Category Archives: Uncategorized

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;

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And this Rocky has it too;

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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.

Vintage – sort of – road bikes

If you didn’t already know, there is a Lance Armstrong film in the works, and in order to make realistic scenes of the peleton hammering all over France, the film makers needed a peleton’s worth of vintage bikes.

So where do you find nine copies of one of the most desirable 90’s road bike ever made?

You make them yourself;

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http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/condor-cycles-makes-bikes-for-lance-armstrong-movie

Condor cycles of London made a whole team worth of the iconic Eddy Merckx Motorola bikes, Saeco Cannondales, and T-Mobile Giants.

As per the article, they are admittedly good enough replicas, but wouldn’t fool a vintage bike expert in person.  I especially enjoy the Dura Ace shift/brake levers pointed to the sky just like Armstrong did.  And the fake Cannondales, which Condor made from steel, and would of course have much smaller tubes than the real deal.

Who knows if this film will be any good, but I like that they’re making the effort for realism.