Sunday, February 28, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

F-Stops: Update

F-stops is only a week away.

I was checking out a preview of the entries and spotted this colorful photo of some guy on his bike.

Wonder if the proper model release forms were signed by the talent in question.

Time Capsule: 2006

The following is an article about fixed gear bicycles from How to Avoid the Bummer Life from the year 2006. HTATBL no longer exists but Stevil Kinevil is currently writing All Hail the Black Market. Interesting how things change...

Firing off at fixed-gears.
I'm all for the current bicycle renaissance in San Francisco. As the Indian summer heats up, you'll notice the bike lanes will be nose to tail with bikers — like a line of baby elephants. This is a good thing. Maybe the notoriously free-form, Tijuana driving style of SF residents will ease up a notch and they'll return to mowing down pedestrians exclusively. There's safety in numbers.
Of course, every revolution has its drawbacks. There's always going to be that crew that wants to convince the world they're that much more revolutionary, devoted, and pure than everyone else. And as the rubber hits the roads in San Francisco, a clan of tight-trousered, mullet-headed, vintage-T-shirt-clad Robespierres has coalesced around the fixed-gear bicycle, or as it's called in its proponents' cutesy parlance, the "fixie."
What's a fixed-gear? Imagine yourself cruising down the street on your bike. You get tired and so you stop pedaling and coast. The freewheel mechanism in your hub disengages the drive train and lets the back wheel continue to spin while the cranks and pedals are still. On a fixed-gear the rear cog is bolted directly to the hub. There is no freewheel or cassette mechanism, so if the hub is moving, the cog is moving. Which means if the chain is moving, the pedals are moving, and if the bike is moving, you're pedaling. There is no coasting.
Sounds like a pain in the ass. If you're like me, the first question that comes to mind is "why?" Well, the modern SF two-wheeled steel, aluminum, and rubber hipster fashion accessory has its roots in racing, like other wheeled vehicles that don't really translate to street usage. They were — and still are — used on banked, velodrome-style tracks during races that employ all manner of strategies, including slowing down to a stop or near stop and doing a "track stand" — balancing at a standstill without putting your feet down — so your opponent can pass you and you can ride in the draft.
Since you're not likely to be drafting anyone on city streets, a track bike is a highly impractical choice of wheels. What’s more impractical is that fixed-gears often appear to lack brakes. The bike's speed is controlled by the rider's pedaling cadence — slow the pedaling, you slow the bike. Stop pedaling, stop the bike. This effect can be augmented by adding a front caliper brake, but that's frowned upon by fixie fashionistas who do things like cut their handlebars down to a foot and don't run bar tape or grips. The problem with using pedal cadence as a braking mechanism is that stopping is dependent on rider skill.
Now there's the rub. Like trucker hats and PBR, what started as a bike messenger thing has become a fashion statement and status symbol. You've got kids in the Mission with the left leg of their jeans rolled up, a little biker hat on crooked, slip-on Vans, and a brand-new fixed-gear Bianchi; and they don't know their ass from a light socket. Cadence? You may as well be talking astrophysics. They just know that it looks cool. It looks less cool, however, when one of these lemmings comes screaming down the Haight Street hill unable to keep up with the speed of the pedals and wrecks in the middle of Divisadero. A friend was riding down Stanyan with a box in his hand when some goon on a fixed-gear, unable to slow down, ran into his back wheel and crashed him in the middle of the street. He didn't even stop to see if my friend was OK.
So what was the original draw that caused the person I'll call "Biker Zero" — to crib epidemiological lingo — to ride a track bike on the street? The people I know who ride them talk about being at one with the bike, feeling part of it, in the bike instead of on the bike. I'll go with that. But this human-bike-cyborg crap has reached the level of "I like the East Coast because I like to see the seasons change" tripe. Respect to the old-school heads who've been riding them since way back, but as someone who's done way gnarlier things on wheels, it's just not all that impressive. The Bicycle Film Festival had scheduled a screening of M.A.S.H., an unfinished fixed-gear documentary by Mike Martin and Gabe Morford, until it got pulled at the last minute. It was shot here in San Francisco and showcased the "skills and beauty of these riders." Beauty, no doubt — as in perfect hair. So you can ride down a hill and lift up your back wheel and do little skids to slow down. So what?
Riding a fixed-gear is like handicapping yourself. The bikes are so awkward to ride that not looking like an idiot while riding one is an accomplishment. It's like riding a three-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby. To do that well, you'd have to be an excellent jockey. At the same time, why not be in it to win it and ride a horse with four legs? To me, it takes the choices — and therefore some creativity — out of riding. I don't ride a fixed-gear for the same reason I won't drive an automatic: no car is telling me when to shift, and no bike is going to tell me when I can pedal. If you've got bike skills, why not take them to a higher level? Go home and search for "Steven Hamilton" or "World Cup Downhill" on YouTube and see what can really be done on a bike that has the capabilities to be pushed. (There is a whole European tradition of flatland tricks on fixed-gears that takes serious skills, but it doesn't seem to be a part of the current SF scenester fixie explosion.)
Not everyone is riding a bike to push limits. Still, the fixie cabal sticks in my craw, and it's not because I'm unimpressed with the virtuosity. It's not the misuse of a track-racing bike on city streets that bugs me. BMX bikes came about through the misuse of Schwinn Stingrays in dirt lots, and mountain bikes were the result of chopped-up road bikes on dirt. Misuse can mean progress. What kills me is the sinking feeling I get when I ride down Valencia and think, "Does anyone in this town ever do anything original?"
Now there's even fixed-gear graffiti, Krylon line art of single-speed bikes with bullhorn handlebars, and the dubious slogan of "gears are for queers." The fact of the matter is, the popularity of these bikes has nothing to do with the bikes themselves or the few people who actually have the chops to ride them with style. The fixed-gear is to 2006 what the Razor scooter was to 1996: a wheeled freak show for wannabes. Test it: send the right guy with the right clothes and the right haircut out around town on one of those old-timey bikes with the enormous front wheel with the cranks mounted directly to it like a tricycle. You know, the ones you need a ladder to get on and off of. Just see how many giant-wheeled ladder bikes are locked up in front of Ritual Coffee Roasters next week.
Do what makes you happy, but also do some soul-searching, champ: does riding a fixed-gear make you happy or does fitting in make you happy? Ask yourself, what bike was I riding last year? Was I riding one at all?

Maybe its time to stop. Haven't you all blown your knees out by now?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No ride tonight

a. Its snowing

b. This jackass is in California riding freak bikes

c. I have a midterm tonight

Sorry Yall

Cinelli Zebra Stripe Toe Clips

Spotted these unusual zebra striped Cinelli toe clips up on eBay the other day. Pretty low starting bid considering some people pay $65 for new ones without stripes.

The same seller also has some C-record triple bearing pedals up for grabs. I'd be all over this setup for my Mercian if I wasn't already running C-record 1st gen pedals/clips.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mercian Cycles Workbench

Mercian blog

Nakagawa Fork Crown

I'm not a typography nerd or anything, but I really like that N.
Rene's Nakagawa

NAHBS 2010

If you live anywhere near the east coast, you are probably familiar with and are probably going to the North American Handjob Show this weekend. Framebuilders from around the country and the world are going to be there showing off their goods. Colorado seems to be well represented, with Mosiac, Black Sheep, Moots, Yipsan, and maybe a couple others going, but it seems like some of the more well known Colorado builders like Nobilette, Rene Herse, Zinn, Yamaguchi, and Gangl are absent.
Heres a few previews I dig that I saw on the NABHS website.

Villin Track

Crispy textured stainless steel lugs.

Phil Wood 40th Anniversary x Independent Fabrications Track Bike

Phil Wood stamped all over the damn thing.

Bishop Cycles Track

Not chrome, polished stainless steel

Zullo Maxsilenus

Hopefully made of Columbus MAX. I looked into getting a Zullo frame once, not cheap.

Anyways, if you're out east this weekend, be sure to stop by. For the rest of us, lets jut hope that the Rocky Mountain Handbuilt Bicycle Show gets this big someday.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Saw this 'Haro EXTREME comp' at norlin library the other night on campus.

first time ive ever seen a bike like this in the wild. And the paint job... hate it or love it, that shits f'in EXTREME.

Pics from the other night

just a little taste of what its like riding around boulder during the winter.

Stay safe everyone, and for those in warm weather areas, be happy you dont have to deal with this all the time.

Volume Thrasher

If any of you follow fixed-freestyle blogs or forums you have probably heard about the Volume Thrasher.
The Thrasher is Volumes new prototype trick frame which will probably replace their current trick frame, the Cutter. If you own a Cutter, you are probably pissed off by the fact that a new generation comes out every couple months, its currently in generation 5. You could say that Volume fixed frames have a pretty short "product life cycle."

Anyways, back to the Trasher. It looks like the Trasher is slated to be the end-all trick frame from Volume. The frame is being tested by riders Fonseca, Puckett, Mosher and Congo, some of the big names in fixed freestyle right now. Some of the major differences between this and the cutter:
More tire clearance - fatter tires, go bigger
Seat tube cutout for a shorter wheelbase - better wheelies
Mid bottom bracket - stronger
Longer top tube - no barspin toe overlap

I think this is super big, and other companies will probably soon follow suit. Not only does this allow for more spins to be thrown in combos, it nullifies some of the previous arguments about toe overlap with 650/26" vs 700c front wheels in FGFS. So we'll probably see fewer and fewer 26" front wheels used for tricks in the future.

Somec Pursuit, update

Looks like that Somec Pursuit that was on eBay awhile back got bought up and tarcked out by none other than pursuit/funny bike enthusiast dustin of velospace fame.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Night Ride - Feb 18th \\ Map

View Thursday Night Ride 02/18/10 in a larger map

Hopefully it doesnt snow, so far it looks pretty good outside. ATTN: Try to find a light, we will be on the bike path for a majority of the ride and it can get pretty dark. Ill try to bring some extras for people that dont have lights

See ya at the buffalo, 7pm.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blue TR250 Closeout

Vecchios on Pearl, everyones favorite bike shop, is closing out their 2009 Blue bikes, including a small TR250 complete track bike for $1400 (frame/fork retails for $1200). If you're looking to step it up at the velodrome this season, heres your chance.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bootleg B43s

In the world of fixed gear components, there are a few levels of quality. Top tier components are those which were designed for professional track racing, for example Sugino 75 cranks. Below those are components which could be used for track racing, but are more than likely to end up on a high end tarckx bike, for example red anodized Sugino 75 cranks. And below those are components which are brightly colored, not intended for track racing, are 100% likely to end up on someones color coded tarckx bike, like anodized All City/Messenger/Origin8/Soma/Iro/Bulletproof/Eightinch cranks.
These are usually the same Taiwanese crap with different branding, if you look at some of these the only difference is the brand stamp on them.

Bottom level components usually work fine, sure your cog or chainring is shaped more like an oval than a circle, or the threads on your hubs or cranks strips whatever you put on there, or your chain snaps when you're pedaling downhill, but the point is they're functional. The people who buy them generally care more that they're colored antifreeze green than the fact that what they're riding is poor quality.

Generally, these are imitation products. A few years back, the rim to have was the Velocity deep V. A number of months later, Weinmann DP18s came out in full force in all colors of the rainbow.
Imitation products sort of de-value the original brand, especially if they become more widely distributed. Again, why spend $75 on a Velocity Deep V rim when you could get a complete Weinmann DP18 wheel for that amount? Things like weight and quality control don't concern most people who buy these things. For most of them, a color coordinated "fixie" is their first bike. And for a lot of boutique type track bike shops, this is where a lot of money is made.


If any of you ever check Denver Craigslist, you are well aware of the guy that has a bike shop of some sort and tries to sell products from it through online free classifieds. (This is prohibited, you should flag his posts) It was through this guy, however, that I learned of the existence of knockoff B43s. The Weinmann DP41.

Lets not talk about how the B43 came out after the H+Son Formation Face, the two are distinctly different (besides H+Son wasn't the first 4cm deep rim, think Gipiemme Tecnos and Campagnolo Shamals), but instead think about how this guy, selling shitty Taiwanese components and promoting his shop through free online classifieds instead of traditional advertising hurts more legit Denver bike shops like Track Shack. Its kinda sleazy. Especially when you write things like "I CAN TAKE CREDIT CARDS" in your ad.

But hell, if you don't care about quality or any of the associated benefits, and want 4cm deep rims, go for it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pictures from the Cyfac Factory

Velonews writer Zach Vestal just posted some pictures from his trip to France last fall, which included trips to the Mavic, Time, Look, and Cyfac factories. Heres some shots from the Cyfac factory. Cyfac is a custom frame builder that works in carbon fiber, aluminum and steel.

be sure to check out the rest of the set

Friday, February 12, 2010

Track Shack Alleycat Re-Cap

Worst of Boulder Craigslist

This guy again ?!?!

This same person has been trying to sell his CONVERSION on boulder craigslist for at least a year, I think originally he had it listed for 2200 $ then 1800$ now 1500 $. When will this guy figure out that his bike isnt worth even have of what hes asking ! Not to mention the fact he never lists out what is actually on the bike, just the fact that it was built up by 'Chris Zias' ooooh now im impressed. Even if i bought everything on that bike new it would still cost me less than 1500$

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cinelli Memorabilia

The Cinelli archives are full of Cinelli innovations that cycling has forgotten about. Most of this stuff has probably been forgotten for a reason.

2000. Integralter
"Integrated handlebar which increases the grip zone for the hands, more rigid and lighter overall."

1998. Sesamo
"The first full-opening stem in history. We had fun changing colours and giving it Titanium bolts."

1999. Alter
"Alter, other, alien. Cnc, with reticular complex structure, colourful or mono."

1985. Rampichino
"The first Italian mountain bike. Rampichino is the name of a small birds which “climbs” (in Italian ar-rampica) the branches of the trees. The name Rampichino becomes a neologism in the Italian language, synonymous of mountain bike for a long time. Gary Fisher was the first distributor of Italian MTB in the US and we organised the first MTB competition in Italy too."
(not sure if this looks better or worse than this Colnago MTB)

1989. Passatore
"Talking about hybric bikes today is no novelty. However in 1989, when we presented Passatore many wondered if Cinelli had gone crazy. Racing handlebar, MTB frame with slope geometry, 28” wheels, light tyres, 21 gears with levers on the handlebar: road bike or MTB?"

1996. Spinaci
"Everything and more has been said about these short extensions for handlebars. From their introduction on the Chiappucci bicycle to the Giro in 1994, more than 800000 pcs were sold."

1971. M71 pedal
"The first quick release pedal in history was patented by Cino Cinelli"

1995. Quo Vadis?
"The trekking bike which didn’t exist. Here’s another Cinelli vision, precursor of a trend which is still topical."

1999. Grippo
"The first vibra-absorb for handlebars."
(Yeah right, more like the first hold fast knockoff)

2001. CNC lug for Starship frame
"An authentic innovation which distinguishes Cinelli"
("Shit! What are we gonna do with all these extra stems?" "I don't know, lets try and make lugs out of them.")

1986. Aerolite
The rigid areodynamic helmet, a poli-carbon cap with a drop shape which became a characteristic of many modern helmets. From Hinault to Umaras, a must.

Anni 80. Danish helmet
The multi-colour stripe, today still sought after by many Cinelli collectors. It was the favourite of (almost) all professionists.

1993. Grammo and the Titamium box-type
The Grammo stem represents the best union between technology and design. A box-type stem in Titanium alloy, welded in pressure chamber with an unique design. A new family is born: for family, triathlon, ahead.
(check out that sick colored one on eBay)

1980. Laser
"With the name Laser we’ve opened a road of numerous technical solutions which are now public property. We recall the first TIG welding on bicycle frames (1979), the first Chromium Molybdenum steel BB shell, thin as paper, the first frames with advanced BB (1982), the first monocoque in composite material (1984), the first road full suspended (1985). In 1991 it wins the Compasso d’Oro, 28 gold medals at the Olympics and Worldchampionships. Laser is exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago."
(We've written about these before.)