Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Matter of Degree

Road bikes, aero bikes, cyclocross bikes, all-road bikes, gravel bikes, dedicated lunch ride bikes...  Yes, the world of bendy-bar bicycles has never been more bewildering.  Fortunately, here's a bike that will ostensibly put an end to all that.  But probably not:


Of course any good Kickstarter film features a case study, and in this case it's Max:


"This is Max."

Hi, Max.


"Max bought himself a new road bike."

Good for him.  And it was, at least for awhile.  See, at first his life was a Fred-tastic idyll of wearing matchy outfits with his riding buddies and pulling through:


But then something awful happened.  His friends started taking offroad detours and he could't follow them!


Alas, his relationship with his riding buddies had hit a literal and figurative fork in the road, and it seemed that while they went off to frolic upon mixed terrain he was forever consigned to a life of Fredness:


And let's not even get into the overnight bro-downs:


See how he has to carry a cumbersome backpack while they ride away from him, effortlessly portaging pour-over coffee in the latest high-end bike luggage?


Anyway, you'd think after Fredding, Crossing, and even Camping with these guys day in and day out that Max would be happy to be rid of them for awhile, but apparently not.

So instead, Max consults a guy with a beard:


Who explains to him the difference between a road bike:


And a cyclocross bike:


Hint: they're different colors.

Oh, and also the tires.  Road bikes have skinny tires:


And cyclocross bikes have fatter ones, often with bumps on them:


"Oh, I get it!," Max exclaims.  "If I just get a bike with more clearance and maybe some rack mounts I can change the tires and use it for whatever!"

Not so schnell, Max!

There's also the headtube.  Road bikes and cyclocross bikes can vary in headtube angle by as much as one (1) whole degree!


So which has the steeper angle?  Well never mind that, but rest assured it's the difference between life and death.

The difference in seat tube angle is even more profound, with angles varying by as much as one (1) entire degree!


Think that's not a big deal?  "Insignificant" you say?  Well look at it this way.  If you angled a rocket at 74 degrees and launched it into space you'd land safely on the Moon.  However, if you launched it at 73 degrees you'd miss the Moon completely and hurtle through space for billions of years, eventually disappearing into a black hole and emerging into another dimension where you exist as one of Stephen Hawking's dingleberries or perhaps a booger in Neil Degrasse Tyson's mustache:


So go meditate on the meaning of "insignificance" and come back when you're ready to buy the right bicycle.

Fortunately for Max, the guy with the beard has invented the Schrödinger's cat of bicycles:


It starts as a regular road bike, but then you change the fork, which isn't annoying at all:


Then you change your tires:


And finally you alter your wheelbase:


Now you're ready to do some cyclobrocross!

Now Max has the holeshot:


Just make sure you carry that road fork as well as some road tires in case the gang decides to veer back onto pavement again, because you don't want to get stuck with a sub-optimal bicycle.

Indeed, it's not hard to imagine poor Max altering his bike five or ten times the night before the big ride as the texts fly back and forth deliberating over tomorrow's route.

Oh, and the Schrödinger's catbike can even carry his camping supplies:


Now Max never has to spend a single waking moment away from his fickle, inconsiderate "friends."

Though he really should equip it with an analog speedometer:


(Via Klaus/Alps and Andes)

Presumably the gauge is optimized to make it easily readable, even through your old-timey hipster beard.

Still, I'm waiting until they come out with a power meter:


By the way, if you're not impressed by one-degree differences in frame geometry, why not try something really different and get yourself a Bird of Prey?



Here's the inventor:


Who, high atop his seaside SoCal perch invented the world's fastest beach cruiser:


He's like a sun-baked Graeme Obree:


Whose idea he basically lifted like a California plastic surgeon lifting a pair of boobs:


Well, that and the infamous H-Zontal:



That's not cycling, that's inland cross-training for snorkelers.

Anyway, descending on the Bird of Prey looks freaking horrifying:


Especially with those diminutive cyclocross bar-top levers:


Yikes.

I bet that bike goes from Bird of Prey to roadkill way faster than the Schrödinger's catbike goes from road to cyclocross.

Lastly, remember Self-Hating Super-Fred from yesterday's post?


Well a number of people have since pointed out that riding two abreast is legal in New Jersey, which is where they all are in the video, having crossed over the state line a mile or two ago.

Putz.

79 comments:

dancesonpedals said...

oh yeah

ken e. said...

boom!

Anonymous said...

POOP DIUM

McFly said...

Nice DOP.

Ted K. said...

130. Technology advances with great rapidity and threatens freedom at many different points at the same time (crowding, rules and regulations, increasing dependence of individuals on large organizations, propaganda and other psychological techniques, genetic engineering, invasion of privacy through surveillance devices and computers, etc.). To hold back any ONE of the threats to freedom would require a long and difficult social struggle. Those who want to protect freedom are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new attacks and the rapidity with which they develop, hence they become apathetic and no longer resist. To fight each of the threats separately would be futile. Success can be hoped for only by fighting the technological system as a whole; but that is revolution, not reform.

Anonymous said...

FUKU TEDK

dancesonpedals said...

Is Poop Dium anything like Carp Diem or that Diem guy in Saigon that got killed by the CIA?

Ngo Way.

N/A said...

Poor, dumb, Max and his stupid non-optimal biek!

N/A said...

I wonder if Max changes his "kit" during his ride, too. I mean, wearing a roadie jersey off-road? Tres gauche.

Anonymous said...

Top ten?

BamaPhred said...

Off the back, used a non blog sprint specific keyboard and a dial up 300b modem

DB said...

Waiting for the rear entry comments to begin on the Bird of Prey YouTube model.

ken e. said...

visualing a time bandit-esque moment when i zoom out of degrasse tyson's nose on a h-zont and escape into the larger universe. comedic hi-jinks ensue, cumulating in a large collage piece landing on the perfectly matching freds with a squishing noise. two forks and two rear triangles?

STPD ISAS
STPD DOES

Max Schlachter said...

Analog GPS? So it comes with an astrolabe?

bcstractor said...

Well - I'll stick to my Surly Crosscheck which already does pretty much everything.

And that prone recumbent - I found out that was a bad idea in 1979 along with some others at the Human Powered Speed Championships in Ontario CA. Obree has no clue and copied the same bad mistakes and bad fairings. Then he claims a "World Record" for the fastest prone recumbent - which is much like claiming the world record for the fastest bike with the brakes on.

N/A said...

@ DB

I was thinking it, but wasn't going to say anything.

bcstractor said...

At least I got a two page spread in Popular Mechanics but it was totally awful to ride.
https://books.google.com/books?id=4c4DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=popular+mechanics+chris+pollard&source=bl&ots=G_E01frTnc&sig=wFH5dkPe-e6rX60iW-V6eQfM0v0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7jLeXjsjLAhXBQCYKHXRKCNUQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=popular%20mechanics%20chris%20pollard&f=false

thrillseeker said...

One whole degree?!?!?! OF COURSE IT MATTERS!!!

And you know, the tires MUST have bumps on them to work in the dirt. You might die without bumps on your tire in the dirt. If you aren't using the correct task-specific biek, well, I hope your affairs are in order.

N/A said...

The Bird Of Prey Bike looks like it's optimised for some dirty riding.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Snob!

(Especially liked the wide range of cultural references.)

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Mr. Bigshot Architect hasn't heard of underwater spin classes.

Anonymous said...

Kiss my dik, I'm Irish!

Anonymous said...

Amen on the Cross-Check. Or better yet, Max could get a Travelers Check with S and S couplers and take that sumbitch any where like our beloved Snobbie.

NourskSiklist said...

@ DB; it was literally the first image flashing through my lizard brain. I feel no shame, but am grateful to you for broaching the subject. Dat ass! As for the BoP cycle, I'm not judging, as my shed is filled with many oddball varieties of biek. I would however fear for the derriere safety of anyone passing the InCiponator on such a bike. A quick sprint, and BOOM!

Domo arigato Mister Robotto

Hee Haw the Barista's liberal college "friend" said...

BICY XUAL

Kickstarter guy is clearly in the confusing early stages of bicyxual experimentation.

NHcycler said...

I'm not the most mechanically inclined reader of this eloquent bike-cycling blog. I can deal with a lot of the external stuff, like replacing chains and adjusting stuff. But the internal stuff still scares me. I picture myself bringing a box of parts that were assembled and working OK to the shop for them to put back together.

I've never been tempted to remove the fork from any of my n+1's.

I'm much more likely to buy a completely different bike than try to do that level of surgery on one that already works fine.

That being typed, I did reach into my extensive library to retrieve a back issue of BikeCyling magazine, where none other than WCRM hisself implored every reader to reach for "The Mechanic Within." Don't laugh, but I did, for the first time, successfully wrap the handlebars after only three tries. Could replacing cables be next?

Very Slim Pickins said...

Off the road and through the woods, his buddies go, for a frolic at Babbles house.

Bletchley Park said...

Analog GPS, only days after Pi Day, suspicious.

Anonymous said...

another amen to the Cross-check which is also >$500 cheaper, and much, much less of a hassle.

trama said...

Where is Frilly?

P. Bateman said...

"Inland training for snorklers"

I wish we had emojis for the comments. I would give you many of the hands clapping emoji.

P. Bateman said...

I would also give several eggplant emojis, but just to sleaze things up a bit.

grog said...

Hooray for New Jersey.

Frickus Rungus said...

That analog fredometer reminds me of my first attempt to quantify my two wheeled awesomeness: a heuret mechanical odomoeter. Ahhhh, those were the days...

P. Bateman said...

wait, the video suggests you can swap out a fork, change tires etc...in 15 minutes?

haha. okay. go fuck yourself.

Reggie said...

Thank you, Snobbie, for introducing us to Max. I look forward to his future adventures, replacing forks and tires every ten miles while his "buddies" do their best to break his brain by riding on asphalt, dirt and gravel all in one day. Max is obviously the third wheel of that bro trio, i.e. "Brio"

JLRB said...

That's not cycling, that's inland cross-training for snorkelers.

Pure military grade aluminum!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

The recumbabe has bumps on her tires. If I remember correctly. Been a while since I seen em.

JLRB said...

Bird of pray you don't die

JLRB said...

... and Luck of the Irish my raw scranus - ripped sidewall on the way to work today - discovered I never got around to replacing the spare tube after my last flat.

JLRB said...

...and, what doesn't make you stronger kills you

dnk said...

Holy shit that bird of prey video is annoying.

Max, on the other hand, is kind of adorable. Poor schmuck.

Red Ross said...

snob....I love you :D

Anonymous said...

St. Patrick's Day is the best Jerry....the BREAST.

Regular guy said...

Anybody keeping an eye on Rip Torn? That guy who hatched the bird of prey looks an awful lot like the Face of Approval Himself.

I feel a little sorry for the guy who was conned into the 8 bar Mitte. (is that the pressure you run, or is it some bar hopping event with Mitt Romney?) Why doesn't he just get two bikes? It is always handy to have one when the other is down.

Wout! Van Cortlandt Park said...

Snob,

Did you intend show a single-speed (so-called) 'cyclocross' bike or did the photo editor err?

Best,

Wout!

Grump said...

If Max is so "Mad", why doesn't he just buy a "dick" break CX bike, and have two sets of wheels? There is a guy who comes out on our Tues/Thurs "hero" rides that does this, and still manages to hammer most everyone.
PS. Having a bolt on rear wheel sucks.

Dungeons and Dragons said...

Was the Prey Bike designed by Cipo? She may be smiling now, but once Cipo climbs on too.....

N/A said...

I hope that poor, dumb, Max has a good tire pressure gauge, 'cause he's going to have to constantly check what pressure he's running.

BamaPhred said...

Refraining from bad tandem jokes on the Bird of Prey

McFly said...

So the Bird of Prey will not even achieve Minimum WOOHOO Velocity?


meh

Fred Fruitloops said...

That architect and Bird Of Prey inventor is the brother of the moat-interesting man who, when he does drink beer, drinks Dos Equis. "Stay thirsty my friends."

Some great lines today, Snobby!

Anonymous said...

"That architect and Bird Of Prey inventor is the brother of the moat-interesting man who, when he does drink beer, drinks Dos Equis. "Stay thirsty my friends."

I do not recommend riding the BoP near a moat.

N/A said...

"I do not recommend riding the BoP near a moat."

Would you ride it with a goat?

N/A said...

Would you, could you, ride it on a boat?

Roille Figners said...

Bird of Prey Lady for New Recumbabe '16! What happened, the campaign from last year seems to have fizzled!

Frickus Rungus said...

We are having a weathery day here, so I had to don the moisture resistant outerwear, some gloves, my ear muffins and I even put on goggles to keep the sleet out of my eyes. I was zipping up my jacket and I noticed that the zipper pull says: "Never a bad time to ride". I initially agreed, thinking that I was going to be warm and comfy on my commute and there would be no fair weather freds to contend with, so it really was a good day for a ride. But what about tornadoes? I think that during a tornado warning is a bad time to ride. Flash floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, plagues of locusts; all not good for cycling. They should put an asterisk on the zipper pull and a tag on the inside of the jacket that lists all of the conditions under which they do not recommend riding.

1904 Cadardi said...

@janinedm from yesterday

I cross chain too. So does everybody else. Especially the people that say they never cross chain. Cross chaining came up three times with my work/riding buds recently, and I caught all three people that claimed they never do it crossed over big-big within 5 miles of the ride start. So much for that.

But remember:
Every time a chain is crossed
A kitten gets it's legs pulled off

ps. Didn't we make fun of the BoP last year?

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

Cadardi- We sure did! But life is like that, isn't it? ... what with all the spinning in circles circling round that round orb on this tiny little rock. And as sure as the sun will rise over the horizon tomorrow somehow you know you're sure to find some guy out there who figures he can improve on perfection.

I cross chain regularly, because I suck at life. And cause I feather my way through the cluster one step at a time without even thinking about it. Force of habit. I always shift down before a stop, too. But when I'm stopping I typically switch from the big chainring to the small, oddball that I am. It's like driving a car, isn't it? You won't get far if you try to start in fifth, would you? It always surprizes me how many people start from the same gear they were cruising in at speed.

Yes. Do drop on by, my peeps, and we'll all frolic together, shall we? I would LOVE to ride with you guys. Sometimes it seems as though the only sane people I know are the lot of you, and yet I wouldn't even recognize 99% of you if I met you face to face. Oh dear. Let's not think about what THAT says about my life.

Last year's fondon't was a no-go, as I was otherwise obliged. And I almost hate to say it, but I AM mighty tempted to ride the Whistler Fondo this year, just cause ordinarily that road is deadly with the rumble strip, the drainage holes, the rubbish strewn about, and all of the (mostly speeding) traffic, but if I could convince a few of you to come out this way, I am hap hap happy to host a good long fondon't. We can even ride through the woods hither, thither and yon, but be forewarned: I don't have a frolick specific bike.

Is thither a word?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Babs, yes, "thither" is a word, and used appropriately as well, but you could have said, alternatively, 'Hither and yon."

I always recommend speaking in Shakespearean english whenever possible.

bad boy of the north said...

wishiwasmerckx...april is right around the corner.shakey's birthday is sometime in april and also his demise.so,perchance,we can dream and speak in Shakespearean prose,once a week.what say thee?

bad boy of the north said...

..in april

wishiwasmerckx said...

Keeping in the spirit:

CJ, thou art as loathsome as a toad.

Anonymous said...

You know what really grinds my gears? Putting air in the tires. Pumps, c02 inflators, there has got to be a better way!

BIMPAIR - Discover the high pressure inflating revolution !

Very Slim Pickins said...

Babs is back. That's a load off the mind. Really glad to hear she's A-OK. When regulars disappear, who ride bikes all of the time, one starts wondering. On the other hand, she could have been on a honeymoon or something similar.

Very Slim Pickins said...

PS Really miss Bab's own blog posts. Excellent common sense observations and great photographs (she has a good eye).

Frickus Rungus said...

Probably shouldn't ride in a sharknado either. Not unless you wear a chainmail wetsuit and are running the right pressure for neutral boyancy in your tires.

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Dooth said...

Specialized has a Shakespearean funny bike known as the Bard of Prey. Sinyard is lawyering-up ipso facto.

Dave said...

Wow - this guy Gaybar Bola has a whole new way of thinking. I'm dumping Ted K as my guru. Hey Gaybar, maybe you could help me with my fender doughnut which is corseted all improper simpleton-like - too too turgid, flow is max borscht and I forgot where limpets roam. You know? Also, tufted marketing is totally a brand new demi-god particle, tell me more.

Anonymous said...

BoP.. OK, that might barely be safe to ride in liberal California.... I couldn't imagine having my lycra wrapped ass stuck up in the air like that in some redneck state.. If you don't have hillbilly's in monster trucks trying to "runeminaditch" with the BoP you get the deliverence types thinking you are displaying your willing scranus.. No thanks.. the extra aero advantage isn't worth it..

JasonM said...

Crap, if only I'd travelled into the future to read this back in August, wouldn't have broken a collarbone while inadvisably taking my road bike off-road. Damn you suboptimal 72 degree head tube angle and knobless tires! I do feel better now knowing that poor bike handling and not keeping my weight back had nothing to do with going over the bars.

Anonymous said...

I better see a doctor soon.my anulus media hurts.thanks gebyar for reminding me.

babble on said...

Thank you, Mr Pickins! I miss it, too, though you'll find that whilst I do take a reliable percentage of the photos on spokeNscene, the very best of them are the work of a much better eye than mine. :) xo

Domenic said...

Alas, how does poor Max deal with with front brake caliper? What a hässle!

Anonymous said...

Bird'o Prey video reminds me of Always Sunny Paddy's Egg or Kitten Mittens.

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