NO. 10/2020  APRIL 22 or so. HAPPY? EARTH DAY. Huret front derailleur, bike tossing

NO. 10/2020 APRIL 22 or so. HAPPY? EARTH DAY. Huret front derailleur, bike tossing

That's a neat portrait of Greta Thunberg from the Rolling Stone interview. It seems like a lot's going on in that noggin, doesn't it? As opposed to, say:


 --------- enough of that-----


There is a fair amount of doom-gloom here. The days aren't like they're supposed to be and always have been. Now we're scattered or gone, working from home and scared, masked when here and spread out and nervous, swerving around to pass and holding breath. 

I think we have to hope and pretend that all will be well. Is it bad planning to do that? — To tell our suppliers Yes, we want a hundred of these next Fall or Winter, and a hundred of these others. And the derailer project. It's moving ahead, but why? We have some big bills coming up--for the CLEMs, immediately, and what do we do with Homers, Appaloosas, Cheviots, and Charlies? We need another mechanic. One of our guys' gf has a cough and needs to be tested. He's a key guy here, but I guess he can't work here until she gets results. We'll see how it goes. Many thanks for any orders. There may be slight delays, but we'll get 'em out within 48 hours for sure, I'm sure. Mostly sooner.

(the stuff you just read was going to go at the end of this, but this is kind of a long BLAHG, and I thought shoot, they'll never get there. Have at it. There's variety and images and a few links,  — Grant)




Homebound, Goldfinger-related  break suggestion from a customer:

Here's a site with a movie review and a link to the movie. It's British, post WWII, and it's theme is bikes. It stars a woman who just died at 94. Her birth year was the same as Queen Elizabeth's and Marilyn Monroe's. I don't follow celebrity trivia, but my mother-in-law was born the same year, so it's family knowledge.

The woman who just died was the Bond Girl (P. Galore) in Goldfinger, and had an almost equally unusual name in real life: Honor Blackman. (In an alternate universe there's a black guy with the last name of Whitewoman.)

This may send you down an Honor Blackman wormhole, which you might not regret, but fight it. As Bob Dylan said, "One should never be where one does not belong." Just either watch the movie or skim thru it checking out the riding scenes. You have to scroll down way far to find the movie link.

The best scene isn't one with Ms. Blackman. 

It's kind of a chase scene that starts at around 1:07. It includes some super deft stream crossing in what appears to be wingtips and culminates in a bike-tossing scene at 1:09:16. I don't know how they did that, how many takes it took to nail it, and it seems to me to get the bike to end-o-over-and-over like that would have required a super tight headset, but it doesn't seem tight just before he thows it. But if not tight, it seems the front wheel would have gone all perpendicular and sabotaged the whole bounce-flip.

I urge you to watch at least from 1:08 to 1:11, but I know, there's never any time.


"SUICIDE" brake levers, shifters, etc. 

I think I've blabbed about this recently, but I get confused sometimes about what I write and delete and what I write and keep, and I don't want to research that. It's about the tendency for bike riders to attach "suicide" to technologies that were groundbreaking and helpful at one time, but have been improved on since, and are now considered "suicide" because, in the case of brake levers, they didn't pull the pads hard enough against the rim to allow you to stop if your brakes were maladjustted (these were the predecessors to "interrupter" brake levers); and in the case of front derailers, the "suicide" models, and that's the last time I'll use that term—they're more descriptively and accurately called "rod front derailers" like the Huret here: It's pronounced close enough to hoo-ray, but without moving your mouth, and only the rearward ten percent of your tongue, and without expelling air on the first syllable.



You moved the lever back and forth--front to back--to move the cage side to side to shift. If you did this at a dumb time and without care, you might, indeed, have an accident. 

(On a personal note, admittedly a light-and-stupid thing especially in these coronavirus times when everything else except low-normal derailers and the election seems light and stupid, I love that Huret handwriting and I now for the first time see the solution to my lifelong problem writing a cursive lower-case r, which I have to do. I don't know if I can retrain myself, but I do like that r.)


 I've known about rod fronts since the mid-eighties. On my first or second trip to Bstone, a couple of the Bstone guys took me out on the town to a shop in Kichijoji, I think it was called Tokyo Cycling Center, and there they made custom bikes and parts--for Japanese collecteurs who wanted to be like old French cyclists. They made their own solid brass rod front derailers, and I wanted to buy one, but they said "sorry, they come only with a whole bike," and that was that.

Then in the mid-nineties I was talking to Hank Folson, who's better know as Henry James, the lugmaker not the writer. He mentioned that he used a rod front and it worked great. It wasn't on his showoff bike, it was on his daily bike. He said something like it takes a little getting used to, but it's so quick and positive, it's better.

I'm still skeptical, but I'm going to take this Huret apart and see what's up with it, and I wonder how hard it would be to make. To cause somebody else to make.

This one was made for half-step gearing--the name for chainrings that are only at most 5 teeth difference, like 52 x 47. You can tell because the inner and outer cages are at the same height, and that wouldn't work with 52 x 40 or the kind of gears we ride now, with 10t differences. So I'm thinking, how about a rod front for 38 x 24 or so? You're on the 38 most of the time, and when you're not shifting the front der, you're just the cool weirdo with the "look at me" front derailer. Then when you shift, you just...see how it goes. There's no way to tell without trying, and if corona virus goes away and we survive it all, maybe one of these will happen. First, time to take it apart. I hope I don't regret it. I don't think I will. There can't be more than a few parts in there, and I'm looking forward to it.

I wonder about the liability of making one these days. Naturally, I'm tempted. It's hard to get things made. It's like running a gauntlet, then doing some gymnastic floor routine at the end. Unless you have tons of money and can pay people to run the gauntlet for you and keep you from getting hit. That's how big companies do it, but they're never interested in fun projects.







Anybody who knows me knows I'm armpit deep into derailers these days, and a Canadian, or perhaps European sent me two SunTour Blue/Blackline models from '82. I've mentioned that before. I have one on a bike I ride a lot, and I'll put the other one on another sometime soon.  Below are some notes, nothing to get mad or happy about. Well, maybe a little mad. Yes, definitely a little, if that's allowed during this Covid19 pandemic-fiasco:


 Details below.

Here's a 2020 Shimano Deore:

This is the age of macho-bulky-crappy-techy-tricky bicycle component design. The parts work, but they're not refined, and there's no attempt to make them look good. Whining about parts that work well but don't look good seems nutty, but you have to remember how well the Shimano parts of the '80s and '90s did both.

This front derailer can be pulled from the top or bottom. The cage (not shown) is designed to clear a 4-inch wide tire with too-short chainstays. I doubt that Shimano has any more human designers. Computer modeling tells them where the material needs to be, and this is what we get. The 2mm adjustments on the limit screws are insane. The SunTour from 38 years ago is Japanese human artistic industrial designers at their best, and it wasn't JUST SunTour in 1982. Shimano was as good until about 2009. Shimano's best years were late '80s, early to mid '90s. 


Sometimes I can't help what I say and I hate it when that happens.


Movie of Market Street  in San Francisco four days before the 1906 Earthquake. Not to non-locals: The earthquake was a big deal, we hear about it all the time.

There are a few in there who try hard to stay in the scene, hoping to be on film, and here they are 114 years later still. Keep in mind that in the early-mid 1890s bicycles were at their peak, and cars were nearly nothing.


 More corona stuff,'s relevant, isn't it? If not now, etc:

and this one, too. What else you got to do?


We got prototypes of the new Cheviot, which may get a new name b/c it look different, and the Charlie H. Gallop. I was building up the Charlie, but hit a snag when we didn't have any short-length V-brakes to go with the Albastache bars and road levers (normal road levers don't work with normal-length V-brakes. So Vince found what looked like shortER V brakes, but those didn't work, either. So I think I'll put cantilevers on them, or switch the bars to Chocos, and the bars and brakes and shifters I've already installed can go on another bike when we get the shortie levers. Will almost completed the new 60 Wuzzacheviot, and I finished it when he left for the day, and rode it home.

It's longer than even the old 60 Cheviot, like WIll and I have and ride all the time already, and I was concerned that the length + longer effective top tube might make it wiggly, but it doesn't. 


We have doors messy with headlines and call-outs cut from assorted media including but not limited to New York Times obituaries and bicycle component packaging. I may have put one of these up here before, but I assume constant attrition, so none of you've probably ever seen these before. This is what it's like to visit the first time:

Above, top: The Times is famous for its resolute stance against the serial (or "Oxford") comma, not because it doesn't believe in it, but because too many of you have tried to get it to change that stance, and it doesn't want to be swayed that way. If it were to change, the Washington Post would make a big deal of it. But not using it makes Sue Hubbell seem to be somebody whose beekeeping bugged her husband enough to leave her and take it all.

The one underneath is from a Tektro brake box. It's discomforting to me, at least, to know they trust the human eye more than measuring tools. I've been to Tektro a couple of times, factory tours, and they've got people there, for sure, but they're watching the machines operate perfectly.

Tektro continues its pro-human rampage, driving home its Power to the People! point. The "nowadays" has just a dash of cowboy in it, a nice touch.


I feel a little—not a lot—ashamed, for seeming to make fun of my comrades in the bicycle industry whose native language isn't English. Their English is better than my whatever. If you are at all entertained by this patch kit English, you should feel just as ashamed as I do.

 I think I was looking into torque wrenches. What kind to get, etc. This was an unfortunate abbreviation of the word "drive" and a bad choice of line breaks. I read this, when I read it, the same way you did. Go down to your local Hardware Store and ask if they have this style, why don'tcha?

A long-forgotten employee from at least twelve years ago cut this out and taped it onto the bathroom door, so we all see it every day. It may have been John.

 --- End of that section--

Covid Riding today. This is how it goes: I was pedaling (you can tell) trying to get up speed for the hill ahead. This trail is all roller-coaster steep hills not too long, and I always tell myself it has the biggest concentration of steep ups and downs in the world. Incredibly, I actually believe this.


Terrifying fact: I cut the tops off of most of my hats. We used to sell visors, which I wore a lot, but few people bought them. At least six people on today's ride commented on my "cruiser." One woman said, "Where are the flowers?" These are the kindly, heartfelt remarks you must suck up and endure when you ride a Rivendell on trails. It's just part of the package.


The REAR DERAILER PROJECT is inching along. The goal is to get Shimano to try a third time to bring its RapidRise derailers to market, but nobody here's counting on that, and I really, really want them to exist as an option. This project has GoFundMe written all over it, but I'm not ready for that yet.


Time to end this; Here's a link I got from the Charlie Cunningham GoFundMe blog-site-page. Charlie (helmeted and all) crashed his bike mysteriously a few Augusts ago and has brain damage that's kept him from being the old him. Many of you know. 

And here's the link, a little over five minus. Good corona-viewing. You may not love may make you angry in a weird way that this guy has the time and smarts and all, while the rest of us woiks for a living trying to resurrect low-normal derailers or whatever it is you do; but still:


OK, that's all. Sorry for the intrusion, trying for a distraction.



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