I'm even wearing flip-flops, in a boldly frank admission to the world that I've totally given up on life.
Anyway, as I often do while riding it, I thought back to that stupid Budnitz, and how my Ironic Orange Julius Bike rides just as nicely, only it doesn't creak like the Budnitz did:
I'm not the only one who experienced that either:
For the most part, the build kit has performed quite well. I loved the Kojak tires so much I obtained a set for our Project Any Road build. The Oury grips did come installed backwards, but functionally they were fine. We flipped them for aesthetics. The only other issue is the dreaded noisy bottom bracket. It creaks and squeaks a lot, acoustically ruining what is an otherwise incredibly smooth and quiet drivetrain. Beyond that, I would much prefer to see higher quality hydraulic disc brakes on the bike, especially given the price point. If Breezer can use them on their $1569 Beltway 8, I think Budnitz can find a way to spec them, or at least offer them as an option. The BB7s work fine, but personally I really just don’t care for mechanical disc brakes.
Also, the Ironic Orange Julius Bike costs thousands less, so I don't feel the need to uglify it further than it already is to deter thieves--unlike the Budnitz:
Sorry, it's been almost three years now and that goddamn bike still pisses me off.
In fact, the Budnitz is probably the second-most annoying bike I ever reviewed after this one:
Boy was that a stinker.
It's like the this sneaker of bikes:
Speaking of locking up your bike, here's the bazillionth Kickstarter for a "smart lock," the one cycling accessory that absolutely nobody on the face of the earth is asking for:
This one purports to be "strong," and "smart," and "social:"
Which might mean something if this is the way bike thieves defeated locks:
Except that it's not at all how they defeat locks.
In fact, what bike thieves do is they use giant levers, which I know because I was in a movie about it:
I'm already getting Oscar buzz, and I think there's a good shot I'll take home the statue for "Best Disembodied Hand In A Brooklyn Public Access Non-Fiction Segment About Bikes."
So right, the hammering. Yeah, who gives a shit if you can hammer the lock? He might as well have shot at it with an assault rifle, because bike thieves don't do that either--though it goes without saying if you do hammer a bike lock you should be sure to use a titanium Fred hammer like this one:
("Spins up nice, tracks really well, descends with confidence.")
Most importantly though, the blulock "knows every move your bike makes:"
Which is quite useful if you suspect your bike may be cheating on you:
("Don't tell him about us.")
If nothing else, I'll now be sure to disinfect the Ironic Orange Julius Bike's "contact points" after leaving it unattended for more than a few minutes.
In other Kickstarting news, remember this guy?
He's the mastermind behind Broken Bones Bicycles, the bike company for crash-prone Freds.
Anyway, a reader by the name of Derek emailed me to let me know that the unfortunately named Broken Bones crabon "Fracture" frame:
Is in fact a genuine HongFu Sports Equipment CO., LTD:
Only with the application of tribal bro-douche graphics:
(A de-douched HongFu, elegantly minimalist)
If nothing else, I have to hand it to the Broken Bones guy, because this is perhaps the least successful bicycle rebranding attempt I've ever seen. Generally when rebranding something you want to create the illusion of cachet, but I'd much rather tell people I ride a HongFu Sports Equipment CO., LTD than a "Broken Bones Fracture" with graphics inspired by Tapout.
Speaking of rebranding concerns, here's a review of the new $12,500 Specialized Venge Schmenge Aero Deluxe Super-Tan-Fastic SL:
Which is demonstrably the fastest Fred bike in the known universe, because here's why:
For the Venge ViAS test, we first measured in the wind tunnel the total drag of each rider on a ViAS, then the total drag of each rider on a Tarmac. Specialized stacked the deck a bit with each of us wearing a skinsuit and aero helmet for the ViAS measurement, then regular bibs, jersey and standard road helmet for the measurement on a Tarmac.
Wait a minute: they tested the Venge with the rider in a skinsuit, and then they compared that to the Tarmac with the rider wearing regular Fred gear?
That's like taking the Pepsi Challenge with the Pepsi served over ice and the Coke at room temperature after the can has been left open for a few days.
Next, the subjected the reviewer to a 20 kilometer time trial, and here's what happened:
Nonetheless, the ballpark comparison showed immediate results. For instance, I took note of my speed at three spots on course: a fast downhill, an uphill and a flat section. The downhill was 5mph faster at the very bottom on the Venge, the uphill seemed to be the same, and the flat was maybe 1mph faster. The total ride time was a little more than two minutes faster with the Venge and aero setup. But again, this was just ballpark, as I certainly couldn't track the variance in wind speed or even exact power over the two sessions while riding along.
Incredible: For $12,500, you will suck 120 seconds less than you will on a Tarmac.
That's the difference between sucking balls and still sucking balls but on a $12,500 bike.
But wait--actually, when you factor in the skinsuit, you're only sucking about 60 seconds less:
So how much of the difference is the bike and how much is the skinsuit and aero helmet? By Specialized's calculations, it's about 50/50. Before the launch was held, there was heated debate inside the company about whether inviting journalists to test in this way was a good idea. What if the results weren't impressive? Perhaps this is why we tested aero setup vs standard setup instead of just the bikes themselves with identical clothing and helmet. Nonetheless, even if the bike difference was half, it is still a huge difference.
Is that really a huge difference? I don't think that it is. Sucking at riding bikes is not measured in seconds, or even minutes. It's measured in an overall lack of accomplishment and an overarching narrative of suckitude that runs through your cycling career. Saying you suck less than some other sucky Fred because you finished a race a few seconds sooner than he did is like saying you're richer than your neighbor because you both have the same car but yours has those moronic stick-on air vents on it.
But of course no review would be complete without the performance-related anecdote:
Camera rolling, we set off down the rollercoaster of a descent. Now, if you have ever ridden a hyper-aero time trial bike, you know they are fast, but not necessarily the most confidence-inspiring machines. Now think of how comfortable you feel on your favourite road bike. Imagine putting the TT bike speed and your road bike's confidence together. That's the Venge ViAS.
Chris and I flew down the descent, yelling back and forth, and of course we had to attack the group when we came railing past. That's what boys do. Some spirited counters followed and we throttled along at 30mph. That evening as we uploaded our Garmins, my Strava file showed a KOM for that six-mile descent.
I'm not sure Specialized should be encouraging Freds should be encouraged to launch downhill attacks, wind-cheating cockpit notwithstanding:
Plus, the Venge-Schmenge cockpit has nothing on this one, which was spotted in Tel Aviv by a reader named Paul:
Now that's performance.