Describing any bicycle as "high performance" is plain bad wrong, because without a person on it it can't perform at all, and one the bike has its person, how it performs is how the person performs. You don't go down to the local art supply store and ask for, "the same paints and brushes, or the closest equivalent, to what Grandma Moses used." They'll kick you out of the store. As we all know, there's only one Grandma Moses, may she rest in peace.
All that's obvious, but it's still to to remember when you're picking out a bike. These are my personal recommendations, with the deep conservatism and infinite wisdom! that I've acquired over the years.
Tire size by your weight (in pounds!):
under 150: paved roads: 32mm +; on trails, 40mm+
150 to 200: paved roads: 38mm +; on trails, 45mm+
200 to 250: paved roads: 42mm +; on trails, 50mm+
250 to 300: paved roads: 48mm +; on trails, 55mm+
over 300: paved roads: 55mm+; on trails, 60mm+
You might be able to ride skinnier than these recommendations, you might even be used to it and prefer them, and that's all cool. But it isn't dumb to put more rubber and air between you and a thorn or a bump.
Brakes: Disc or Rim?
Fenders: Yes or No?
If you ride on wet roads, use them. It is befuddling how many people spend more than $5,000 on a bike that can't fit fenders, so it's a fair-weather bike only.
For most riding, rim brakes are great and are easier to maintain. For super fat tires and mucky or icy conditions, OK, get discs.
I know ALL of the arguments for disc brakes, and I know they're better in some conditions. I think they're ugly, I don't like the stress they put on the frame, I don't like KNOWING the small ones near the hub are at a mechanical disadvantage that is unavoidable on cars and motorcycles, and I resent the way bike makers are quick to adopt, under "technological improvement," stuff from motor vehicles. I don't like "market-driven" wholesale trend-folling adoption. Yes, I know when discs are better. We made the HHH tandem rear wheel disc compatible, because a heavy-ridered tandem on a long descent needs some of its speed retarded so the V-brakes can jump in and not be overwhelmed.
Gears: Internal or Derailers?
Derailers are easier to work on and cheaper to replace; good internal gears have too long of a history to dismiss, but they're about 2 1/2 pounds heavier than a derailered rear wheel, and cost about $1,250 more.
All internal gears are marvelous engineering widgets, designed by people who are anywhere from 2x to 4x smarter than me. I don't that they nest everything where you can't see it. That makes the bike more mysterious than it has to be, and you miss out on all the action. On a derailer bike, if something's funky with the shifting, even a fool has a 50 percent chance of figuring it out. I've broken derailers in perfect storms and accidents. I think it's GREAT to do that. It forces you do deal with a minor inconvenience, it breaks up the predictability of the ride
Where is this all going, and what's it even mean? I have no idea. There are lots of ways to make bikes. There's no need to lock in, to sign up with a tribe and get the prison tatoo. I can see having a disc-braked single bike for slushy slimy commuting, and maybe even internal gears, so ice wouldn't freeze my derailer, or whatever happens. You pick your weapon for the conditions, but when the weather is not supper cruddy and the descents aren't ultra steep or long, that's when you bring out the normal bike and ride it, because it's perfect for that.
On another note, one or two of you know I like Bob Dylan, and along with that comes now and then Joan Baez, because she was part of him--they were a couple or something--in the early '60s, maybe '63 to late '64.
I LIKE Joan Baez's singing, but she's kind of like Paul Simon in a way...really good, but best in small doses. Here are my three by far favorites:
this is a rare song she wrote herself, about her relationship with Bob:
here's a song Bob wrote but never sang, but she did:
Several of you wrote to correct me about no good songs coming out of 1979. I stand corrected, although I've never heard any of them.
Yesterday a guy with a Zeus came by. Notable I think is that he's had a broken left foot for 20 years. It doesn't heal, so he wears a huge boot. He gets around on his bike, this Zeus. I was a Zeus NUT. I loved the catalogues and the parts and the fact that they were always denigrated as cheap Spanish Campy Copies. Zeus was innovative, often ahead of anybody else, and I rode and races on lots of Zeus parts. Their best, the 2000 series, came out in 1974 or so, and I always wanted a full group.
Eventually I got a Zeus track bike (after having a Raleigh Team track bike with a Zeus fork crown!). The 2000 series was a grade up from these earlier parts, but they're still neat. Modern parts work better, but does that always have to matter?
The bars could stand some retilting, but still..
Nice curve to the blades, and nothing says '70s bike like chrome fork-ends, high-flanged hubs, and 4-cross spokes.
If the Reynolds sticker doesn't say "A" quality, then it's not.
------- NEW CLEM SHIFTER RIG (Roman did it for our showroom demo)