Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Things That Go Creak In The Night

Okay, who out there has been following the saga of my creaky Renovo?


Where did everybody go?

Well, I'll go on anyway just in case if anybody happens to wander by at any point.

Anyway, after swapping wheels and checking bolts and doing all the stuff you're supposed to do when a bike is creaking the sound persisted, and so I essentially just surrendered to it and decided the bike was going to be my new winter beater:

Hey, you may be disappointed that I'm riding a crabon road bike, but you should be positively disgusted that my winter beater is a hand-curated artisanal wooden bicycle from Portland that originally retailed for nearly $10,000.

So that was the state of affairs until just a couple of days ago, when a reader was kind enough to send me a tip:

Apparently, 11 speed Dura Ace cassettes can develop a creak from the rivets that hold the two largest cogs together.

Thinking about it, this made perfect sense.  While the parts on the Renovo are Ultegra, for whatever reason they did send it to me with a Dura Ace cassette.  What's more, that's the only cassette I've ever used on the bike, which would explain why the sound persisted even after a wheel swap.

As it happens, I did have a brand new 105 cassette I'd never gotten around to using, and so this very morning I installed it and went for a ride:

I refuse to declare success after only a single short ride to Central Park, but so far the results are promising.

It was also interesting to ride the Renovo after having ridden my new crabon bike almost exclusively for the past couple weeks.  The crabon bike rides beautifully, and even right out of the box it's easily the lightest bike I've ever owned, which always makes a bike feel faster even if it really isn't.  Still, despite the cheap wheels and Gatorskins I'm currently palping on the Renovo, the bike has a certain preternatural smoothness to it, and while I'm hesitant to ascribe mystical qualities to frame materials I can't help suspecting that there is something special about a bike made out of wood.

Not that I'd tell you to run right out and spend a bunch of money on a bike made out of wood, mind you.  (Not like you could even if you wanted to.)

Another nauseatingly Fredly question I got to ponder was this: Di2, or mechanical?  More specifically, the Renovo has Ultegra Di2, and the new crabon bike has mechanical Dura Ace.  Well, after riding both, I'd have to say if you're trying to decide between one or the other the answer is "yes."  I mean I don't have a bad thing to say about either.  Personally I guess I'd lean towards mechanical, if only because the psychological aspect of having a bike that needs to be charged bothers me, but in practice I've only plugged the thing in maybe three times in the 14 months I had it and even then the battery was maybe half-depleted.  (Plus if you're lazy about changing cables like I am the quality of your mechanical shifting degrades, whereas with Di2 as long as you keep your chain in reasonable shape it's always going to feel like new.)

But hey, as I mentioned, in Portland I rented a bike with Tiagra from River City Cycles and was blown away by how nicely that shifted too, so ultimately all of this is meaningless:

I guess what I'm saying is go find yourself a used wooden frame and some Tiagra and you'll feel like you're floating on air.

Oh, and on the way home from Central Park I saw a hawk:

It swooped by me rather dramatically, but I was only able to get a picture once it alighted on a fire escape a few stories up.

Not as dramatic as the time I saw one grab a pigeon on Avenue A, but pretty good regardless:

I can totally relate to that pigeon.


Schisthead said...

Aw crap, I've had that happen on XT cassettes before.
Never would have dreamed they'd do that to the Dura-Ace types.

Is this a trend? Buy nice stuff, it sucks! XD

Anonymous said...

Where is all the peeps?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of nice stuff, a friend of mine just spent $200 on a seat. Should I
a) respect his willingness to invest in the comfort of his scranus
b) one-up him by spending $300 on a seat
c) mock him by pointing out how many hamberders he could have bought with that money
d) never ride with him again
e) all of the above

1904 Cadardi said...

You young whipper snappers and your creaky cassettes. Wait a few years when you can't hear your creaking bike over the sound of your creaky knees and hips.

Now get offa my lawn!

JLRB said...

It may be too late to buy a wooden bicycle, but there are wooden ski helments on the market.

Crabon helmets too

Bored said...

How much wood can a woodchuck chuck....oh...never mind.

Unknown said...

Congrats on possibly sorting the creaking noise. That's why I love mechanical problems, even if they're a pain in the ass - there is always a cause that you can find & fix. People problems on the other hand - they're just a pain in the ass

babble on said...

I just spent 185 on the new Brooks saddle to replace the one that broke when that fucking bus hit me last spring. And 1600 on the new Electra Amsterdam Royale, too. Insurance. Because buses record everything these days.

Anonymous said...

WCRM you live in exalted realms when you have a $10K beater. Bless your typing little fingers!

Roger Tory Peterson said...

"...on the way home from Central Park I saw a hawk..."

Being NYC, with a ST of other people always in the same place as each other, I wonder how many saw the same hawk and did not know what they were looking at?

p.s. Thanks for posting.

tubasti said...

Tiagra 4700 is amazing. I'd venture to say it's the best shifting 10-speed mechanical system Shimano ever made. Not the lightest or the prettiest, but, wow, it sure beats Dura-Ace 7900.

Seattle lone wolf said...

Occasionally this time of year while riding home in the dark along the Green River I get swooped by an owl, out hunting I assume. Kinda spooky.

bad boy of the south said...

At least you weren't riding in bemidji was about 35 below this morn.that renovo wood have (haha) splintered into matchsticks .
oh.welcome back ms.babble.

Anonymous said...

"a reader was kind enough to send me a tip:

Apparently, 11 speed Dura Ace cassettes can develop a creak from the rivets that hold the two largest cogs together."


Is it even possible to get any more esoteric?

I look forward to the followup blog where Snobby follows elaborate instructions on how to repair the creaking rivets using exotic methods and materials while wearing Rapha kit and making coffee using a vintage hand grinder.

HDEB said...

Very cool hawk photos -- they almost make up for your willingness to throw a leg over a Specialized ; )

Anonymous said...

Nice- it was -22 American here this morning. Actual. About the only thing I'd want to do with that Renovo is torch it for warmth.

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

how is it possible that a wooden bicycle doesn't have wooden cogs?

Some guy on the internet said...

Nice to see that Babble on was finally released from prison and is now free to comment here.

Pist Off said...

Will the Tenovo turn out to be cursed? It is pretty goddamn lucky to get a free $10k bicycle. Of course, if anything structural did go wrong I bet Calfee could fix it with crabons. Someday that thing could be worth... old bike nerd money.

N/A said...

I've been following the saga very closely, and am having mixed emotions about the possibility that it may be coming to a close.

Anonymous said...

did you know that bikesnob is a perfect anagram for "Is Bob Ken?"

Anonymous said...

@rural 14 . . . Good question. And how is it possible to pedal a wooden bike without wearing wooden clogs?

janinedm said...

Once, I woke up to a red tailed hawk eating a pigeon on my fire escape...

pbateman is nonplussed about that renovo's unsightly appearance these days said...

hey Snoberdoodooooda,

will you take some of your money from specialized and buy some shiny silver components to put on that damn wooden bike of yours? its awful covered in "i'm a cool guy i wear black to everything cause i'm cool and all my bikes are black cause i hate colors" black components.

even one zero f'in five comes in silver and is affordable. or the Athena from a few years back would be neat nice though that crap is a bit pricey now. certainly more expensive than a couple hours with your mom.

fine, new components can be a 2020 project, but for 2019 will you at least put some different wheels on it? something to help balance all that headtube?

want to just trade? i'll take it off your hands and make it pretty again.

Chazu said...

Ride the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio during the summer with Mrs. Tenovo and the 17 young 'uns. Try it at night (ride into the town of Yellow Springs for late night ice cream!) with some blazing Niterider lights. You're bound to be buzzed by bats, which are attracted to all the insects which are attracted to your lights.

I was trying to point out a bat to my son E.W., who was riding behind me in the Weehoo. That's when a bat bounced off my hand, and I think I heard the bat say "Yuck I touched a human!"

Bike cycling certainly leads us down many avenues of experiences. Maybe some day I'll say 'fuck it' and start wearing a Virtual Reality headset all day.

Weepy Sidewalls said...

Upon cross-examination it appears we were tricked - when the defendant said he had “swapped wheels and done everything one should” when troubleshooting, he then surreptitiously swapped the offending part (DA cassette) to the test wheel. Also the creaky DA cassettes were known but, we were told the bike was Ultegra Di2 equipped.- No wonder it is difficult to repair bikes over the telephone/inneretts.

Anonymous said...

Longtime fan but I feel obligated to call you on something even though you will claim not to care. People evolve in their bike usage and tastes over the years, I am just a minute or two older than you and now have the full ti gravel grinder to protect my creaky joints. That said I am feeling a few missed opportunities the the Lenovo. For one riding a 10k wooden artisanal sled as your rain bike is pure douche, spin away but you know, deep down, it is true. By your own admission you barely like this bike since it causes you to become dehydrated during every ride on it. Sign the top tube, auction it and send the proceeds to the poor manufacturer who, I am sure, said to keep it because he is out of business. He could use health insurance more than you need your ego stroked.

Celebrity check dude, because I care.

Anonymous said...

I had a hub with an aluminum Cassette Body & it creaked like a bitch; changed to Steel, . . . No more issues!!!! - masmojo

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:09pm,

I'm totally a douche but I'm kind of kidding about the rain bike thing to sound even douchier. It's more like now that I've had it for awhile I'm not being precious about it and treating it like a normal bike as opposed to a fair-weather bike. Also, I love the bike and it rides beautifully--and the issue with the bottle cage isn't dehydration. (In fact I don't remember the last time I rode with two bottles.) The issue is that in a race situation it's annoying to have your bottle on the seat tube instead of the downtube.

The "poor manufacturer" told me to keep the bike, which is what I did. I'm not sure a used wooden bike with cracks in the dropouts would fetch enough money to buy someone health insurance, even if it did have a high retail price when new. However if you'd like to put in a bid please do!

--Tan Tenovo

N/A said...

@Chazu, Ive got a million miles along the little Miami! Small world. Some parts are wicked beautiful and good for napping and/or picnicking and so forth.

Old Parts New Bottles said...

No wooden prose in this post, as usual.

If you want a downtube bottle on the Renovo, why not get a velcro cage? It would also be another act of impiety against the sanctity of the rare artisanal wooden bike. Of course, you've already "had to" get a crabon ride because you "needed" that downtube cage. Oh darn, why didn't you think of a velcro cage? The sacrifices you have to make sometimes! Please just don't change to VeloSnob in your midlife Fred crisis.

DaveD said...

Taking into account your new bike's moniker "Tarmac", your new full nom de plume could be Tan Tarmac Tenovo. But then again, Speciallyized might sue you for swiping their intellectual property! Recalling the "Roubaix" shitstorm (there, my post is weather related) when Sinyard's goons bullied the little Canadian bike shop Cafe Roubaix...

Wonder if the Scarlet S legal beagles went after every airport on the globe for having a "tarmac" out beyond the boarding gate?

babble on said...

Hello, badness, darling! Thank You! I miss this place something fierce sometimes, but life is a twisted trail, so onward ho.
And yeppers. Sure felt like a jail cell at times. Nice to see y'all. :)