Thursday, July 26, 2018

Big Pulley Wheel Keep On Turning

With the New York City area languishing in a state of hot sogginess I have been sticking to the road as of late, braving the precipitation and concomitant grit astride my Milwaukee:

Note diminutive filth prophylactic instead of full-coverage fenders, as in summer I prefer to keep my wheels unadorned to facilitate offroad detours:

Note also the photo is blurry as my camera lens got all schmutzy from the rain in which I got caught.

As things sort of maybe start to dry out I look forward to resuming Jones testing, but lamentably I've totally fallen off the back with regard to following the Tour de France.  This is too bad, because it looks like it's really getting good:
I know how upset I am when people fail to recognize me as the World's Greatest Bike Blogger and lavish me with praise and discounts, so I can only imagine the indignity of winning the Tour de France five times and then getting tackled like some Fondo-riding plebe.

Of course every Tour has its little bit of signature tech, and this year even I've noticed that it's these fidget spinner derailleur pulleys:

Like most hop-ups of this nature I never really stopped to contemplate the reasoning behind them, but here it is:

“The biggest advantage is friction reduction, or increasing the efficiency of the drivetrain,” says Smith. “There’s a couple of ways the OSPW reduces friction. In other words, it’s part of a system. The biggest factor is the larger pulley wheels. The less amount a chain has to articulate as it engages and disengages the pulley wheels, the less friction is produced. The next thing is on the larger pulley wheels, the bearings spin slower so you don’t have as much drag there.”

Sounds reasonable enough...but then you get to the price:

If it sounds like we’re only focusing on CeramicSpeed, there’s a good reason for that. Few other companies are offering oversized pulley wheels and its OSPW are, by and large, the pulleys of choice in the pro peloton.

Even with CeramicSpeed’s system, you can run into some problems. First and foremost, the upgrade doesn’t come cheap. But the $500 price aside, it’s possible your shifting performance can suffer due to the lighter derailleur tension.


I'll wait until next year when they release the $750 ovalized version.

And no Tour de France would be complete without an article from a mainstream newspaper about the science behind it:

The big revelation?  Being completely surrounded by people blocks most of the wind:

According to a new study published in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, riders in the belly of a peloton are exposed to 95% less drag than they would experience riding alone. Which explains the sensation all riders describe of being sucked along by the bunch while barely having to pedal.

You don't fucking say.

Here's another science fact: by sitting in the peloton and using an oversized derailleur pulley you can actually exceed the speed of linear time and arrive two to three seconds before the riders who are physically ahead of you.

Anyway, you can have confidence in the wind resistance study, because they used "three billion calculation points:"

The study took Blocken’s team a year and a half, in part because of the computing power required. The 121-rider simulation involved a staggering three billion calculation points, Blocken said, in order to reflect every dynamic right down to the 1-millimeter pocket of air that surrounds each rider. The results were confirmed by four separate wind-tunnel tests, including one that featured quarter-scale models of 121 cyclists in race positions.

Calculation points are to studies as engagement points are to rear hubs.

Or something.

There's only one problem:

“We have a problem now,” Blocken said when he finished the study, “because no one is going to believe us.”

You're wrong on that.  I'm a career wheelsucker who buries himself in the pack like a tick on the back of the knee.  You're not telling me anything I don't know.

Finally, further to my last post, not too long ago I made a snippy tweet about a helmet giveaway:

And then today I was sickened to read this:


This is exactly why all these helmet articles and giveaways and all the assorted propaganda are so infuriating: every ounce of energy and attention we waste on it helps make sure we'll never focus on the real problem, which is that our streets are so unconscionably dangerous that riding a bicycle (and on a bike path in this case) is a death sentence for a child.

And this???

“I guess it's kind of ironic in a very sad way,” said Somerset Police Chief George McNeil. “(It’s) just a tragic accident.”

Ironic?  It's fucking tragic.

And it happened on your watch--in a place you knew was dangerous:

It isn't the first time a bicyclist is hit by a car at that section of Poppasquash Road.

There have been five incidents of bicyclists being hit by cars during the past 17 years; however, none of the bicyclists were seriously injured.

Ironic my ass.


ken e. said...


Anonymous said...

With the right pulley system I could pull 1200 watts. For sure.

ken e. said...

stupid computer would work better if it was ceramic and overpriced.

Drock said...

Oversized is for us Americans, what’s them euros doing stealing our biggering themes to all things

Pist Off said...

America runs on Dunkin- dunkin’ real problems deep in their subconscious. “Cyclists without helmets” is much easier to focus on than “dysfunctional car-centric infrastructure.” “Trump crazy” is much easier to focus on than “legislators are paid for by corporate money, white supremacy is codified in voting and criminal law, billionaires are tipping the scales on elections, geopolitical cyberwar is making truth meaningless, and climate change is accelerating worldwide resource competition.”

Bikeboy said...

"The 121-rider simulation involved a staggering three billion calculation points, Blocken said, in order to reflect every dynamic right down to the 1-millimeter pocket of air that surrounds each rider."

My competitive advantage... I happen to have a 2-millimeter pocket of air. (I won't say how, or I'd lose my competitive advantage. It would just be totally unfair to the others, if I combined it with one of those $500 big derailleur pulleys!)

"It's just a tragic accident." - Chief McNeil, speaking of the collision that killed the poor kid.

It's always unfortunate when a law enforcement professional declares it an "accident." An accident would be if the kid happened into the path of a falling meteorite... in this case, either the kid or the driver, or both, did something wrong.

HDEB said...

So sad about the six-year-old in Rhode Island! It is a rare location where I feel my wobbly six-year-old is safe from motor vehicles when he is riding his red Speedy bicycle.

N/A said...

I didn't read the article, so maybe I missed the corroborating detail, but that doesn't look like irony to me, Cheif Bumblefuck.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever met a smart policeman!?

Freddy Murcks said...

One of the things I love most about bikes is how much money a person can invest and still suck. That $500 duh-railer pulley might save you 0.1% in terms of friction loss in your drivetrain, but, amazingly enough, 'suck' - 0.1% still equals suck.

jake said...

Amazing actual irony that Rivendell has been touting larger pulleys for as long as I can remember. From Riv on Shimano Altus:

"The bigger pulleys 'use up' more chain, so the derailer cage that houses them don't need to be as long and low-hangy. Plus, the bigger pulleys turn more freely. There is no reason on godsgoodearth that all derailers shouldn't have big pulleys, and maybe someday they will. But for now it's the ALTUS, a super-shifting Shimano.

This is my/Grant's personal favorite rear derailer, but that doesn't mean it should be yours. I like it because the pulleys are huge (13t for the top one, 15t for the bottom one, compared to 11/11 on a normal rear derailer). This means they take up more chainslack and don't need as long a cage. The bigger pulleys turn easier, too. I don't care about that, but I find it interesting that Campagnolo retrofits giant pulleys on its derailers for pro riders sometimes, to reduce turning friction."

[Emphasis mine.]

mike w. said...

A crash NOT an "accident."

Unknown said...

Bigger pulleys == longer chains.
At what point do the extra grams for a few more links make it useless? I guess 15T is the optimum, as demonstrated by the Altus and that gross plastic one with the oversized red pulley wheel.

Unknown said...

vsk said ...

Tulio Campagnolo said ...

When-I make-a derailla, she have-a no teeth onna da poullee.

De Gran Sport, she's a all you evva gonna need.



wishiwasmerckx said...

On the Champs-Elysees,

on the Champs-Elysees,

in the sun, in the rain,

at midday or midnight,,

there is all you could want

on the Champs-Elysees.

Catchy little tune, that one.

huskerdont said...

95% is a whole lot though; certainly more than someone who has never ridden in a peloton would expect. I was surprised the first time I rode in a group, and this was just a bunch of chumps---then went to see the Worlds in Richmond and as they whooshed by, I realized a real peloton would be a powerful thing indeed.

I was set to try to be all funny (and fail), but I'm not even going to try after seeing the last part about the kid in Rhode Island.

I have commented elsewhere that we need to change the laws here so that drivers are automatically considered at fault whenever they hit a pedestrian or a cyclist and would have to provide evidence otherwise. I don't see any other way to reduce these tragedies except to make drivers care enough to pay attention to what they're doing. Self-driving cars and better road design, of course, could help as well.

BamaPhred said...

That’s the ticket. Instead of losing my personal spare tire, I need to buy a higher end bike, with high end components and oversized ceramic and crabon everything. I’ll be saving so many watts I’ll have to borrow them from others before there is a tear in the space-time continuum.

Anonymous said...

Irony and tragedy are not mutually exclusive.

P.S. Jeff Jones is a traditional Fred in the vein of Sheldon Brown, Grant Petersen. Should have named that bike the Bucephalus.

Some guy from upstate said...

Goddam fluids people with their goddam multi-billion degree of freedom computational fluid dymnamics models tying up the mainframe. And then they still want a test so they can use the data to tweak the CFD model to get a believable answer. Riding in a group reduces drag, no shit.

Grump said...

Oversized pulleys are fine if you are being paid to ride, or if you are a dweeb, but if you are a normal person that rides for fun, or pays to race, you'd be better off losing three pounds.

Beck the biker said...

Will those jockey wheels shift a 4x14 drivetrain?

thoglette said...

Of course the police could just leave out the middle man and run into you themselves

James Barker said...

I can get hold of large pulley derailleurs for only $300.
PM me if you want one.

Anonymous said...

Tim and Eric gif tho.

JLRB said...

reality blows

Matt said...

Psst....hey mista...want some enormous derailleur pulleys? Just look at THESE babies (opens trench-coat to reveal dozens of large pulleys inside jacket). I can let you have a set for ONLY $500! What a DEAL!!

Unknown said...

I live in Rhode Island and ride the East Bay bike path a few times a week. Funny I am getting my local news from an NYC blog. The path is 13 mile long from Providence to Bristol. It is a great place to ride, or walk, jog etc. The riders are all types, from Fred speedsters to kids. There are many intersections along the path. Poppasquash is a smaller road but being near the Bristol start there is often a lot of traffic, slower traffic, at the crossing. The bike path crossing is well marked. Most drivers know it is there and approach slowly. I moved to RI from the NY area 2 years ago. I have to say, most drivers here in RI are pretty courteous of bikers and pedestrians along the path. But...there are always a few jerks. I have seen a few drivers literally plow through the many bike intersections without even slowing down.
Poppasquash is a side road that connects Bristol to a small peninsula. Knowing this road and bike path, my opinion is the person was either distracted, driving too fast, and or indifferent. When the majority of drivers exhibit courtesy and caution, the crossing is well marked, there is no excuse to run down a kid and call it an accident. If this was a school crossing, the tone of the News10 report would be more about the "irresponsibility" of the driver.

Mr Plow said...

I would buy that oversized pulley. but only if it makes me faster at any speed.

Mr Plow said...

did i just comment or not? damn new fangled technology

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a town called Peculiar, Missouri.

Anonymous said...

Go Dutch with regards to assumption of blame. Would improve things here, too.

hey nonny mouse

(just back from Somerset, incidentally, but Zummerzet rather than yourn...)