The bicycle for the man who has $34,000 burning a hole in his pocket

It’s carbon fiber!

Wait…so is every other premium road bike on the market…

It’s designed by F1 engineers!

I think the guys over at Trek, Specialized, Giant, and Felt know what they are doing. Their time trial bikes actually have wind tunnel time.

It’s…expensive?

Yeah, that’s about all I can really see being the benefit of dropping 40 grand (for the Di2 version) for this bike. Granted, I’ve picked up a nearly 20,000 dollar bike, however that bike was a rocketship provided you had the legs to push it to potential (which I, in my current SuperFred status, definitely do NOT). So why would you spend $40k on a bicycle? What would possess a sane person to do this? Nothing, really. The only reason to own that bike is the very fact that it was designed by F1 engineers. No doubt most of these bikes will end up where all the other expensive boutique bikes end up: adorning the wall or hanging above the fireplace of a man or woman who admires bicycles, yet never finds the time to ride them. At the very least, whoever buys this bike won’t have to change their wall hanging next year when Cervelo comes out with an even better, more aerodynamic, stiffer, and sexier bike.

As much as I admire the disc brakes, I’ll take a Di2 equipped R3SL instead. At least that bike would be built with a purpose other than being mounted up against the wall.

Lately, I am preparing for an exam which I will sit for on Friday. The lack of time or sometimes will to get out and ride after putting in a 10 hour or more study session really highlights how easy it can become to make a habit out of not getting in the daily spin.

That being said, I am heading out this weekend to Warda, TX and Smithville, TX to hit up some of the nicest trails in the state.

See you all next week!

src: Autoblog

The Fred Dilemma: Cyclists love shiny things

large_Fred-Oswald
"Fred Oswald, who commutes by bicycle...said he has no trouble sharing the road with vehicles" BECAUSE HE IS CLEARLY VISIBLE FROM OUTER SPACE (via Cleveland.com)

Companies convince us that we continually need to buy the latest product. It’s essential to them to convince  us that whatever amazing product they came out with last year is now obsolete and useless and that what you really need is their newest product.

We all know that guy. You might BE that guy for your group of friends, while simultaneously knowing a handful of those guys who are WAY MORE “that guy” than you are and thus justifying your being a total consumer whore.

In the world of cycling, there is a term, “Fred,” for “that guy” who seems to be more obsessed with bike gadgets than he is about riding his bike. I’m here with a confession: I am, kind of, totally, “that guy.” I’m obsessed with the latest gadgets. I want them, despite never being able to afford them, and am absolutely in love with them. Wikipedia has this to say about us:

“Recently, particularly in the US, a Fred is more often somebody with higher quality and more expensive gear than his or her talent would warrant. For example, a Fred could be guy with little cycling experience who watches the highlights of a few Tour de France stages, then goes to a bike store and buys a Trek carbon fiber Madone in Team Discovery colors, along with Team Discovery shorts and jersey, and then rides it on a cycling path at 15 mph (25 km/h)”

-via Wikipedia

While, a year ago, I was touting the superiority of a mechanical system such as the new Campagnolo 11-speed Super Record, I am now obsessing over electronic shifting from the new Di2 Dura-Ace. These days, I’m eagerly tracking the development of this system for those of us who crave a bit more mud in our diet: Electronic shifting XTR. It’s coming, and it’s going to be awesome. You are all going to hate it, just like you hated Di2, and then you will love it because it will win you over once it trickles down into the affordable spectrum, which for a true Fred is just below the price level of “I just won the lottery and am buying one of everything Seven makes.”

steampunk bicycle
via polyvore

It seems like an obsession with gadget over substance is truly taking over the sport. On one hand I’m glad because someone has to spend a lot of money to make cycling look “cool” and “cutting edge” when all you’re really doing is getting yourself around town on a machine that has existed since the early 1800′s and remains unchanged from the “safety bicycle” introduced in the 1900’s. All I ask is we bring back a few other cool things from the 19th century and dump a little money into making those look cutting edge: steampunk fashion, for example. (I’m eagerly awaiting my velo-mounted blunderbuss from you, Rivendell.)

Is the constant flow of new technology helping cycling reach mainstream? For me, I see a lot of guys who used to obsess over getting more HP out of their honda civic starting to get pulled into cycling. Anyone willing to dump $15k into a honda civic obviously has money to add to the growing industry, so maybe it’s good for us as a whole.

Then again, these are the same guys who made honda civics one of the top stolen cars in the US, so hopefully that new lock I just bought is good enough to stave off prying hands.

If you can’t beat ’em join ’em. I’ll be outside fiddling with my Garmin 305 GPS, wearing my Catlike Whisper and trying out that new flavor of accelerade hydro in my Rapha t-shirt. See you guys in my helmet mounted mirror!

(Feel free to use the comments to make extreme fun of me. I deserve it because I was recently crushed by a group of men in their 50’s on steel frames and one on a Cannondale Lefty MTB while I was on my full “crabon” Tarmac with Reynolds wheels. It’s not my fault, my normal wheels had a flat. I swear.)

Spring out your Carbon Wheels. Ride slow in the left lane.

Foul Bachelor Frog - get carbon fiber wheels on cervelo ride slow in left lane

So, spring is finally here. Along with spring come all the “doctors” and “dentists” (a term used actually to make fun of me by my

friends) rolling out their new carbon wheels to the local 1.1 mile loop at the park. I’m a great lover of carbon wheels, and even tubular tires, but I really have to wonder if the benefits of their new tubular wheels are really being put to good use cruising along as far left as possible chatting to their friends at 16 mph.

I guess if they went faster you might not be able to see how carbon their wheels were. Not only this, but I’ve noticed that the more expensive the bike, the shorter the ride they seem to go on. From James observing that at least 1/3 of the Cat 5 pack rolled in on new Cervelos, to my own observation that the Cervelos only seem to do less than 10 laps, as if somehow their accented “e” will catch on fire and turn their bikes back into pumpkins if they exceed 10 miles in a session.

This is basically like taking your Honda Insight powered Ferrari out for a spin at the race track and you can imagine about how cool that looks. Most big cities have a riveting charity ride scene, with most of these dudes riding four abreast, and scarfing down hamburgers after stuffing their face with cliff bars and gu shots starting with the first mile of their Fred century (less than a real century. length is unknown to mortals. Freds live forever and have no souls and eat infants under cover of darkness)

I really just sometimes wonder: Do you like bikes? Or do you like actually riding them?

From Frame to Fixie to French glory.

A little over two years ago I jumped into the world of riding bikes. I had been running for a year or so prior to that at a local park watching the cyclists go by and decided that I wanted in on the fun.  With my new found stimulus check I made my way to a local bike shop.  I had been doing a little bit of reading online but in retrospect was quite clueless.  About an hour later I was walking out of the bike shop with a Fuji Newest 4.0. The bike was heavy, had downtube shifters and was a size too small but I didn’t care as it got me around the park and was barrels of fun. I hadn’t been on a bike in probably 10 years prior to that.

Vitus Carbone 3 as a Fixed Gear
Vitus Carbone 3 as a Fixed Gear

But it wasn’t quite what I wanted.  When I had been doing my research I read about a new craze of converting old road bikes into single speed and fixed gear bikes. I began scouring the Houston and Austin Craigslist bike listings for something that would fit my needs.   Weeks of searching passed and Lo and behold I found an 80s road bike frame with wheels and handlebars, perfect for my project. It was a Vitus Carbone 3 which is the complete antithesis of a current road bike as it was built with aluminum and steel lugs with carbon tubes.    I contacted the seller and we reached a price that was well within my budget. A friend picked up the frame and all the extra parts and brought them from Austin on his next trip to Houston.

Months passed and components piled up.  The Vitus was together but it wasn’t perfect.  The vertical dropouts kept me from having perfect chain tension and the original saddle was falling to bits.  I eventually stripped out a crank arm from not retightening a pedal after it’s installation.    I was frustrated by the constant mishaps and simply didn’t have the time to perfect the bike like I wanted to.  The project was shelved.

Original Dutch Vitus Advertisement
Original Dutch Vitus Advertisement

A while later I posted on BikeForums.net asking if anyone had any information on what the bike might have been like when it was new.  A dutch poster was nice enough to supply scan a few  magazines from the 80s that contained ads from when the frame was new.   It turns out the bike was sold as frame only and for a resto project I was practically free to do as I pleased.

I began scouring e-bay for period specific parts and started bidding.  After about two weeks I wound up with a mishmash of Shimano Dura Ace 7401/7402, Shimano 600, and Campagnolo bits.  A bit later and with the aid of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance everything was together. The bike was ready to roll out for its first real road ride since the 80s. The vintage carbon tubes makes the bike silky smooth for a road bike and friction shifters bring back the memories of riding my first road bike. The frame was finally returned to its original French Glory.

You can check out the gallery of completed photos below:

Choosing the right bike for yourself

Original 1994 Bridgestone catalogue
Original 1994 Bridgestone catalogue (click to enlarge)

This original 1994 Bridgestone bicycles catalogue article details how to choose the right bike. You can see, here, how far bicycle technology has come in a short time. Still, these classic machines have a place in our hearts and in our stables and a classic Bridgestone is a very sought after bike for their superior ride quality and craftsmanship.

via Sheldon Brown