Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oops! They Did it Again!

Seat posts: This is what you need to know...

Rule#1: The outside diameter of the post should match the inside diameter of the seat tube.
Rule #2: If it does not match, refer to rule number one.

It's that simple folks. Unless it comes to proper fitting for the bike, like whether or not the post needs to have setback, the only other thing that matters is whether or not it is the correct diameter.

So how does one fuck up a seat post installation? Just ask the clowns at 
[Name Redacted Bike Shop].

At [Name Redacted Bike Shop] the service is terrible, but at least it is affordable! You remember them right? Well, they are at it again, and sadly, the hits keep coming.

From the outside it looks good. So what could possibly be wrong?
Let me count the ways...

Pro Tip: if the edges of the binder touch each other, you are doing it wrong. 

A mix of incorrect binder parts, the wrong size post, and a shim cut to fit
... which it does not. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Let's start at the beginning; Rule #1: The seat post must be the correct diameter. 
Occasionally you can get away with using a post that is no more than .2 mm (two tenths of a millimeter) smaller in diameter. While that is still considered a no-no, it is why there is a slot cut out in the back of the seat tube, to allow for a slight decrease in diameter when clamping down the post. That is what provides the clamping force. The key term here is slight

 Pro Tip: 2mm does NOT equal slight 

Here is where it is important to remember Rule #2: Refer to Rule #1
 If you find yourself fighting the urge to continue beyond this point, 
STOP! Pull your head out of your ass, and go find a proper post. 
Unless of course you work at [Name Redacted Bike Shop] where it is acceptable to install a .5mm (one half millimeter) shim, leaving a gap of 1.5mm.

Then all you have to do is clamp the shit out of the binder until the seat tube deforms. 

Like this.
(Mind you, this was after I bent it back out)

I am still trying to figure out how they add the unique "shark bite" look...

 (Secret of the Pro's I guess ;)

So when [Name Redacted Bike Shop] is done mangling your frame, as a courtesy, they call you to tell you "your bike is finished and ready to pick up."
Only, when you get there and ask for your bike, they look, and look, and keep looking, but can't find it.
Then they realize "OH YEAH! We sent your bike to another guy to have him try to fix it. Sorry, we forgot."*
Then of course the inevitable happens wherein the post keeps sliding down in to the frame until it looks as though you are riding a child's bike.

*I swear this story is true.

YOU ARE SORRY??!! For what? Fucking up my frame? Or for sending it to someone else so they could fuck it up further?
Yeah, they certainly are "sorry." A sorry bunch of talentless hacks. Yet they continue to operate. I still don't understand how considering almost every bad bike story I hear in this area starts with "So... I took it to this other shop..."
and ends with "...yeah, it was [Name Redacted Bike Shop]." 
Where, no shit, their Mission Statement reads:

"Our mission is to provide the highest quality of new and used bicycles to our local cycling community through professional and friendly service."


"highest quality...professional..."

At least the ride you get taken for is Super Soft.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Shimano: Then and Now

Shimano has certainly come a long way since the Bike Boom in the 70's. When the largely European dominated market could not keep up with the demand for parts, Shimano and SunTour stepped in and wrecked it for everyone. The unfortunate thing for SunTour however, was that they continued to try to improve upon existing technologies rather than focusing on what the future was going to bring. Once Shimano (who was also manufacturing fishing equipment at the time) developed and perfected the art of index shifting, it was Sunset for SunTour.

Index shifting changed the game and made gear changes a mindless task by simply clicking to the next gear. This was done in the before times via a friction based lever that had to be adjusted slightly every time you shifted. The time it takes to make that adjustment is time wasted when you are being dropped by the Peleton. Index was widely welcomed in the racing community as the rider could be sure they were in  the right gear before launching an attack. That was bad news for the likes of Campagnolo, and others who lost much of the market share to this new innovation. 

The first real attempt at index shifting was kind of a flop and was designed around the derailleur having indents in the body that would click into place with each shift. It was a clumsy design and proved to be consistently inconsistent. It was given a second chance with the introduction of Positron II, and was put to bed almost immediately. 
It was not until about 1984 when S.I.S (Shimano Index Shifting) took off because the design had become more functional. By moving the index device in to the shifter itself, they could control the cable pull better. Meaning, the shifters would momentarily over-shift the derailleur (to be sure it went to the next cog), and then allow it to settle back into the correct position (to be sure it was in gear). This function is still a feature in even their newest technology. 

Only the high-end line of parts (Dura Ace) were endorsed by the pros, though Shimano would, and still does, trickle down the technology once it is proven to have worked (or was rendered obsolete by newer stuff). During that time, bikes intended for the masses included parts like Shimano 600 and 105 to make it as similar to what the racers have, but for the everyman budget. I maintain that the shifting from that generation of DA, 600, and 105 are all very similar with the biggest difference being looks and weight (plus the amount of gears it could handle). The functionality was there, and now it was time to make them all look the part.

Shimano Sante - ca. 1989

There is still some debate as to whether or not this is re-branded 105 or 600 but again, I think the mentality was "new look, same great taste." Regardless, no one but me liked the new white derailleurs, brakes and cranks and they stopped making just as soon as they had begun. 
Though there still remain some die-hards out there described best by Michael Sweatman:
"Santé was dismissed at the time as a groupset for dilettanté poseurs, but I have noticed that nearly every Santé derailleur that I have ever seen has had heavy use and a thorough dose of road rash. Ebay is hooching with mint examples of Dura-Ace 7400 and Record C, but, strangely, Santé seems to be out there putting in the miles. Beauty must suffer"
Hell, I still have a crankest...

Bio-Pace: the worst best idea ever!

But the past is the past and the future is NOW. From shifters on the down tube, to this:

Shimano, always innovating, developed and successfully executed an electronic shifting system that not only improves upon the S.I.S platform with a computer controlled "cable pull" allowing the same derailleur motions of its predecessors with out fail. That is to say, as long as it is adjusted correctly, the phenomenon known as "cable slack" becomes a thing of the past, and with the push of a button it will perform the same way, every time.

From shifting, to stopping... Shimano has been involved in making bikes, better.

The Shimano disc brake, Ca. 1977-ish

There is not a lot of info about these. Truly far ahead of their time they were an early example of what Shimano was capable of. They sold them on department store bikes at J.C. Penny (you remember... that place that your parents shopped at before Walmart?) marketed toward kids who liked to go fast, claiming that adequate stopping power was the only thing keeping you from going faster

Once again, Shimano was not the type of organization to sit back and pat themselves on the back for developing ground-breaking bicycle tech. So they of course set out to make it better than ever and have since done so with new disc brake technology that is so state of the art, even I don't understand it*

* I totally understand. 

They use non-corrosive mineral oil as hydraulic fluid and new brake rotors and pads that are lighter, and shed heat faster. Quite the departure from the original, certainly. Indeed, Shimano has come along way. From shifting to braking, to developing pedal technology that cannot be beat. Shimano has bettered the way we ride bikes.

Well... except for Walmart bikes:

 Light action POWER PIS
I kid because I care.

So before I close, a couple of notes in the name of full Disclosure:*

I am a Shimano "S-T.E.C" certified mechanic. Meaning, I do have working knowledge of current products and hold the certifications that reflect that.

Most people who know me know that I am a SRAM fan. When it comes to shifting under load, their 1:1 pull ratio is so much more reliable than Shimano's 2:1. 

That said, I use Shimano brakes because they stop better with very little (if any) noise, and Shimano pedals on both my road and mountain bikes. 

*I don't want anyone to think that I jumped the Shimano shark here, but I felt like it would be fun to share some fun stuff like that hilarious disc brake.
When ever I find it hard to find fault with them, I look at their $80 can of grease and laugh at their horrible translation skills:


Perhaps they should stop using Google to translate:

...at least they have my SAFTY in mind.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Morning Addition: Poking the Bear

After the last post went live, a reader informed me that a website exists which serves as the propaganda hole for the GMC branded Denali. While I have my doubts about whether or not it is an official GM webpage (mostly due to the horrible grammar and spelling), it still bears their name and is chock full of lies. Much like the bike itself; is it manufactured by GM? No. It does however, bear the "Officially Licensed Product" sticker. A sign to me that GM in fact stands behind the product enough to take a paycheck from the sale of them. 

So what are you to believe about the Denali and other GM branded bicycles? 

"GMC bikes are made by the same great manufacturer company which makes GMC trucks."

Not true, they are made by a factory in China that exports them. 

"Therefore, it can be guaranteed that GMC bikes are made with the same technology and precision of GMC trucks."

Again, not true. Unless of course GM has started using inferior parts assembled by under qualified personnel. Yeah, the Unions would love that.

"This is also an assurance that GMC bikes are delivered in the same fine quality of their truck counterparts."

Yeah, I never saw a GMC truck fall apart during the first use, so I'm gonna have to disagree.

This page goes on and on but I call bullshit. These bikes are not safe or in ANY way a quality product, nor are they manufactured or supported by General Motors. They are simply a means of conveyance for spreading their famous brand name, and a bad one at that.

I sent out a few Tweets to GM hoping it may elicit some sort of response...

...but alas, my questions go unanswered, for the moment at least.

Is it dumb to go after them for something as simple as this? Probably, but only as dumb as the problem itself. Until they make it stop, I will be here, calling them out.

As I am sure, their lawyers will be calling me... 

Milestones: My Cap's Off To You

You have come a long way with me and I want to say thank you. Because of you, the blog has reached 10,000 views in just under a year. You have shared, liked, and otherwise supported me via Facebook and Twitter. You have logged on from all parts of the world to read my thoughts on a number of things, some good, some bad. I have had readers and friends share their thoughts with me on whether or not I am "trying to be Bike Snob" and I can assure you I am not. It is true that after reading his blog for the past few years I have drawn some influence from his style but we each write from our own minds. For those who don't like the language, all I can say is at least it is a little more laid back than what pops up on Yourbikehatesyou, now that is some truly unfiltered commentary. So while it is true that I found inspiration in a mix of the two, I am not trying to emulate either one. Wild Cat has been very nice to me in our interactions with one another and has had the biggest impact on the amount of people who are reading this daily. By sharing my blog, he he helped increase my reader base by well over 2,000 new readers! So indeed a big thank you goes out to The Real Bike Snob.

I would also like to thank Walz Caps for their support. While not an official "sponsor," they have been kind enough to provide me with products for testing and review. My admiration for their products is not fluff, it is the real deal. They make great products and they stand behind them. They also gave a jerk like me a shot and for that, I am grateful. #capsnothats

In our time together, we have discussed industry "standards" and witnessed the evolution of technology. We have seen the most beautiful things and the not so beautiful. We have heard it all. Together.

So what will the future hold for this blog? Who knows? Probably more whining, more hate speech, and furthering my own agenda. Which is not to gain wealth and power, rather to simply get it off my mind. The aim of this Blog is, and will remain, simple: To entertain, to inform, and to poke fun at others' expense.

Thank you for sharing this with me. I only hope this gets better with time.

In closing, I would like to address those who have gleaned nothing from me and I want them to remember,

Love, Queso

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gotta Love the World Wide Marketplace

eBay is an amazing thing. There, you can bargain shop, haggle, and Buy it Now. From electronics to kids clothes, you can find pretty much what ever your heart desires. Be it a "custom" fixie from a hipster in Portland or a Super Muscular! BRAND NEW Fixed Gear Bike muscular bicycle track bike fixie from God knows where (or Chicago as the listing suggests), it can be found on eBay.

Not sure what bothers me more, the ridiculous title, or the fact that I have to crane my neck to see the pics. Oh, that and the fact that it is not a fixie at all...

Gears: More than one. Scratches: More than "NEW"

If you keep looking, you might find a real fixie. Granted, you could save yourself the trouble of completing a PayPal transaction, and leaving feed back and such, by going to your local Walmart. But hell, "I ain't payin' retail!" - says the local cheapskate.

Real in this case meaning, by definition, it does have a fixed gear.

It occurs to me that I have yet to bash this, the second worst production bicycle available today, and it is still on my bucket list, but I will let the painted wheels and chain guard speak for themselves. 

So what exactly constitutes a fixie of the "Muscular" variety?


Any way, that's all for today, as I need to snap up this set of

ZIPP fixed gear bike wheels carbon road bicycle clincher wheels wheelset 700c for racing 60mm with NOVATEC hub. 
Before someone else does.

If you come across any more like this on eBay, Craigslist... Please send them my way.
I need a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Empire Strikes Back

From the minds that brought you this:

...Comes yet another technological cluster fuck!
Yes, the geniuses at General Motors have been hard at work denying that they built an inferior product and did little to nothing to fix it. But Alas, they still let one slip through the cracks...
Folks, I once again present you with this:

 (exhibit B: Now in RED!)

If you remember, and how could you not , I am probably the loudest voice out there when it comes to hating these rolling shit bags. 
I have been blasting them publicly for years and to this day, they continue to be a bane to my existence. I never once reckoned that they would go away, but just when I thought I had seen everything these bastards have to offer, I was once again in for a surprise.

See, not only are the wheels crap, the derailleurs made of plastic, the fork always bent... but the parts "spec" calls for grip shifters on the flats of the bars. There is one major problem with this (besides the fact that grip shifters do not belong on road bikes) which is, if you need to replace them, they cannot slide down the bar to be removed. "What then?" you ask?
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you...

...the two piece drop bar:


While it may appear to be an ordinary bar, I can assure you it is not. Look closer...

It's not like this is the first time I have seen this bar but I always thought that the spacer (red) was installed because they were too cheap to spec the proper diameter bar. And the bolt (yellow) was used to keep the bars from rotating inside the spacer:
I was wrong. (there, I said it ;) It was indeed what I had feared; a bar that breaks away in the middle for the sole purpose of installing cheap, incompatible parts in order to save a buck.

Removing the stem's face plate was the first indicator:

Then, by removing the spacer, the intention becomes clear:

After removing the bolt...

...the sadness sets in.

The sudden realization of what the industry is truly capable of in order to make a buck, leaves me bewildered as to why anyone deserves to be in this business at all. Here you have a prime example of "it's good enough for who it's for" from a company who's brand recognition alone is enough to make people buy their junk just out of trust. Much like the folks who are duped into buying a Schwinn from Walmart because of the name. I hear it from customers all the time, "It's a Schwinn, so it's a good bike, right?"

 (Courtesy: your bike hates you)

 The brand recognition in this case generates dollars on a level I could only characterize as criminal, by lulling folks into a false sense of trust and taking advantage of them. By offering the populace something that appears to be one thing on the outside...

...yet is clearly another thing on the inside,

 is no better than selling me a piece of shit outright, even if they are being up front about it.
The problem is, no one is being honest about the shit they sell. It takes a douche bag bike blogger/mechanic on the internet to do it for them. At this point it appears to have worked for them as no one (to my knowledge) has been hurt by this contraption, but a little part of me wishes some would get hurt. Only then would they have to take responsibility instead of a paycheck.

Please feel free to pass this and the other posts along to them in an effort to effect some change. Lord knows I can't do much about it from my work bench.

Any way, I apologize for the late start to this weeks posts, but I have other shit on my plate right now. I just thought that perhaps I could cobble a post together for today and end it on a high note:

(from atop my pedestal that is ;)


* UPDATE Just after posting this blog, a reader informs me that there is a waste of space on the internet telling you to that these are good products. 


Therein, you will find such lies as:

"a GMC bike is the best bike to start your cycling experience with."

"GMC bikes are made by the same great manufacturer company which makes GMC trucks. Therefore, it can be guaranteed that GMC bikes are made with the same technology and precision of GMC trucks. This is also an assurance that GMC bikes are delivered in the same fine quality of their truck counterparts."

Please lambaste these bastards accordingly. Your bike thanks you.


Friday, August 8, 2014

New Look, Same Great Taste

Yeah, it looks a little different but DON'T WORRY, this blog will always continue to inspire some, and piss off most as it was indeed designed. The taste may be an acquired one for sure, but much like escargot, you can smother it in butter and garlic all you want but at the end of the day, it's still snails.

So rest assured I will still continue to deliver the most hateful attitude I can towards people, and the bikes they ride. As technology "improves" I will certainly continue to talk shit about it until I find that I have a need for it. Only then will it become "cool," because as we all know, most bike bloggers are retro grouches at heart, and most retro grouches eventually prove themselves as hypocrites. It's only a matter of time before the need finally becomes real and we find our selves saying "Disc brakes are so great!" As it wasn't that long ago that even me, your friendly, neighborhood "Bicycle Repair Man" was screaming from the roof tops about how "29ers are SO stupid."

So I just wanted to say "Hi" before I put the blog away for the week, and if you are wondering what plans a guy like me has for the weekend... here's the forecast:

See you all next week.

...if you're lucky ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Regret Our Error

First of all, I regret nothing.
I will say however, that I can always admit when I am wrong if the argument is persuasive enough...

(shown with optional "Persuasion Package")

With Ebola in the States now, I imagine it won't be long before the Zombies attack,

 (if my math is correct (which it almost never is) then we have about 14 days left.)

...Soon to be followed by the long awaited "Mad Maxx Times" in which we will no doubt need a bicycle that includes:

"an impressive showcase of some of the finest sharp and pointy things money can buy:
  • Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow
  • Rotopax RX-1G Gas Packs – 1 Gallon
  • United Cutlery M48 Tactical Survival Shovel
  • United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tomahawk
  • United Cutlery M48 Hawk Harpoon
  • Gerber Fixed Blade Saw
  • Blackburn X6 Light System
  • Black Diamond Carabiners / Climbing rope
  • Cree Mini LED Flashlight
  • BioLogic Bike Mount for iPhone4/gps
  • Tool Logic Tactical Multifunction Knife / light
  • Tool Logic Credit Card Companion multi-tool
  • CRKT Guppie multi-tool
  • Tactical-Warrior Neck Knife [ed note: not clear if Knife is designed to wear around or insert into Neck]"
As it happens though, sadly, the bike does not come as pictured.

 (Which is too bad because this thing has a deadlier ass than Kim Kardashian)

That means it will require you to customize your own "Zombie-Slaying Mad Maxx Motorized Bicycle Cycle"

"Unfortunately, there is no price for the complete Survival Bike. The $1,999 Motoped Rolling Chassis Kit includes suspension from DNM, an Answer cockpit, and Hayes brakes.  You are on your own for the engine and all the fiddly bits like a throttle and gas tank, but the manufacturer estimates the cost at a mere $535. No word yet on pricing for pictured upgrades like the White Bros fork, or conversion rates from USD to GMO seed, Krugerrands, or any other common barter item."

So you had better get started building yours sooner rather than later as I am sure there will be a run on all the Army Surplus stores as soon as all the rednecks figure out how Ebola is transmitted (here's a hint: it's banging farm animals). 

"The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal (commonly monkeys or fruit bats)"

Bat bites monkey, monkey humps deer, farmer bumps into deer at a bar...bing bang, boom... we are fucked.
While I joke, that shit is real, and is in the US now. Contained as it may be, this would not be the first case in which something really deadly, that was pretty well under control, escaped in Atlanta. What a retarded idea to begin with..."let's bring infected people over the ocean so we can "treat them" at home." There is no cure and it has killed over 50% of the people who have contracted it. Yet we brought it on to our soil. Yeah, just what I have come to expect from the minds that brought us this:

Be afraid people. Be very afraid.
Get your damn bike ready because you will need it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Motor" Cycle?

I found myself involved a heated conversation over the weekend as to where a bicycle stops and a motorcycle begins. A conversation mind you, that took place between me; a bicycle enthusiast, and not me; not a bicycle enthusiast (names have been changed to protect the ignorant).

Bear in mind as well, that this was not a conversation about Electronic Assist (E-Bike) bicycles, which are the current topic of much debate.
rather, bicycles (or in most cases, Bicycle Shaped Objects) with an engine and gas tank attached.

This defeats the purpose of a bicycle on multiple levels as it requires basically zero effort for the rider, and requires the use of gasoline, which is one main reason most cyclists choose to commute by bike. As it is not technically considered (in most places) a motorized vehicle, and it does not require a license to use it as such, it is allowed in the bike lane. So it pollutes like a car, puts cyclists in peril and helps destroy the infrastructure.  Plus it just looks ridiculous. 

 No plates? No registration? No license? No Problem!
The next time you see one of these on the road, look really closely at the driver. It's generally not some teenager, eager to feel the freedom of the road, no, it is usually this guy:

A gin-soaked Glen Campbell - 2003 DUI Mugshot

See, most folks will ride bikes because they want to, this guy (and others like him) ride because they have to. A result of careless choices, they are relegated to finding any way to transport themselves from one liquor store to the next without walking.  To those who find themselves new to being "sans car," any thing is better than walking, even this:

If it sounds like I am generalizing about certain "demographic,"
it's because I am. In all of my interactions with the curators of these rolling lawn mower bombs, every damn one of them reeks of whiskey at 2 in the afternoon.

Maybe it's where I live? I don't know. What I DO know is that after building them themselves, they ask me "um... do ya'll like, um, work on motorized bicycles?"
No. No I don't. 
"Well, I gotta, um, problem with the like, wheel thing..."
Wait... you mean to tell me that your Walmart wheels aren't designed to hold up the additional weight?! Gee...Imagine that
Their attitude towards my responding in such a way is mostly one of disdain but I honestly could care less. I mean, RIDE your damn bike. You are in this mess for a reason, perhaps seeing the world from a two-wheeled point of view may change your outlook on life. Plus, the health benefits will better you as an individual and maybe...just maybe, our society as a whole. Perhaps a person who spent their life behind he wheel of a car, just may in turn view the world the way I do... behind the handlebars. Fighting traffic just to get where I am going safely, and reaping the benefits of a healthier way of life. Not because I have to, but because I choose to. At the end of the day, my beef isn't even with the riders per se, rather, the lazy half ass way they choose to address bicycle usage. 

"Slap a motor on it!" - The American Way 
That is what is truly at the heart of the problem. The dudes that often pilot these motorized bicycles (or MOTOR-CYCLES if you will) fall in to one of two categories for me:

Drunks: who lost their licenses for moving violations committed whilst hammered. 
Which means of course, the last thing they should be doing is driving ANYTHING that has an engine. Yet the law still refuses to exclude the operation of this type vehicle and the offender is left on the streets to offend once more.      

Douches: lazy ones...the type that would benefit the most from some type of physical activity. The same ones who would rather be caught dead then caught riding the "Shoelace Express"

So I am not sure which I hate more, 
the rider or the egg
the chicken or the moped

Fuck it, I hate them all.

...there, I said it.