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G's semi-pointless rambles with occasional commercial elements. Today's topic: NEW BLAHG Tues NOV 29--Tire size that ne'er was, carbon, shellac...

Grant Petersen

OUR NORMAL BLUG is still up, but sometimes there's stuff I have to say and it's not good to plug it in over the current BLUG, so now I've got my own, and it'll be spotty and more unplanned. This is one of those.

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A couple of posts ago, in the one about John Black’s passing in which I mentioned that he and bro Tom at Velocity made an odd-sized rim for us…well, here it is, built into a wheel and shod with a 700x35 tire that I cut down and stitched up to fit the rim. You can see the front tire’s joint at about 9:08 if you look not even all that hard. The bike is a Romulus.

We’re scouring and tidying around here, and the actual tire emerged, so here it is:

That was all done with a Speedy Stitcher, and you may be thinking “less than ideal.” Some shaving or Shoe-Goo could have amerliorated the bump, but it was good enough to test the concept, and RiveloJohn came up with this fork-tire image of the same tire.

This is on a fork that would already barely take a 35mm tire, but now with the smaller diameter tire (halfway btw 700C and 650B) there’s plenty of room for a fender.

But there’s more to it than that. If you put this wheel in a modern road frame, it’ll barely or maybe not quite rub the blades, because modern forks are narrow, to minimize bending in the carbon, because as “strongs” as carbon is on paper, it’s deathly weak in the real word and on a bike.

Carbon rehash in the interest of safety, not "carbon-bashing"

(by all means, skip this if you don't want to hear a rant)

This is old news to many of you–sorry about that–but in 22 years when I’m dying and somebody holds a gun to my head and asks, “What’s the most unbelievable thing that’s happened in your work-professional life?”, I’ll say, “The gun is not helping, you don't have to force it out of me, it’s the way the bike industry sold carbon forks, even though the evidence was all against them.”

For an at most maximillian ultimate maximum weight savings of 1.4 pounds on a typical bike+rider combination of 160 to 280lbs---it's less than 1 percent weight savings, and it makes the bike dangerous.

In the past we have offered CARBONOMAS forks to replace your carbon fork. We have some left, and will get more when we’re out. They’re steel, with a crown, nice rake, and shoot, here’s a picture:

If you buy one straight out, it’s $200. Go to our site and search for CARBONOMAS fork. A carbon fork costs a lot more. But if you send us your carbon fork (unbroken), you get the life-non-threatending Carbonomas fork for $115. The carbon fork will be out of circulation (we'll use it for on site sword fights with steel forks and see which wins. We've done this 20 times, and the same fork always wins)--and you'll be on a safe one. The length and rake won't change your steering or frame geometry. We added 2 mm to the average length of a fork, accounted for that in the rake, and all you'll get is a better-looking and much safer fork. No--you'll also get a long steerer, so you have the opportunity to stack the stem higher and get more comfortable. You can't do that on a carbon steerer because the carbon isn't strong enough. It's brittle, so it has to be kept short. Now's your chance to get more comfortable and more safe.

Your brakes will work. If right now you can't fit a 28mm tire, you'll be able to with the new fork. No, there's not fender clearance. The purpose wasn't to make a fully groovy Rivendell fork with all of that, but to make a safe and gorgeous replacement fork that would pop in place of the old one and not mess up anything doing it. More clearance was rule out (but you do get 2mm more...)

We won't sell these as spares or as forks for old bikes with missing or steel forks. The

It fits only bikes with 1 1/8-inch headsets top and bottom headsets. Not the new tapered ones. The steer tube is 350mm. We have about 12 left, and it’ll be a year at least until we get more, and we may not even GET more. We’ve replaced about 90 carbon forks over the last 5 years, which is better than making 40 to 100 thousand.

Whether you buy one or not–it won’t make a big diff to us. I mean, it matters, but the whole Carbonomas project was intended to be a non-moneylosing  service to get carbon forks out from under you. For us and our normal business, they’re just a cash-flow killing and expensive distraction. But–they’re a million times safer than any carbon fork.

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That's what shellac looks like on the trees in India. Little bug casings they beat and shake off the branches. In the early years here when we were truly groovy, we offered for sale little bags of "seed-lac," which is the bug mausoleums in whole form. But they take too long to dissolve in alcohol, and the ZINNSER brand shellac sold in hardware and paint stores is perfect...and Zinnser is a fantastic company.

I've never seen any cloth tape that wasn't 300 percent improvable with shellac. The amber is the natural. The clear is bleached. It's about $18 for a pint, which HERE lasts 6 months, and THERE will last a lifetime, if all you use it for is bar tape.

 



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