Monday, April 23, 2018

Rebel Without A Pawls

Alas, clearly I left Californy too early, because I missed the Sea Otter, which is where all the cool bikey media people go.  Consequently I've been forced to catch up on the latest bike tech via the Internet like the rest of you plebians, though I've already given up because reading this made my brain hurt:


Most hubs that use magnets to actuate the pawls use repelling magnets that push the pawls against the ratchet ring. Project 321, however, flips the magnets around so they’re instead pulled outward. It may seem like the exact same thing, but unlike the linear rate of conventional steel springs, magnets have a sharply digressive spring curve, meaning the effects are very strong when the parts are close together, but fall off quickly with increasing distance. As a result, the pawls supposedly hold tight when they’re up against the ratchet ring, but there’s little force pushing them outward when coasting, so they run very quietly and with minimal drag. As a bonus, the pawls don’t go flying when you remove the freehub body during regular maintenance, either.

After reading the above I am left speechless, floating adrift in a sea of "duh" with only with this stale meme as my life preserver:


I can't believe that all these years I hadn't considered the digressive spring curve of my hub pawls, and now that I know just how remiss I've been I'm losing sleep over all the performance I've squandered.

Speaking of squandered performance, once again I took part in a bicycle cycling race this past weekend, and I'm pleased to report I passed:


The race couldn't have played out more perfectly for a pass/fail racer.  See, when you're racing only to finish what you want is for a group to get away early and then stay clear, which means the rest of the pack eventually falls victim to a sense of resignation and rides at a steady pace until the race is over.  Conversely, your worst nightmare is that the entire race is a series of attacks and counterattacks, a breakaway or split never establishes itself, and you're subjected to constant painful surges resulting in pesky gaps that require closing.  Fortunately it was the former scenario that applied to this particular velocipedal contest, and so I remained present in it (if not relevant to it) for the duration.

And if you're wondering why I bother to race bikes when I spend the whole time hoping that nobody actually races, all I can say to you is that you just don't get it, do you?


Yes, that's right, it's Stale Meme Monday here on BSNYC!


Stale Meme Monday is brought to you by Project 321, makers of the awesome magnetic hub pawl system that boasts the most sharply digressive spring curve in the industry.  Remember: there is nothing more important than freehub engagement, and races have been won and lost due to the milliseconds of engagement lag you'll find in inferior hubs.  Anyway, my prediction is that Project 321 will remain the industry leader in freehub engagement until another company comes up with some sort of Predictive Engagement System by which the hub actually engages before you even start pedaling again. 

So in other words, a fixed gear.

In any case, moving back to the race, the most dramatic moment for me was during the very last lap when a rider ordered me to the back of the pack.  After I got over my initial shock that I wasn't already at the very back I asked, "Why?," to which he replied that I was in the wrong field.  Of course I realize that at this point in my life everything about my cycling wardrobe and physical shape screams "Race Clinic Participant," but the fact remains that I was indeed in the right field.  I assured him as much, but still he puzzled over my presence, and he only relented somewhere around Engineers' Gate. 

Of course even if I had snuck into the wrong field the fact was that all the places were well up the road by that point, and if on the last lap of a race you're riding easy enough to engage in conversations about which field people belong in then the race is effectively over anyway so the presence of any rogue hangers-on is largely irrelevant.  Nevertheless, perhaps next time instead of gentle reassurance I'll scream DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM and then unfurl this picture of me addressing an adoring crowd:



That's exactly what I was wearing during the race, by the way, which could have led in part to the misunderstanding.

Actually it's probably a good thing I didn't go to Sea Otter, because I can only imagine how often I'd have to justify my presence among all those "real" cycling journalists. 

What was that old meme about not getting any respect again...?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good one Snob. You should've asked him how is it that he's in the same pack with you? What with all the aero threads and equipment?

Anonymous said...

1st

N/A said...

It seems that the best response to some other rider "ordering you to the back of the pack" should have been a hearty "Suck my balls."

winkybiker said...

An American racer actually did lose a race years ago when his mechanic removed every second pawl in his freehub/freewheel to reduce coasting drag. He stomped the pedals on a ramp, and the thing failed. I can't recall if he actually crashed, but the race was over for him anyway. Might have had an issue with his scranus and associated hardware becoming familiar with the top-tube in an unplanned fashion, at least.

HDEB said...

It's the hub that makes me slow ; /

dop said...

I tell you I get no respect. No respect. I took my dog to be bred and she wanted 50 dog biscuits first.

dop2 said...

winkybiker-

That's how Tyler Hamilton crashed at The Giro and broke his collarbone. Or maybe it was his lost twin.

Hee Haw the Barista said...

IMAP AWLD

Schisthead said...

I thought you had to be a certain level of drunk before you can credibly yell "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?", but maybe the rules are different when you're racing.

These days it seems asking most people 'why' hurts their brains greatly.
Might have been the better response, as far as helping the afflicted.

Anonymous said...

Much like my one visit to the NAHBS, I feel like I should go to the Sea Otter some day. Yet, watching the procession of overwrought pick-up trucks laden with $7k DH bikes cruise through Santa Cruz on Saturday evening left me feeling better about the quiet and comparatively lonely outing I did instead. (I mean, those pick-ups are there every weekend, just this weekend they also had Sea Otter numbers dangling from the bars.)

On one hand, the kid would have loved some free MTB racing and meeting Danny Macaskill. On the other hand, being anywhere in the vicinity of a clinic on eMTB racing might have put me into anaphylaxis.

DaveD said...

hmmm. Is it possible to make magnets out of crabon? Looking forward to the Velo News lab anal-ysis of these new pawls: laterally stiff yet radially compliant. What Gauss-oersted energy units ya runnin'?

BPsucks said...

I really like the magnet hub idea. Makes was more sense than a wooden bicycle or electronic shifters

Pist Off said...

Oh, yeah, Pawl from down the block? I heard he got engaged but it was constantly off and on.

wle said...

Magnets? I thought the pawls had little springs to hold them in.

BikeSnobNYC said...

BPsucks,

Why? The wooden frame won't interfere with the magnets.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

I predict this resurgence of enthusiasm for racing to be short lived due to this kind of dick bag behavior. Really a shame that trying hard to ride your bike fast is associated with this kind of misanthropy. BSNYC have you tried much endurance mountain bike racing? So much friendlier, and going kinda slow is the name of the game.

wle said...

could there be special expensive, hard to make, weak, titanium magnets??

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:22pm,

My recent hiatus aside I've been racing for a long time now so I don't think any new form of human behavior that I haven't seen already is going to reveal itself to me. I've done my share of mountain bike racing, but not endurance racing. The problem is I don't think there are many endurance MTB races I can ride to from my home and then be back to the kids by 10am, which is one of the best things about the local road races.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Same Anonymous here. Fair point on racing what's available! And of course you know what's out there, but just pointing out another excuse to ride your bike all day in a nice place a couple times a year. And that racer's comment triggered bad memories from afar.

Winky said...

dop2 @ 10:44. I didn't realise that about Tyler. But the incident I'm thinking of was more Hampsten-era.

Chazu said...

The "you're in the wrong field" guy expects you to suck worse than he does, but you don't. And that made him angry.

Please tell us that you were sporting some serious leg hair, while he looked like an advertisement for feminine depilatory products...

bad boy of the south said...

thanks for the Rodney "earworm" song.haven't heard it in over thirty years.now I'm gonna hear it for the next thirty....maybe.
did you wear your bsnyc kit at the race(s)?perhaps you were trying to be in incognito if you weren't.
it always takes one to take the wind out of someone's sails.effem.

office of surrealist investigations said...

perfect monday post
Thanks Snob

Anonymous said...

Maybe the "wrong field" guy was telling you to drop back in that hipster ironic way (not ironic). You know, trying to out snob The Snob. Except he didn't know you were the snob because of his tone? So it is kind of truly ironic in that non- hipster/Alanass Moressett way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bad boy of the South,

Snob didn't wear his Snob Kit/get-up. Snob went full tree bark cammo so to match his test bike.

Anonymous said...

those magnetic pawls are really all part of a hidden motor conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

late to the game, but so worth it.
https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a19879743/quarq-tyrewiz-tire-pressure-gadget-tested/
what? a gadget for instant #whatpressueyourunnin info? the fact that its called "tyrewiz" is just a bonus

Some guy from upstate said...

Okay.

1. When the pawls are engaged, the springs don't do fuck bugger all. You couldn't pry them loose. The springs are needed to keep the pawls in place against the teeth while you coast so they engage when you start to pedal. So the springs are most needed when the pawls are fully disengaged.

2. "Sharply digressive spring curve"? 25 years as a professional structural dynamics dork and that's a new one on me.

3. "Remove the freehub during regular maintenance"? Trying hard to remember my last regular freehub maintenance.

Yeesh.

Mr Plow said...

have you considered doing a podcast? all the kids are doing one now days

Dooth said...

That "wrong field" guy was the notorious Fred Snob. Little did he know he was messing with the infamous (he's not just famous; he's "in" famous) Bike Snob. Wildcat shoulda just said to him, "pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon"?

Skidmark said...

@ Mr. Plow, 11:05pm
— or maybe a Snobcast?

Anonymous said...

I'm finally moving from NYC to the more rideable clime and terrain of San Francisco. After 25 years, 20 of those spent bitching and complaining about the crowds, weather, subway, etc, I've finally given into that inner voice that has been saying "go west middle age man". Looking forward to having a whole bunch of new stuff to complain about! Will I miss New York, I doubt it. It's like a bad marriage, all of the fun happened in the first 5 years and now you are just holding on out of inertia and spite. Join me wildcat, marijuana is legal and burritos are abundant.

Anonymous said...

Sturmey Archer has been making the same AW hub for like 100 years now, it is practically a bullet-proof design; it's got the same three spring-loaded pawls it's always had, and continues to perform flawlessly.

Anonymous said...

Sturmey Archer has been making the same AW hub for like 100 years now, it is practically a bullet-proof design; it's got the same three spring-loaded pawls it's always had, and continues to perform flawlessly.

janinedm said...

I feel you. I wore my cycling jeans to the Tour de Staten Island on Sunday and got race faced, left right and center. There was less disdain from the mean mugs when they rolled up the the finish festival hours after me. (Funny story: your rider number gets you a free beer from the Flagship Brewery and many of the riders were such weight wienies that they didn't bring their IDs. I ended up staying way longer at the finish festival than I intended, scooping up loads of unusable vouchers. All I had to do was be at a table near the edge of the beer garden.)

janinedm said...

@anon1:34 Man, you picked the only place in America that's more expensive than New York. Mazel tov, I suppose.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I actually understood the magnet thing in the hub thing with the pawls... but what in hell does it mean to be in the wrong field in a race? If you're going in circles and the point is to get to the finish line as fast as possible, why would you be constrained by a certain field?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Serial Retrogrouch,

Because there are different categories racing simultaneously.

--Wildcat Etc.

NYCHighwheeler said...

I was under the impression that there are basically only three responses when some unarmed stranger tells you to to something:
a) Something to the effect of, "That is what your mom said last night."
(That seems like the most obvious answer to a "you should be in the back" type request.)
b) "Go fuck yourself!"
c) "Go fuck your mother!"

Here is basically how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlJtohZSsfY

If these are too harsh for the situation, you could always go with my favorite admonishment for admonishers, "Don't talk to strangers!" It works best if they say something like, "Don't you know it is dangerous to ride without a helment?
"Don't you know it is dangerous to talk to strangers?"

Also, one again, janinedm, you are my hero! I hope to meet you in a similar situation after the 5BBT.

dotcommie said...

I have this Shimano "roller clutch" freehub thing on my Bacchetta.

An Idiot wrote:

"The Shimano LX silent hub was a simple one way roller bearing. It didn’t catch on because it was heavy and the freewheel only lasted a few months of moderate use because the huge hoop stresses mangled the bearings and races."

https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/how-would-this-silent-dragless-shimano-freewheel-work/

Given that I weigh in north of 240lbs, have a 30lbs massive recumbent loaded with gear and live at the top of a one-mile long climb (12% grade) I'd say that the hub has done well over the last two years.

I expect it to explode on my next ride.

Anonymous said...

so can you chase down an attack if you latch onto a faster group? As long as you stay in the back?

BamaPhred said...

That would have been an excellent time to pull the ACME Instant Pothole out of your jersey pocket and throw it down in front of your admonisher.

bad boy of the south said...

janinedm,nice!a big thumbs up.

Anonymous said...

We know who.you are,but we love you anyway. Or because. You pick

JLRB said...

I am in the wrong field - getting lapped while I read the postings missed while (whilest?) travelling to and fro

JLRB said...

The correct response to Fred the Admonisher would have been "suck my pawls"