Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bike Email

Good friend of mine sent me this the other day and I just had to share it.  Great responses by all.  Enjoy....

Simon - Aesthetics.

It's no secret bikes now are ugly.  Fat hydro-formed square plastic tubes, 15 colours stripes, racing stripes and anything else they can come up with to make this years new, and last years out dated.  Need an example? The new rocky mountain element or just about any road bike you can buy.

As you all know I am playing with the idea of a ti true north road frame.  Smaller tubes, no paint, no decals.  clean. 
I don't want the bike to be outdated, but classic.  So my question is...silver or black bits?  15 years ago, black components on a road bike were rare. now, everything is black.........but is it worth finding old stuff?  Like silver square taper cranks.  stem, headset.  build wheels with silver hubs, spokes and rims.................
Does a grey bike need the black for contrast or would silver make it classic-ier?

Todd - Silver!!!  Enough said.

Me -  Long reply to follow soon. 

Gerald - Simon, I’m  drinking a Tank House right now, and now I’ve got to think about aesthetics. Silver all the way, but perhaps a bit of anno with a seatpost collar and headset. Definitely silver for the cranks, hubs, rims, seatpost, and stem. Don’t forget the chrome pegs for the front and back.

Me - Simon, you know I have to disagree, thou on some points your totally correct.  I don't mind some of the hydro-formed frames now days.  There light, strong, flowing lines, good looking bikes.  Do I agree with all the stickers and misc stripes that adorn some of the same  I've included a few examples.  I know you like the nice symmetry of a couple triangles.  I get that.  I'm just saying it's not that bad.  Not bad at all really.  So just remember what a old friend said when your in a bike store next time and some Hydro-formed, 29er, 1.5" headtubed, tubeless bike is raising your blood pressure.

"It's all about two legs, turning two cranks, turning two wheels. Its just too simple for most people to comprehend." - Chris Cannon

Enjoy your Friday bud.

Simon - i'll let gerald answer................

Gerald - Hey I’m still laying in favor of more traditional straight tubed frames. I don’t mind a bit of hydro forming and understand that it does provide a function in some circumstances, but when I checked out the photo’s Garrett submitted, I could not help but think Chris Bangle on acid.
Whether you like it or not, Chris Bangle upset a lot of BMW fans with his ice and fire hydroformed  body panels. For some strange reason Car+Driver like a bunch of other wankers love the styling of the new Sonata which to me is taking  Chris Bangle to the extreme as if they are on acid.  Unfortunately I see this on the way the big boys design their bikes. As far as I can remember, Rocky Mountain was one of the first in not the first that took hydroforming to bike frames. A lot of you will not know this, but a lot of the first hydroforming of tubing was  pioneered right here in Woodstock Ontario. Rocky’s tubesets were Easton RAD tubing.
At first these tubes added a certain cachet to the look of the bike and then everyone else jumped on board, and this is where they started going ape-shit to outdo the competition. If I think of some of the current frames that have toned down the use of hydroforming, I think of the Ellsworth Truth, the Titus FTM and Ventana. I really wonder what we will think of the Santa Cruz, Yeti and Uzzi ten years down the road.  I just have to think of the old curvy framed Cannondale Raven from the past and think who in the hell would want one today in their collection. It might be a collectors item, but it sure is not a thing of beauty.
I have a question. Imagine you have a custom built or for that matter, just a high end frame. You have the frame for a very long time, say 5-10 years, and it shows no signs of fatigue. The  frame  can be  straight tubed steel, straight tubed or mildly hydroformed aluminum or a wildly hydroformed aluminum frame like the Santa Cruz, Yeti etc. Which one would you send to a frame painter for a custom repaint?   I’ve had several repaints over the years.     
If you want to see some classic frame design, new and old,  pick up the current edition of Paved. In this issue they have a interesting interview with Sky Yaeger and then add a pictorial of some of her faves. She does have good taste in her builds.

Simon - let me put it this way.  james and i hit ray's in december.  me on a 98 element, him on his pivot..............i love the pivot, it's a great bike.  but the rocky got the comments.

Me - This email is going on my blog. Awesomeness. 

Simon - I'm just saying......the pivot is definatly a better bike.  100000% better.   

Todd - My official response to all of this nonsense is brewing.

Gerald - Come on Todd,  it’s  shitty outside and we have nothing better to do? 

Todd - Fine.

My official response?  You all suck. 

I have never been a fan of hydroformed tubing.  Take a traditional American-made Reynolds tubeset, make it from aluminum instead of long-lasting quality steel in one of 4 factories in Taiwan to "save on manufacturing costs," and then just for fun, square the tubing with high powered water-jets or however the hell they hydrofrom them and THEN weld them together?  i am just not convinced that makes for a better made frame.  

But whatever floats your boat I guess.

So why do you suck?  Because I own such a bike.  I have always known this.  One of my bikes is an 08 Trek 69er,  a ridiculously expensive single speed that if I'm not mistaken, was one of the first hydroformed bikes.  I say this because there is no other apparent reason for that bike to have cost as much as it did OTHER than to have incorporated state-of-the-art manufacturing processes that were not used on less expensive bikes of the day.  Admittedly I bought it a year or so later at half price because it didn't sell, but that's another story for another day.  And now every $400 Trek 800 has similar tubing, but what the hell.

Having said this, I have always preferred the more classic designs.  I prefer the simplicity of a good hardtail.  When I finally did purchase a full-squshie, it was a older design that had a more classic look.  It does NOT have hydroformed tubes.
So because of this email I went downstairs to go determine why I like my bikes  as much as I do.  And then my eyes wandered towards my favorite bike.  The bike the rides better than the rest.  The bike I've put more money into that any other.  The bike I reach for when I ride for escape and comfort.  That's right - my Santa Cruz Chameleon.  And then I looked at it a bit closer.  It's a little squared off in the back.  Hey, those rear tubes are squared!  Oh shit - those are hydroformed.

Apparently I own two such bikes.  Damn.

Which I suppose validates Garrett's comment, which is that it is not necessarily the tubing, but the horrible paint jobs and pin striping that is on most all modern bikes these days.

Which I apparently don't own.

So I take comfort in the fact I still love bikes with bits anodized in lots of color - just like high dollar bikes in the 90's.  Thus making me old school cool. Except fo the fact I am apparently decorating hydroformed tubed bikes, making me a big old loser.

Oh, and Simon?  Back to your original question?   Use silver parts.  More classy.  More elegant.  And all the hydroformed bikes come with black parts as you know.  So go against the grain my friend.  Stand out against the common $5,000 boring carbon Trek.  Be one with the titanium and use parts that are not only long-lasting, but compliment the color and appearance of a classic road ride. 

Todd - I just read what I wrote.  Somebody needs to take the keyboard away from me when I have drunk too much vodka.


Simon - dude, i woke up to it, and it had me laughing.  true to form todd.....loved it!

Me - Same here epic.


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