Which, predictably, elicited the following comment:
Wildcat, out of respect, admiration and, what the hell, love I have to say that stem is too long. Your scranus must draft nicely, but no one wants to see it jutting out. I doubt you were measured for the frame and stem set up.
March 10, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Firstly, I love you too. Secondly, you're absolutely right, I was not measured for the frame and set-up. In fact, I was not measured for the frame and set-up on purpose, because if I had been then some Fredly doofus might have told me that I should use this stem instead of that, make my top tube Ycm long instead of Xcm, move my saddle that way instead of this way, put my levers here instead of there, use these cleats instead of those, and so forth. The end result of this would have been that I would have had exactly the bike I didn't want. Instead, I would have had exactly the bike some Fredly doofus wanted me to have, and moreover I would have paid him for the privilege.
Believe it or not, after riding numerous skinny-tire bikes set up numerous ways over the years, I've discovered that what makes me happy on a going-fast road bike is exactly the top tube and stem length as pictured above. I suspect the reason for it is that the first road bike I started racing on "seriously" was set up this way, and even though I'm 95% retired from bike racing anything else has felt wrong since. Even so, what's the difference? I guess if I was using a stem with a measurement so odd that it had to be custom made I'd think about changing things, but as it is it's a perfectly common stock size.
I begrudge no Fred for forking over a bunch of money to have a fellow Fred point lasers at his crotch. Hey, if you need to feel that the act of putting yourself on a bike should require as much calculus as that of sending a rocket into outer space then feel free to indulge. It does tie in well with the Strava and the wattage and all the other forms of "off-foffing" roadies seem to like so much. As for me, I'll keep riding exactly the way I always have until my body tells me otherwise, in which case I'll make the appropriate adjustment.
By the way, we would all do well to remember that there's a little thing called "personal style:"
If James Brown had been a cyclist then a bunch of Freds would have taken him to task for not wearing a body suit that was tested in a wind tunnel.
Speaking of bicycle set-up minutiae, I recently came across the following blog post from "Bicycling" magazine's test director via Bill Strickland's Twittering account, which gives considerable insight into their bike testing process:
I particularly appreciated the disclosure that pretty much all these bikes are the same:
I’ve noticed that a lot of your reviews sound the same.
I’m aware of that and I do try to avoid repeating myself. In my own defense, however, I often feel like I’m riding the same bike over and over. Despite the logos and paint, most of the road bikes I review are made out of the same material (and often built in the same factory), with geometry that varies only a few millimeters, and built up with the same, or very similar, parts. Additionally, almost every bike is built to satisfy the same requirements: low weight, high stiffness, responsive handling etc. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that a lot of bikes feel familiar.
I do honestly think that the strong majority of the bikes I ride are excellent and will serve any rider well. Really.
Having joined in on a "Bicycling" magazine Editor's Choice bike testing orgy a couple years back (note they have not invited me again since) this was certainly my experience. Really, the only way the various brands managed to screw up a bike was by incorporating weird, fussy, or proprietary features, which a surprising number of them seem unable to refrain from doing. For example, what's the point of a seatpost with an expander wedge, apart from giving the rider another maddening creak to chase? So quill stems are totally "out," yet quill posts are apparently "in?" Presumably it's to keep people from over-tightening their precious crabon, in which case you should expect quill stems to make a comeback under some new name like "The Interna-Torque® Integrated Expanding Wedge Cockpit System Concept."
I did, however, disagree with his assessment of the phrase "laterally stiff and vertically compliant:"
What’s your take on ‘laterally stiff and vertically compliant?’
Ah, LSVC. Here’s how I view it: just because it is obvious and overused, doesn’t mean it is not true. Example: if 100 people described Coca Cola, how many of them would not use the word ‘sweet’? Go ride a bunch of modern carbon bikes: most of them are quite laterally stiff and vertically compliant.
I see his point that this phrase refers to a property that's inherent in pretty much every sporting bicycle (after all, they're all the same, as he points out) though I'd argue it's less like calling Coca Cola "sweet" and more like calling it "orally savory and lingually unsour."
Anyway, it's worth pointing out that for many months now I've been using a certain pair of 23mm tires on my above-pictured bicycle with the apparently gargantuan stem, and the bike has ridden awesomely. Then, last week, I put on the exact same make and model of tires except in 25mm, and it now rides like a completely different awesome bicycle.
So next time you're thinking about getting a new bike, change the tires instead.
Meanwhile, the New York Times wants you to relax because New York City drivers kill fewer people than actual murderers:
First of all, the 451 person figure is "pedestrian fatalities," and doesn't count all the other people killed by reckless drivers, such as cyclists, other drivers, or their passengers. Second of all, I'd argue that the fact that drivers are killing as many pedestrians in three years as murderers are killing in one is actually pretty horrifying. After all, murderers are actually trying to kill people, whereas drivers are theoretically just trying to get to work or the store.
By the way, if you look at all those homicides in 2011, there were 515 in total, and 38% of them were the results of disputes or acts of revenge. That's about 196 people. Meanwhile, there were 237 traffic fatalities by December 27th of that same year--and this was touted as an all-time low.
In other words, by the same stupid logic by which the New York Times says pedestrian deaths compare favorably with murders, you could also draw the equally stupid conclusion that ripping off a drug dealer is less dangerous than crossing the street.
In fact, the only reasonable conclusion to draw from any of this is that the New York Times is about to endorse a mayoral candidate who's going to rip out all the bike lanes. (Which is obvious, because this describes all of the mayoral candidates.)
Lastly, here's an impressive bike spotted by Mike in Vancouver:
That's both sweet and laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.