Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Favorite Things Part One

Why do we force high price parts down people's throats?
It just seems odd to me that we immediately jump to the conclusion that all consumers have bottomless pockets. Is it our own vanity? I mean, do we force our own vision of value on to the person who will ultimately be the judge of whether or not a product is worth it?
I maintain that there are several awesome products on the market that you may never know about because your local bike shop is unwilling to try new things, or lead you to try them for yourself.
So I want to share some of my favorite products on, and off, the retail market.
This is part one in what I hope will be an eye-opening experience for you.

Exhibit A:
This headset is one of many great items in the Velo Orange line called Grand Cru. It's shiny, light-weight, and easy to maintain. The kicker is: In a retail market, it can be had for just $50. It may not be sealed as well as a Chris King, meaning you may have to replace the sealed-cartridge bearings more often (perhaps once every two years), but the cost of replacing those bearings is nearly half the cost of servicing Chris King bearings once a year (or as they refer to it, "regularly," which is required by King in order for them to honor their warranty). This cost analysis assumes of course that as a consumer, you have your parts serviced by a professional rather than doing them yourself. It's a safe bet that if you work at a bike shop, your default choice is King because, as a dealer, they become more affordable. But shit, even then, "affordable" is a relative term to a guy who makes less money than a High School Dropout.  All I am saying here is if you just spent all your cash on a new frame and just can't wait to build that shit up and "drop" all your buddies at the Thursday Night Pissing Contest, you just might want to consider a quality product that won't "drop" your checking account balance. So, if your local shop carries VO,
 I encourage you to get one there. If not, you can buy direct from their website.*

 *I want it to be SUPER fucking clear here too... as this is the second post in a row where I mercilessly whore myself out for VO, I do not get paid by Velo Orange to endorse their products. In fact, if you asked them, I would assume they would deny all knowledge of my puny existence.

 ...moving on...

My favorite Hubs - factory direct brand called Circus Monkey.

Available in 8 colors and almost all drilling patterns you could dream of, with a claimed weight of 355g for the set, I was shocked to see a price tag of only $145!
There had to be a mistake. I mean, is there really a hub that has a similar weight, color, and all around good looks as King, at a price that is 75% lower? Even if my eyes deceived me, would they even be worth a damn, or would I hate myself in the morning for spending money on something that turns out to be junk?

The only way to find out, was to get some, and this was the result...

...They weighed in at just over 359g.
They looked as nice as the pictures, and I got them for ten bucks less because I asked for a deal.
Also, the free hub mechanism has great engagement and the hub can be disassembled without tools.
With these hubs, I was able to build an entire wheel set that weighed in at just over 1,100g with rim tape and rotors, for the same price as two King hubs.*
Plus, I raced over 300 miles on them last season and they did not skip a beat! 

*I do not mean to beat up on Chris King Components. They are after all, the highest quality, American made parts available in the cycling industry. But unlike BikeSnobNYC whose bloggular prowess has led to great wealth and power, my blog just doesn't afford me the opportunity to spend with reckless disregard.
So I want it to be clear that I have nothing but love for King Components

So that's just two examples. I will follow up with more in the next few days.
 I want to get this published tonight because I have been falling behind in my planned updates.

Hang in there with me, you will have a bad ass new bike build in mind by the time we are through.

Until then, enjoy some bike-themed beer porn brought to you by the good folks at Hawley.

Seriously, thanks for reading.