Before I leave though I thought I'd update you on the Budnitz, since we had our first day real day out on the town yesterday. First I locked it up while I got a haircut, which I needed badly since without one there was no way Canadian customs would let me into their country:
Any thief operating in this residential part of Brooklyn was likely to be an opportunist on the lookout for unlocked bikes rather than the professional kind equipped with power tools, but even so I secured it with chain lock, u-lock, and cable lock through the dainty ass-pedestal. Note how delightfully "urban" the titanium downtube looks when it's chained purposefully to a city bike rack. I'm sure Old Man Budnitz is delighted:
Though he'd probably be less delighted to know how scratched the bike already is. In any case, when I emerged from the barbershop the Budnitz was still there, thanks no doubt to that King/Winfrey talisman. The Budnitz was also appalled to learn that I had gotten my haircut for less than $200. I explained to it that I don't go in for that sort of nonsense, and anyway I was only going to Canada, where sporting a designer coiffure would be casting pearls before swine.
As for the experience of actually riding the Budnitz, unsurprisingly it rides nicely, though that requires ignoring the constant ticking sound which I had attributed to the loose skewer but is in fact probably coming from the bottom bracket:
I tightened the wedge bolt on the eccentric bottom bracket as much as I dared but the sound is still there, and it underscores exactly why these short-term bike tests are so ridiculous. Anyone qualified to properly evaluate a bicycle would also be driven mad by such a sound, which means they're either going to be miserable the whole time, or else they're going to spend the entire testing period trying to eliminate it. As for me, I don't have time to be pulling bottom brackets and regreasing them (I have Canadas to visit for one thing), and there are few things more embarrassing than riding around on a $5,600 titanium city bike with a ticking bottom bracket. With every pedal stroke you're telling the world, "I'm rich and clueless!," though in my case hopefully my cheap haircut makes it clear that I'm merely clueless. In any case, it would be nice if Budnitz had supplied me with a properly-assembled bicycle so I could focus on riding the thing, but I guess that's too much to ask from a design firm.
The other problem with the ticking bottom bracket is that it makes "Cat 6" racing difficult, since it eliminates the element of surprise. Make no mistake: the typical Budnitz owner is going to want to Cat 6 the shit out of this thing, and in a sense it's the ideal Cat 6 racing machine in that it's a bike built from top-of-the-line racing components that is completely unraceable. So after getting my haircut I decided to swallow my pride (which is easy since my pride is so tiny) and test it out on one of Brooklyn's premiere proving grounds, the "hill" in Prospect Park:
First, at about :08 seconds, I pick off the guy on the Pista. Then, at :14 seconds, I give the couple out for a leisurely bike ride "The Look" (which, on a Budnitz, is a rarefied blend of the one Armstrong shot at Ullrich, "Blue Steel" by Derek Zoolander, and having to fart). At :29 seconds I make mincemeat of the middle-aged woman in the sandals. Then, at :38 seconds, I finally get "on terms" with my most dreaded adversary, the guy on the blue road bike wearing running shoes, and in a stunning burst of douchebag-fueled ticking titanium fury I drop him and power to the "summit." The bottom bracket protests loudly the entire time, and I can assure you the motor sound at the end of the video is from a nearby lawn-edger and not some secret Cancellara power-assist on the Budnitz, which I realize is difficult to believe given my blistering speed.
But the real test would soon follow. After my mighty victory, I took the douche chariot to one Brooklyn's douchiest neighborhoods, DUMBO, where I had a lengthy appointment. (As for the nature of that appointment, all you have to know is that it was protracted douche business.) Unlike the neighborhood in which I got a haircut, there was a chance the Budnitz might attract a professional thief here, but I was sure to give it a fighting chance by securing it with plenty of hardware:
There it sat until nightfall, and when I returned it was still there:
Sure, it wasn't Manhattan where they really steal bikes, but this unattended sojourn at a bike rack brought the Budnitz that much closer to not getting stolen during my tenure. Next I fired up my Knog Blinder (which nearly gave me a sunburn):
And with that I was off.
Speaking of Knog Blinders, that's what winners of The Second Biennial Cock-Off contest will win, and if you still want to enter please do so before 11:59pm tonight, which I've just arbitrarily decided will be the deadline. Good luck, and happy cocking.
Lastly, one more thing about the Budnitz: it is equipped with Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. I happen to like these brakes for the simple reason they're very easy to maintain, and for this reason I currently use them on no fewer than three (3) of my bicycles, which means I have a pretty good amount of experience with them. On the Budnitz, however, they do something I've never experienced on any other bike. What happens is, when you're gradually slowing (as you might when you're approaching a stop sign or a place to get a $200 haircut), they seem to hit a certain frequency at which they howl like a ship in a harbor:
The issue isn't the sound, though. (If you don't like brake noises don't use Avid BB7s.) The issue is that along with the sound comes a deep vibration that travels through the entire bike and then right up to your scranus. It's extreme and rather disconcerting, though I'm sure there are some people who would find such a thing pleasurable. I've never experienced this with Avid BB7s on any other bike, and I don't know if it has to do with the swoopy titanium fame tubing or it's just some confluence of atmospheric conditions, pad wear, lunar phase, and so forth. If it is the frame, then Budnitz may have inadvertently designed a taint-blaster that does to the scranus what the building in "Ghostbusters" did to New York City. But again, I've only had the bike for two days, and it's yet another reason why short-term bike tests are ridiculous.
And with that, I'm off to Canada with the tingling from last night's ride still fresh in my downstairs area. Have a great weekend, ride safe, and I'll see you on Monday, October 1st.
--Wildcat Rock Machine