This is a BUMMER ALLAROUND:
It will continue to happen, because the sheer ubiquitousness of material misuse inspires unwarranted confidence in consumers. The media keeps promoting them. It may be under the banner of reviewing products, or "just telling folks what's new" or something, but the message behind it all is that it's acceptable-to-excellent, and you should consider buying it.
BigBike is in it too deep to reverse course without a collective shout of "WTF?! What about the bike you already sold me? Do I get my money back?" They can't do it.
Steel bikes CAN fail, DO fail, but not in the same way. Steel bikes, whether brazed with lugs or melted together with TIG-welds, have a huge cushion against failure. They fail, if they fail, slowly, so you have weeks or months to notice a change in feel or noise or whatever other warning signs there might be.
And seriously really poorly made steel bikes, of weak cheap steel, are STILL STEEL and are safer structures than the "best" carbon. Ninety-nine percent of India rides on them, loading them up with gazillion pounds of -- cardboard, produce, chickens, daily supplies--and they ride them for years.
In some ways, they're tougher than modern featherweight steel bicycles. You CAN take away too much metal as you shoot to get closer to aluminum or carbon weight. That's too bad. But still--steel is the PERFECT bicycle frame & fork material. If that sounds far out and outrageous in 2023, it is only because you find way too much comfort in popularity, and have too much faith in BigBike.
Now on to thing funner. Not a word, we all know that, but it should be.
Halloween-day NYT, Self-serving advice from a kid's-kind of Dentist:
I find this photo and headline delightful:
Will had a problem with his tubeless tire. He "runs" both kinds.
This scenario is not exactly typical, but it's not uncommon, either. Tubeless can be fine, it has its place, but not in our parking lot.
You should know what the H stands for. Not instantly, but soon enough.
The signature was a 9-or-10 year old girl's first crack at it. Her dad, Jon Grant, did the graphics for this bike. I know the girl's name, but it's bad practice to show the names or photos of children. Too bad, but I get it. Wonderful signature, though—right?
Scott next door has a Blue Lug / Riv hat, and this is it's current state. It won't get better. He's a car mechanic.
Found on an Alaska Airlines seat-back brochure.
10-month old's hands. She's a year now.
I'm going to read the book. I wonder what he'll go into and how deep he'll dive a root around in certain related tops. Credit, blame, punishment are three. Do prisons disappear if we all agree that there's no free will? I'd say no. You still have to protect people from violence, free will or not. I don't agree that if we "lose" free will, we lose love. I'd like to read the unedited version, but I bet a million dollars he qualified that, and the interviewer just wanted a shocker, so she skipped the meat of his answer used only the zinger. I will read it.
Read this especially if you have just read that free will thing. This one's longer. A reader sent it to me. It's from 2019, and it has both bicyce content and Walnut Creek (where we are) content. It is a really good story.
Shimano is the best bicycle parts maker of all time, but it gets sucked into trends encouraged by "leading bicycle makers" and the media, and the trends encourage Shimano to push limits. It is still the best bike parts make. Has anybody ever have a lousy-shifting Shimano derailer? Whatever Shimano makes is really, really good. You may want another brand of something, but Shimano is seriously super duper, and in the low and mid range of mechanical parts, the best value. I wish Shimano would "grandfather-in" an all mechanical group, never change it. I'd want friction shifters, square-taper cranks, threaded headsets, rim-brake hubs in 130 and 135, platform or no pedals, and max out at 9sp cassettes. I mean, if it's going to one unchanging group. Maybe no headsets, because there are plenty of options. Mainly derailers, but a full group would allow big bike makers the one-stop shopping they like. Let me have a little say about it. I'll make sure, and I don't need to be associated with it, I just want to nip any wackiness in the bud.
Other Bicycling magazine coverage of this recall states, exagerratedly:
BIKE STUFF BREAKS. ALL CYCLING PARTS CAN FAIL. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
That is true, but "can fail" doesn't rule out anything, so it unfairly groups safe stuff with sketchy stuff. Between the few of you who read this and me, I'm telling you--and everybody here knows it--that our first priority to to "not put anybody into a wheelchair or worse." 2datEnd, our bikes and forks are CrMo steel, and conservatively spec'd. There's ZERO unnecessary weight in them, when, by "unnecessary," I mean risky. And steel itself is quite unrisky, because it fails slowly and warns you before you get hurt. If you ride with earphones and never even look at your bike and are strangely oblivious to how it feels, and how it feels might be changing, or if you notice something but aren't curious, then datsonU, there's only so much we can do.
Parts, the same. Metal beats composites. Steel could make some good-looking cranks, but aluminum is pretty strong. Tires, rims...all the same. We don't sell featherweight sketchy stuff. It's not heavy, it's weighs what it ought to be for the purpose. We like decent cushions against failure, and we get them, because why would we risk your wellness with foolishly light bike parts?
As a few of you know, we are developing a new svelter & lighter second (not replacement) version of our existing and still kingdom-conquering SILVER crank. This is kind of related to the section above. Here's how we get a new crank going;
1. What changes from the current SILVER? And..replacement or in addition to?
In our case, the current SILVER is perfect for 90%+ of our needs/maybe your needs. It passes the strictest (MTB) stress tests, so we're confident of its safety etc. But the current MTB tests are too far-out unrealistic for the kinds of forces we will ever put on the crank. But a 280lb ride riding off a 10-ft roof and landing with cranks horizontal is something else...and since we expected to make one crank only, we needed it to pass extreme tests. The example above is made up, but illustrative. We know the details of the test, but real life examples paint a better picture.
2. We don't like most cranks, we don't want to be dependent on crank makers who are influenced by big bike maker requests or trends or bad internal advice, or who have a poor sense of style/aesthetics. AND AND we wanted a slightly lighter, skinnier crank, and are fine with it not passing the MTB test, as long as it passes the ROAD test, which...there's not a chance in hell that a Campy Nuovo Record crank (or Super Record) would. We'll market it to riders under 202 lbs, an arbitrary number, not a scientifically derived one. But the point is, it doesn't have to be as strong as the original SILVER.
3. We measured a bunch of old Shimano cranks and the early Ritchey cranks to get a sense of how wide and thick the arms could be at various points. The modern tests didn't exist when these crans were made, but they both seem to hold up. We didn't copy either. I thought the Shimano XT crank was nice-looking, but "on the wimpy/possibly weak" side of the spectrum. I wanted something slightly prettier than the Ritchey. So we went from there, a nice mix of the two.
4. The mfr tested it to ROAD standards, and the left crank broke. Keep in mind that it is still, almost absolutely, stronger than an old Campy and a lot of other cranks. But it broke, and the failure originated at the R. in SILVER, so on the advice of the crank maker and tester, we added material there. The new crank passed FEA (finite element analysis, a computer-modeling program made just for this kind of stuff--to tell you whether or not you're wasting time making the think in metal, for example). The crank maker said he was quite sure it'd pass. He uses FEA and actual physical tests all the time.
Well, the crank broke again, same place, right thru the thickened area. It went more than 2x as many cycles as the first version, but it still broke.
A broken crank on a ride is less serious than a broken fork or stem or downtube. A broken crank, will clue you in that something funky's going on down there before it separates. Especially in metal, even aluminum. SILVER cranks are made of the strongest aluminum (7075 T6), and are not brittle--as cranks go. They're not hollow metal with structural carbon, in other words.
A point here is that carbon parts and forks and frames ALWAYS pass FEA tests. But FEA results depend on somebody accounting for aging, wear and tear, etc. At Bstone, the engineers told me (in a 30-hour lecture) that FEA was just a start, but they never trusted it--they had to do physical tests.
I doubt anybody develops a carbon part, rides it for a few years, lets it get beat up a bit, and then destruction-tests it. There's no time. That's why carbon parts can be theoretically superior but disasters out in the roads and trails.
5. Next step on this next crank is waiting to hear the crank maker's advice. Since the right arm has passed all the tests, maybe we'll lose the SILVER on the left arm only. That would fall into the "weird but fine" category.
The original babytotin' bike, the Rosco Bebbe, will probably not be made again. A big rich bike company should make it, and could use our design or modify it, and two sizes would fit riders from 4ft 11in to 6ft 4in. Our minimums are 100 bikes, and that might take 3 years to sell, and CLEMS are good enough, and way better for this kind of child-carrier than any other bike I've seen. If you have a Rosco Bebbe — the one we designed JUST for carrying babies — and you want to get store credit for it, send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and be prepared to pay the freight back here. We won't credit you what you paid, but we'll try to get close. It depends on condition, and whether or not you've done something funky to it that we'll have to undo. Stickers, we don't care about.
Anyway, CLEMS work great for this, too.
("Pencil" to first-time readers, alerts you the borders of Black-content, and continues until the next PENCIL way down there. It's a holdover from when I'd get notes of scold about bringing race to a bicycle blahg, or something.)
this next one is a two-parter. John sent me the wiki thing, because today is the 60th anniversary of the song's release
here's the song:
I understand you don't COME HERE for this, but by now you know there's a pretty vast scope of variety here, and I include a lot of my own predilections.
Antonio was redoing a rear wheel, one he'd set up tubeless (some of our millenials ride tubes and tubeless), and discovered this neat scenario: Solidified or coagulated whatever tubeless sealant, and then on the scale.
Obviously this doesn't happen all the time. But it happens a lot.
I dunno, man. Specialized must think our bikes are charming relics from the days of yore.
The exclamation mark doesn't get me excited about the sale.
Men's Journal is scrambling for content.
This is worth reading:
Maybe you've seen this video of the former super duper road racer, Peter Sagan, crashing in a mountain bike race. I'm not linking to it here because I think it's outrageous or funny or anything, but to show how a swept back handlebar would have allowed a less forward body position--or even forced it--that might have prevented this spillover. I'm not telling Peter Sagan how to ride a bike, or Specialized how to design stuff, I'm just pointing out that when, on a steep and bumpy descent, your hand move forward of the front axle, your weight distribution sets you up for an endo like this...I mean, if you smack a bump at the wrong time. I am a mediocre bicycle handler, I know my limits and what I can and can't do, and I am a super-fan of handlebars (Bosco etc) that let me push the front wheel out there, and keep me essentially endo-proof.
Thanks for hanging in here for so long.
The latest version of the 3D printed plastic pre-final, pre-metal derailer knuckles and parallelogram. The derailer project thing is ongoing. It's not easy, just ongoing. Nobody knows when or even if it'll happen.
Feel free to beat us to the punch, "punch" being a working reverse-action derailer. It's nice to not have to care about secrecy. If you can assure us of your competency, we'll even send you the STEP files, but after that you're on you own.
Here's something I didn't know existed. It came to me by email, the actual derailer is coming here in a week or so, and nobody else here even knows about it. It's a second prototype by the original maker, who we are not using. But they made it and asked me if I wanted it, and so, of course.
This is the idea, not a final, and we just don't know whether it'll even happen, but this object exists, and we'll try it out. If all you do is look at images and don't read THIS, then you might get the wrong idea. To clarify: This is made by a supplier we're no longer using. It lacks some later refinements and other details that we consider essential. It may work fine, or it may be funky...but the first version worked fine even though it was super funky in several ways. We don't know what to expect.
One of my personal quirks that drives my family nuts...is my fascination with things that could probably be described as insipid schmaltz. They hate it because I ask them to PLEASE read it, watch it, whatever. I think it's so bad that it's some kind of entertainment.
Try to sit through the whole two minutes. Apologies. I don't spend time on this, it came up only because we were inflating balloons at home for an event. I remember feeling the same way about this song when I was 8 and watched this show; and whenever I heard it. It was a hit back then. I see there's also by that ultimate lounge singer (you can tell by his ad libs), Sammy Davis Jr. I like Bill Murray's character of the lounge singer more than I like actual lounge singers.
All of us HERE are really liking the british olive sweaters. Last week four of us were wearing them, and a customer commented, and seemed to think we'd be embarrassed by it, but that's not in our bones. It happens a lot with stuff we sell. Anyway, we are also getting a few returns due to sizing, which is a half bummer but "goes with the clothing-selling territory." THey're 100 percent Merino wool, not a mere 90. They're not Superwash, a chemical or mechanical process that essentiall descales the wool fibers so they can't ratchet and shrink, but i also strips the wool of some of the properties that makes it groovy in the first place. The scales on the wool on the sheep help shed dirt and self-clean.
Wash them warm or cool, and let them air dry. You may need to do it once a year. Easy. The alternative is kind of like, exaggerration alert: Lazy poison. All of this because yes, returns are no fun and we try to give good sizing and washing instructions, which doesn't mean we do. And, because I/Grant wear a large in every shirt, but i like loose and I'm aware of laundry shrinking stuff, so I bought a 2XL and planned to shrink it. I washed it warm, dried i warm, and it didn't shrink enough, maybe half a size. So last night I washed it on "heavy duty," which is hot and long, and then dried it, bet it's the washing that made the difference:
Here's Antonio in a new 2XL. Below, in a super-shrunk one:
He must have stretched it out to get it on. It would be great for a poor child or a petite woman in a cold climate. It's soft, felted Merino wool.
Here are the two, side by side:
And below are the specs:
THey normally don't shrink like this. Just buy your size, wash warm, and air dry. If it's still loose, well--you have room to grow, and if that's no good, keep washing it warm and maybe try a wam dry. Wool shrinks when it is heated and agitated. That's when the scales catch on one another and wind up and shorted. It's mechanical, not actual shrinking. And a shrunken, felted one that fits is pretty groovy. If yoiu're 5-feet x 100 lbs and want a windproof, rain-resistant top for cold or foul weather, get a 2XL an have at it.
Two Rivendell riders / disease eradicators / peacemakers from Plains, and the local bike shop there, who did the final reassembly. The guy second from left also has a Wilbury. These are great people, this was Fall 2001. No more to say 'bout that.
Here's Olivier, who does lots of our graphics. He's taking a picture of the
Roaduno headbadge. He's seeing his Roaduno work for the first time.
He's handy with a file, too. He's a fan of stem-mount shifters, and took a handfile and sandpaper to a Silver4 shifter and clamp.
Really neat stuff going on here.
Will is suggesting to me that this Blahg is on the long side of things. Yeah, well, maybe it is. Let me know if you got this far. Send to email@example.com. Just put "WHOLE THING" in the subject field. I'm curious. It's been a while and I added to it mindlessly, and that's what happens.