I'm sure none of us has even the slightest misgivings about this:
These are the RoadUno dropouts. Our own design, kind of neat for this kind of dropout.
RoadUnos are scheduled for early 2024, but we're getting prototypes in mid to late September. They're basically A. Homer Hilsen frames except for the graphics and dropouts. Rear wheel spacing is 120mm. More later.
I know we all get dumbly or weirdly titled spammish emails. Sportsman's Warehouse never fails to disappoint, and please allow me to share:
Our new cheap saddle. It'll be about $55. Not that cheap, but we spent A LOT of time and $10,000 on a mold, so we have to factor that in. If we're going to stay in the game here:
Should be here by end of September, also. On the surface, it seems hard to get super excited about a plastic saddle, but this is a good one and designed to make saddlebags easy.
A B.17 is 170mm wide, by the way. About 6.7-inches. The saddle above is about half an inch wider, but it is flatter (more supportive) at the point where a B.17 dips.
Wider isn't always better. The B.17 rides comfortable for most people, even those who ride upright. But it this new saddle feels at least as good, and for most people it'll feel better, I think.
I'm sure it comes off as slightly disingenuous for us to discuss weight, but some people might care about that. The newie weighs 380g (13.4oz), about four ounces less than a B.17 Special.
This was fun. By now it's month-old news, but it's still fun:
Are you noticing the same thing I'm noticing, about the names? Vinny del Negro is white. I always wondered how Black people with the last name of White felt about that, and I wonder how Vinny felt about his name. There must be white supremcists with the last name Black.
For more reading on THIS, kind of fun, you don't have to be a golf fan to have fun with this, and it probably helps not to be one. Apologies to golf-haters. Just don't click, just move on.
Foreign riders often come to California to ride the glorious Hwy 1, from Canada to Mexico. I've ridden about 220 miles of it, north of San Francisco...but never again. Tons of cars, blind curves, drivers texting or looking at the ocean, no shoulder, and...we saw lots of these signs. You'd last a minute if you believed it. It should have AT YOUR OWN RISK, too.
We all get disturbing and confusing spam. I'd like to share two of mine with you. These came to me on consecutive days.
Years ago, the Rosco Bubbe was going to be a kids bike, kind of like this, but with shorter cranks. But it would have cost 80 percent as much as an adult's bike, so we killed it, and Rosco Bubbe became what it is now--a catch-all limited production model for special occasions.
But now that kids are riding carbon (yes) and eBikes (yes), we feel a little more pressure to do something about that. Cleary bikes are good. The one above is clearly the work of a bike person. The rim brakes are a giveaway, and then the lack of kickstand, which suggest possibly good intentions, but we'd put one on there in a second.
We may revisit this. Made in China, where tons of American, British, and Italian bikes are made. We think kids should pedal and ride tough bikes...is the main thing.
Here's what I'd consider to be an awkwardly written advertisement, on Velo.com:. Not just the underlined part. I don't know, everything about it. Maybe i'm too sensitive to this stuff. How does it read to you? Does it seem like a desperate grasp, or a company in touch. I just don't know. To me, bizarro.
Has anybody ever said anything close to: "Man, that was some far-flung gravel road!"?
It's important to keep up with bicycle technology so you don't fall behind. Thanks to SRAM, we'll have this sometime in the future. Shimano will follow with its version, because ShimSram are taking us there.
Lately I've been putting a few bird-and-outdoorsy pix up here. My buddy Dan shot these. We were up the coast a bit. It's an osprey and a fish. They're better than average bird photos. I was there, by the way.
If you never before knew exactly what an osprey looks like, there you go.
THIS NEXT SECTION IS PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT FLY FISHING, AND WILL BE BORING IF YOU AREN'T INTO THAT, AND SO I'M JUST SAYING, SKIP IT IN THAT CASE. SKIP DOWN TO YET ANOTHER OSPREY PHOTO, and go from there. This is getting too long, anyway.
In another life long ago, from about 1966 thru 1974, ages twelve to twenty, I fly fished and tied my own flies, and was as deep into it as I am "deep into" bicycles. Then I had to get a job-a-work and being scared-2-drive I rode everywhere EVERYWHERE and hitchhiked when I couldn't, and it was a natural transition into bikes. Transpo, touring, racing, two old old but still useful books, and bicycle work and then this. In this stuff when I say "fly fishing" I also mean "fly-tying," even tho they're as different as bicycle riding and bicycle mechanicking.
Anyway, in the oshit I gotta get a job years, I rarely fished. Family, job, no driving, how was fishing going to happen? Now fast forward I am able to fishagain. I fly here and there, meet up with a classic old fishin' buddy, and he drives to the river and we stay in our monster 85lb canvas tent. Made by Springbar.
It's widely acknowledged, and I'll go along with this, that what the movies Breaking Away and ET did for bike riding in 1979 (made it explode), A River Runs Through It did for fly fishing. They both enlarged the circle and attracted more business, and over time the circle was too crowded for the number of businesses, so the inner industry manufacturers, media, and small and medium-ized businesses figured out that to increase the number of participants meant changing the tools and toys in a way that lowered all barriers to entry. In fly-fishing, this meant introducing synthetic fly tying materials that are much much MUCH easier to handle than bits of feathers and fur and hair (sorry, vegans!), but at some level you're using plastics to fish for the most beautiful animals on earth, and introducing microplastics or whatever into clear gorgeous streams. It's one of the smaller environental evils, I get that.
And on the technique side, traditional fly casting is hard to learn, and that was keeping the sport small. I wasn't as hard as playing a French Horn or violin, but maybe more like the piano,
Kids are used to be crappy at things that require timing and coordination, because they're used to it. They tolerate it and grind thru. Adults who don't have a recent history of fumbling don't tolerate it as well, and they want instant success, to avoid looking like a bumbling learner.
And you know how EVERYTHING ON EARTH turns into a competition? It happened with fly fishing, too. It started in the Czech Republic. Flyfishing contests. The drive to win lead to changes in equipment and technique, new styles of both that that cut out the skills required for by traditional tools and methods. Manufacturers accommodated them, went whole hog. High schools and colleges in trouty areas now have fly fishing teams that compete against others schools. Adults who want to catch fish fast and big and soon hire guides who equip them with gear and show them techniques that are as far from traditional fly fishing as stunt riding is from commuting. The rivers are getting overcrowded with people who are "fly fishing" only in the most generous and elastic use of the definition.
The justification is commerce and "conservation." The thinking is that the more people fly-fishing, the bigger the pool of people who will donate money to preserving rivers. Of course it doesn't work that way.
If you get into fly fishing now, you'll step into the commercial water and be dragged downstream so fast and come out at the end of it with a predictable, invariable collection of fly fishing gear that says 2023 all over it. Kind of like bikes.
For decades, Shimano didn't get into fly fishing, because..well, I think because, the gear was too simple. It was deep into other kinds of fishing, though, and in the late 1980s, Shimano's fishing division was bigger than its bicycle division. Now that fly fishing is big, Shimano's into it. On one gear site I found this, and I love the tag-line, which sums up Shimano so nicely.
"Concentrated competence" is so accurate. That's not a snide snicker criticism. It's just a fact. Shimano is the best in the world at whatever it does. In this case, and in bikestuff, that doesn't mean it makes the best stuff for any individual bicycle rider or fisherman, it just means it picks out the kind of gear it wants to make, gear that has broad appeal, and it nails the living daylights out of it. If you're a fly fisherman and are more curious about Shimano fly rods, click on this link. Maybe they're available in the U.S., but this sight, even tho it's in English, is from Italy. It's the first I've heard of Shimano making fly rods.
One more thing to say about fly fishing, then that's it. This time, it's fly-tying.
That same site has two or three books written by Italians and translated into French I think, and English too, and for the past four days I've been turning upside down with exciting realizations and revelations that I can't describe in detail because I've never experience it before. I didn't even know that Italians fly fished or tied flies. Provincially, I thought we Americans were leading the way, with some historical British influences...but now we've taken over. And, as I've already said here, it's been disturbing to see some of the techno-changes, especially in fly tying and fly patterns named after commercial products or sexual references. Seriously. This is how things go.
But these Italians, man o man...I bought two books that feel like a home I never knew existed. They've been around for years and years, but under my radar. I'm so excited, they're giving me a path, I'm totally under their influence (fly-tyingwise) and I want to give away copies to everybody I know who fly fishes, but that would be weird and expensive and intrusive. It would come off as a criticism of things they know and do and have been living.
Here are the books.
To me, it feels like discovering upright bars, baskets, flat pedals, and saddlebags too late in life. But wonderful, anyway. If you tie flies and are into all that, check it out. You might not be ready for it, but it will blow your mind. Clear, great photos, super point-of-view.
1. RIVINVENTORY NOW AND GOING FORWARD
No great changes or plans. Our parts inventory is good. We're still waiting for several projects to mature, but we have stuff. Low on frames (we have some Roadini frames still). We're getting in more MUSA shorts, this time in Ranger Green.
Will and Vince are researching fabrics.
2. We'll get more hats. Not enough people signed up for the NUTBUSH had, so that may have to be a sticker. Maybe I can personally fund a small order, I don't know.
3. We get calls almost weekly for somebody who wants something we sold in 2014 or 2003 but don't anymore. Things come and go, we try to have only stuff we want forever, but things get in the way of that sometimes, so if you want something and can afford it now, get it now, because there are no guarantees we'll have it later. LIP IVO was bought by a gigantis Dutch cosmetics company, then shut down. We snuck in an order for 5,000 tubes of this super lip balm. I thought it would last three years, but we sold out in 45 days, That's how it goes.
4. Expect a new hand-L-bar bag in the next two months. I think we've shown samples before. I use it five days a week, load it up maximally for commuting, shopping...it's good. As is always the case with bags, you will see some feature we "missed," but the deal here is not to put pockets inside pockets, gussetts and daisy chains wherever there's blank fabric. Our approach to bags is "best quality fabrics and stitchery, with simple design that works without spoonfeeding you."
I have some concerns that our identity might shift to be the anti-eBike bicycle people, just because we're not going to make them. They have their place, obviously, but it's not obvious where it is.
Bicycles need to be separated from more dangerous vehicles, including eBikes. It's not always easy. Some things have to change, and I am not optimistic or full of ideas.
I don't KNOW, but I suspect LeGrand Crewes is not the fellow's original name.
Trout fly on pencil eraser. By modern normal U.S.A. standards there are many things stylistically wrong with this fly, but it is capable of fooling a smart trout. It is made with feathers, hair, and fur supplied by pheasant, duck, oppossum, deer, rooster, and silkworm, and tied on a hook that's 98 percent iron.
Flies are easier to tie with synthetics because you don't have to maneuver feathers and hair you can barely feel. but there's something going on there, too. In the last 20 years, fly tying materials have grown from about 20 percent of the market, to about 90 percent. Fly rods, fly materials are more plastic than ever.
In the 1970s, fisher-people were told that trout mouths were all cartilage, and had no nerves, so they couldn't feel the pain of the hook. But that didn't gibe with the fact that they eject fake flies as soon as they detect their unrealness. Fly fisherpeeps are generally good and conservation-minded people, which is different from actually contributing to causes. But they don't like to discuss the pain the fish must feel with the hook, or the terror it must experience being caught, whether or not it's released. This is so true of fish other than trout, of course. Some people, two in ten thousandm cut off the hook points—all off, or half off—and find sufficient satisfaction in seeing or feeling the fish grab the fly, and feeling maybe a few seconds or even half a second of struggle. This is where I feel myself going, but after almost 40 years of thinking about fishing and doing almost none of it because I don't drive and had to make a living, I am now back at it, and I want to make up for lost time. I don't consider making a living and supporting a family "lost" time in the traditional sense, but I never lost my lust for fly fishing. I just never, for decades, got out and did it. Now that I'm doing it again, I'm diving deep and considering these philosophical issues for the first time. Plastics or natural? Pointed hooks, half-points, or none? And there how I get to the river, which is by plane and car.
An English magazine, online only, I think, asked me for an interview, and it is here"
What we talk about in downtime or free time every day it seems, here at Riv. Assorted things.
Products in various stages of completion:
1. V-brakes. We just got in a blue plastic digital print of the latest version of this, and it seems good, but we'll need metal ones to test. This one will take standard road brake shoes, which are thicker than skinny V-brake shoes, and more importantly—in fact, the whole point of this design—is that they'll open wide and clear the frame and fork, to make it a cinch to put in or take out a real fat tire.
It is taking 4evR. Here's Antonio working on a blueplastic 3D printed version.
2. New cheapR sadL: The 182.55. We have to final perfect samples, they're being ridden (I think mostly on my bikes, but I'm not hogging them). On the surface, a new plastic saddle from China can't sound too fascinating, but this saddle came out great, it has all the features we wanted, executed wonderfully, and it could be your only saddle if you ride upright, and even if you still (as WE all do) have Brookses on most of your bikes, you gotta put one of these on one of them. Weatherproof. Less theif-y. Super features for carrying a saddle bag. Light, if that matters (380g). Anyway, we should have these by late September, and we talk about including them on all CLEM. Do we do that or not? Probably. Then if you want to Brooks your CLEM, still do that, and you'll find another use for the plastic one.
3. New Club!
There will be membership cards, useful ones, hats for sure, and possibly T-shirts, too. It will be non-denominational, and all profits will go to some worthy cause, maybe a bicycle-related one of undetermined nature so far. We're not going to cash in on it, in other words, but we can't lose money on it. It'll be good cheap wholesome fun, and by god, we hope you join. We'll make final artwork available in case you want to get the tattoo. The font will be the much-maligned comic sans, bold.
4. RoadUno: By end of September we'll have samples. We're all extremely looking forward to it, and someone's always asking, "when for the RoadUnos?" The big sellable batch, early 2024.
5. Charlie H.Gallop: Faintly mixte-style lightish road frame. We have samples, and it's a really good design.
If you can read the first two-hundred words of this and quit there, well, that's going to be hard to do. If the type is too small, sorry, just make it bigger. On a Mac, it's COMMAND +, and you can hit it as many times as you like:
We have mixed feelings about showing prototypes of a new bike so many months, like ten, before it'll even get here, but it's not as though we haven't meantioned or shown protypes before. The difference now is that this is 99 percent final. We'll sell it, the Charlie H. Gallop, as a frame set, but here's one we built up:
It's not a mixte, because the top tube isn't low enough. But it's low enough to let you ride a bigger size than a higher top tube would allow. No disadvantages. It'll send your riding clubmates into a tizzy as they try to fit it into their narrow, media-fueled range of frame styles, but we consider that a plus.
If you have to ask what the H. stands for, you're disqualifying yourself from getting one. It's not immediately obvious, but when it comes to you there will be no doubt. Clue: it is not "Hell."
We haven't done this on a frame before, but I kind of like it. It may spread to others. On this one, only one of the holes is filled in. On the final, maybe all of them. But our cost per hole fill-in is $4. You can do it yoursel with nail polish.
If what I said up there about $4 per hole is true, then there's $24 worth of cream paint in the holes alone on this crown. Over the life of the bike it's worth it, but...I'm going to look into that. I can't believe it's really $4 a hole...
Our increasingly common seat lug. Originally I designed it thinking only for the Glorius and Wilbury mixtes, but it's on lots of bikes now.
I/Grant am all about keeping cable housing outside the wrap. It doesn't get in the way, it's easier to replace, like how it tells something about how the bike works (makes the bicycle less mysterious with hidden tunnels). But I know it's a little weird, that some people won't like it. It's not the Rivendell default way, but you can request it on a build.
Likewise, this, I think, is a groovy place to mount the rear shifter on a drop bar. It might get in the way of a handlebar bag, it might not---depending on the particulars of the bag mount. But you CAN ride drop bars without a handlebar bag, believe it or not, and if you don't use a bar bag AND you shift in friction, there are worse ways to go. Super handy, easy, and fun.
You can request it on a build. You can keep it flat like this, or rotate it forward.