I (heart) Shimano
by Mark V on Jan 13, 2007 at 11:51 PM
A few days ago I finally mounted up some Shimano Dura Ace ten-speed STI to my everyday road bike, the last of my three road bikes to get the DA-10. Of course, the rest of the components on that bike are still nine-speed, and somewhat beat-down at that. But these STI are so sweet and precise. Yeah, KA-CHUNK into gear, solid like a hammer to a firing pin. I freaking love Dura Ace.
You don’t have to look far to find a flag-waving Campagnolo fan, going on and on about Italian flare and finish BLAH BLAH BLAH Tour de France BLAH BLAH Nuevo Record BLAH BLAH but DA just works soooo well. You can tell me that you like the style of Campagnolo, or the ergonomics of it are better for you. I could respect that.
But I am so over listening to people yammer on about how Campy is just so better than that Japanese stuff. Oh, yeah, before you tell me all about how you can rebuild an Ergopower shifterSTOP…I don’t care. If I have to pay to replace my Dura Ace STI after the 3 year warranty expires (hello, how long is a Campy warranty?) I will still feel satisfied. And you want to tell me how Campy Record is heirloom quality and you’ll be riding it 20 years from now you are deluding yourself, Grandpa. This ain’t 1977. None of this new stuff, Campy, Shimano, otherwise, is gonna last. I’m not saying that just about bike components. You’re reading this on the internet now, right? Do you for one moment think you’ll be using that computer 10 years from now?
Oh, but I have a dirty secret. (in a small voice) I used to be a Campy tifosi (that means fan in Italian, for you lay people out there). Yes, it’s true! When I first started cycling, I had an Italian bike with Italian Campagnolo components, Italian saddle, and Italian bar/stem. My girlfriend was even Italian (ok, so she was half-Rumanian and all legal-but that’s another story). This is back in the days of eight-speed drivetrains, when downtube shifters were still the standard on many bikes. I was so proud of my bike, but then one day nine-speed appeared on the market like an apple tree in the garden of Eden. I wanted it everyone wanted it, but then I found out that I would have to replace rear hub (I had two sets of wheels), cassettes, chain, and half the parts out of my shifter. Crap! How could this be? I thought Campy parts were eternally rebuildable and upgrade-able. My God, why have you forsaken me?
Ah, but then there was the new ‘97 Dura Ace so much sleeker, shinier, and sexier than the old eight-speed.yesssss, and lighter too. Oh yeah, and the cassettes fit on the same hubs as the old stuff. Mmmm yeah, I could get a cheap set of training wheels anywhere. Parts available at just about any local bike shop. And check out that crank! Freakin’ sweet! You know it’s the stiffest one out there! Yes, YES, YES, I gotta have it, baby! RIGHT THERE, THAT’S THE SPOT. AHHHHHHHHH!
So boys and girls, that’s the story of how I came to have nine-speed Dura Ace on all my bikes. Then eventually Dura Ace 7800, the new ten-speed components, arrived on the market, and just like Rod Stewart I had to have the latest model.
Actually, my favorite Dura Ace is the track gruppo, cause I’m kinky like that.
Bicycle Companies in Japan
by Mark V on Jan 13, 2007 at 5:24 PM
I love Japanese bicycle products. My current obsession is the high-flange Dura Ace track hubset, the 7600-series. But there’s some crazy stuff to be found in Japan. Like this bicycle from a company called “Spank”. I’ve always wanted a “Spank bike”.
A friend of mine bought a Japanese-made truing stand, and it included a white card of plastic to sit below the guide to make the gap ‘tween the guide and rim more visible. The manual stated that it was “for to use in the dark situation”. For years we’ve laughed about the sinister “dark situation’, imagining that it must be some sort demonic curse, like being chased by Jesuit ninjas or something even worse…
by Mark V on Jan 12, 2007 at 11:32 AM
“Keirin”. First syllable should rhyme with the English word “Say”. Second syllable is half the duration of the first and rhymes with the word “Keen”, but the “r” is pronounced with the tongue right behind the front teeth, making it a blend of the the “r” in “reed” and the “l” in “lick”.
This is Japanese for CARNAGE!!!
This is a keirin race in Japan (the city of Ito, I think). What is keirin racing? A really short explanation which doesn’t do it any justice is to say that is a 2km race on a velodrome where nine bike racers jockey for position behind a pace rider until the last 1-1/2 laps, and then everyone goes REALLY fast. Keirin is a big money betting sport in Japan, like horse or dog racing. I’ve been to keirin races in Japan, and I tell you that it is so unlike anything you have ever seen.
Not another Graham Watson Calendar
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM
…but maybe more interesting. Seattle cyclists out on the town shot by a local pro photog. I know a couple of the ladies featured in the .83 Girls Calendar so I thought I’d throw it out there to a wider audience.
Photo of the day
by Frank Steele on Jan 10, 2007 at 8:32 PM
Rain storm back flip, by Dbennison..
It’s the first HDR image to make photo of the day. Definitely check out the larger versions.
Wealthy Atlanta neighborhood wants cyclists out
by Frank Steele on Jan 09, 2007 at 9:32 PM
MyFox Atlanta | Proposed Cobb Ordinace Would Limit Bicyclists (video)
A popular Atlanta recreational cycling route is under attack, as residents of the neighborhood are pushing for a “no-cruising” ordinance that could fine riders who pass any point on the route more than twice in an hour.
Columns Drive runs along the Chattahoochee River, just inside Cobb County. It’s adjacent to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, and cyclists have ridden laps on Columns Drive, 2.5 miles long, for as long as I can remember (and I was rafting the Chattahoochee 20 years ago). The road is wide, with a wide shoulder; it’s a dead-end (marked, I believe, at 25 mph) which limits traffic; and because it runs parallel to the river, it’s as level as anything in Atlanta. Also, there’s a large parking lot just across Johnson Ferry Road from the mouth of Columns Drive, so many riders drive to the lot, then do 5-mile laps.
The referenced video, from a local station’s evening newscast, is pretty vague about the justification for the ordinance, invoking “crowds of cyclists” that a county commissioner calls “aggressive.” The quoted county official, Robert Quigley, suggests the riders are a “disturbance to the neighborhood,” but these aren’t Harleys with straight pipes. The only time I rode out there it was mostly fairly tame recreational cyclists – the more serious riders are usually looking for bigger miles.
The tool the commissioner wants to use is a No-Cruising Ordinance, more typically enacted on streets with a history of drug dealing or prostitution, which makes it illegal to drive past a single spot more than a set number of times in a set time (often twice in an hour). The story suggests the ordinance, if passed, would apply to cyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, but makes no mention of cars.
BikeSBL.org | No More Riding on Columns Dr. (proposed ordinance)
(BikeSBL.org is the website of Atlanta’s Southern Bicycle League, and the first domain name I ever registered, when I was SBL’s first and worst webmaster.)
Introducing the Moto-roller
by Frank Steele on Jan 09, 2007 at 7:55 PM
Engadget | Motorola to roll out cellphone-charging bicycle in “emerging markets”
Motorola instantly responded to Apple’s iPhone announcement with an announcement at CES that they’ll soon be in the bicycle business. Seriously.
Seems Motorola wants to sell its mobile phones into China and other nations with little or no electricity, so they’re turning to a Motorola branded, generator-equipped bicycle with a charging station right on the handlebars.
Is that an iPhone in your Jersey Pocket?
by Byron on Jan 09, 2007 at 11:40 AM
What amazed me the most (and there was plenty of amazingness) about Apple’s iPhone announcement, is that I was thinking, “who cares about an mp3 phone, or a ‘smart phone!’” The sweet spot is taking your home folder on the road with you, in your hand or jersey pocket and that’s what Apple designed. Just amazing. I was hoping for an “internet communicator.”
I’ve held onto my Sony Ericsson T-616 for more than 3 years waiting for a product like this. I kept the Sony in part because of the small size and feature set. In it’s day, it was a benchmark of design – works as phone, nearly worthless mMode aside, and as a GPRS bluetooth modem for quick email checks in an airport or on the road. And mostly if fits inside a Timbuk2 strap pouch, which fits right inside of my jersey pockets.
Here’s how the iPhone announcement unfolded with photos and all the features. As soon as it’s available, I’m buying it and riding with it. Check the demo from Apple’s site.
Photo of the day
by Frank Steele on Jan 08, 2007 at 7:09 PM
Gunwharf Wheelie I, by Monster..
L.A. Times on custom bikes
by Frank Steele on Jan 08, 2007 at 6:25 PM
A bicycle built for you - Los Angeles Times (free reg. required)
A little behind the New York Times (You Paid How Much for That Bike? in November ‘06, now behind their ridiculous paywall), the L.A. Times takes a look at custom high-end road bikes, interviewing Rob Vandermark of Seven Cycles and Lennard Zinn.
There’s also a good summary of traditional road bike fitting conventional wisdom: Knees over pedal spindle, handlebar flat obscuring the front hub, with balls of your feet directly over the pedal axle and your feet parallel to the top tube. Pain in the front of your knee means your seat is too low, while pain in the back of your knee means you’ve cranked it up too high.
Those are all good rules of thumb, but keep in mind that different physiology may require different positioning; if any of those rules don’t work for you, talk to an experienced bike fitter at a shop.
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