Monday, July 28, 2014

Riding bicycles is an enjoyable activity, even though they can explode.

So how was your weekend?  Yeah, whatever, keep it to yourself.  As for mine, it was excellent, for once again I pulled off the road ride/mountain bike ride double.  (I mean road bike ride Saturday and mountain bike ride Sunday, not both in one day.  I think I did that once like ten years ago, and I won't have that kind of time on my hands again until I retire and my seventeen (17) children take over the family business.)

However, I did ride my road bike on a mountain bike trail at one point, which officially made my road ride "epic:"


Granted, I did so extremely gingerly and only for only about 10 minutes, so in that sense it was like having sex after surgery.  But that didn't matter, because the point of my brief skinny-tired off-road foray was reconnaissance, as I am in the process of "curating" a mixed-terrain route which I plan to have dialed in by the fall.  Ideally, I'd like this route to be cyclocross bike-friendly and to include some singletrack, so I figured if I could pick my way through a section of this particular trail on a road bike than a cyclocross bike should be no problem.

So you'll be pleased to know that I am now that much closer to charting a route of unprecedented awesomeness, and because I don't use Strava or a Garmin or anything else you can be assured I will take it to the grave:


The rest of you can just keep on shuttling to Nyack and back.

By the way, you'll notice there are no longer any decals on my Ritte von Finkelstein:


(That's not some sort of soft Instagram filter, that's just a smartphone camera lens covered in sweat.)

This is in no way an indication that I am disenchanted with the bicycle or the brand.  Rather, it simply means the decals were starting to come off and so I finished the job.  As for the bike itself, I remain extremely pleased with it, and even though it's not a "gravel bike" it spends the majority of its time on terrain like this and performs with aplomb:


(It's almost like this whole "gravel bike" thing is complete BS.)

In fact, I'm this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to saying "fuck it" and putting mountain bike pedals on it, though my Inner Fred still refuses to let me stop walking around like a duck for no good reason.  I'm also still tempted to put a metal fork on the bike, because crabon sucks:


“Anyone in a team who’s being honest with you will tell you how frequently their bikes are breaking; everybody knows,” said Mark Greve, a physician and assistant professor of sports medicine at Brown University who studied injuries to 3,500 competitive cyclists. “Few people in the public appreciate how many bikes a pro team will go through in a season, because they break for one reason or another. The bikes, they completely explode.”

Did you hear that?  They COMPLETELY EXPLODE:


(Age of Crabon.)

That's right, pro cyclists shatter their bikes with their scranuses (or scranii) on a regular basis:

But when they spoke on the condition they not be identified, their stories emerged. Riders described landing on the top, horizontal tube of the bikes during crashes and ending up on the road after their frames splintered and collapsed. Small spills that used to mean, at best, straightening handlebars often require a bike change. Mechanics say they sometimes return the shattered remains of frames to manufacturers in bags intended to hold a single bicycle wheel.

It seems to me that instead of worrying about saddles causing impotence we should be worried about crabon top tube splinters causing genital impalement, but unsurprisingly Specialized had this to say on the subject of crabon and durability:

Chris Riekert, a spokesman for Specialized, an American company that supplies bikes to three Tour teams, said in a statement, “Carbon gives our engineers the ability to produce much stronger and lighter products than traditional steel or alloy by letting us put more material in high stress areas to ensure performance and safety in real world riding conditions.”

Even though this is what a Specialized bicycle looks like after it touches another bicycle while on a car's roof rack:


Not that it matters, because all the Freds will see is this:


And, to be fair, most of us Freds will probably never have a problem with our crabon bicycles--though the reason cited by the New York Times is obviously wrong:

Greve and Perovic agreed that for consumers who are not constantly banging their bikes around on team vehicles and who are unlikely to be involved in crashes, the risks in buying a carbon bike made by a reputable company should be minimal. Greve said many riders had told him that the performance gains from superlight frames reached the point of diminishing returns long ago, and he questions the wisdom of consumers’ buying what are, in effect, very costly throwaway items if they crash.

Actually, if there two things you can count on from a Fred, it's transport mishaps and crashing:



Which is why the real reason our bikes last more than a season is that these companies know we suck so badly that we can't even stress a crappy hunk of brittle plastic to its perpetually imminent failure point.

Lastly, you've probably already seen this video of Kevin Reza filming his own crotch with some guy's helment cam:



I really hope this viral marketing from Team Europcar, because if it's actually real then the guy who owns the helment cam is a complete idiot, as evidenced by his explanation:

orangesokz

ok ppl, 1st I am not standing in the road im standing on the pathway,2nd the helmet camera is being held out at arms lengh, 3rd the riders pass very close to the left side of the road due to spectators on the right standing in the road, 4th I am a massive cycling fan and ride a my bike 365 days a year covering over 13000kms per year, 5th as for the lotto rider elboing it from my hands, he is not protecting any other riders by knocking it from my hands where it is under controll into the road where other riders could ride into it! lastly the camera recording this is a contour roam 2, it has an extreamly wide angle lense and at close range like this destorts things massivly, enjoy the vid, its a unique view of the tour and just a bit of fun :) 

Holding a helment camera at arm's length into the Tour de France peloton is basically the Fredly equivalent of doing this.

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

PODIO?

Anonymous said...

that must have hurt

Serial Retrogrouch said...

POOD

Anonymous said...

2nd?

cycle

Anonymous said...

blow-dio

Anonymous said...

suck my toe-dio

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for anyone who reads the column first

RANTWICK said...

Top ten baby?

Spokey said...

whew

at least top dec

JB said...

Top 10 after a week in altitude training?

dcee604 said...

Darn, missed the top ten, too busy riding my bike.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...how very nice... i too took my road beiking cycle and at some point either had to carry the thing down a big flight of outdoor concrete steps, or ride it on the dirt embankment next to the same steps...

...i am here to tell the tale, so lucking i did not get hurt. but, wow, what a rush (for like 10 seconds).

...gravel beiks are for woosies.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...luckily... if it wasn't clear, i mean to say i rode the bike down the dirt slope.

ken e. said...

OTB!

RANTWICK said...

I'm a helmet cam guy. Yes, things look way closer when near and to the side, but c'mon, man. That thing was clearly in the way. Nice elbow, I thought.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...btw, does that make my 2-day beiking trip EPIC?

CommieCanuck said...

Holy Fuck I'm old. I remember when all race bikes were steel, and when you crashed, they broke, and more often than not, could not be repaired. You can't reheat those tubes.

But there is titanium or aluminum which..oops...cannot be repaired.

Hmmm...only frame material than can be repaired to the strength of new is ...crabon. Over 6,000 fixed to date.

Not one asploded on me yet.

dnk said...

Roof rack fail.

PotbellyJoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blog Drafter said...

Today's linkingways were very enjoyable, and, yeah, I HAD A GREAT WEEKEND!

PotbellyJoe said...

If you watch enough Ice Hockey playing, you see all of the Crabon sticks breaking there. Except they're mostly Canadians playing, so it's called "Composite."

Of course the manufacturers are quick to state that the fail rate of their sticks is on par with the old wooden ones, but that's pure crap and even if it were true I would expect better durability from a $200 stick than a $40 one.

It's the same crap from the Big Red S, Trek and the others, "No our frames don't break anymore often than..." BS, they do. It's why I no longer own one.

I can have a well-performing steel or aluminum bike that will last me many many seasons, or a crabon bike frame that will cost 2-7 times as much that will last me 2-3 years, if I don't wreck.

No thanks.

alpaca lips said...

I've been riding mostly crabon for years and years, often on rough dirt roads, and never had a problem. It's light and can give a lovely ride (though I tried one crabon bike once which rattled my fillings pretty badly).

Probably this is because I've stayed away from getting the ultra-lightest Fred sleds; I'm just riding around, not even fantasizing about attacking on the Tourmalet. I even carry a spare tube and pump!

JB said...

I had a long comment put together criticizing Chris Riekert's (Specialized) statement, but no one would have read it.

I don't judge those who purchase crabon frames (really, and I've considered crabon bits), but for my frame: "metal, I want some metal."

JB said...

JB: and admittedly, some of my opinion is based on economics. With unlimited funds, several of my bikecycles would be crabon-framed.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Finkelstein looks good in the buff.

il Parata est Mort said...

I had a crap-on handlebar snap off in my hand rolling over a tombstone rock mtn biking. *Tink* it goes.

My '89 Trek 2300 downtube also cracked, but not catastrophicly. to their credit Trek gave me a new frame.

I am not a fan of this material at all and if I had the moolah would buy a steel or Ti frame.

crosspalms said...

I know looks are a matter of taste, but I haven't seen a crabon bike yet that I thought looked good. Call me a retro-grouch.
Anyway, my wife and I rode our metal bikes to Whiting, Indiana on Saturday for Pierogifest, which is just what it sounds like, and just as cheesy as it sounds. Fun ride, fun fest. Met a guy on the ride back who had ridden from Chicago to Three Floyds Brewery and had 2 six-packs in his panniers. He was still way faster than us.

RoadQueen said...

Recumbabe titties and Fred cock all in one post.

What is this, PornSnobNYC?

PORN SNOB

Brooks said...

BikeSnob -- you really are a retrogrouch at heart. Retrogrouch Blog also posted about the NYT article earlier this morning: http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.com/2014/07/carbon-bikes-in-nyt.html

McFly said...

Now I know why Kevin Reza's girlfriend walks funny.

flank_steak_with_cheese said...

Oh Snobby, testing out paths for future epic rides is soooo Rafa.

The right thing to do is do a kickstarter to raise funds for your documentary on the epic 40 minute ride through 'mericuh's scranus.


Alloys will never be as light, but pretty close. Using alloys, the consumer gets a truly multipurpose biek that fails safely compared to teh crabons.

BTW, I understand Merida/Specialized has a $10,000 electric moped. $10,000!

flank_steak_with_cheese said...

Sorry, that's Rapha.TM

still picking the crabon out of my scranus.

Roille Figners said...

"Steel is now a niche element..."

it's an alloy, son

"...most commonly used by artisanal frame builders in."

Always trust people with superfluous words in the sentence in.

And yeah the material with the highest total energy absorption, lowest cost and easiest recyclability is a "niche" material all right... catering to "smart people" which is a small niche indeed.

grog said...

The new space-age material is aluminum. Not plastic.
Thank Lob for Recumbabe. She is not porn, queenie.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the bikes are built like plastic Volvos (the cars you dirty little man!). They have crumple zones.

I saw a picture of one of the early Tour De France winning bikes. The race had like 3 or 4 stages and the bikes looked like stripped down Raleigh Sports.

I have a Trek 5200 dark red metallic, looks like chromovelato red. I've almost lost enough weight where I feel comfortable about taking it out a lot. Mavic Helium wheels. Lot of metallic red. I think you could call it 'vintage crabon' at this point.

My daily driver green + white Olmo has a crabon fork the previous owner put on it. Rides great. Maybe one day I'll put the stock fourche back in it.

No real point to it all, just rambling.

And maybe a happy belated birthday to Ms. Babble!! Getting better whilst I'm getting older!

vsk

Freddy Murcks said...

Ritte ==> Goofy tiller effect.






632

Roille Figners said...

CRABON IS HAS GIVES BALL CANCER

Anonymous said...

I rode my (steel) mountain bike all weekend. Helps to have zero (0) children.

Freddy Murcks said...

I constantly tell people who ask me for bike buying advice to save money and buy a heavier aluminum or steel bike as opposed to buying a crabon fibre. Additionally, if they are concerned about weight, I remind them that reducing body weight is a lot cheaper and more effective than trying to reduce bike weight.




1262

Roille Figners said...

I went fishin. With a crabon rod. It's bendy and light.

babble on said...

Cheers, VSK! XX

Oh, snobbers... where to begin? Post surgery sex has its moments. It's fun, and a great distraction. And riding through the woods on a road bike is fun, too. You're so epic, you tatted up little hottie, you. (Today I am honouring my inner cougar.)

Ack! And holy fuck! You're scaring me! I am so lucky that my sweet little Ti Baby hasn't gone boom, that it has lived to see another year, too. Admittedly, I also have a powerfully present inner blond, even at the best of times, but I figured Ti was indestructable.

CommieCanuck said...

Crabon frames aren't about weight, they are about beefiness and beefy bottom brackets and they spin up easily and fly up hills, and they keep James Huang fed.

Make no sense for everyday. I use an alloy Jamis for every day, but my crabon BMC is just better. Sometimes, I just gotta douche out.

My problem isn't with frame materials, it's that in the time it took to write this comment, three new bottom bracket "standards" have been introduced.

Freddy Murcks said...

I think being obsessed about bike weight is great for the likes of Alpuerto Contadoper. It's his job to ride up hills as fast as possible, so every gram counts. that's not so true for the average recreational cyclist who almost assuredly has some excess body fat that can be lost in lieu of bike weight and who expects his/her bike to last more than one season (and to survive a series of mishaps).







100 (lamest robot captcha ever)

Bryan said...

I love my crabon bike so far. I wouldn't have gotten one except for the discount my p/t job at a bike shop allows me...that, and a lax payment plan. After watching road bike party 1 and 2, if that bike can take the abuse given than surely mine will be just fine w/o all those stresses put on it. It's a fun ride, smooths out the horrible roads we have, and I will proudly state that it is of teh "endurance" niche, which IMHO unless you are racing should be a normative and not a niche.

I also do love my steel bike. Looks goofy with a frame too small for me to use drop bars comfortably, it feels more like a dutch city bike. At some point, I want to get an older steel MTB for funsies and put a bigger tire like a Hans Dampf. Really just something to counter point my 29er with a completely different ride.
I love bikes.

CommieCanuck said...

I went fishin. With a crabon rod. It's bendy and light..

Campagnolo fishing rods suck.

CommieCanuck said...

Freddy, some stupid magazine in Yerrup used to weigh the TDF bikes every year, and they were shocked, shocked I tells ya, to find that most were about 18lbs or heavier, and few riders actually gave a fuck about bike weight.
Special Guys started the story about putting old chains in he frames to meet UCI weight minimums, but that was bullshit. Some honest reporters mentioned UCI doesn't even weigh the bikes unless a protest is launched.
And of course, all of us should be worried about the UCI weight minimum for bieks. It keeps me awake at night.

Fred of the Sea said...

Back it the Graftek era, the retrogrouches used to say, "just take a good shit before the race". Now, if I had an extry 30,000 sitting around, I'd replace the "alloy" rig on my boat with beefy, clear-coaty, craybon, so I could suck faster at this sport, too. It would be like taking 250 shits before the race.

Bryan said...

I don't mind sucking. Someone has to win the Lanterne Rouge.

Vernal Magina said...

Man, I am literally *this* close (holds thumb and forefinger apart) to buying a crabon bike -- like, literally, this week. Need something lighter to sub for my steel road bike on longer rides...

... This post doesn't help!

Freddy Murcks said...

CC, I believe that you are right insofar as most pros ride the bikes that are provided to them by their sponsors/team. And if you are not a GC contender or a sprinter, you have very little reason to think very much about your bike so long as it gets you from point A to point B in a reasonably efficient and comfortable manner.

Nevertheless, I imagine that the GC contenders (or more likely their mechanics) obsess over every detail of their bikes and how much every part weighs. If they will dope for a 1% performance gain, then it makes sense that they will also fine tune their bikes for the possibility a marginal performance gain.

The thing that I don't understand is that companies like Special Ed make bikes for the consumer market that weigh substantially less than the UCI weight limit. The typical overweight fred does not need that sort of bike regardless of the size of his bank account. The overweight fred needs a durable bike and he needs to lose some weight so that he's no so overweight.





214

Freddy Murcks said...

By the way, I have a steel Jamis that I have had for about 10 years. I don't ride it very much any more because I prefer the mountain biking, but it's still perfectly functional after many years and many thousands of miles. I fully expect that I could will it to one of my children when I die. Changing BB standards notwithstanding, I doubt that could be said of many crabon fibre bikes.

1904 Cadardi said...

Roille,

Catering to smart people is now, always has been and always will be a niche market.

Fred of the Sea said...

Solid corollary of Mencken's statement, " No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

Anonymous said...

http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/28/solid-connected-bicycle/

nuf said

cycle

crosspalms said...

Here's proof that if you take photos of a black bike in low light, it'll be hard to see the thing.

crosspalms said...

cycle,
I learned a new term there. Haptic grips.

DB said...

Crosspalms:
What I can see of the thing looks pretty cool.

Spokey said...


gots a 12 year old steel (comotion) which is my main biek

a 20 year old aluminum (cannondale)

and a 30 year old steel(centurion) which peaches used until recently when she bought a new one because my biek was too big for her.

Oh, forgot about the low 20 some what year criterium my brother recently gave me but I've only ridden that once.

the biggest issue I have with the older bieks is the gearing is sometimes unkind to my old knees.

In terms of durability, I've crashed all from time to time without serious issues to the frame.

I went down on the centurion in the mid / late 80s and the guy behind me went over his bars and landed on my biek. Taco'd the front wheel but $40 for a Nashbar set and I was back in business. Still running those nashbar wheels.

I even did a picture 9 back in june with the comotion. Comotion - scratches on the downtube where it was ripped from the biek carrier. It was left hanging from the side of the car by the strap holding the rear wheel to the carrier. Bike carrier - ~$100 in repair parts. House - still dented so $0 but it was spousy's garage anyway. Car - ~$700 to fix the major dings

I'll still to real metal.

CommieCanuck said...

Freddy,

Doping is not a 1% gain, it is the only thing that you can buy that will you go faster. Good thing this year's TDF winner is clean (so hard to type while laughing).

Nibali is now a common household word, like, it was late at night, I was watching a movie and got some chips because I was feeling all Nibali.

Roille Figners said...

These are haptic grips /
these are haptic gri-yy-yips

Isn't that how the Bad Brains tune goes?

(BTW: Fuck me, another smartphone/bike collabo.)

Bryan said...

All those bikes suck! Especially the one (1) that has an exclusive iPhone app. Does that mean everyone riding one needs a iPhone? Fuck that. Oh wait, which one am I talking about??? The only thing I like about those bikes are a USB charger for your phone. Though, I ride with my phone in a Ziplock bag so I can take full advantage of any sprinklers I find, also cause the sweaty screen is disgusting and I think it messes with my phone being in my jersey pockets with no phone condom. I don't need or want navigation, or haptic anything, or turn signals.
All of those rack systems look weak. Seattle's looks like an exercise bike, Portland's looks disturbing, San Fran's is okay...odd but ok, NYC..interesting but still kinda ugly, and Chicago's...well, I just don't like it. I voted for teh NYC one cause it doesn't have dick brakes, though it was lacking fenders. Still better than those micro fender things on the Seattle bike.

shining trapezoid said...

stainless scranus

Comment deleted said...

So, how about the manufacturers plow some of the incredible weight savings of crabon back into the weak points of the frame?

A slightly heavier crabon frame that aimed for high durability would be very attractive to me.

crosspalms said...

The designer bikepocalypse made me wonder what kind of bike Architectural Digest would try to sell me: This is one of them.

Herschel Raney said...

I did have a friend who had a near orchiectomy with a broken seat post on a mountain downhill. He was in the middle of nowhere and there before his eyes was his orchi, unsheathed from its scrotal envelope. He had to walk out of the mountains and get to an ER where a Urologist, no doubt, etched some memories into my friends bike life.

Fuck that robot test.

Still waiting on my hat.

Fred of the Sea said...

Shards are a real hazard when carbon composite fails.

McFly said...

I have an alum Intense Uzzi SL, a 531 Reynolds Raleigh Competition and a Carbondale Synapse (I JUST MADE THAT UP WAKKA WAKKA) and they all perform flawlessly in their respected disciplines....which is me sucking on different beiks.

Fred of the Sea said...

My only bike with a shred of Fred cred is a Peter Mooney custom frame, circa 1985, made with a combination of Columbus SL and SP tubes. It has a cream and royal blue CycleArt paint job and a nearly complete Nuovo Record group. My wife has a baby pink one with a super-short top tube. Some day I'm going to get the rear triangles stretched to 130 mm and put some modern wheels on them.

Flyover BC sands spel czechor said...

Its a good thing that still shift and break cabels hold crabon bikes together when they brake.

JB said...

Wait until shifting and braking is all electronic...

McFly said...

My girl seems to enjoy an electronic manhood as much as or even more than a manual manhood. As far as performance and sustainable durability over a longer ride goes.

Anonymous said...

Loving your Rittey, Snobby. It's dignified and righteous.

I can understand your reluctance to ditch the cleats, but have you considered toeclips as an interim or compromise measure?

And maybe dirt drops, too?

Configured so, that one bike could do just about everything.

Roille Figners said...

McFly - she is gettin HAPTIC wid it!

JLRB said...

Telling Freds they should just loose weight and buy more durable bikes? Bwhahahahah!

Marketing to America ...

JLRB said...

lose not loose...

babble on said...

It IS righteous. I love love love the simplicity of a frame sans decals. Specially the Ti sort of frame. I wanted to take the decals off ages ago, but I don't want to damage the finish any more than I already have by crashing, and I worry about glue sticking around.

I find most Crabon bikes too busy, specially when you put a pro rider with sponsors galore on top of it.

CC - Bill, king of the Master's cycling association and the transportation safety board alike, loves his BMC so much he has two of em. Laughs at me, he does. Picks up Ti Baby and says "no wonder you're so strong." And I always feel like I'm flying(slightly delusional), I find that bike so light. It's a featherweight next to 61 lbs of Bea bike!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:12pm,

Thank you!

There's no point putting dirt drops on a bike that doesn't have clearance for a wide tire. This is still a road bike. I just meant maybe I'd put MTB clipless pedals on it to facilitate walking over/around the odd obstacle--though I also have a cyclocross bike so there's really not much point.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

"Nibali is now a common household word, like, it was late at night, I was watching a movie and got some chips because I was feeling all Nibali."

Yeah, you'll be sitting in the family room watching the Tour of Fredericksburg and you call out to your wife in the kitchen "hey, I need some "nibble balls". Grab some will ya.

flank_steak_with_cheese said...


A slightly heavier crabon frame that aimed for high durability would be very attractive to me.

Missing the point. Greatly simplified: crabon is incredibly strong the direction of the fibres only. More layups is not really the answer.

Alloys are quite multipurpose at a very nominal weight penalty.

If you really, really REALLY want to be more efficient, get a crabon fibre aero-type front wheel and a lighter back wheel. Maybe drop the stem a spacer too.

gE said...

Holy fuck, I'm at cyclingforums.blablabla. How did I get here? Coulda sworn I deleted that bookmark 10 years ago.

Spokey said...

babs

remove the decals. Then remove the paint. Like birthday girls, ti bieks should be nekked.


but I don't really know jack uressmnh

BamaPhred said...

Scranus. Enjoying the crabon take down. Snob has written crabon so much I have a hard time saying carbon. I just say I'm using the French pronunciation.

Stranded Frame Size said...

What about that Slingshot mtn bike that had a steel cable for a downtube? How the hell do you mount a water bottle cage on that set up?

leroy said...

My dog wishes to point out that, according to Mr. BSNYC, this is the family business.

leroy said...

OK, my dog wishes to try a different link..

ce said...

My BSNYC wool cap arrived. It's a good thing too, as we are in the frigid depths of an Australian winter down here. 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Freedomfries) and sunny.

Frank said...

So. I just took delivery of a Ritchey Swiss Cross. I left the crabon fork in the box and am using steel instead (because it's not crabon). Anyone need a new cyclocross fork? I'll do you a killer deal. C'mon ... it's red! It won't explode ... fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

seventeen (17) kids? they're 'dopeted, right?

anyways, I wouldn't mind a little "crabon" time with that Agata Tamulewicz-Downey chic!

Jill J. Atchison said...

A person weblog is actually eye-catching. We delight in this. Many thanks with regard to discussing this particular stunning written piece beside me.

specialized bikes