Friday, October 21, 2016

The Quiz Isn't Dead It's Just Pining for the Fjords

Every so often a product comes along that promises to revolutionize cycling forever.

And then there's SlunkLock, the u-lock that makes you puke:


Seems to me it's easy enough to have a vomit-inducing bike without the lock:



By the way, back in 2009 I wrote a comprehensive history of the Y-foil "bicycle."  Read it and remember when this blog used to be funny.

Those were the days.

Anyway, the concept of the u-lock is that when a thief cuts into it, it releases a noxious gas:

With his co-inventor, Yves Perrenoud, Idzkowski created a U-shaped lock of carbon and steel with a hollow chamber to hold one of three pressurized gases of their own concoction, including one called “formula D_1”. When someone cuts about 30% of the way into the lock, Idzkowski said, the gas erupts in the direction of the gash.

“It’s pretty much immediately vomit inducing, causes difficulty breathing,” Idzkowski said. “A lot of similar symptoms to pepper spray.”

So basically it's like cutting into a hunk of Limburger cheese at a cocktail party, or like a Fred peeling off his chamois after a long ride.

“You’re basically just puking on yourself the entire time,” he said. “They could change all their clothes, shower, if the bike is still there come out and cut the remaining 75% of the lock. You can’t prevent a theft 100%, so that’s why we call it a deterrent lock, not a solution.

“All you have to do is be better than the bike across the street.”

Okay, two questions:

1) What happens to the innocent bystanders?  Are they just collateral damage?

2) If this is such an effective deterrent, why not just put some SkunkLock stickers on your current lock and be done with it?

I don't know, but here's the video from the crowdfunding website:



It should be fun when these start deploying accidentally like those Hovding airbag helmets--though it still doesn't seem like as much of a deterrent as the Bike Mine:


Explosive charges, noxious gas...it won't be long before we need the cycling equivalent of the Geneva Convention.

Speaking of destruction and mayhem, remember how my chain broke yesterday?  Well when I finally went to shorten my chain for the ride home I noticed that the pins came out way too easily, which undermined my confidence considerably.  I also discovered my pulley wheel was cracked:


Did the broken chain cause the pulley to break?  Or did the broken pulley somehow break the chain?  Or are the two things completely unrelated?

We may never know (or care, for that matter) but I'm ordering a set of $499 CeramicSpeed oversized freak pulleys immediately:


Nah, just kidding.  I'm actually ordering the $599 "coated" version:

The OSPW is a carbon-fiber pulley cage stuffed with a pair of 17-tooth, machined-aluminum pulleys. It sells for $499 and is claimed to save you at least 2.4 watts. $100 more gets you the coated version, which claims to have 50-percent less friction than CeramicSpeed’s standard ceramic bearings.  A pair of standard replacement pulleys cost $279, or $369 for the coated version.

Wow, the "coating upcharge" has to be the most revolutionary development in bilking Freds since the "SL" suffix.  I imagine a visit to the pro shop must go like this:

"Wait, did I say $499?  Sorry, I meant $599.  It's got a special coating.  No, you can't actually see it, and there's no way I can show it to you because it's not visible to the naked eye, but I promise it's there."

What's next, a $1,000 version that's made out of titanium?

Yes:


On second thought I'm not pulling the trigger on new pulleys until retail prices crack the $10,000 barrier.

Nevertheless, going back to the "Bicycling" review, those $499 derailleur pulleys (a total bargain now that you know they go for twice that in titanium) sound absolutely fantastic...apart from the fact that they can't clear a 28-tooth cog:


But maybe if you spring for the "coated" version the whole friction thing will cancel itself out.

Oh, and you have to use them with that special $135  chain that only lasts for 200 miles and is only good in dry conditions:

The chain’s watt-saving properties are only good for 200 miles, after which it’s about as fast as an unoptimized, but broken-in, version of the chain. Also, CeramicSpeed warns that the chain’s treatment is not corrosion resistant and should only be used in dry conditions during its 200-mile optimized lifespan. Once the optimization wears off, you can protect the chain from water damage by using your favorite chain lube.

But if you do you'll explore the fascinating grey area between riding at your "average ability" and riding at your "best:"

However, there’s "on paper" and there’s "the real world." I learned that gaining time improvements in the real world from a claimed less-than-10-watt reduction in friction—with variables like weather (I tested this in the late winter/early spring) and my wildly fluctuating form—is pretty tough.

It appears there was a little bump in efficiency, but the real-world improvement in time was less than the difference between when I’m riding at my average ability, and when I’m my best. It certainly wasn’t like I bolted the OSPW and UFO on and it started raining easy PRs.

But keep in mind that you suck, so the difference between your "average" and your "best" is about as meaningful as the friction coefficient between the base derailleur pulleys and the "coated" version.

And enjoy climbing with your derailleur pulley grinding away on your cassette.

Anyway, once I buttoned my poor drivetrain back up I decided not to take any more chances with it and instead said "Fuck it" and took the train:


You'll no doubt be pleased to learn I made it from the train station to my home with no catastrophic drivetrain failure and subsequent crotch-on-top-tube contact.

Lastly, on Tuesday I solicited feedback from you, my cherished readers, for my next Walz "limited edition" cap design, and after carefully analyzing your comments and taken all of them totally serious I've finally come up with a template I think will have a little something for everyone:

(See?  It's not black!)

Assuming Brooks signs on it should be ready for the holiday shopping season.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Podio for Stolo.

Anonymous said...

Numero Uno?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

turd, Scranus!

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I'll go for fourth too! SCRANUS!

Ted K. said...

Note 30. (Paragraph 184) A further advantage of nature as a counter-ideal to technology is that, in many people, nature inspires the kind of reverence that is associated with religion, so that nature could perhaps be idealized on a religious basis. It is true that in many societies religion has served as a support and justification for the established order, but it is also true that religion has often provided a basis for rebellion. Thus it may be useful to introduce a religious element into the rebellion against technology, the more so because Western society today has no strong religious foundation. Religion, nowadays either is used as cheap and transparent support for narrow, short-sighted selfishness (some conservatives use it this way), or even is cynically exploited to make easy money (by many evangelists), or has degenerated into crude irrationalism (fundamentalist protestant sects, “cults”), or is simply stagnant (Catholicism, main-line Protestantism). The nearest thing to a strong, widespread, dynamic religion that the West has seen in recent times has been the quasi-religion of leftism, but leftism today is fragmented and has no clear, unified, inspiring goal.

bad boy of the north said...

You little stinker....uh,nice cap.

misster pissta said...

Elimainate the pulleys ...throw the derrialieur away!!

g. said...

I personally thought Flick wore it best in Christmas Story. Then again, his did have the built in goggles. Is that the upgrade?

N/A said...

I'm in for two(2) hats. If Brooks will do a special edition with copper rivets and hand-chamfered edges, I'll take one of those, too.

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix.

Anonymous said...

Science question of he day: What is wrong with the "3D-printed titanium"?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Just think, if your Works Cycle's wheel lock had that Skunk Gas, you could have found your bike by following the scent!

Bike thieves enterprising enough to carry power tools to cut bike locks will add some kind of gas mask or spray booth respirator to their tool box, and develop a coffer dam mechanism to keep the smell away. All they need to do is identify the black and white stripes on the U-Lock.

Can I get that hat with a fleece lining? I'm a big fan of any WWII movie with bombers and or fighter planes.

Anonymous said...

How Bicycle's Work question of the day: What is wrong with the statement "...the upper pulley contacted the 28 on the big ring"?

dancesonpedals said...

A palindrome for quiz would be ziuq.

dancesonpedals said...




That hat looks like the mask worn by Eigel Vesti when he was murdered

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

This blog becomes more like The Onion every day. is there a scratch and sniff sample of the Skunklock? Is it as noxious as Cipo's used chamois?
I can't wait to get my Ceramic Speed pullies, so I can suck Less. I bet they'll make my Dahon kick - ass!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Why would anyone with superfast pullies ever be in the 28 T cog anyway?

leroy said...

Oh great. Now my dog put a BSNYC fleece lined hat on his Festivus list.

Oh well, could be worse. He hasn't thought to add a Skunk lock for his airing of grievances.

Ride safe all!

Grump said...

Snobby, you should try to have the quiz only once a month.........Speaking of a noxious gas bag, I wonder what funny stuff will happen in the next 19 days....

Seattle lone wolf said...

I always thought it was "pining for the fields".

I think the weaponized U-lock is a clever idea. I'm all for more defensive countermeasures in cycling.

Vegas Working Gals Local 202 said...

Some prostitutes have a "coating upcharge" too.

N/A said...

Love the Python reference. One of my faves.


Also, I'm in for a fleece-lined, copper-riveted, hand-chamfered, brown (or honey, now that I think about it) BSNYC-logo'ed bikeen cap. If you can have a limited edition that is autographed by Leroy's Dog, that would be totally sweet. This crowd-sourced collabo is fucking awesome!

The Red Baron said...

That proposed hat design, how about naming it "Snoopy"

Anonymous said...

At the end of the SkunkLock video, he says "This could be the last lock you'll ever have to buy."

However, it would really only work just the once?

BamaPhred said...

Dang, I was hoping for a leather flying helment, complete with goggles.

Top Hat and Tails said...

Spent many, many minutes reading the post and then realized I could have been a top ten finisher. Drat! Now all I can do is sit here drinking beers and contemplating what could have been. PS Like the new hat design much better than the "sold out" model.

Frickus Rungus said...

I had a housemate in college who palped the bomber hat when riding his bike. He had the googles too...
I was driving my car recently, the one that I own which requires me to frequently provide boat payments to my mechanic, and I encountered a lady cyclist who was riding ahead of me on the same street. She was riding no-handed and pumping her hands like she was running. As I approached her she started to swerve quite a lot, especially when she punctuated her arm pumping with some jazz-hands. As I passed at a careful distance I noticed the ear-bud headphones which kind of explained all of the enthusiastic arm movements. I turned right at the end of the street and looked in my review mirror just in time to see her round the corner and crash when she ran up against the curb. She jumped up almost immediately so I assumed that she wasn't badly injured. She was not wearing a healmant, in case you were wondering...
I bring this up for two reasons:
1) it was funny, in a nobody got seriously hurt kind of way
2) if she had a bike mine and a skunk lock I think they would have both detonated and made the whole incident much worse.

The Tweed Gang said...

"Yves Perrenoud, Idzkowski" Why do I suspect those are not real names and once they lay their hands on the 100 grand they'll never be seen or heard of again?

grog said...

I drove to the palindrome in my RACECAR.
KNUF ZIUQ

Blog Drafter said...

I believe you're anthropomorphizing the quiz. Aside from that, I will totally buy the hat.

Anonymous said...

Looks a bit creepy (nearly S&M) or Snoopyish in his Sopworth Camel.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice, the hat even has speaker pockets over the ears. Might have to bust out the portable hi-fi set.

Bluezurich said...

I'd really like to comment but I'm busy figuring out my Walz cap rule......n+1

JLRB said...

Travels to the lefty coast this week made me miss a few days (while pissing around on a powder blue bike share)

So today I comment on Tramadol a day or two late - they gave me that crud to take at home after some inpatient surgery this Summer - it is good for helping one sleep deep without rolling over on to incisions - I would never want to operate a bicycle while under its influence.

And you can sing about it by substituting Tramadol for Panama in that shitty Van Halen song fro yesteryear

Old timer said...

Huh? What?

JLRB said...

AND presumably the leather cap comes with a ball gag

Putin on the Ritz said...

Major internet attack, from an unknown source, has brought many websites into a Babble like position, but apparently you can still order a cap. I bet the Russian language version of the Onion isn't down.

potbellyjoe said...

Did the designers learn nothing from Dr. Strangelove?

Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine, err, skunk-scent-filled bike lock is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, EH?

Spokey said...


knowing it was a doomsday machine didn't help commodore decker one bit.

Anonymous said...

Does that new cap come with a matching whip? If not, I don't want it.

Also, I think you could do an up sell by offering a miniature version of the cap for "little you" if you know what I mean.

I need help.

james purdy said...

It was a Norwegian blue parrot.

Drock said...

Is there an answer to the perfect bike lock, do those without hands steal? Side note, I log cable stretch now and it is joyous. So far nothing to report all cable the same as day before, something about pre stretched cables the package said.

bieks said...

My Friday's have been so much better now that I don't get pre-exam anxiety anymore.

Dooth said...

Make that leather helmet black. Throw in some chains and whips..and it's a done deal.

Anonymous said...

BSNYC condoms - when you roll them out there is room for the AYRECUMBABABESSMB

dop said...

there are 5 seals on the limited edition cap...Nick cage will solve the mystery and find the scranus

OMSMT

David G said...

WRM, I guess this episode makes you like your single-speed mountaining bike even more.

Hercules said...

All you satyrs muck my stalls

Bevis said...

Vale the quiz, cue the Lumberjack Song.

Dave said...

I'm ordering the Unobtanium pulleys that not only create no drag whatsoever, but also lighten my bike five pounds.

Rastaman said...

Shoot the barber
Bury the razor

Pugsleymike said...

Does Brooks offer a MIPS version or just apply extra proofide on scalp?

fourhourerection said...

https://www.blogger.com/profile/02410730859699014703-Dave, the nonexistium pulleys are cheaper.

Anonymous said...

http://madmax.wikia.com/wiki/Gyro_Captain

Anonymous said...

"You're quick!"

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

My new pulleys have hidden motors that provide an extra 200 watts. They're pretty big, so you can only use a maiximum cog of 21, but that's all you need with those watts, and you get a Fred-perfect 11-21 corn cob cassette! There will also
Be a Bluetooth smartphone app. Kickstarter by Hugh G. Rexshun and Red Ruffensoar to be coming soon!

Yank the Chain said...

US$1,000 for a derailleur?!! You've got to be pulleying my leg.

Barf thief said...

Who's gonna wipe the puke off my bike!?

Floyd via Landis said...

We don't need no quiz.
We don't need no PSI control.
Lots of dark sarcasm in the blog.
Blogger, leave those cap designs alone.
All in all you're just another blogger in the wall.
All in all you're just another blogger in the wall.

Perry Mason said...

The first time someone with Asthma cuts into one of those locks he/she will end up dying and his/her next of kin will sue. In a Blue State they'll probably win. In a Red State the judge will they the next of kin "To bad it didn't f'ing kill you too".

JLRB said...

Did a little wind doping on today's one way errand ride - woo hoo hoo

Anonymous said...

Is the zipper for ear sex? Cause that's what the kids are up to these days...

Anonymous said...

my scranus is skunk spray filled

Ryan Kelley said...

As a former bank teller, I got to watch a lot of bank accounts go up and down... people who "made a lot of money" often had the same balance as "week to week" folks, because "people who make a lot, spend a lot". What does this have to do with anything? Bike Blogger, Bike Snob NYC: I know you are kidding. But please, save your money. We will miss you if you have to go and "get a real job".

Captain Oblivious said...

I am no longer oblivious.

I am confused

Captain Confusion said...


I thought I'd try this moniker on for size

I currently think that if I am confused, I can not be oblivious. But that too may be my confusion.

Put a Cockatoo on that? said...

Waiting to buy the Carmen Miranda model Snob Hat.

Major Malfunction said...

The quiz may be pining for the fjords, but it looks as dead as Vito the helper monkey.

Player Piano said...

Soon all blogs will be curated by artificial intelligence, as will the comments

Major Woody said...

I won't stand for that

babble on said...

Heh heh. You've gotta love this place.

JLRB - What, you were here in Vancouver and you didn't look me up??! What the ACTUAL fuck?
and in Quebequoi... Qu'esc ce que le FUCK?

Um, and yep yep yeperdoodles, I suck, but I do it like a champ: in a biiiiiiiiig way. And anyone who claims he doesn't like it? He's just a liar liar pants on fire. :)

babble on said...

er, that's Quebecquois

babble on said...

OMG. Dain Bramage. Can't even blame the autocorrect.

Qu'EST ce que le FUCK!?

Mind you, that's something worth saying twice.

Anonymous said...

"SKY"net- resistance is futile

The Terminator: In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
Sarah Connor: Skynet fights back.

This is why Wiggins and Froome are such inane drones.

French Canandian said...

Ms. Babble, when did you live in Quebec?

JLRB said...

BabbleOn - Not in Vancouver - much further South as in Long Beach. Are Vancouver bike shares powder blue as well?

Freddy Murcks said...

When I pay $1000 for a pulley, I like it to cum with a little Valarie Vixen.

N/A said...

Can articifacal intelligence ride a husky Marin through a suburban mall parking lot? I don't think so. The Snobster is safe... for now.

CommieCanuck said...

Will the leather cap be chamfered?? Or will Eric get laid off?
Alas, with the bioweapon bike lock, there will be collateral damage, and innocents will get affected, but the same is true of anyone near me within a three block radius of a Chipotle after dinner.

PEPE LPEU

Anonymous said...

I buying a whole pallet of those leather caps for my pony and I!