Showing posts with label track bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label track bike. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Something to Ponder: When does a bike's life begin?

In an attempt to gain mastery over my gag reflexes, I was clicking through some of the latest entries on, when I came across this:

While I personally feel that posting a frame and fork on an internet gallery is a bit like announcing your engagement before you've proposed, I realize this is a not uncommon practice in the halls of Velospace, and so I didn't let it concern me. And curious as to what sort of butcher job awaited this particular veal calf, I read on:

Trek T1 58cm

Handlebars and Stem:
soon to be... bmx stem and SE mini risers

Fork and Headset:
soon to be... solos with carbon stock fork

Front wheel:

Rear wheel:
black deep v-formula hub

Crankset and Bottom bracket:
soon to be... sugino rd messenger

Saddle and Seat Post:
bontager carbon.

Pedals and Chain:
gusset heavy duty... primo mini bmx

Cog/Gearing et cetera:

OK, seems like its future is that of a fixed-gear freestyler. I was particularly amused by the "tba" in the front wheel section, as though some highly-anticipated announcement or press release may be forthcoming. I can only speculate as to what sort of revelation awaits us. Has he somehow gotten his hands on an Aerospoke? Will he use a Zipp disc? Or will he blow all of our minds by taking it straight back to the '80s with an ACS Z-rim? Personally, I can't wait to find out, though I admit I was a bit insulted I wasn't invited to the press conference.

But then I read this:

Im recieving this friday and it should be built up by monday

What? He doesn't even have the frame yet? OK, posting just a frame is one thing, but posting a frame you don't even have yet is taking things too far. Forget announcing your engagement before proposing--this is like showing naked pictures of your Russian mail-order bride to your friends before your Paypal payment has cleared. I'm assuming then that the picture we're looking at is the one from the eBay auction, or one that the seller sent him, in which case he's getting way ahead of himself. Assuming he even receives the frame, we all know anything can happen during shipping. What comes out of that box is anybody's guess. It could be like going to pick up your mail-order bride at the airport and finding out she's 20 years older than she looked in her picture, bearded, and missing an eye. Lastly, I can think of no better way of tempting fate than by announcing the completion date of a bike build. Anyone who's built a few bikes knows that even the most straightforward project inevitably hits a few snags. Confidently telling the world that the bike will be build Monday pretty much guarantees you're going to strip your bottom bracket threads.

Unwittingly, though, this bike's virtual owner has raised an interesting question: When does a bike's life begin? It's a question I have asked myself often. Does it begin when the order is placed and the money is tendered? Does it begin with the frame, or does it begin when the final component is in place and the bicycle is rideable? Or is a bike's beginning more intangible? Does it begin with that mischevous glint you get in your eye when you decide to build a bike around that spare 26.8 seatpost you've got lying around?

Certainly if you're going to argue that a bike's life begins before it's rideable, then you've at least got to put some time limit on the gestation period. Every cyclist has some spare parts and a harebrained scheme. But until that scheme is a rideable reality, it simply resides in a virtual world of unrealized bar bikes, beater bikes, and rain bikes.

So why is this even important? Is it because we need to determine when a bike is actually a bike so we know when it is acceptable to post pictures of it online? Maybe. More importantly, though, it's vital that we establish when a bicycle is viable so that we know when it is ethical to abort. And while I'm still not sure what the bicycle equivalent of the third trimester is, I'm pretty sure pulling the plug on this particular Trek wouldn't cause any protests.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of gaudiness, gaffes, and gumption.

The writers in Hollywood may be striking, but fortunately Fixedgeargallery offers more laughs, tears, and high drama than any movie or TV show ever could. Some entries deserve "thumbs up," some "thumbs down," and some just make me want to use my thumbs to gouge out my own eyes. Here are some of my favorite recent episodes:

I know I'm supposed to pant and slobber all over a pristine Hetchins, and that's probably why they have the reverse effect on me. I'm not afraid to admit I'm totally unimpressed by this bicycle, especially when it's photographed in such a contrived and melodromatic manner as to make Randy the Veloliloquy bike look like it was thrown up against a graffiti-covered wall and shot with a cell phone cam. Take this shot for instance:

"Ooh, I'm hiding. Aren't I coy? Don't you want me?" No, not really. I like a lug as much as the next guy, but the curlicued and filigreed lugs of the Hetchins leave me cold. Probably because they remind me of a window in winter. I realize many people see beauty when they look at these, but I just see frost, fractals and stress risers:

I'd rather have seen a photo shoot with a little more wit and irreverence. Like maybe the owner could have put on a tweed top tube pad, stuck a Sherlock Holmes hat on the bars, and laminated a few pages from a Kingsley Amis novel and used them for spoke cards. I also see nothing to celebrate in a bike that's over 40 years old and looks like it's never been ridden. If this bike were to somehow fall into my hands the first thing I'd do is take it for a three hour ride in some road salt. This should doubtless make Hetchins fans cringe. Of course, Hetchins fans also cringe over things like sloping top tubes and carbon frames bulging with bubos, despite the fact that the overwrought lugs and curvy chainstays on those old Hetchinses are the mid-20th century equivalent.

On the other end of the spectrum, in the gaffes department, we have this ill-advised build. Singleator? See ya later! Who's going to be the one to tell him it will all end in tears? I feel like I'm looking at the Titanic just as it left port. (As opposed to the Hetchins, which just makes me want to drink port.)

Thankfully though there are still people out there who know how to rig kludges that actually work. If you were as big a fan of the Kludgie winner as I was, you'll be thrilled to know that not only is there another rider out there with similar gumption, but he's also apparently from the same place as the Kludgie winner. All I can say is that Peachtree City, GA must be home to the beating heart of the American way. Is there anything they can't do there? Personally, I'd take this schizophrenic freak bike over that Hetchins any day, even if it does look like the guy just fished around in his parts bin blindfolded and bolted together whatever he pulled out. I'm afraid I can't give away a second kludgie, but the least I can do is honor this guy with a "Shimmy:"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Track or Treat: Dressing Your Bike for Halloween

Halloween is coming, and leaving your bike out of the festivites is like going trick-or-treating but leaving your child at home. So why not dress up your favorite ride and take it out for a night on the town? I've already got my bike costumes worked out--I'm dressing them all up as Mike Wallace and we're going to stay home reading aloud from transcripts of "60 Minutes"--but if you need help coming up with your own here are a few possibilities to lube your chain of creativity. Of course, these are all fixed-gears, but you should be able to come up with something for your own bike no matter what you're riding. And be sure to wear something yourself to complement your bike's costume:
Rolling Pumpkin

This one's easy. Gluing some leaves and a pumpkin stem to the top tube should complete the illusion:

And of course for the full Cucurbita effect you should be sure to don this delightful chapeau:


Ah yes, the tall bike--like a tandem, only way more stupid. The possibilities for dressing up your own are endless: a garment rack; the Wright Brothers plane; a Rube Goldberg device... But these can also be labor intensive. If you're pressed for time, just try a simple scaffold. You don't really have to do anything:

To drive home the point you can carry a bucket of paint around, offer to change people's light bulbs, or maybe even dress like this:

Or, if you're a surrealist, consider going in this direction:

Steven Tyler's Mic Stand

This costume is only a few more schmatas away from completion:

No prizes for figuring out who you should dress like when you take the stage with this bike. Let's just say he's ample of mouth, he's flirting with avian flu, and he talks, dresses, and acts like a slightly younger Joan Rivers:

Herb Garden

Just glue a few sprigs of parsley, basil, and thyme to this bike and hop aboard the garnish express:

Be sure to carry a garden trowel and dress accordingly:

Geared Road Bike

Dressing this bike up is easy too--just bolt on a derailleur and tape on some STI cable housing:

Don't forget to shave your legs and dress yourself up to match:

You can even include the dog!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of charismatic velos.

Ultimately the popularity of fixed-gears should benefit the sport of track racing, right? Well, as a reader recently brought to my attention, maybe not. But one thing's for sure--fixed-gears these days are brimming with personality. Here are a few bikes that could be in a sitcom together:

This bike has the guilty bearing of someone who has managed to get a woman up to his apartment under the pretext of showing her his record collection. His guest should not get too comfortable though. As soon as he drops the needle on that first LP he'll be pawing at her with those yellow Ourys like he's a cat and her sweater is filled with catnip. The black and yellow color scheme is meant to evoke bees, but this fixed-gear freestyler is way more "smarm" than "swarm." I'm not sure when people are going to realize that riding a bike with chopped risers makes their elbows stick out in such a way that they look like peasant farmers urging on mules, but judging by the number of them I see every day it's not going to be any time soon. And it's going to take more than colored Velocitys and colored vinyl to keep this guest from leaving, because despite the "High Fidelity" charm once Rossin puts on the moves she'll be out of there faster than Cusack skiied the K-12 in "Better Off Dead."

This bike also made me think of "High Fidelity." Not the movie, but the unfortunate musical adaptation. In 30 years when annoying rich people are looking for early 21st century kitch to decorate their lofts with, they'll pay top dollar for something like this. This bike is to right now what lava lamps were to the 60s, disco balls were to the 70s, and rampant androgyny was to the 80s. I'm sure it's waiting by the door for its friends BMX and Nishiki Conversion to show up. Then they'll listen to some Def Leppard, throw on their top tube pads and hit the bars.

The owner says "your grandpa's gonna hate this bike," but unless he's a diabetic and can't eat sugar I don't see why this rolling confection would offend him. This would be an ideal steed to take on a trip to Candyland. Just put on your stripey riding kit, strap on your marshmallow helmet, lock it up to a giant candy cane with some licorice string, and frolick among the gumdrop hills, caramel lakes, and cotton candy houses that line Lollipop Lane. If you're lucky, you may even meet King Kandy himself. And hopefully when you get back to your bike it's not crawling with ants.

This bike, like so many others, makes me sad. Forlorn, it waits by a rusty mailbox for a message that never comes. Does it wait for news of a loved one? Is it expecting a new bottom bracket from Nashbar? Or is it so desperate for companionship that it's donned that strollopy leopard print halfshirt in an attempt to seduce passers-by with its bare midriff? Whatever it's doing, I don't see much hope. It's only a matter of time before it hits rock bottom, takes heed of the sign down the road, leaves its passed-out partner in the background, and is finally born again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #25, #26, and #27

I can't speak for the other cities which have gotten the Langster treatment, but when it comes to New York Specialized missed the mark like Michael Rasmussen missed his drug tests. Probably the biggest mistake is the taxicab color scheme. In NYC, bikes and taxicabs don't exactly have a harmonious relationship. In fact, cabs are to cyclists what cats are to mice, or deli slicers are to vegans, or Turks are to Cypriots. We're not exactly looking to pay good money to pay homage to them. Then there's the website copy: "Built for rallying city streets and lapping racers at the velodrome..." Uh, unless you're a derny pacer you're not going to be lapping anybody at the velodrome with flat bars.

The Specialized New York Langster appears to be designed by the same team responsible for the tchotchkes you find in Times Square gift shops. If they really wanted to market a true New York-style fixed-gear, they'd have gone straight to the wellspring of crap that is Craigslist for their inspiration. Here are a few fetid posts from which they could have learned something:

Fixed Gear track bike 50 cm Brass Knuckle TRADE OR SELL - $1200
[original URL:]

Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-30, 12:51PM EDT

clink link for the bikes specs

looking for an older bike or rare bike etc price is negotiable but will swap out parts

Note the pricing on this one. Specialized is only charging a retail price of $740 for the New York Langster. While that kind of conservative pricing may fly in Duluth, here in NYC we like our prices inflated like a lipful of collagen. Apartments, cocktails, bikes--if it doesn't have an extra decimal place we figure it just ain't worth buying. Asking $1,200 with a straight face for a bike as ugly as this takes moxie. Note also that the seller is negotiable on price but will swap out parts. If I were buying, I'd actually pay more for any downgrade that would make this bike less disgusting.

50 CM IRO ANGUS Track Bike White / Gold - $750
[original URL:]

Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-26, 5:44PM EDT

broke as shit, moving, and dont need 2 bikes.

so the angus is for sale. its white, which is dope looking and they dont make the color anymore. it was also a limited run of the frame which isnt drilled for a rear brake AND doesnt have those ugly ass little bottle holder holes.

deep V's laced with black spokes and black nipples with relativly new tires, i built this at the beginning of spring, but then built another bike shortly after which is my daily so this has very few miles, no dents and is clean.

here are some pics, but now it has drop bars and metal cages.

46 16 gearing, nitto stem, bla bla.

gimme a ring if you want it, or email [deleted]

Another New York lesson Specialized would have done well to learn--charge more for less. Yes, nothing is "doper" or gets the pulse pounding harder than a white bike--it looks slow just standing still. (And together with the gold rims, it looks like a rapper's mouth.) And yes, nothing is uglier than useful braze-ons (as Dave Moulton will tell you). This kind of studiously detached prose is exactly the kind of copy Specialized should have used for the New York Langster. The seller seems put-upon and exasperated despite the fact that he's trying to sell his bike and can't afford his rent, which makes you want to get to know him and give him money. Best of all is the inclusion of the cat in the photo, which proves that this bike is, quite literally, a pussy magnet.

Bianchi Pista Chrome Large frame Flip hub single speed - $500
[original URL:]

Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-25, 4:32PM EDT

Perfect condition

Moving Back to San Francisco.

Kai [deleted]

Nothing's more New York than the person who decides to leave town and sell his Pista for just under full MSRP. It's as New York as bagels, pizza by the slice, and rat dander-induced asthma. If "Midnight Cowboy" were made today, Jon Voight would have tried to sell off his Pista on Craigslist just after he got tired of whoring himself and just before he got on the bus to Florida with Dustin Hoffman. If the Langster is ever going to reach Pista status, Specialized is going to have to get with the program. Notice Bianchi doesn't have to resort to cutesy city-themed Pistas--though if they did, I think this one should be the New York edition. With its taped frame, tilted saddle, and intact reflectors, it evokes the naive country boy who has been forced to confront the harsh realities of the big city. They could call it the "Joe Buck."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Peace In Our Time: A Cycling Summit

It hardly needs saying at this point that there’s a lot of internal hostility in the cycling community. And as much as we’d all like for someone to fall from the sky and save us, I think we’ve got to admit that it’s just not going to happen.

Probably the biggest reason for this hostility is the fixed-gear trend. Right now the fixed-gear bicycle combined with the so-called “hipster” is the most vilified combination in bike culture—together they’ve become the Iran of cycling. For this reason, I think cycling should have a summit meeting. I’m imagining something between a UN General Assembly debate and a mafia-style sit-down. At this meeting will be present representatives from the Five Families of Cycling: Roadies, Mountain Bikers, Messengers, Fixed-Gear Riders, and Commuters. I think with a few simple resolutions and trade-offs among these groups we can alleviate a lot of this tension and resentment, and get back to the business of riding.

(I know, “So what about Cyclocrossers? Or Trackies? or Tourists?" For the purposes of what we’re setting out to accomplish here, they don’t need to be present. As largely self-sustaining subcultures, they can continue to geek out in their little bubbles for now.)

Item I:


As irritating as some of the new breed of fixed-gear bicycles and riders can be, I think the problem is largely one of nomenclature. In particular, I think the fact that many of these riders still refer to their bicycles as “track bikes” and say that they “ride track” is the reason other cyclists resent them. There is nothing “track” about a bike with riser bars and a top tube pad, for example, nor is there anything “track” about riding in tight jeans and a flat-brim baseball cap. Furthermore, many of these riders use their bikes primarily for doing stunts and skids, and have no intention of racing them on the track at all. It’s this contradiction in terminology that’s making so many people angry.

So I move that the fixed-gear riders agree to permanently expunge the word “track” from all references to their bicycles and riding style. Since their bikes are essentially fixed-gear BMX freestyle bikes, I suggest they call them “fixed-gear freestylers,” or something to that effect. After all, you don’t hear people complaining about BMXers, and that’s because they don’t go around calling their bikes something they’re not.

(A pink and black fixed-gear isn't that better?)

(It's just a Hutch Trickstar with bigger wheels...nothing to get angry about!)

Item II

Wheel Size

In many ways, fixed-gear freestyle equipment has not yet caught up with the style of riding. Because of the incorrect use of the word “track,” manufacturers are still speccing these bikes with inappropriate components like 700c wheels. The reality is that there’s no reason for them to be using wheels this big. These bikes are ridden for short distances only, and smaller wheels would be better for the stunt riding they’re doing. (Some of these riders are already using 650c/26" wheels on the front anyway.)

Meanwhile, mountain bikes seem to be moving to the 29er (700c) wheel size. This is why a mountain bike representative needs to be at the summit. I’d like the fixed-gear freestylers and the mountain bikers to agree to a wheel-size exchange. The fixed-gear freestylers will take the 26" wheels, which seem to be falling out of favor with mountain bikers anyway, and the mountain bikers will take the 700cs. (This has the added benefit of making fixed-gear freestylers look even less like track bikes.)

Item III

Maintaining Standards

On the surface, roadies and messengers are very different. Roadies are fastidiously clean; messengers are inevitably grimy. Roadies get as far away from the city as they can in order to traverse hill and dale; messengers spend their days and nights in the urban jungle. Roadies wish they were paid to ride; messengers are actually paid to ride.

What both groups have in common though is a long, inscrutable list of rules and criteria which one must follow and fit in order to belong. In the roadie world, something as esoteric as wearing the wrong length sock can be enough to get you banished forever. In the messenger world, simply having the audacity to use a messenger bag or attempt a track stand without being a bona-fide courier is sufficient to make you the object of scorn.

Shouldn’t both of these groups loosen up a bit and become more accommodating? Absolutely not! As cycling’s ultra-orthodox it’s crucial they continue to bear their rigorous standards with borderline psychotic devotion. They are the sun and moon of the cycling firmament, and if either wavers at all in their steadfastness the Earth will be plunged into chaos. This is why, at the summit, I suggest they sign a Joint Pact of Self-Righteousness, and commit once and for all to maintain their rigorous standards and bloated sense of self-importance forever. It is a crucial stabilizing force.

Item IV


Whether you’re a road racer-slash-commuter, a mountain biker-slash-commuter, a fixed gear freestyler-slash-commuter, or just a plain commuter, you must agree to obey one simple rule: do not race people on your commute. Whether you’re a roadie on a Madone or a guy in khakis and a polo shirt on a hybrid, you look equally stupid trying to drop somebody on the Brooklyn bridge.

That's it--it's that simple. If we can adopt these four simple articles, I think the cycling world will be a better place.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of perturbing patience-testers.

I hate to gush, but there's a lot to be happy about. World CX Champion Erwin Vervecken and National CX Champion Ryan Trebon are coming to race in New York. The weather's still great, but it will soon turn colder, which means the parks will eventually thin out as the less hardy riders put their bikes in mothballs for the winter. And best of all, there's art. Wonderful, inspiring, and uplifting art:

(Via bikeforums...thanks, guys.)

Nothing's more dangerous than complacency, though. So when I find myself getting happy I just head over to Fixedgeargallery to check the latest goings-on. Like doing your finances while you're stoned, it's a sure-fire way to send yourself crashing back to earth. Here's what brought me back to reality today:

I'm all for breathing new life into an old frame, but this thing has more relaxed angles than an architecture firm on morphine. The owner must have wanted something that replicated the geometry of his lawnchair, because this thing’s slacker than a hillbilly’s jaw. The aero rims, flop n' chops, and lack of a brake are also completely at odds with the frame. It looks like Sir John Gielgud wearing a FUBU tracksuit. Just because a frame has horizontal dropouts doesn't mean you have to try to turn it into a track bike. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Q: Why did the fixed-gear take a roll in the hay?
A: It was trying to rub the ugly off itself.

This thing looks like Wavy Gravy binged on Kool Aid and jellybeans, took some bad acid, and threw up under a tree.

What do you do when you've got a spare Sugino 75 crank lying around? You kill it slowly by putting it on the wrong side of the bike. Yes, the patented "Dual Dork Drive" flies in the face of a century of pedal-threading wisdom. Not only that, but somewhere in the city someone’s walking around with both pant legs rolled up, sporting a pair of matching chainring tattoos. The owner calls this a “labor of love,” but I call it a “labor of lame.” Before you trash those threads, do yourself a favor—sell that second crank, buy some real handlebars, and use the change to purchase a clue.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #20 (and #21, and #22, and #23, and #24)

Craigslist is like a composting toilet--everybody in town just keeps bringin' the crap. And if cycling culture is a rock, Craigslist is the disgusting mess of insects, worms and larvae that you find wriggling around beneath it when you flip it over. Prepare to lose your appetite:

hey douchebag on the iro [original URL:]
Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-14, 10:29AM EDT
yeah you on smith st. in brooklyn, this is the second time you've almost nailed me. I know you're cool and all on your fixie but how about actually looking into intersections before you bomb thru red lights. If you do it again I'm gonna go cinzano on your ass.

Hey, I think I've seen that IRO! What a shame. I never thought IROs would become the new IROCs.

pink surly fixie - $200 (Union Square) []
Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-14, 1:55AM EDT
chris king hs, thomson stem, avid disc in front, yay.... i need to stop and my legs too skiiny. i'm getting a black iro, black is the new pink

Speaking of douchebags on IROs, looks like there's going to be another one soon. Why would you do this to a Surly 1x1? All this thing needs is a couple of pink bottle cages to hold a couple bottles of Pepto-Bismol. Not only will they look great, but you'll need them to settle your stomach every time you look down at the monstrosity you're riding. I've got to thank this person for one thing, though--now I know what the inside of a dead body looks like.

fixie project - $50 [original URL:]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-09-14, 1:34AM EDT
N-I-C-E. Need bb, cranks, pedals and chain.

Oh, you'll need one other thing--a tetanus shot.

2007 Gang Green Bianchi Pista for Sale (57cm) - $600 [original URL:]
Reply to: [deleted]

2007-09-13, 12:46PM EDT
2007 Bianchi Pista for sale; I'm moving to London on Monday, so ideally it'd leave this weekend or tomorrow, tonight, whenever - just before Monday. Bought it in March '07 for about $640 w/ taxes and all that. Throwing in a Kryptonite lock ($60) and floor pump ($40). I think the whole thing was $750 in total, so for a bike that's only a couple months old and like-new shape, the price is fairly reasonable. Never crashed or hit or anything like that. Paint's fine all around; rides same as always.

Sorry if the pictures are a little dark.

I've got nothing against the venerable Bianchi Pista. I don't even mind that I see twenty of them a day. But what I do mind is that every single person who tries to sell one on Craigslist tries to sell it at or above full MSRP. Like this guy. Oh, wait, he's actually going to take a $40 hit and throw in some free crap. My mistake. And hey, no need to apologize for the dark pictures. We all know what a Pista looks like. But what's with the reversed image? Is the bike dyslexic? (Or fix-lexic?) If so you should just take it to London with you--it will be quite comfortable on the wrong side of the road.

Track Free Wheel Blue (Tall Frame) Bicycle New Rims, Tire, Chain, Bars - $280 [original URL:]
Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-09-12, 7:27AM EDT
Pleased to present a Track Free Wheel Blue Bicycle With New Rims, Tire, Chain, Handle, Bars, seat, Grips, break levers, Fork (upgraded to a all chrome new fork), cables & peddles. The frame is 25’’ inches & the rims are aluminum 27x 1 ¼’’ inches. Deliver is very is available & Please email or call me (347) 733-2079 Peter; if you have any questions & Thank you for your inquire. Note: All of our bicycles are professionally tuned & reconditioned. You are invited to copy & past out web link below to view our past (many more same style) bicycles.

The original fixed-gear chop shop was bad enough. Now there's a new retard on the scene. What in the goddamn hell is a "track free wheel bicycle?" Why do people just take a bunch of trendy bike words and string them together like brain-damaged parrots when they sell stuff on Craiglist? Speaking of brain damage, I'm not picky when it comes to spelling, but one mistake I cannot stomach is spelling "pedals" "peddles." Dear Idiot: a "pedal" is the thing your foot goes on, and "peddle" is what you're trying to do with your crap.