Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Obfuscate This!



(Fracas evolving into a melee)

First things first, you already know I'm going to be at Rivendell on Saturday, June 18th because I've told you like a million times.  What you may not know, however, is that so many retrogrouches have RSVP-ed with a curmudgeonly "harrumph" (which is how they say "yes") that the event is now moving to the Marriott hotel nearby:

Since we sold out of space here, we’re moving it to the ultra-near…. 

Marriot Hotel Walnut Creek

2355 North Main Street   *  Walnut Creek 94596    934-2000

The event is officially titled (the Marriot knows it by this)

BIKE SNOB BOOK TALK.

It is in the Contra Costa Junior Ballroom. There may be a sign.

Wow.

I cannot wait to see whether or not there's actually a sign.

And if it's already not obvious to you that this event is the most exciting thing to hit Walnut Creek since [insert mildly exciting event here], consider that after my talk a ride is also going to happen organically:

After the 4:00 event that will actually start at 4:00, Eben will sign books, and then there’ll be a 60-90 minute totally optional NO HOST bike ride. Bring your own bike, make sure it’s suitable for dirt trails, a few bumps, a few hills. Let’s keep it all low-key. Track stands at stop lights are discouraged. Those no-hands track stands with one foot on the front tire will be punished with a push. No need to next-day-air a new jersey for the event. The first one back wins nothing. You don’t have to be as low key as ME, but I’m trying to make a point.

I am SO going to do a no-hands track stand with one foot on the front tire:



Between this and the Northern California Pirate Festival in Vallejo this is truly shaping up to be a "Holy Shit!" weekend of nonstop excitement:

And let's say you're not lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area but you still have the relative good fortune of living in the Pacific Northwest.  Well, on Thursday, June 16th I'll be at River City Bicycles:

(Details forthcoming)

And on Friday, June 17th I'll be at University Bookstore in Seattle:


There may or may not be some other events after that, and if there are I'll let you know, but rest assured it ain't over until I return to Cleveland:


("No... sleep...  'til Cleveland...")




The notion of bicycle engineering is no longer ridiculous and the science behind bicycle design has grown considerably in the last two decades, providing the industry and consumers alike with much more data on the way that a bike performs. Some manufacturers have even resorted to publishing white papers based on the findings of their research so that consumers can better understand the benefits of their products.

Despite our growing sophistication, there is at least one aspect of the bike has yet to be defined with such clarity: ride quality. It’s an evocative term that can used to refer to the mystique of any given bike, yet it’s not critical for its performance, and in practice, is largely open to interpretation.

So what do we know about the nature of ride quality?

We know a lot, actually.  "Ride quality" of course is how comfortable your bike is.  Furthermore, it's a pretty straighforward affair: get a bike that fits, put on a saddle and bars that feel good to you, use the right tires at the right pressure, and you're done.

However, we're talking about bikes here, so "ride quality" is something that gives bike reviewers an excuse to say stuff like this:

--"Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant"
--"Leaps out of corners like a ninja monkey on Adderall"
--"Springs to attention like Cipollini's member at a cocktail party"

And so forth.

Anyway, despite the almost boneheaded simplicity of "ride quality," this article takes a deep dive into the concept and manages to over-complicate it even further than the marketing departments and the bike reviewers who work for them already have:

THE DEFINITION OF RIDE QUALITY

In keeping with its elusive, even esoteric, nature, there is no clear definition for ride quality. The spectrum of opinion ranges from vague, artistic notions to precise engineering terms.

Ben Serotta is a well-known framebuilder with a long history in the bike industry that has worked with every frame material. Despite his experience, he believes there is an element to ride quality that continues to defy our understanding:

“I’ve thought about this phenomenon during my rides. You might give the same sheet of music to two musicians. One plays it perfectly, but when the other plays you get goose bumps. How? It’s impossible to define. With the bike, it’s part technology, but I’m pretty sure it’s also part magic that infiltrates the bicycle.”

There's no doubt whatsoever that Ben Serotta knows his way around a bike, but how does this analogy make any sense?  He seems to be saying two musicians can interpret the same music differently, and this in turn evokes a different feeling in the listener.  Well, of course this is true.  But how is this comparable to the "part magic that infiltrates the bicycle?"  He's not claiming the difference in the music is because one musician is playing a Stradivarius and the other's playing whatever the equivalent of a BikesDirect violin is.  He's just saying it's because they play differently.  So wouldn't it make more sense to say the "part magic that infiltrates the bicycle" is attributable to the rider and not the bike?  You know, just like Peter Sagan can wield his soulless plastic Specialized as artfully as Leonardo da Vinci handled a paintbrush, but you're like a two year-old with a crayon regardless of what you're riding?

It's all pretty simple, really.  Bikes are bikes, but some riders just suck ass.

Therefore, I far prefer this explanation:

By contrast, Damon Rinard, an engineer who has worked for Trek and Cervélo, and is now manager of road bike engineering for the Cycling Sports Group (which owns Cannondale, Schwinn and GT) is far more pragmatic:

“To me, many bicycle characteristics that some might include in ride quality are better characterised on their own. There’s a list: handling, stiffness, weight, aerodynamics, etc. are a big part of what we experience when riding (thus they affect the quality of the ride, thus may be considered part of ride quality), but to me, these other characteristics are well understood technically, which leaves ride quality as mostly bump and vibration isolation.”

Makes complete sense.  Yet here's some guy in Canada who's been studying "ride quality" for over ten (10) years:

Professor Jean-Marc Drouet is an engineer and head of VÉLUS, a research group at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada that has been studying ride quality for over a decade. He’s ready to admit that he’s still not clear on what ride quality is, but he draws an important distinction between it and the comfort offered by the fit of the bike.

“The fit of the bike, or its static comfort, depends upon the position of the handlebars and the saddle, and how well each suits the rider. That is quite different from ride quality, or dynamic comfort as I’ve come to refer to it, which seems to depend upon energy transmission to the rider.”

Are you freaking kidding me?  How do you get a job "studying ride quality for over a decade?"  I'm a bike blogger for chrissakes and even I can't believe it.  What this guy's doing is the equivalent of getting paid to compare different strains of marijuana, or to experiment with different masturbatory handholds.

Next, the article explores what determines ride quality, and--SURPRISE!--it's mostly tire pressure and which bar tape you use:

WHAT DETERMINES RIDE QUALITY?

Any rider that has ever compared different bikes or noticed what kind of effect a change in wheels, tyres, or even tyre pressure can have on the comfort and/or feel of the bike will understand that every part of the bike can influence ride quality. Even minor components like the handlebar tape have a role to play.

Duh.

LET’S START WITH THE TYRES

As the sole interface for the bike with the terrain, it’s not surprising that tyres have a profound effect on the ride quality of a bike. Most riders will already have an intuitive understanding of this notion, and have probably experimented with it by testing different air pressures and/or brands of tyres.

I couldn't agree more.  When adjusting your air pressure, it's always a good idea to start with the tires.  And getting it exactly right is really important, which is why you need a $450 pump.  Yet people still can't let go of this whole frame material thing:

According to Silca, “a 10% change in tyre pressure at 100psi can have a greater effect on ride quality than changing frame materials.” That’s because the change in vertical compliance is equivalent to the difference in vertical compliance for carbon and steel frames. Of course, there is more to ride quality than just vertical compliance, but it serves to illustrate the magnitude of influence that tyre pressure can have on the feel of the bike.

Oh come on.  A 10% change in tire pressure is pretty noticeable, whereas the "difference in vertical compliance for carbon and steel frames" is an illusion, a phantom sensation in the scranus of only the most terminal Freds.

So let's get back to that French-Canadian masturbator, who's now experimenting with vibrators:

RESEARCH ON RIDE QUALITY

The majority of academic research on ride quality has focussed on the vibrations that arrive at the cockpit and saddle when the bike is in use. Such vibrations can be measured with sensitive strain gauges and accelerometers, but to do so in a reproducible manner is quite challenging.

Do you really need to conduct research in order to confirm that selecting the right saddle and bar tape for you is what's going to make your bike feel good?

Evidently yes:

The raw data resemble a seismogram, where the various peaks and troughs reflect the magnitude of vibration over a range of frequencies. Any reduction is presumed an improvement in the comfort of the bike, where low frequencies (less than 50Hz) are especially significant since they are generally the most unpleasant. Higher frequencies (up to 100Hz) can be generated, but it’s not clear what kind of effect they have on the rider. VÉLUS has not published an exhaustive comparison of materials but the results from one study demonstrate that it is futile trying to generalise on the effect of different materials. For example, while 3T’s alloy Ergonova Pro handlebar transmitted more vibration than the carbon version, FSA’s carbon K-Wing behaved more like the alloy Ergonova than the carbon version.

Oh please.

Get a handlebar with a shape you like.  Wrap it in some shit that feels good to you.  Now ride your bike and shut the hell up.

During the course of this study, the team experimented with various ways of expressing their results, and found that the amount of power absorbed at the saddle and cockpit was the most robust. Thus, a small bump transmitted 1.5-4W to the rider’s hands and buttocks, and some components differed by as much as 0.5W.

No shit.  Furthermore, it turns out much of the energy transmitted to the rider's buttocks can be attributed to the Fred-fucking being administered by the bicycle's marketing department, which I think is an interesting footnote.

Oh, and they also did a #whatpressureyourunning study for good measure:


The VÉLUS group has been studying how this threshold applies to cyclists with a small survey on how well a group of seven riders could detect a drop in front tyre pressure. Each rider spent about an hour on the same bike fitted to a treadmill where a dowel rod (9.5mm diameter) served as a bump. Matching front wheels with different tyre pressures were swapped throughout the test to determine what kind of pressure difference each rider could reproducibly identify.

So what happened?

The data collected from this study showed that the amount of energy absorbed at the brake hoods was directly proportional to tyre pressure. Therefore, not all riders will notice a change in the ride quality of a bike in terms of the energy absorbed, and those materials and/or components that have little effect on energy transmission are likely to go unnoticed (see this brief study by Cervélo for a little more data on this phenomenon).

In other words, blindfold a typical Fred, swap his Cervélo for a Nashbar mail-order special, and he's not going to know the difference.

And if all of this wasn't obvious enough, consider the blinding revelation that (and you're not going to believe this) RIDER POSITION IS IMPORTANT:

One other interesting observation to come out of this work is that the position of the rider can have a profound impact on the transmission of vibration. Any rider that has tackled rough roads will immediately understand this point: riding in the drops and/or with a sharp wrist angle generally exaggerates road chatter, and this is exactly what the group observed. Furthermore, variations in stem weighting and wrist angle could reverse impressions of the relative comfort for two different wheelsets because of their influence on vibrations travelling to the stem and seatpost.

Thanks to STI and all the rest of it, Freds almost never take their hands off the brake hoods anymore.  Consequently, people have now forgotten what drop bars are for, so it takes a 10-year study from VÉLUS to explain to them why these bars allow for multiple hand positions in the first place.

And because the false notion that "ride quality" is mysterious and elusive is so vital to bicycle marketing, the article would have you believe that after a 10-year study we still don't understand it:

Regardless, our understanding of ride quality is far from complete. One important concept that bears upon our understanding of the phenomenon is that individuals vary in their sensitivity to vibration according to a sensory threshold. Some riders will notice a small change in energy transmitted to the handlebars while others will be unaware of it until it is much larger. This goes a long way to reconciling variation in opinion on the ride quality of any given bike or component, and likely extends to other traits.

Can't wait for that study in how individuals vary in their sensitivity to vibration according to a sensory threshold.

Meanwhile, speaking of weenie-dom, Wired explores whether or not expensive bike wheels are worth it:


I skipped right over the physics part:


Because obviously the answer to the question posed by the headline is a resounding "No."

Lastly, here's that Horner video from yesterday in regular speed, and I was amused to note he uses the "F" word:



Guess he wasn't happy with his ride quality.

110 comments:

Vernal Magina said...

blam.

P. Bateman said...

GET SOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Podium?

dnk said...

Top one hundred and ten-ty ten

Ted K. said...

139. And note this important difference: It is conceivable that our environmental problems (for example) may some day be settled through a rational, comprehensive plan, but if this happens it will be only because it is in the long-term interest of the system to solve these problems. But it is NOT in the interest of the system to preserve freedom or small-group autonomy. On the contrary, it is in the interest of the system to bring human behavior under control to the greatest possible extent. [24] Thus, while practical considerations may eventually force the system to take a rational, prudent approach to environmental problems, equally practical considerations will force the system to regulate human behavior ever more closely (preferably by indirect means that will disguise the encroachment on freedom). This isn’t just our opinion. Eminent social scientists (e.g. James Q. Wilson) have stressed the importance of “socializing” people more effectively.

N/A said...

Good morning, and so forth.

Spokey said...


whew just popped in top trash again

Vernal Magina said...

(... guess I gotta get a job, too.)

Spokey said...


seems to me that ride quality will be different for each rider. so snobbie is right with his get a bike that fits, put on a saddle and bars that feel good to you, use the right tires at the right pressure, and you're done.

what i really don't understand is why or how you engineer a bike by putting it on top a pool table.

N/A said...

During the study, they also recognized that the heat of the meat was directly proportional to the angle of the dangle, the direction of the erection, and the dimension of the extension.

Anonymous said...

10!!!!

Needs a Catchy Title said...

"BIKE SNOB BOOK TALK."

How bland, couldn't they call it

"DEVON POSES FOR PLAYBOY"?

leroy said...

Well ... you got trouble my friends.

I say trouble.

Trouble right there in River City.

Trouble with a capital T

And that rhymes with B

And that stands for ....

(Hmmm, B, B, what starts with B? Don't tell me. I know this. Just give me a sec.)

Spokey said...

it might be my aging addled brain. or mayhaps the emperor's new clothes. maybe i read a definition here years ago and forgotten.

BUT what the fuck-o does vertical compliance mean anyway?

rudimentary peni said...

Serotta's analogy makes perfect sense in that his magical infiltration theory helps him sell more bikes. Infiltrate me, Ben!!!

Bryan said...

too technical to read the damn study. I preferred your comments on it all, anyway. Damn Pac NW...you should come down to the south east!

Who Would Ever Believe It said...

Hey, BIG non cycling news last night. 23 more Independent Super Delegate votes were "found" (exact word NPR used) for Hillary, putting her over the top just hours before the biggest primary of them all. Incredible, what a coincidence. I bet the 23 votes were found on the same White House table the missing Waterwater Papers were found on.

Anonymous said...

Im getting a job testing the comfort of beach sand. I'll be traveling to the most exotic beaches in the world, and in my spare time I will be getting acquainted with the most effective masturbatory handholds....

GQ Sez said...

Bet Babes dig a man who can kick a plastic water bottle.

Spokey said...


WAIT A MINUTE

those are my super delegates. i lost them last friday when i snuck behind a wall to pee. i want them back. i'm saving them for bernie.

Grump said...

I had to laugh when I saw the $450 Silca "Super Duper" Track pump.

It strangely looks a hell of a lot like my Silca Track pump that I bought for $29 on sale, 30 years ago. Go figure....
At the time, they also offered the Super Pista with the longer body, longer hose, and a wood handle, for $49....Who would have guessed that we would have a Zillion % inflation in 30 years.


N/A said...

I don't think a delegate should be allowed to call themselves "super" unless they're wearing a cape at the time. I'm kind of a stickler for authenticity.

brave sir robin said...

Regarding "the Northern California Pirate Festival in Vallejo this is truly shaping up to be a "Holy Shit!" weekend of nonstop excitement"

I don't think the scatalogical exclamation, or the brown colour in the graphic helped much, but I bet I wasn't the only one to misread that as 'a "Holy Shit!" weekend of nonstop excrement'

DB said...

Going to Pasadena next week.
Any of you LA folks know of a good LBS in the Pasadena area? There are about 20 listed along with the Performance Bike Shop. Going to get my '93 Kestrel CSX-Deore looked over for my son and get him some SPD shoes.
Then we're going to have the How Not to Cross Chain lesson. Kid's a maroon on a bike.

BamaPhred said...

The psuedo TMNT/Horner collabo was good. A pirate would have added nicely to the melee, maybe a bibshortsguy pirate.

Freddy Murcks said...

No time for titties, let's go, go, go! It's a sad day when there is no time for titties, but alas, that is the busy, hustle and bustle world that we live in.

CommieCanuck said...

Weight weenies are hilarious. At a local time trial race a few years ago, a guy won the event on an aluminum framed Trek with 6 lbs of weight strapped to it, just to prove a point.

I agree super delegates should provide proof of at least one superpower, and lightening speed grafting doesn't count. Perhaps laser eye email deletion.

N/A said...

Recumbabe flies the ol' Jolly Roger on her 'bent.

Anonymous said...

Ride Quality Weinies (RQW), stripping the fun out of bicycles, one shitty bike review after another.

RB1 said...

the reference to tyres as the `sole interface for the bike with the terrain' pinned the needle on the ol' bullshit meter.

bad boy of the north said...

pirates on bikes?oh,wait.....il pirata,marco p.

dancesonpedals said...

Some riders will notice a small change in energy transmitted to the handlebars while others will be unaware of it until it is much larger.

Some riders will notice a pea under the mattress, while other riders won't notice if you pee under the mattress.

N/A said...

On all of my bikes, the tires are the only parts that interface with the terrain. Unless I wreck. Or stop for a beer/burrito/piss (sometimes all at once!).

Anonymous said...

Hilarious post.

Paul Bowen said...

Spokey @ 11:10 - this may help. Vertical compliance definition.

CommieCanuck said...

Some riders will notice a pea under the mattress, while other riders won't notice if you pee under the mattress.

Other riders chose to pee on a turtle.

CommieCanuck said...

See what I mean?

Spokey said...


thx Paul

just what i needed

now i think i'll go out for a ride and end up at polling booth. maybe after a soothing ride i'll be able to figure out whether to vote against the republicans or vote against the democrats.

dem_bieks! said...

DB,
Pasadena Cyclery has been around forever. It's a trek shop, so lots of bontrager stuff. Otherwise, Yelp is pretty good. You might have some trouble getting decent turnaround on biek repairs this time of year if that's how it's going to go.

Teach the kid to keep his head up, steer with the hips, and his bike goes where the eyes are looking.

Crossing the chain isn't a thing any more.

Two Claws said...

Ride quality is mystical, unmeasurable, similar to the zen-like feeling I get when laying down massive skidz, or track standing handlessly, or feetlessly. I am one with the universe, nothing else matters.

BikeSnobNYC said...

dem_bieks!,

Agree cross-chaining isn't a thing anymore due to new drivetrains but '93 Deore might not handle it so well.

--Wildcat Etc.

DB said...

Thanks, dem bieks and Wildcat.
Boy called me from some path he was riding after dropping his chain. After some instruction, he got it remounted and was on his way. We had the chat about big ring front/small ring back = not good.

crosspalms said...

At this rate you'll be doing stadium book events. Do your roadies know how to stack the amps?

Ride quality is a function of Assholes Within Cursing Distance (AWCD) and Potholes per Mile Traveled (PpMT). I haven't figured out the exact relationship, but I think if I apply enough grant money and attractive research assistants to the task, I'll get there.

bad boy of the north said...

lots of photos of pirates on bikes on the interweb.

Brian Hattenbach said...

I attended the 1st northern California pirate festival. It was fun. I miss Vallejo. Can't believe it is number 10 already.

ken e. said...

thanks rock machine, the week is saved by! for the truthers out there, my chain was crossed on the weekend.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Can I get the green felt pool table bike treadmill with Wahoo Kicker or at least Computrainer? A few feet lower to the floor would be appreciated too.

Unfortunately Ben Serotta isn't currently making or selling any more bikes (except for his input on the new Citibike). His bikes were great, but the magical essence of sound business management unfortunately eluded him.

ken e. said...

whoops! sorry, "humour!" no, i don't set type for a living....

Anonymous said...

Study failed to account how variable scranus materials and dimensions affect ride quality.

dancesonpedals said...

Big ring front/Small ring back = bad? Will I never to descend in the 53/13? I never have any fun.

ps...that turtle paid good money to have a blonde give him a golden shower.

BamaPhred said...

So crossing chains is not like crossing streams anymore? I gotta talk to that Stay-Puft Man, been dealing bad info.

Tony Romaine said...

"like Peter Sagan can wield his soulless plastic Specialized as artfully as Leonardo da Vinci handled a paintbrush, but you're like a two year-old with a crayon regardless of what you're riding?"

Good jorb, Hamstray!

If one of those magazines about the biking would do a comparison of frames where each test had the same wheels/seat/bars, they could tell us if there's a difference between the bikes they're "comparing" based on the only part of it that has the Name painted on it.

P. Bateman said...

very titillating read today. buttocks....cock pits...vibrations....

more like BikeTHROBnyc

STG said...

My new carbon bike is a DiamondBack Podium 2013, built up with Chorus/Athena 11. As a race machine, it totally outclasses my Quattro Assi DBS 2010 aluminum bike with Record/Chorus 10. Yes its a little lighter than the old bike but I built it up with heavier, stiffer parts (stem, wheels, bars) because I wanted something that I could attack and sprint on more effectively. Way better race results with the new bike. Bigger tube diameters and stronger bikes ARE a thing. But all the stuff about ride quality is way oversold. Unless you're riding some 80's Cannondale protype, you're not getting beat up one frame more than another.

Sean

Neil said...

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance talks a lot about what "Quality" is. Pirsig says defining it will destroy it....

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I need a 53 x 13 (or 12 or 11) like a turtle needs a golden shower, I mean air brakes!

youcancallmeAl said...

What!!?? No research grants to study bicycle "planing"?? Its about time someone quantified the energy fed back into the frame of a flexible bike that produces an increase in forward motion!I'm sure there is at least a decade or two worth of scientific research there!!

Anonymous said...

Front page news on Google today. Again, the article says "the truck" hit and killed this woman, not the idiot driver. Vision Zero means eventually we will see zero cyclists on our roads because presumably they will have all been killed.

http://patch.com/new-york/bushwick/leah-sylvain-young-brooklyn-artist-cyclist-killed-semi-truck

Red State Rabble said...

Junk Science: What all this ride nonsense is about, is marketing increasingly expensive bikes to people to make them feel superior about the bike they've chosen. It's like wine tasting. If you show people the bottle with the price on it, they'll tell you the more expensive bottle tastes better. However, as the Guardian reports, "Experiments have shown that people can't tell plonk from grand cru. Now one US winemaker claims that even experts can't judge wine accurately."
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

Or listening to music. If you tell people they're listening to a violin concerto played on a Strad, they're convinced the sound is better. Whereas, the truth is, "blind-tested soloists are unable to tell Stradivarius violins from modern instruments." http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/blind-tested-soloists-unable-to-tell-stradivarius-violins-from-modern-instruments/

If you tell them some version of vertically compliant/horizontally stiff, the impressionable among us are convinced the ride is great -- as long as they're paying a premium price.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Flex, rebound and goofy tiller effect. That's all ya gotts ta know.

Of course, any bike that doesn't collapse under my 246 1/2 pounds plus kitchen sink commuter bag has awesome ride quality as far as I'm concerned.

So much fucking traffic in midtown this morning ... sirens and shit everywhere.

vsk

crosspalms said...

I'm listening to a violin concerto played on a Strad by a guy riding a $15,000 crabon bike no-handed. Don't tell me I'm not getting my money's worth. Now where's that wine?

N/A said...

Well here I am, poor, dumb, and gots no fiddle. My wine glass is empty. My biek is vertically recalcitrant. Woe is me!

McFly said...

STI? Scranus Taint Interface should make the short list on ride quality.

Anonymous said...

I find that I like the ride quality of my bike better when going downhill. when riding uphill, I don't like it as much. Also, I like the ride quality better on nice days. I find shitty weather to be detrimental to ride quality. On my ride back to the office after lunch today (4 pints) I rode behind some 350lb dude on a Citi bike. I found that riding behind him negatively impacted the quality of my ride, or maybe it was the 4 pints.

BamaPhred said...

The wine is in the box in the fridge. Hep yo sef.

CommieCanuck said...

If you tell them some version of vertically compliant/horizontally stiff, the impressionable among us are convinced the ride is great -- as long as they're paying a premium price.

I hang my head in shame. I bought into this when I bought a Cervelo R3: laterally stiff, vertically compliant.
BULL SHIT that frame was as fucking stiff as Woody Allen at a daycare. And I'm a big guy on a 61cm frame.

Three frames on...and I'm finding "buzzy" aluminum to give the best ride, and relative to crabon euro frames, they are almost free.

ALUM INUM

N/A said...

It's the "Monster Cables" phenonmenonenoonen.

N/A said...

I don't know how to spell "phenomenon".

Spokey said...

wait a minute. isn't db wrong and bama correct?

isn't cross chaining big-big or small-small?

i thought only bad because it put lateral stress on the chain pins. or something like that. grand lobbie sheldon must have something to say. let me see . . . .

yes, sir sheldon says that



Generally, the large outer chainring shouldn't be used with the largest rear sprocket, because of the sharp angle it creates.

Similarly, the small inner chainring shouldn't be used with any of the smaller rear sprockets.

The small-small combinations create extra problems besides the bad angle. The smaller the front chainring, the greater the pull on the chain; the smaller rear sprockets only engage a very few teeth with a very few chain rollers at any one time, so stresses are concentrated. If you make a habit of abusing the small chainring of a triple crank by using it with the smaller rear sprockets, you will drastically increase the wear rate of both chain and sprockets.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-theory.html

by the bye, i found myself in the big ring, small gear when i came to a stop/turn on the way to voting against any incumbent i could find. i clipped one foot in, stood up to put my (considerable) weight on the pedal and went. i did not die.

trama said...

69th! that means some good times! yeah!

Walnut Creek??
I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, "Harlan Pepper, if you don't stop naming nuts," and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that's what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she'd just start yelling. I'd say, "Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut." That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She'd say, "Would you stop naming nuts!" And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn't talk, but he'd go "rrrawr rrawr" and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.

Dooth said...

I'm fortunate to know a voodoo doctor who does a marvelous job of infiltrating my bikes with magic. I dare say I've gotten quite good at biting off chicken heads.

William Randolph Horse said...

If you were my kid, I'd advise you that peanuts are legumes. And not to mention those frenchy loving pine nuts.

Spokey said...


i might add my ride quality was very high today until my head starting getting wet. i looked up but there was no blond.

Geographically Challenged said...

Walnut Creek - just around the bend from Googleplex and that ilk, right?

I still don't understand vertical compliance one bit. Up and down on hills determines ride quality, especially in the muggy days of summer, although here in Nouvelle Angleterre it is supposed to be downright cool in the next few days.

JLRB said...

How do you get a job "studying ride quality for over a decade?" I'm a bike blogger for chrissakes and even I can't believe it. What this guy's doing is the equivalent of getting paid to compare different strains of marijuana, or to experiment with different masturbatory handholds.

You read my mind and wrote it out in your blog, like that song about the guitar - errr whatever - fookin awesome!
Thanx

Anonymous said...

I just read about Walnut Creek and I now need to change my chamois...come to think of it, snob, will you sign my moist chamois?

Frickus Rungus said...

My bike is horizontally resplendent (xtracycle) and velocity deficient. Cornering performance is mostly dependent on how much beer I have in the bags and whether or not it's evenly distributed. "Honey, I had two buy two cases so I could ride in a straight line..."

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Mrs Euell Gibbons always claimed her husband said she tasted like wild hickory nuts too, while we're discussing the topic of nuts.

DB said...

Oops. Meant big ring front and big ring back, not good for chain angle.
Have a cold. Mixing the Robitussin with the Day Quill.
Not thinking straight.

BamaPhred said...

I don't remember giving points on Horners bike compliancy. Compliance could be measured by the height of the rebound when chucked into the pavement by one DFU.

1904 Cadardi said...

Of all the bikes I own, the plushest ride is on an oversized aluminum frame. It is soooo smooth. Like butter. It's a full suspension mountain bike, but that just means the "magic" is located in different places.

Years ago I wanted to get a steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon frame with exactly the same geometry, wrap them in paper mache and see if anyone could tell the difference and what reviewers would pick as the "best". That would still be an interesting experiment today. We need to include the RedStateRabble cost parameter and see if the most expensive paper mache bike is the picked as the best.

Who's handing out grant money these days?

Spokey said...


is a paper mache bike more vertically compliant than a bamboozle bike.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Let Your Scranus Be the Judge

After years of self funded double blind Scranus Taint Interface STI™ testing between Recumbent and traditional wedgie style upright bikecycles I've come to the unequivocal conclusion that "ride quality" has much more to do with scranal comfort brought about by the use of an ergonomic and form fitting recumbent seat rather than the stopgap measures of stem/handlebar/saddle configurations of the standard diamond frame bikecycle.

No matter the space age materials used in its construction the century old design of the safety bicycle will always be second rate in ride quality due to the fact that it is engineered firstly for the sake of the structural integrity of the machine itself.

Rider comfort is addressed as an afterthought if at all. This is proven by the never ending promotion of sprung saddles, gel pads, goofy tiller effects and various sundries and embrocations foisted upon the general cycling public.

The heart of "ride quality" lies in the design of a bicycle accommodating the human form from an ergonomic perspective not the other way around. In the context of "Sport" cycling for competition ride quality is of little real merit. Is it light? Is it fast and efficient? These are attributes that the modern diamond frame bike has in spades. Ride Quality? Not so much.

BamaPhred said...

I can vouch for a Cannondale Ballis-Tec frame. or whatever numb-nutted name it is, coupled with some Gator Hardshell 32mm's, rides so rough that I named it a Teddy Roosevelt. It's a rough riding sumbitch.

Dave - Everywheere said...

Snobby did you ghost out that ride quality piece to Ted K? I thought I was never going to get to the end so I just quit reading when I realized there would not be a porn climax.

Aric P said...

Sorry I can't attend your "free" group ride as I am saving up for a much more rewarding ride in Boulder with Pro's. To whit: http://cognoscenti.cc/velonews/ Christ! Couldn't you at least charge $1500-2000 so that my Fredliness would be valued?

Anonymous said...

Geographically Challenged -- In either case (Rivendell or GooglePlex) you might use the Oakland Airport, but if you wanted to ride there from the GooglePlex, you would want to use BART to help you on the return. The indirect route via Calaveras Road would be my favorite. That would be a long day.

But thanks for the tip on Pirates of Vallejo!

Unknown said...

Don't forget the cube of the tube

bike bum said...

Yep if you mask the bike and seat post no one can tell what they are riding, its all down to whatpressureyourunning. http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Thoughts_on_science_perception_4571.html?fb_action_ids=543246149108186&fb_action_types=og.comments&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B684706194956989%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.comments%22%5D&action_ref_map

Doc Sarvis said...

If you want good ride quality all you need is a low bottom bracket and fat rubber. Or,like RCT says,a 'bent...

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, for I have obfuscated today

Anonymous said...

And yesterday

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow, probably

Anonymous said...

Is a penance necessary?

Anonymous said...

Will my palms turn hairy?

Anonymous said...

Or will I go blind

Anonymous said...

I know Spokey is lurking

Anonymous said...

Or WIWM

Anonymous said...

To claim

BamaPhred said...

The Century

Anonymous said...

I think the kids-these-days call that cross-fading.

wle said...

ooh - sarcasm-y!!!!

wle said...

all the review nonsense is the same thing for:

A. wine

B. audiophile stuff

C. religion

D. snake oil of the week - carbs, fish oil, gingko whatever,

wle

Spokey said...

congrats bama

but no, couldn't lurk. was busy soothing spousy troubled brow. for some reason spousy started working the polls a couple years ago. that requires spousy getting up at 4:?? am and working a sixteen or so hour shift. and then my sympathetic ears listening to complaints about co-workers.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Today's blog may be in re-write due to the drunk pickup truck driver in Michigan who killed 5 cyclists yesterday. So sad.

N/A said...

L. Oblivious:

I almost can't even stand to internet today, with all the ignorant comments about that murder-spree. It's disgusting.

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Bryan Popka said...

This might be the funniest thing I've read all year:

"You know, just like Peter Sagan can wield his soulless plastic Specialized as artfully as Leonardo da Vinci handled a paintbrush, but you're like a two year-old with a crayon regardless of what you're riding?"

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