Category Archives: Uncategorized

Visiting bike shops

If you’re not aware of this website yet, I highly recommend you check out Velominati.  If you have any interest in bike racing, current or historical, you’ll enjoy this site.  And what they’re most famous for, is The Rules.

I’m quite certain The Rules are mean to be tongue-in-cheek to some degree.  But, there are some rules that I take to heart.  Specifically, Rule #4;

It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike.

They’ve just described me here.

So, just about any time I ride my bike to a shop, I take some time to consider which bike I should ride.  Specifically; which bike will reflect best on the type of cycling enthusiast I am.  Now I used to work in a shop, and I can tell you, we were snobs.  There’s just no way around this – day after day of fixing Treks and Norcos leaves you with very high standards for what a cool bike is.

In four years at Redbike, there was really only one time that a bike brought the shop to a halt.  A Calfee carbon singlespeed, custom built with no clear coat over the tubes. It looked like it was made from pencil lead, and I still don’t know what kind of brakes it had – I’ve never seen another set like the ones on that bike.

Now, I needed some part, so I figured I’d hit Pedalhead on my way home from work.  If Redbike wasn’t my shop, Pedalhead definitely would be – they’ve been around since 1996, and they’re just solid guys.

Dekerf Team ST

Dekerf Team ST

I could have taken my Bridgestone, or maybe my Vitus road bike, but I figured what would make the best impression, was my Dekerf. After I bought whatever I was there to buy, the owner, Chris, and I started talking bikes, and he asked what I was riding.  He looked it over, and seemed to be impressed.

When he mentioned the old RaceFace Turbine cranks, I pointed out that they were 180mm Turbine cranks.  He looks at me with a big smile and says; “You’re a total bike nerd aren’t you?”

Damn straight.

 

 

 

Vintage wheel size?

I was chatting with my neighbour the other day, and he made a comment that was really innocuous at the time, but when I thought about it really quite telling about the state of the industry.

He’s a rider too I should mention – has a Giant enduro-type bike from a couple years ago.

We were discussing the end of the 26″ wheel.  I mentioned that I have a set of Mavic XC717 rims, and they’re probably the last high-quality, rim brake compatible, 26″ rims made.  He said; “Soon there won’t be any good 26″ stuff left for us.”

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Vintage companies that still exist – but shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, not every company that made cool bikes back in 1991 are still making bikes today.  Klein, American, Fat Chance, Fisher, and others, all made cool and well respected bicycles.  But for whatever reason, they weren’t able to survive.  And, many companies that made cool bikes back in 1991 are still in business and making cool bikes.  Names like Rocky Mountain, Yeti, Ritchey, Brodie, Dekerf, and more.

But there’s another category to discuss – companies that made cool bikes in 1991 that still make bikes today, but they’re just not cool.

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Modern bikes

Yesterday I found a post on Bike Rumor detailing the new bikes from Niner founder Steve Domahidy.  I assume this means that Steve Domahidy is no longer with Niner?  I’m thinking creative differences?  He probably wanted to take Niner in a different direction, maybe a harder sound, add another drummer, or maybe his girlfriend was going to write a few songs – wait.  Am I supposed to know the name Steve Domahidy?  Is he really the next Gary Fisher?  Is he really that big of a figure in the cycling world that people will follow him from company to company?

I don’t know a damn thing about current bike companies, so I guess I can’t really make fun.  He just might be a visionary, I don’t know.

Anyway, the bikes; they look really nice.

domahidy-designs-titanium-29er-mountain-bike2

Two issues though; firstly, never paint titanium.  I don’t care if you’ve designed the most amazing Colnago Dream-like paint scheme that changes colour with the number of Strava personal bests you rack up on a ride, you do not cover up titanium.  Titanium in person is nearly magical, to the level that no paint can achieve.  You need to leave that raw.

Secondly, I can’t read the name on the bike.  Letters superimposed over upside-down letters – for some reason.  I guess that’s cool since I don’t know who Steve Dohicky is anyway.

But, the first thing I noticed about this bike – and the thing that I liked the most – was that you just don’t see new bikes without that little bend in the downtube, right at the headtube junction.

My Niner had that;

20130427_120531-001

And this Rocky has it too;

vapor_27-5_H

You’ll find this one pretty every new bike out there.  And to me, this feature more than any other, is what makes a modern bike.  More than disc brakes or suspension even.  Hyrdoforming of aluminium tubes has made for all kinds of wavy tubes, and you see it on a lot of bikes now.

The funny part is, I honestly never knew what the point of that little jog in the downtube was.  I just assumed it was modern bike designers doing it because they could.  In the same sort of way that Chris Bangle felt the need to challenge people with his ugly trunk design on the 7-series BMW.

Until I saw the comments on Bike Rumor about the Domahidy – which seemed to be primarily concerned with the fork crown hitting the downtube…

Eureka!  It’s functional!

Now, this would of course would be in the case of a crash, where the front wheel could potentially whip around, and the fork or the handlebar smack the bike.

Designing that into the frame is pretty smart really.  Though I can’t help but wonder why this wasn’t a problem with old bikes.  I’d have to guess that new forks have wider crowns, and therefore are more likely to hit the frame.

So, to sum up; new bikes not ugly on purpose, but still ugly.