why it's especially popular on the West Coast.  I suppose it's some combination of being unable to resist the "cross" double entendre, deeply repressed desires bubbling to the surface in the pressure cooker of competition, and wanting to sneak into restricted bicycle repair clinics.

In any event, those of us stuck on the East Coast must find more prosaic ways to entertain ourselves, since we're too busy dealing with the harsh realities of life to frolic in the mud while wearing women's underpants.  (Instead, we toil in the mud while wearing skinsuits.)  So if you live on the serious side of the country and you don't have the time or inclination to participate in one of the unironic cyclocross races happening in your area, you can at least share the misery of having your bicycle stolen with a television production company:



EVER HAD YOUR BIKE STOLEN? (Downtown)
Reply to: job-904849107@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-03, 9:06PM EST

If you have a great story to tell about a stolen bike, we want to hear it! You could be featured on the new HBO Project SOMEONE STOLE MY BIKE.

We're looking for people with tragic, funny, interesting, gut-wrenching, bizarre, or surprising stories about how their bike got stolen. Where'd it happen? Who did it? Whose fault was it? Or if you have no idea how it got stolen, what's your theory? So if you've got a good story to tell, send us a few sentences describing what happened.

Be sure to include your name, phone number, and email – and send us a picture of yourself if you've got one. Also let us know when you are available this Friday and Saturday (the more options you give us, the better).

We'll be shooting downtown this Friday (11/7) and Saturday (11/8), probably around Union Square or Tompkins Square Park. It will only take twenty minutes or so to film you telling your story. If you ended up getting your bike back, bring it so you can show it off! Or bring a new one if you have one. But mostly, we just want to hear you tell your stories.

Contact us as casting@disposabletelevision.com.

Thanks!

You mean I get to be on television?  For free?!?  You better believe I'll be there, and I won't be bringing my dignity.  Maybe I'll even wear a dress!


82 comments:

Matt! said...

Nader!

Anonymous said...

podium?

kale said...

Podium again?

Anonymous said...

Not quite!

Greg said...

Have a good weekend!

Daddo said...

6ium

Anonymous said...

pass

Critical Ass said...

ass1st

sharpE said...

UNOC ROSS

Critical Ass said...

SSWC, SXSW...all the same hipsters will be there, right?

Lord Batu said...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Anonymous said...

YESW ECAN

bloodline said...

top nothing...

bloodline said...

thirteen is unlucky

kale said...

Oh, wait is this their idea of a skinsuit for SSCX? Where's the 16y/o to complain that it's not cool?

Hmm... I would have assumed that Mr. Wicks would be wearing a baby blue and white speedo.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Just Woot Today...

dopepedaler said...

When/where is GXCWC?

For only having one gear, singlespeeders use alot of letters. Why not just 1WC?

Critical Ass said...

Now that RTMS has identified non-King headset caps as an inferior good, it's time to talk about Giffen goods. As all ecomonists and stoners know, the demand for Giffen goods increases as price increases. NJS parts, Aerospokes, and Brooks saddles are all must all be Giffen goods, so I would assume King headsets are too. Some jackass must have put one on CL at a discount, causing the demand to decrease, and a subsequent snowball effect. Now that I know inferior headset caps are fetching higher prices, I can finally get rid of that cockeyed Specialized headset cap that scrapes the shit out of my knee. Since it's crooked and truly inferior, it's going on Denver CL for $100 unless someone here wants to jump on it in the next 5 minutes before I finish my lunch.

bear said...

Hipsters,

stay out woods or i eat you.

Daddo said...

no freakin' way are the even filling a half hour with bike stealing stories....

"I came out of the starbucks and turned left and it was gone!"

"I came out of the starbucks and turned right and it was gone!"

WTF?

Disposable TV indeed

ant1 said...

It'd be more useful if they interviewd people who steal bikes, to learn how it's done.

leroy said...

You mean all I have to do is get my bike stolen to et on TV?

Is this a great country or what?

Hey maybe you can get on TV just by saying your bike was stolen. I mean, how can they really check?

Ride safe this weekend.

And lock your bike.

red neckerson said...

i coulda won i pulled up this site and their wasnt no comments but i had to take a crap and when i gots back i was pwned when i say oh shit i really means it

Gnarles Darwin said...

rollin on dubs. Skinsuits and skinflutes.

Surly Bastard said...

Do hemlines fall and rise along with fluctuations in the CKHCI?

I'm hoping bad news = shorter skirts.

Easier remounts.

Anonymous said...

Podi - uh - never mind

Anonymous said...

Podi - uh - never mind

Anonymous said...

I imagine "SOMEONE STOLE MY BIKE" is just a way to steal bikes...that's why they want you to bring your bike with you!

Anonymous said...

Gee RTMS a real post on a Friday?

But, I studied.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a device similar to an ink pack would be a better deterrent to bike thieves. It would be less obtrusive to carry than a 6' chain and padlock. Perhaps a recessed, spring-loaded dagger in the seatpost might work and also aid in the cannibalism that is forecast in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Hipster Soup
Serves four

2 700x18 inner tubes, presta vales removed

6-8 valve stem caps, crushed

1 shoe full chopped bald rear tire (skid all tread off liberally)

4 12 oz cans of PBR

Sauté tubes, caps and tires until soft and translucent. Stir in PBR and bring to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes and serve in an ironic trucker hat.

anon1st!

jimmythefly said...

What is it about boys dressing as girls? It's been going on in comedy forever, and if you've ever worked at a summer camp you know what a kick the boys think it is to dress as girls for skits, songs, etc.

There's some weird thing going on with what is forbidden or taboo secretly being fun or exciting. Or maybe just a poor excuse for real fun and excitement, I dunno.

bikesgonewild said...

..."there are also such things as the Urban Outlaw Cyclocross Dress Series. Frankly, I don't have a good explanation for this behavior, nor for why it's especially popular on the West Coast."...doth quote bsnyc/rtms...

...a good explanation, sir ???...whoa...other than maybe it's like "punking" yerself instead of waiting for a friend to do ya, it's beauty is in it's inexplicability...& the elegant outfits, of course...

...i mean, a feather boa in a bike race could be a recipe for disaster, but hey, the dude looked "society page, lead foto" so who's to deny...

...& lace bloomers & a camisole on a dude who can drink 6 beers & still kick yer ass on a bike ???...hey, a little admiration here, please...

...but jeezus...'Urban Outlaw Cyclocross Dress Series' sounds so formal...it's just the dfl gang getting together in the park w/ friends...

Anonymous said...

Yes!

Pack Frill said...

I think the custom single speed top cap must have been made for Lance: "One is all you need".

Jim said...

What makes you think anything about the cross dressing in 'cross and single speed MTB is ironic? Look, New Yorker Boy, just because you don't get it, doesn't mean it's ironic. Is Greg Lemond's self-destruction ironic? Is your Barista's choice to draw a peace symbol in the foam on your latte, as opposed to the usual heart or leaf, ironic? Is math ironic?

No, of course not.

dingle said...

Something tells me that this guy is going to be there in full fixie force with his bike and harrowing story of theft and retrieval.

Anonymous said...

OONE IS ALL YOU NEED I'd guess is more onanistic that non-homophobic.
But if you consider itself-abuse, maybe it IS homophobic.

All you haters can be snowballers!

Anonymous said...

OONE - not (B)OONE(N)

S'posed t' be ONE.

May something/someone scatter mercy upon my soul.

Anonymous said...

how do you explain this:

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/909781415.html


$225 for a "rare" purple king.

dingle said...

Here's a preview of what that guy with the stolen fixie is going to tell those worthless "reality mongers". I just can’t wait.

stream of nothing said...

great week of updates snob.
even at these greatly reduced prices i still can't afford a CKHS, damn me and my unhipster-like cane creek shite.

dingle said...

I run a cane creek on my mtb and every time I ride it reminds me that I need to take a look at my car insurance. Oh wait, I don't have a car... SO CONFUSING.

ice cube said...

"IT'S MADE OF PEOPLE!! BICYCLES ARE MADE OF PEOPLE!!!"

Chuck Heston is my president

dingle said...

Okay, so maybe I REALLY want to see that guy share his story (see the 1st comment after the post).

DEERP! I just podium-tard on that guys blog? Oh well, it’s not a very good blog anyway.

One small step for main-stream fixie exposure, one giant leap for the apocalypse.

dingle said...

oops, here's the link.

Anonymous said...

Dude, where's my bike?

Lord Humungus said...

Just walk away. I will give you safe passage through the wasteland...walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

KanyonKris said...

The combination of "The Road", "Red Dawn," and "Mad Max" made me laugh. Why am I amused by something so dismal? I'll leave that for the shrink.

Surly Bastard said...

"My bike was just stolen and I'm ready for my close-up now Mr. DeMille."

k dogg said...

Beware the Reavers, they eat living human flesh, many years from now. That's a Firefly plug.

Anonymous said...

My bike wss made from Chuck Heston. It was stolen then used in a violent crime of passion; bikes don't kill, hipsters kill.

Anonymous said...

HBO, de sica called. he wants his movie back.

Anonymous said...

Question: Didn't Chris King headsets originally come without graphics on them like the purple $225 one?

I have avoided King headsets because I hate components that have billboard graphics on them.

Patrock said...

You were mentioned in page 55 of the December 2008 Bicycling magazine. It is talking about Lance's comeback. It says If Lance's comeback was equivalent to Martina Navratilova: "Base on advice from his new agent, Bike Snob NYC, Lance changes his focus from the Tour de France to RAGBRAI, where he laps the field every day en route to the greatest social-ride victory in cycling history.

dmitri fofonov said...

He is not one to be admitting because he is full of humility and good humor, but Mr. BikeSnob (is not real name) is my agent and to cause my comeback. For noticing no Fofonov references lately as he and I are to be бфф.

Gunn said...

AHA! so everything does happen for a reason! I was meant for that show!.... I guess I'm going to have to elaborate and dramatize my lame tale "10 minutes. scaffolding.gone! bam!

Old Fonzie said...

Your hunch could be correct, but I'd like to see the numbers year to year for a fair comparison.

I would argue that your data only indicates a cyclical drop. This drop is more in line with normal market dynamics.

Traditionally this is the nadir of the bike market. This is why the bike shows are scheduled for now -- bike shops are dead now until the Christmas rush and everyone can get away.

Overall, I applaud your attempt to map this uncharted territory. It's fascinating work. You're like the Bloomberg Box of Biking.

Jay said...

I have ants in my apartment. They live under the toilet and behind the shower knobs.

bikesgonewild said...

...fascinating, jay...

...now, tell the doctor because the doctor wants to help you, jay, would they be talking ants, perhaps ???...

...remember how the ants in yer kitchen used to talk w/ you, jay ???...are these new ants friendly w/ you like the kitchen ants...don't be afraid to tell the doctor, ok ???...

knaters said...

Balls1st!

leroy said...

I'm not gonna worry unless Lance suspends his come back to address the crisis in the Chris King headset market.

Now that would be upsetting.

Until then, I'm just gonna stick my fingers in my ears and hum really, really loudly.

bikesgonewild said...

...hey, leroy...

...re: yer remark - "Until then, I'm just gonna stick my fingers in my ears and hum really, really loudly."...

...can't we keep politics out of this discussion ???...

obamaakaka said...

Puuteriton tuote ei sisalla luonnonkumitaleksia.

leroy said...

BGW --

Sorry, did you say something?

I was humming "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

sarah palin said...

Umm, what's an Africa?

bikesgonewild said...

...oh yeah, leroy, i remember seeing them once...iron-ic butterfly, right ???...

...gee...that name reminds me of another hard rock band's name...ahmmm, led 'something or other'...

...anyway...do you hum the whole 17 minute version w/ all the stuff in the middle or just the beginning & ending parts that "everybody" knows...

...just wonderin'...

bikesgonewild said...

...oh...& sarah palin ???...

...don't worry about it, baby...ya can't see it from yer house anyway...

Anonymous said...

http://www.evolutionracingllc.com/

????

Critical Ass said...

This "fixie frame" has a "fork that needs some work".

Is that a Pinarello Onda fork? Y'know onda means "wave" in espanol.

MJ @ Dyslexic Research said...

These Chris King Headset Index Reports are hilarious and appropriate for the current economic times. Soon classy Nitto stems, handlebars, and racks will follow, both exciting and depressing for any retrogrouch. Oh well all these cheap parts will allow for adequate winter excuses (dude I got a CK Headset for cheap, it will probably take me a couple of weeks to get it in and well I have to get photos up on Velospace so...) for those who can't stand riding below 65oF.

leroy said...

BGW --

Sorry, can you repeat that?

I was humming the drum solo from Toad.

bikesgonewild said...

...leroy...

...doncha hate being like 11 n' a half minutes inta hummin 'toad', makin' a mistake & having to go back & start again...

...whoops...sorry to interrupt...

...anyway, it's like when i'm singin' 'i'm so glad' & i have ta stop & look up the lyrics...

...but, hey, i'm gettin' better at it...sorta...

red neckerson said...

im reddy to poo dee umm but you dipshits wont post a new column kiss my ass

Critical Ass said...

Another clue as to Snob's identity. It's Veteran's Day. Gov't employees don't work today. This means he's probably a Jewish Postal Worker.

Inflation Fear said...

I don't like inflation.

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Oscar said...

great week of updates snob. even at these greatly reduced prices i still can't afford a CKHS, damn me and my unhipster-like cane creek shite.

bikeen in from the distopian future said...

CK headsets are a paltry $10 now. Lob help us all.

bikeen in from the distopian future said...

er, I meant spacers. Things aren't that dire ... yet.