Rode ‘till it froze

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by Byron on Feb 04, 2007 at 8:42 AM

frozen wheels I rode till it froze yesterday – starting in the cold rain and finishing in freezing rain, I kept going until I couldn’t shift, or brake, and my tires made disconcerting snap crackle pop sounds as I rolled over the icy roads. Besides mountain bikers, I guess I was the only one out riding the roads yesterday in the Tri-Cities.

As I’ve posted before, icy or not, that area has the best roads in the state and I’ll ride them again next weekend.

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Shimano widgits, breakfast muffins, and the Olympics

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by Mark V on Feb 03, 2007 at 10:53 PM

shimanogeneratorhub.jpg Yesterday I attended the Shimano tech seminar. It was a super secret affair open only to bike shop employees and hobos who wanted the free breakfast muffins. I suppose I got there too late for the segment about road bike groups (9AM start? I don’t do 9AM), so I sat down as the speaker discussed the new XTR and Saint groups. Even though I am mainly a road and track fanatic, I leaned back into my chair and eagerly listened to all the fascinating new developments in disc rotors and bearing (yawn). modifications that lengthy field testing .(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). (snort) um, what? It’s over?…do I have any questions?……um, do you have any muffins without cream cheese in them? After that the minions of the Imperial S company fanned out to the various tables of product to field questions from the riff-raff.

Really, this seminar was mainly to familiarize shop monkeys with the stuff they’d be selling this season, so I’d seen all this stuff and more at Interbike. I kinda wanted to poke at some of the new Alfine, but none was present. I can say that the new Tiagra STI levers look pretty nice. I’ve always liked the idea of an optical gear indicator, and those new STI have them integrated into the lever top. I’ll get back to you when I know how well they work after you crash on them.

If you must know, the new XTR is really cool. Though I have no desire to ride it, I find the attention to detail is just mesmerizing. And Shimano offers just about every type of lever ever conceived: hydraulic or cable brake lever, STI or Rapid Fire-style shifter, every combination thereof. To top it off, you can now have your XTR rear derailleur as Rapid-Rise (low-normal) or traditional (top-normal).

There were a couple cool widgets there. I liked the dynamo hub front road wheel. Next winter I’m going to have a winter fixie with one of these wheel powering my headlight. One of the tables had an adapter for 6-bolt disc brake rotors to fit on the Shimano œCenterlock hubs. It was just brilliant. I especially liked how there was a c-clip retainer to hold the rotor to the adapter during disassembly.shimanorotoradapter.jpg

Personally, I’m most likely going to buy some shoes from Shimano before anything else. The new R300 road shoe is the bomb when it comes to stiffness. Then Shimano went buck-wild with the features such as heat moldable uppers, real vents in the sole, super strong straps there’s even some sort of minty-fresh antibacterial treatment. I wish I could say that they were beautiful to look at, but sadly no. At least they aren’t as HIDEOUS as early ˜90s Look shoes. Actually I thought the œindoor riding shoes were quite sharp.

I suppose these tech guys must find it tedious to field questions from bicycle retail’s worst techno-weenies, but that didn’t stop me from interrogating him with my own petty questions. œHey, when are they gonna make a track crank like the 10-speed road crank? That’d be Suh-WEET! Well, they ain’t because the equipment rules for keirin restrict design to 3-piece cranks (unlike the 2-piece œHollowtech 10sp cranks), and domestic keirin racing is Shimano’s foremost market for track equipment.

Oh, sure, Shimano makes a BMX crank using all the latest technology, but not a new track crank. Why? Because BMX is now an Olympic sport. Freakin’ great! The BMX dudes get all the X-Game coverage, Mountain Dew sponsorship, not to mention the hot chicks now they get an Olympic medal in Bejing and super-duper cranks. Oh, and where did that extra medal come from, you ask? That’s right, kilometer time trial got nixed from track racing. Yeah, yeah I know time trials are BORING to watch, but still why does the International Olympic Committee need to take away one cycling event to add another? What about all those ridiculous events the IOC has already arbitrarily added? Trampoline? PUH-LEASE! The only trampoline performance people actually watched was on The Man Show. When the IOC made trampoline a medal event back in 2000, I took it as yet another sign of an impending Apocalypse, started a cult, and made a batch of poison Kool-Aid. But this insanity doesn’t END.

How relevant is trampoline to the world around us? Also I have a hard time justifying whitewater canoeing I mean, the Olympic host usually has to BUILD an artificial white water rapids just for the event. Of course, the relevancy of the shooting competitions, in this world gone crazy, is painfully (and pitifully) obvious. The world would just be a better place if more people rode their bikes even you BMX guys with your cool cranks and hot girlfriends bastards.

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Shimano 2007 Dealer Tour

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by andrew_f_martin on Feb 03, 2007 at 9:21 PM

Thanks to Mark V and his connections, I was able to stop into the Shimano 2007 Dealer Tour held in Bellevue, WA yesterday. Lots of new stuff targeted to the “shop crowd” - so mostly race parts for both mtn and road bikes. Some cool new stuff coming out - mostly in their pre-built wheels offerings. The stuff I wanted to see the most - they didn’t have. The Alfine group is so compelling - I really wanted to see a bike built up with it and give it a ride, but no luck. I did get some good print and DVD promotional material on it which will keep me drooling for a while.

Dynamo%20Wheel.JPG They had a rather cool complete front Dynamo wheel on display - forgeting to recharge the light is no longer a problem






Cranks.JPG The trickle-down continues: FC-R600 cranks look like DuraAce, but cost less than 105







Pro_TT.JPG Pro%20Bars.JPG Shimano is bringing their PRO line of parts across the pond in 2007


Tiagra.JPG The new Tiagra stuff shown here is in fact 9sp. To get the 10sp trickle-down for less, check out the ST-R700 shifters






Wheels.jpg LOTS of wheels on display - the new Dura Ace tubeless road wheels, some nice carbon rims, and more Ultegra, 105, Dura Ace, XTR, and XT

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pedals but Were Afraid to Ask

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by Jason Swihart on Feb 01, 2007 at 8:48 PM

pedal.jpgSome people have a thing for stamps, some dig Hummel figurines, still others collect shot glasses. However, it takes a true connoisseur to appreciate the art of the pedal.

Hat Tip: The Goat

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Another motorist and cyclist accident in Seattle

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by Byron on Feb 01, 2007 at 9:37 AM

I was waiting for more details on the latest motorist and cyclist collision in Seattle before posting. While the cause is still unclear, reporter Amy Rolph updated the story today with a footnote …

Wednesday’s accident was the latest in a chain involving motorists and cyclists in the city. More than 900 cyclists have been injured in Seattle since 2001, and five have been killed. Two of those deaths happened last year.

I don’t know exactly what’s causing these crashes and deaths, but hopefully the Master Plan will address it. I maybe naive, but when I’m in Portland and see all the bike lanes, I think that’s got to make a huge difference and hope that the city can get out there and paint more lanes.

Also, sometime in Seattle’s future, the city planners may think of ways to de-emphasize the car and make the city full of transportation alternatives.

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Why doesnt’ everybody do this?

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by andrew_f_martin on Jan 31, 2007 at 10:29 AM

IMAGE_094.jpgThe high-pressure system has been sitting over Seattle for a while now. Sure there’s a burn ban and the air quality is “moderate”, but there’s nothing like a clear morning in the Pacific Northwest. Today, like every other day, was a great day for riding to work.

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Cargo Bikes Spotted in Portland

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by Byron on Jan 30, 2007 at 2:25 PM

I was at a Peets last week in Portland and didn’t get my camera out in time to snap the cargo bike as it rolled past the window (I think the Peets customers were also alarmed that I jumped up so quickly to look at a bike). Todd had tipped me that box bikes were en route and now has the photos and more info.

Also, Marcus reminded me that Seattle has got some cargo bikes as well and Aaron is working on them.

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Fat cyclist up for an award

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by Byron on Jan 30, 2007 at 2:05 PM

During a quick scroll of the 2007 bloggies, I noticed that Fat Cyclist was nominated for the Best-Kept Secret Weblog. Def vote for Fatty and hope he accepts the award in lycra, on a fixie, and puts it in a messenger bag!

And if you missed Fattie’s contest last week, the comments are still a good read. He gave away a Twin Six Jersey. I posted on Twin Six last year and unfortunately didn’t get to meet them in Vegas at Interbike.

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Track bikes in Japanese Hip-Hop video

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by Mark V on Jan 30, 2007 at 11:17 AM

I found this music video of the Japanese hip-hop group Rip Slyme. The set-up is that group members are working in a bike shop. My Nihon-go isn’t good enough to understand what they are talking about, at least not on the first listen. And I’m not sure how many more times I can endure to listen. BUT music aside, almost all the props in the video are actually quality keirin components and featured prominently enough that I can identify the model. And really, it’s a welcome break from seeing every wannabe American popstar posing in an Escalade while lip-synching to some cheesewhiz manufactured song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86iUu-9qfIo

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Trickle Down

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by andrew_f_martin on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:58 PM

105Shimano does a great job of pushing their top-level technology down to their lesser component groups. Cyclingnews.com just did a review of the 105 group, and I really have to second their praise. The 105 stuff works great on my rain bike. If I ever get around (read: get the funds) to building up a travel bike, I’ll probably spec it with Shimano 105. The only thing I can’t get past is the chainrings: What’s up with the cookie-cutter finish on those? The cranks themselves look fine to me, but the rings look a little cheap. Because I’m a vain SOB, I’d swap out for the FSAs and it would be a great looking setup.

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