Thursday, January 24, 2019

So Many Bikes, So Many Memories...

Further to yesterday's post, a commenter commented thusly with the following commentary:

Chazu said...

My jaw dropped a little when I read this. Partly because I'm a slack-jawed yokel, and partly because you admitted to purchasing a crabon bike. Mostly the latter.

January 23, 2019 at 2:52 PM

Now, to be clear, this is by no means my first dalliance with the crabon.  Indeed, like any Fred, when crabon started taking over as the default race bike frame material I couldn't wait to get my scranus on one.  And I finally attained that goal when I obtained this bicycle, which according to the Internets would have been around 2005, which sounds about right:

The bicycle was excellent.  In fact I remember my first ride on it, which--like my first ride on my latest Fred sled--was on a cold winter day, the streets stained white with road salt.  "It doesn't get any better than this," I remember thinking to myself, and I had nary a problem with the bike.  Nevertheless, my team soon switched to the then-new Specialized Tarmac E5:

And so I sold the Scott frame and moved my parts onto this ungodly aluminum/crabon hybrid.

I'm tempted to say the bike only looks ugly in retrospect, and that at the time it was super cool.  Alas, this is untrue, and it was as ugly then as it is now--I remember thinking so at the time.  In fact I believe I was still riding this thing when I started this blog, which explains a lot about why I chose to remain anonymous.  (My credibility as a "bike snob" would have been shot immediately had anybody known that this was my bike.)

Anyway, as I mentioned, the bike was an aluminum/crabon hybrid, the top half being crabon and the bottom half being aluminum.  And what eventually happened to pretty much every one of these bikes, including mine, was that the bond between the two materials began to corrode and separate.  And so, to their credit, in about 2007 I believe Specialized eventually replaced mine with what was at the time their top-of-the-line all-crabon Tarmac frame, which I continued to ride until just a few years ago.  Here it is in 2013, late in its tenure, its saddle bag bloated and its owner having retired from racing:

I should point out, by the way, that's the same 10-speed Ultegra group that came on the Scott.  It still works flawlessly, and I'm currently keeping it in a bin for some future project that may very well never materialize.

This bike served me well for quite a few years.  I clung to the back of many park races on it, traversed the George Washington Bridge on it countless times, and it even took me through two (2) Rapha Gentlemen's races--you can even see me astride it in the video for one of them:

As you can see, I was only able to finish by holding onto the videographer's car:

Don't worry, I promise that was the only time I smiled, and the rest of the time my visage was a mask of exquisite Rapha-esque pain.

(By the way, that was like nine years ago now.  I didn't even have any kids!  Why I was so out of shape I have no idea.  If you don't have any kids but are planning to make or obtain some in the near future I have only one bit of advice for you: RIDE!  RIDE LIKE THE WIND!  RIDE EVERY SPARE MOMENT YOU CAN!  Because it'll be 20 years before you're able to ride for more than two hours at a time.)

As for the second Gentlemen's Race, that one was in 2013, and I rode it in Bicycling livery:

(Photo: Greg Kaplan)

By this time gravel bikes were already becoming a thing, but my aging crabon road bike accepted 28mm tires without issue and handled the course with aplomb.  (This is less true of its rider.)

So yeah, the bike served me well, but a few years ago it started making a noise and I found what could have been a crack or what could have been a scratch, I can't be sure.  If I were a normal person I would have taken it to a shop for inspection, but as a semi-professional bike blogger who by this point had like three road bikes I instead gave the frame away during my 2016 Philly Bike Expo talk:

None of this is to disparage the bike, since: 1) It took me far and wide, as you can see; 2) I don't even know if it was cracked; 3) If it was, I never gave Specialized a chance to make it right.

Regardless, once I gave away the frame, I had officially divested myself of the crabon, I was no longer racing, and that, I figured, was that.

But here I am, back on the crabon horse, forced to acknowledge that I am, fundamentally, a total road weenie.

And I'm okay with that.

Now go read the Bike Forecast or something.  Hey, it beats working.


Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Your bicycle curation is very strange, but you already know that or you wouldn't be so defensive in your latest blogs: like you have to justify it to us.

Still love you man.

bad boy of the south said...

Beast working? Must be a beast of burden.
At least your blog is still running during the annoying orange's shutdown.
Let's hope that ends shortly. 8645

Spokey said...

after all this time

a possible podium?

at least top 10

BikeSnobNYC said...

Andrew Wagerer,

What's so strange about it?

--Tan Tenovo

Spokey said...

never owned a crapon bike and don't plan on owning one

crapon is for

1 - pencils

2 - warming the planet a wee bit. i'm freezing down here in nobbies hemorhhoids.

theEel said...


bad boy of the south said...

Ah,I see the editor stepped in.

Some guy from upstate said...

Wasn't there some suspicion that the "top-of-the-line all-crabon Tarmac frame" was actually a not-top-of-the-line Specialized frame with S-Works Tarmac decals? I did not have time to search the archives, so I could be mistaken. Also, as a pedantic techno-dork, I must point out that wood is a carbon-based composite material as well, so you already had a crabon bike, sort of (but still with the one stupid bottle cage location).

As for the effect of small children, this is the motivation for the 90 minute 7 AM Sunday morning mountain bike ride. A younger friend of mine always complained about this early hour, and rarely participated. Now he has small children of his own, and understands. Youth is wasted on the young. My own children are off being college students now, so I can ride my bike whenever I want, I just don't have any money left over to buy a new one.

Very Slim Pickens said...

A guy was mumbling to me that he was going to get, what I thought he said, a cabbage frame. I said, you mean Carbon, right? He: No, it's crabon. I left it at that.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Some guy from upstate,

Pre-crabon I had an aluminum S-Works Festina replica that cracked at the chainstay. They replaced it with a frame that had S-Works decals but was identical to an Allez as far as I could tell, though I'm not really sure it mattered. I guess some of those envelope-pushing early-aughts bikes pushed the envelope a little too far.

--Tan Tenovo

Unknown said...

Tan Tenovo,
As I was reading today's blog, I was thinking of all the bikes you have collected. It seems that have a ton of bikes all doing the same job. To me, if two bikes are so similar, I'd get rid of the duplicates to make space. You seem to collect them and refuse to even get rid of worn chains and old groupsets. A fresh chain and cassette is the most awesome thing on a bike and the biggest performance boost. This isn't a criticism, just an observation.
Why hang on to a beater bike, when you have a folding bike.
Why hang on to the brown thing, when you have the Milwaukee.
That's my logic anyway.
Whoa, I read your blog way too regularly...

Unknown said...

Please tell me you got a Cervelo

wishiwasmerckx said...

BSNYC, there was a typo in your post. You wrote:

"Here it is in 2013, late in its tenure, its saddle bag bloated and its owner having retired from racing,"

when what you meant to say was:

"Here it is in 2013, late in its tenure, its saddle bag having retired from racing and its owner bloated."

huskerdont said...

Sometimes you replace a bike with another bike meaning to get rid of the old bike but then you realize you love the old bike and can't part with it and are just a lousy two-timing double-bike-loving jerk of a twitwaffle.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Andrew Wagner,

Why do you think I don't change chains and cassettes?

The bikes mostly do different jobs, though obviously sometimes bikes find their way to me and there's overlap. When that happens I do pare down, though admittedly instead of getting rid of stuff I tend to save it. (I have various frames and parts broken down and stored.) The "brown thing" is a unique case because it has couplers and I got it specifically for travel. I used it a lot when I was traveling. then it became sort of a lock-up bike, now it's a single-speed cyclocross bike. (And lock-up bike.) I could get rid of it but it's useful to have around since there's lots of ways to configure it.

Honestly I'd be fine with one road bike, the Jones, and the WorkCycles, but hey, if you're gonna have too much of something bikes are fairly benign.

--Tan Tenovo

1904 Cadardi said...

You can have too much money, or too much bicycle stuff, but not both.

Unknown said...

Too many bikes? No such thing as too much beiks.

Billy said...

I'm with Andrew at 1:30 PM. New drivetrain is glorious. Whenever I get my bike back from the shop after a "tune up" with a new chain, chainring, cog, hub service, brake service every two years, it's like a whole new bike. I mean it kind of is like a whole new bike given that they just replaced a bunch of the parts and properly adjusted all the cables for the first time in a year and half.

Unknown said...

Tan Tenovo

The way you write about your chains, I pictured a drawer full of old, knackered chains that you go to when one of the ones you're running is seized and unsalvageable.

I was swimming in similar bikes and they took up so much space, I had to make my choice of which ones I could get rid of (when my kids starting arriving in the world, funny enough). It's a hard decision, but I felt better when I gained the space and didn't have to worry about them.

Road bike, Jones and Work Cycles sounds like a fine mix and you're right, if you have the space, why not have the bikes.


Chazu said...

In case you were wondering (and I know you weren't);

I was out for a ride on a non-crabon road bike one fine day in two thousand aught five. I was thinking about my girlfriend (who would later become my wife) and I came up with a nickname for her: "Chazu" It is a contorted contraction of her first and middle names.

reCAPTCHA sez "Select all squares with bicycles"

Grump said...

I've only had five bikes in the last 35 years. three Steel and two aluminum. (not counting MTN bikes) I still have the last two steel ones, and the last aluminum one. Two 7700 and one 7800

FDB said...

Ride like the wind, eh?

Great, now I got this in my earholes.

Dooth said...

New Paltz! Yeah, baby! Beautiful cycling country, though I never rode my bike up there because I was too busy, ahem, studying.
Can we have a contest to guess Tan's new carbon bike? It's a CIPOLLINI! A gift from Mario...with love, of course.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of an old bike, is that a thing? How could that work.

Skidmark said...

Andrew W., I’m quite sure BikeSnob has a chain(wear)checker. Do you? Do you know what that this? Have you ever used one?

Hey, Billy @2:32pm- that’s called an overhaul.

HDEB said...

I can't bare to part with my 1994 Diamond Back WCF Vertex but I'm scared to ride it hard because it creaks badly when ridden hard. I almost never replace chains, cogs, etc. I can barely imagine what it'd be like to ride a multispeed bike with gears that don't skip and clatter. It's more fun to pass Fred's when your bike looks and sounds like it's on the verge of falling apart : )

BikeSnobNYC said...


I actually don't have a chain checker; all you need is a ruler...though I don't even use that. Generally I wind up replacing the chain before it wears enough to require a new cassette.

--Tan Tenovo

Schisthead said...

I miss the bikes I've tossed. They were unsafe to ride, or had unobtanium parts go bad (@%@#ing swiss BBs,) but I'm still really missing the couple of old cruisey-roadies I had from the sixties and seventies.

Entirely primed me for Heine's blurbs later on about people preferring the ride of a heavy mild steel frame. The geo was great, the fact that the frame weighs an extra pound is entirely immaterial in function for anyone but the most hopeless of weenies.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is I hope the new bike is fun to ride and doesn't crack/scratch/creak/look unsafe and worry you anytime soon.

But if it isn't and it does, screw that thing.

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

Please tell us your new bike is not a Specialized. Because that would just be shark bait.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess the new bike is a PARLEE. Don't have a good reason for it though.

William Seville said...

for your snarking pleasure

Tony Arnold
A thread on the hypocrisy of car cultures (feel free to add your own, it's fun!):
A person driving to the gym is a legitimate road user, but a person cycling to work is not.

Unknown said...

Yes, Skidmark, I do know what a chain wear indicator is, I own a bike shop in London and regularly do overhauls (I call it a strip down service, because it sounds sexy).

I learnt something about Tan Tenovo today. He's more on top of his maintenance then he'd have us believe.


DaveD said...

I remember when John Tarmac was winning lots of mountain biekcycle races.

Anonymous said...

I’m guessing the new bike is a Landsnark.
Is “Skidmark” a fixie?

huskerdont said...

Three bikes in 35 years but "not counting MTN bikes"?

Feck man, then I've only had two cars in my life (not counting Hondas and Subarus).

Is there some rule that Specialized and Pinarellos have to be ugly? Red and black are a great combination, yet they consistently manage to feck it up.

JLRB said...

The old post you linked to included the following - have you exceeded stage four and returned to stage 1?

1) Fresh

This is when you're an utter dork who's like totally super-stoked on bikes and you fall all over yourself because Shimano figured out how to squeeze another cog onto a wheel and you do stupid stuff like wake up at 4:30am to do hill repeats so you can crash out of a Cat 4 race;

2) Refined

This is when you're like totally too cool for school and you're keyed in to what the current proper sock height is and you think you're the opposite of a Fred when in fact you're just a Fred who has figured out that the key to roadie-dom is color coordination and acting like you have a frame pump up your ass;

3) Exhausted

This is when you're totally cynical about bikes and think the epitome of marketing gimmickry is Shimano figuring out how to squeeze yet another cog onto a wheel;

4) Dork

This is where you come full circle and return to dorkdom, but now you covet Rivendells and think Grant Petersen makes a lot of sense when he says it's totally fine to ride in underpants.

Pist Off said...

I’m a serial bike philanderer now- always a different old frame and project. But my one crabon bike- the Barney motorcycle wannabe- is so friggin good i can’t come up with a reason to change anything or replace it. So hey, my retrogrouchiness has not overridden the joy I can get from a really good mountain bike, even if it’s made of an overpriced, overrated material that isn’t as good at handling impacts as metal. At least the crabon feebrays are repairable, dammit.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Landshark, you say?

Why there's a name I haven't heard in many a year.

Ages ago, when I actually raced (Circa mid 80's),Landsharks were cool and coveted for their wild paint schemes more than anything else.

I had no idea they were still around. According to their website, they will build you a tandem with Ultegra Di2 for $13,995, plus $500.00 for the disc break upgrade.

...and I'm pretty sure that it will still be painted to look like Walt Disney threw up...

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

You're most welcome. I used to work with a guy who commuted into the office pretty much everyday on his Landshark. Otherwise, I’d not have heard of it. He once biked up to Alaska from California but I think that was on another bike.

Of course, the “Landsnark” in my post was a (perhaps weak) effort at a pun intended to employ one of the qualities our honored Tan Tenovo brings to his blog, namely, “snark” (an attitude or expression of mocking irreverence and sarcasm).

Anonymous said...

I recently stumbled across this video on the internet: this loudmouth buffoon makes not a single legitimate argument.