This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The enduring market value of uselessness....

More electronic gidgi-gadgets are being pandered around the internet on a regular basis these days.
Things like the Recon Jet sunglasses, idiotic bone transmitting music systems and shared surveillance through Strava have made me look at the tech developed in the past 28 years.  
I picked 28 years because, well, I have an old bike I still use.  It has down tube friction shifters, a 6 speed freewheel and room (gasp!) for 32mm tires if I want.  It's still my road bike when I want to tag along at a weekly club ride.  I can keep up with a 16-18 mph group without hurting myself.  Since I bought that bike the whole world of club riding changed. I like to listen to all the things others have and depend so completely upon.  Since then tech advances have been numerous, sealed bearings were the new thing then, I opted out and went for traditional bearings.
 Brifters have been the most significant standard by which all performance has been gauged.
Next clipless pedals promised constant application of power, 
New saddles were developed on an annual basis, heavier, diaper quality,
chamois for the shorts were needed for the new saddles, 
aero cable routing, free-hubs with 8-9 speed cassettes,
sealed bottom brackets, now disc brakes,
 deep V wheels, aero spokes, 

electronic shifting,  
tubeless tires so you won't have to worry about this,
carbon fiber everything 
and more electric whatthefuckever. 

     While I have tried most of it, only the new BB and free hubs are useful.  The rest is good for racing.  Most will be common on bikes sold, but mainly because it will be inconvenient for manufacturers to produce bikes with more than one component choice.   Brifters are essential for competition, but since I experience no inconvenience at B or C level club rides, they have no practical benefit.  Clipless pedals provide a false sense of efficiency, increased hotfoot and the need for ridiculous shoes.  New saddles have questionable use, I would still prefer leather and am too young for diapers.  Disc brakes make carbon wheels survive fast mountain descents I never experience.  Of course expensive carbon wheels will be necessary to off set the additional grams disc brakes produce.  The deep V wheel design with reduced aero spokes, (yawn) save an ounce or two.  Electronic shifting, are you kidding me?  I haven't found a use for indexing yet.  Tubeless tires can be  useful if you ride in mountain bike races or live where goat head thorns are common.  Since I don't I won't.  Most traditional tires are produced with reasonable flat protection.  What is to be said for carbon fiber?  It's lighter, but of veeerrry questionable durability for everyday use, and ridiculously expensive.  I've had the pleasure of seeing it the source of  disappointment of riders in charity rides passed by a senior citizen on what appears to be a garage sale beach cruiser.


  1. Amen!
    Most of my bikes would be considered medieval at best. I primarily ride three speeds, with steel rims! The best, recent advances in cycling technology have been Kevlar belted tires and LED lights.The rest is just marketing fluff.


  2. I agree. Of course, I've never been part of the racing set, or even the fast group ride set. I'm mostly a transportation cyclist. I got my first drop-bar road bike last spring, a lovely Bianchi Volpe I use for longer weekend rides. I love the bike, but I'm not a fan of the brifters and don't really need all the tiny steps between cogs on the 10-speed cassette.

    I got the Volpe with cantis, but have to admit, I'm kind of tempted by disc brakes for my next commuter build. It rains a lot where I live. I mean, a lot (as in, more inches than Seattle gets, though on somewhat fewer days per year). Every rim brake I've tried slips when the rims are wet. I'd be curious to try out discs.

  3. Kendra,
    Not sure what your commuter is. I have used Shimano roller brakes with good results on my city bikes. Another actually has a coaster brake (gasp!) in the rear and a drum brake in the front. Having ridden rim brakes on steel rims for years a couple of tricks come to mind. Plan your stops, large bushes are your friends, and use KoolStop pads.


    1. My wet-weather commuter right now is a Dutch-style bike with roller brakes. They are wonderful in terms of being utterly unaffected by the weather. That bike is unsuited for other kinds of riding, though. I've heard good things about the Kool Stops, so I'll probably put those on the Bianchi soon.

  4. Kendra,
    I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the performance of the KoolStop pads. Wipe the rims down with alcohol when you first install the pads. It helps to clean any residual grease and oil from them. I use KoolStops on all of my bikes with rim brakes and they have proven a worth while addition. I do agree that the Dutch-style bikes have their limitations.


    1. I think cleaning the rim with alcohol is important. The grease and residues from the road are a bigger problem than the moisture alone. I still like Matthauser brake pads, although the Kool Stop pads are nice also.


    2. Marc,
      Just as an FYI; the Kool Stop salmon pads are the same compound as the Matthauser. From what I gather at some time in the past KoolStop was making the pads for Matthauser using their hardware. I don't know if they are still making them for Matthauser or not at this point. But the pad composition is the same.

    3. I've been told Scott owns the patented formula. They contracted Yokozuna rubber to produce the Scott/Matthauser pads in modern shapes and sizes. I've been told that Kool Stop is the same, but they don't feel quite like it to me. I like the Matthauser for some reason.