Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Friday and No Quiz, Instead I'm Just Gonna Blog About Bikes

First of all, here's a self-serving reminder to get your limited edition bike-riding hat!
(If you have any comments about how you don't like the color or anything like that please direct them here and I can assure you we'll see to them immediately.)

I don't know how limited they are, but presumably they're still available because I haven't heard otherwise.  Also, this discount code is good for 10% off until the end of the month:

BSNYC2787

So there you go.

Oh, also, while we're talking about caps, I have some Yehuda Moon comic books at home:
And the other day one of my seventeen (17) kids put on this cap with the brim over his face and said, "Look, I'm that guy from the comic book!"

That's how you know a kid's growing up in a bike house, and hopefully when he grows up he can find a good shrink to help him undo all the damage.

In other news, the Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay had the exclusive on Robin Williams's bicycle collection, which is now being auctioned:


When Robin Williams died, the world lost a great comedian, and the sport of professional cycling lost its only remaining fan.

In any case, if you're a bike dork (which, if you're reading this blog you are, sorry to break it to you) you'll no doubt find his collection fascinating.  It spans years, and I've been totally nerding out on it.  Indeed, you could start a museum with the mountain bikes alone:


Plus, if you're a recovering Fred like I am, you'll find yourself nostalgic for bikes you once coveted.  He's got all the sweet team replica bikes from the EPO era, like this Bianchi:


Looks like it even has the embroidered Il Pirata saddle:


I'd argue that this era represents the pinnacle of the road racing bicycle: pretty much everything was still made of metal (with the exception of the fork), the headsets were threadless but not integrated, the bottom brackets were threaded but not integrated, and the shifting was integrated.  It's even got a square taper crank.  I mean sure, it's no Hollowtech II (which is and will always be the world's greatest bottom bracket interface), but I'll take square taper over all this press-fit crap any day.

Oh yeah, and you didn't even have to charge anything.

Alas, it's all been downhill from there.  Have we really gained anything with the modern-day equivalent, apart from a bunch of batteries and proprietary fittings and a 100% price increase?

I'd argue that we have not.

Sadly, I never owned that sweet Pantani replica, but I will admit I did own another team replica in the Robin Williams collection:

What can I say?  I was blinded by lust for the crabon-accented Campagnolo Record group, as well as the then-still-kinda-edgy sloping top tube geometry.  Sure, I could have done without all the Festina decals, but it turned out to be a non-issue as the frame cracked at the chainstay in less than a year.

(To their credit, Specialized promptly replaced it, but to their detriment they replaced it with an Allez frame with S-Works decals.)

And that's not the only bike I've owned that's also represented in the Robin Williams collection--nor is it the most embarrassing.  I also owned this monstrosity:


My excuse is one you'll hear from many Freds, which is that it's what our team was riding that year.  Unlike the Festina bike, which at least looked pretty cool at the time, this piece of crap was ugly from Day 1.  I could never come to terms with riding this thing, though I rode it anyway, and it wasn't long before the crabon top half of the frame started to separate from the aluminum bottom half of the frame at the head tube, complete with creaking sound.  (A similar fate befell pretty much every one of these as I understand it.)

Specialized also replaced that frame for me, with this one, which to their credit was an actual full-crabon S-Works:


Note I moved the stupid Zertz seatpost over from the ungodly crab-O-luminum freak bike, only because I don't believe in putting metal posts in crabon frames (they seize, don'tcha know, unless you're into torque wrenches and boutique assembly paste) and I wasn't about to buy a new one.  This frame served me well for a number of seasons, until eventually I suspected maybe it was cracked:


Instead of verifying this I instead decided to end the cycle by stripping the bike of its parts and putting it in storage.

So if you're wondering why I'm often dismissive of the hot new Fred bike technology, there's your answer.

But of course now we've entered a new era of Fred bikes.  Now it's all about #whatpressureyourunning, not to mention #whatwidthyourunning:


For years, the standard road bike tire size was 23mm. Thin, light and able to be pumped up to back-achingly high pressures, there was no need to experiment. Then science, endurance events, and gravel riding got in the mix.

Science has now proven that wider tires actually have less rolling resistance than skinnier tires. Wider road tires provide a more forgiving ride and improve handling through a, you guessed it, wider contact patch that makes endurance riding safer, easier, and more accessible. Finally, gravel riding popularity brought on wider tires and the associated equipment to mute the bumps, take on the rocks, and provide some traction in the loose, dirt road conditions. 

You know, this pisses me off.  For years the bicycle industry has been telling us that the path to excellent ride quality and superior performance was expensive frame materials.  And of these materials, ostensibly the best one was crabon fribĂ©, since they could mold it into all sorts of stupid shapes and even put dumb little see-through inserts in it.  (Like the ones you see above in my seatpost).  Yet during this same period there was nary a mention of how tires affect ride quality, save from impassioned reviews about how this 23mm tire is more "supple" and "confidence-inspiring" than that 23mm tire.

So successful was this propaganda campaign that crabon fribĂ© has pretty much completely taken over the Fred bike market--and only now that the takeover is complete and no Fred in their right mind would consider anything else are they telling Freds the truth, which is that it's all about the tires, and fatter tires make for a better ride.

"Oh yeah, come on, SCIENCE says wider tires are better, where have you been?," says the bike review machine.

"Uh, reading your dumbass reviews of crabon bikes with skinny tires," say the Freds.

But it's already too late for the poor Freds, who now think they need disc brakes to run the wider tires that are now de rigueur, even though they could have been riding on 28mm tires on their short-reach rim-brake Fred chariots all along.  My plastic Specialized as pictured above took them happily, as does the Ritte on which I undertook my Brooks gravel extravaganza:


And to go even wider, all you need are some long- (or technically medium-) reach brakes like I've got on my Milwaukee:


And I won't even mention cantilever brakes, which despite being powerful and offering lots of clearance are of course hopelessly out of style.

But no, there was nary a mention of medium-reach brakes until it was too late.

No, in order to run today's slightly-wider-than-23mm tires and slightly lower gearing you've got to buy a dedicated gravel bike with dick breaks and that that's it.

And there you go.

Not that I don't want bike shops to sell lots and lots of bikes or anything like that.  And here's a bike shop owner who's also a mayor:


One day maybe we'll finally get a Fred or a Frederica into the White House.  Then we'll all get a "pro deal" on our taxes.

69 comments:

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

Boommm!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Podium.

Very Slim Pickens said...

High up on the food chain.

boys on the hoods said...

top 5

N/A said...

FRIDAY FUCK-Os.

N/A said...

As I am the person that set-off the commentary on the colorways of the BSNYC Capping Collection, I would like to say that I don't believe complaints were made but merely requests for consideration of additional colors. At least that was my intent. I can't speak for any of these other whack-jobs around here.


Fuck it, does Hyundai make hats?

Teachers leave them kids alone said...

We don't need no stinkin quiz, the education system of this country has gone right into the Gowanus Canal.

Ernest said...

This happens in every industry. They tell you that A is the best now according to studies, and some time later, A is not good anymore, you should buy B.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

top tendrils

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

As I am the person that first concurred with the said person that set-off the commentary on the colorways of the BSNYC Capping Collection, I would like to say that I also don't believe complaints were made but merely requests for consideration of additional colors. At least that was my intent as well. I can't speak for any of these other whack-jobs around here.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

..and I read the whole post!

Basquiat said...

Limited edition of X # caps. Wouldn't the bill of a limited edition hat be signed by the artist, say in White Out?

cdinvb said...

Trying to reason with hurricane season.

bad boy of the north said...

I guess there is going to be a huge SAT (snob aptitude test) at the end of the semester,whenever that will be.no quiz this day?okay.i can sleep in then.

bad boy of the north said...

You can get the cap in any color you want but it has to be black.

gmas said...

You frame crusher

Winky said...

My crabon "race" bike rides better on 23mm @ 110psi than does my aluminium tourer on 36mm at 80psi.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Winky,

36mm at 80psi is pretty high.

--Wildcat Etc.

N/A said...

Robin Williams' collection is pretty cool. I especially enjoy the whimsy of having the Schwinn Krate and chopper.

Anonymous said...

Tried out them disc brake things you so hate. What a revelation, I thought my Campag brakes were good but those discs made them seem like a kids broken toy and you know that discs actually stop you with confidence when wet!

R2D2 xx

Anonymous said...

I'm riding a secondhand Trek 720 disc and have to say disc brakes suck. But I'm too cheap to switch it out. Don't even get me started on the 24-spoke wheels on a 61cm frame. Unless I suddenly take up anorexia as a new hobby, those spokes a twanging remind me of how dumb a purchase it was...

These are the Day's of Our Lives said...

There I was reading yesterdays post because there was no today post and then I discovered there was a today post thereby making yesterday's post yesterday's news. Adding insult to injury, I stayed up late knocking down beers while cramming for the quiz. And today I discover all I get for my efforts is a hangover. Was thinking of ordering a hat until I heard that two clowns were arrested for menacing drivers by standing on the side of the road in clown costumes (ironic, no, menacing driver's being menaced). How someone simply standing on the side of the road in a clown costume is a menace is beyond me. How come the cops haven't hauled in The Donald, talk about a clown who is a menace.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...once you go fat (and supple), you never go back!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Winky, that ain't a fair comparison. Slap them fatties on a steel frame, then report back.

N/A said...

My Lotus came with 23mm tires on it, and I couldn't even bear to deal with them shits. I switched to some 28mm Paselas I had hanging around and it was a much better ride. When those wore out, I took a chance and ordered some 32mm Paselas and they just barely fit. It's downright amazing how much more comfortable that bike became just by getting bigger rubber under it. I'm super glad some magazine validates my experience!

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...for you retro-Freds, Bicycle Quarterly was presumably the SCIENCE that started the study on fat, supple tires having good rolling resistance and being comfortable for long rides.

...I've placed my scranus on 38mm, and then 42mm for some years now. My scranus is hypersensitive to anything skinnier now.

...PLUS, after having one of my hands shattered by a car, #whatpressureyourrunning is as low as I can get it without the fear of pinch-flatting. My hand is much happier and it can serve better being abused in other ways.

Joe said...

Snob,

While your dream of a fred in the White House isn't imminent, A fred is currently polling at 9%!

Say what you will about Trump or Clinton, I'll be damned if I'm going to let the keys to the nuclear arsenal be turned over to a fred!

1904 Cadardi said...

A little bird gave me a copy of what is rumored to be today's quiz, so you might as well have the answers:
C, D, A, B, A, All of the above

You're welcome.

Snob, have you Fredded out and measured the actual width of those 28mm tires? I only ask because the 25mm Continenal Gran Prix 4-Seasons seem to measure between 25mm and 28mm and both fit fine on my roading bicycle with the same fork and short reach brakes. If your tires are labeled 28, they might be even larger with who knows what consequences!

N/A said...

Panaracer tires seem to run a little narrow, in my experience. If they live a long life, they stretch out pretty good, though.

YoucancallmeTroll said...

Do you bite your toenails?

Chris Olson said...

$350 to ship a bike???

Dirk Montero said...

I went from 700x20-something to 700x35 to 700x40 to 650x42 to 26x55 to 26x60, which is the largest size I can currently find in a lightweight slick tire. To address the most important issue affecting Americans today, I run them around 20psi.

Basically the biggest tire I can find in a light, supple slick, run at the lowest pressure before the tire starts to squirm in turns or get pinch flats, results in one bike that can hang with Freds on pavement and tear off at the trailhead and spend the second hand of the day on fire roads and trails. And when I get back to pavement, and the MTB-ers are putting their long-travel motor(less)cycles on the backs of their cars, I keep on riding ride home.

And I have to agree with you about Hollowtech BBs. As much as I love the era of square taper and quill stems, any time I need to take a bike apart for traveling, I love how I can remove a threadless fork and Hollowtech cranks with nothing more than an allen wrench.

Gonna try to stick with 100/135 hub spacing, non-tapered 1-1/8" threadless headsets, and threaded external-bearing BBs as long as I can.

Oh, geez, I'm a latter-day retrogrouch. Thanks a lot, Congress!

Fred Fredriksen said...

That Milwaukee is a handsome looking bike. I have searched for reviews, but one question is left unanswered: does it go where you point it?

N/A said...

I once rode a bike that didn't go where I pointed it. That was one scary ride. Found it leaning against the back of a Hyundai and decided to take a quick joy ride. I was just going to take it for a quick spin around the parking lot, but next thing I know, it's taking me down the expressway beyond woohoo speeds. I filled my chamois that day, I'll tell you what. Seemed to be following that Hyundai really closely.

Drock said...

Blue hats, dick brakes, sass of carbon, that's my kind of blog, we may be brothers, are you 6'3" dark skinned and tell your youths to listen for proper spoke tension?

Spokey said...

80 psi in a 700x35 sounds fine by me.

i go to 81 or 82 (so I get 80 when pulling the chuck off) on conti 27x37. A few people have claimed for years that conti lies and their sizes are smaller. In this case, the 37 is said to be truly a 35.

Works pretty well for me. But then when I had my new bike built, I also ditched those new fangled linear brakes and went back to cantilevers. Was thinking of finally trying integrated shifter/brakes but Bilenky said if I wanted a triple, I should put campy on it. That scared me enough to go back to bar cons.

Spokey said...

oops. i'm not that retro. not 27x37 but 700x37

The King of Park Slope said...

Can I get the cap in less awful colour?

Bluezurich said...

Tire clearance, the Thigh Gap for cyclists.

Chazu said...

Apparently, Robin was much shorter than me. I'd bid on one of a number of those bikes if only they fit me.

dop said...

Some of those bikes in the Robin Williams auction make me want to cry.

DB said...

Snob:
Received new cap today. Very nice. Question: what bridge is on it? Roosevelt Island or Queens-Bronx?

bad boy of the north said...

$3200 for a stingray?c'mon




BikeSnobNYC said...

DB,

Glad you like it! Not sure if your question's serious but if so I explained it in detail in last Friday's post.

--Wildcat Etc.

DB said...

Aargh! The Broadway Bridge! Of course. Wasn't paying attention last Friday.
Sorry.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Trying to reason with hurricane season? I will be serenated by Mr. James Willian Buffett on Saturday night.

Speaking of the weather, I was amused at the pros complaining of the heat at the worlds in Quatar. 102 degrees with 10% humidity? Here in Vegas, we call that "Tuesday."

That is also why I might buy some Fat Cyclist gear or snob's limited-edition hat if they were anything other than black, a colorway that makes the heat worse.

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and speaking of the Robin Willians auction, when BSNYC did his book signing at Orange 20 in LA, that polka-dot Colnago was on display there. I loved it, and always wondered what became of it. I now know that it went home with Robin Williams. With a starting bid of $10,000.00, doesn't look like it will be coming home with me this time, either. Wonder if it comes with the matching Chrome bag and cycling cap they also had on display?

PS, I am getting really gpood at identifying food, storefronts and street signs thanks to Captcha.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Finally, I'm hearing some apt nicknames for the Donald, including Groper Cleveland, Cinnamon Hitler and Banana Republican.

wishiwasmerckx said...

If they live a long life, they stretch out pretty good, though.

N/A, are we still talking about bike tires here?

Sax Huret said...

@ Serial Retrogrouch

Zipp also did a lot of testing about width independent of Bicycle Quarterly, but it was deemed a competitive advantage for their sponsored teams and kept under wraps from the buying public at the time which tells you all you need to know about the industry really.

Bogusboy said...

And here's another guy who had a pretty nice collection.
http://www.embacher-collection.com/

Arizona hillbilly said...

It was once thought that the World was flat
It is now believed that the World is round...

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Fredriksen @3:14 pm -

I've had my Milwaukee for nearly a year and really, really like it. It has a smooth solid ride and goes where I point it even though my dog claims my riding is pointless.

He also claims all we need are BSNYC caps and that's it.

But I recall he made a similar argument when he convinced me to purchase the dozen leroy's dog signed photograph spoke cards that are still sitting in our closet.

Oh well, ride safe all.




leroy said...

And of course, my dog is getting his own cap.

He claims he does a very good Yehuda Moon impression.

Holy Roller said...

Can't find one of my Sidis. Curses! Time to pray for a lost sole. Amen.

Anonymous said...

When they get low we get high

shut up legs said...

this us why I ride an iron bike. It's brittle like carbon but the huge front wheel and tiny rear wheel give it an increase of 56. 5% lateral compliance and a strength to weight ratio of 3.657 snorbitz.

bad boy of the north said...

heading....

bad boy of the north said...

...to....

bad boy of the north said...

..the 60s and....

bad boy of the north said...

beyond!.....

Anonymous said...

Why don't you grow up and drive a car

Martha Stewart said...

TIG'd lightish Steel frame, crabon fork, threadless headset, hollowtech ii bb connected to 50/34 crank, medium-reach dual pivots, 28mm tires rolling on 32h/3x rims with 105 hubs...that is the zenith for Fred-Sled go-anywhere roadie tech. Anything else is just showing off and/or pissing away $ that could go to duvet covers or gravy boats.

N/A said...

Yo' momma' so fat, she has a gravy barge!

bad boy of the north said...

what!?bsnyc b'way bridge cap sold out?no effen way.

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