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But, But, But…

December 22, 2009

It is against my better judgement that I do this, but a reader and frequent commentor, Tristan, left a really long, insightful comment which I will now display in its entirety as a “post.”
What I am about to do badly violates my standard format, but I am doing it anyway for three reasons:
#1 Tristan claims to have found an alternative conveyance with a significantly higher rating than that of the cruiser board or even the quad-ring. If what he says is true, we will need to invest all of our time, money, and credibility into this conveyance immediately, and we can expect HUGE returns.
#2 I’m about to “drop” a new post tomorrow to cover this up.
#3 My post tomorrow will also be about cyclocross bikes (which I had already crunched the numbers on and agreed with Tristan), but it will be funnier.

Here’s Tristan’s comment:
“But but but, you forgot the burgeoning NEW class of hipster, which is the cross bike, so I’ll just rate it here, my apologies for taking your system and running with it…

Exclusivity: 2.5 You pretty much can find some sort of cross bike at any bike shop that sells Bianchi, Fuji, Trek, or some other big box brand. Granted there’s about 4 of them and they’re all SRAM Rival equipped, but calling a cross bike hard to find on the street isn’t much if you live where it snows in the city due to their burly tire clearance.

Irony: 2.5 Cross racing is very rarely ironic. It is serious business and you have to have a USA Cycling license and race in cats and wake up early and all that stuff if you are a cat 4 garbage day racer. All of this changes once one goes either to the west coast where they do wacky silly things like have single speed classes, chicken suits, and beer hand-ups, or you just race single speed period. Cross is also the one thing that people enjoy watching versus time trials or road racing. Also just look at Van Dessel’s cross bike names: Country Road Bob, Gin and Trombones. Can you get any dumber?

Street Cred: 3.5 Depending on the build list setup, how much dirt one has accumulated on their cross bike, Plus dudes from Belgium do it and if you’re good at cross it means you run and ride fast without being a triathlete.

Aesthetics: 3 Cross bikes look like road bikes, which can look good, but usually they have some high rise stem on them, which is tres uncool and hybrid looking. They do have a wide variety of anodized parts like canti brakes and such for cool points. But over all, a cross bike aesthetically isn’t really much better than say, a normal road bike.

Impracticality: 1 This is where it all falls apart. Cross bikes are usually the most practical of all bicycles, which also hurts their street cred when less scummy bike salesmen try to push them onto rather than a hybrid or another fixed gear. Huge tire clearances, low gearing, 700C wheel sizing allowing you to run skinny road tires in the summer and swap over to the carbon Edge wheels for the fall when racing occurs. Some lower end single speed models have fender mounts and rack mounts? Too lame! Still, riding on cross tires on the street is pretty dumb so that bumps it up to 1.

Added up you get: 12.5. Bummer dude. 😦

I guess cross bikes aren’t the new fixed gear, but I do have one more entry:

80’s time trial 24″-650 front wheeled time trial bikes, my personal favorite!

Exclusivity: 5. No longer made, and welded by funny Italian dudes (and some cases Japanese) for guys who actually raced bikes instead of chasing their personal best, given their relatively low use status, the bumped up even more unobtainable than a San Rensho (I’m going to assume that either a Moser TT frame, or an actual 3Rensho with Sugino Disc is considered the holy grail of TT bikes). Schwinn Prologues are sitting in many a garage waiting around to be used once more, making them the Pista of Vintage Time Trial bikes.

Irony: 4 Using a bike with twin tubular discs, or possibly old Mavic 3G trispokes is the piece de resistance on the street when you’re commuting for coffee on 54-14. The only thing that would make it harder is if the bike kicked you in the balls while you rode it.

Street Cred: 3.5 Older roadies will pay respects, but most people will think you’re either a triathlete or yet another fixie bro, despite the deraileurs, brakes, and ultimate aero positioning thanks to the proliferation of faux pursuit frames and bullhorn bars. Still, a period correct Campy Record Tomminasi (with matching Campy Delta brakes) will get much more cred than the same period fixed gear bretheren.

Aesthetics: 5. Old TT bikes before they started slamming aerobars on them (but once they went into bullhorns) are gracefully curved steel frames with gratuitous touches such as internal routed cabling, wild paint jobs, and lots of polish. Go look at Affinity trying to make the sloping down top tube a la old TT.

Impracticality: 4. I was going to mark this down, but assuming one was going to actually ride the TT bike properly and not put risers on it, TT bikes are very very impractical. The whole time one is riding it, they should always, always be hunched over with a flat back. There is no use in the tops. The gearing is ridiculously difficult for the most part, and they handle like crap. You can’t ride it in the rain, you can’t ride it in the snow, you can’t ride it when it’s windy, and riding up hill is a pain in the ass. Still, there are gears, and there are brakes.

Total: 21.5! This may be personally biased, but clearly riding a Moser is much more hipster cred than a cruiser skateboard. Plus you have disc wheels in the back to make for big flat surfaces for your crafty art projects.

Sorry I wrote all that, sheesh… What one does when it’s snowed in and sick.”

One does the same thing one does when it’s rainy, sunny, hot, cold, or night, Tristan – looks at bikes on the internet.
Or, one could go unironically ride their very practical cyclocross bike (for those of you in my Undisclosed Northern Colorado Front Range College Town, remember David ‘Cross is tomorrow afternoon. (I hope you like mud!))

9 Comments leave one →
  1. David L. permalink
    December 22, 2009 5:19 am

    I really miss the 80’s big time. The neon bikes and neon clothing. Disc wheels front and rear. Rebecca Twigg, Connie Carpenter… Being in my 20’s. And this buddy of mine riding a fixed-gear bike long before the current fad. And soon there will be the 90’s and the Uh-Oh’s between us and the 80’s. Oh, don’t forget the Houdaille power-cam, and the Zipp partial front fairing. The 80’s was the last time I had hope for a brighter future. I have to wonder if I should have gotten a cross bike instead of that carbon bike I bought this year. We won’t know what the next fixed gear except in retrospect.

    • Another Dan permalink
      December 23, 2009 8:56 pm

      I think it is clear that the next mode of hipster transportation can’t be another type of bike. And you will have to go much further back than the ’80s to find something original enough that the irony has been untouched by neon colors and all things of recent hipster past.

      I happen to know exactly what the next trendy transportation accessory is. I’m already spending all my money on lottery tickets so that I can afford to own one . What is it? Simple…the HORSE! Give it some thought…you never know.

      It is stupidly exclusive, impracticable, and it even has debatable aesthetics. Irony and street cred, who cares? You can ride it on bike lanes if you want, and then let your horse foul the streets you used to ride your bike on.

      One thing is certain, when I mount my horse with a pair of super tight jeans on, and let the wind blow through my long(?) hipster hair as I ride to the coffee shop… people will know that the age of the horse fag has arrived! Then will come alley cat horse racing, maybe even alley cat jousting. Hipsters are creative and so will be the many group oriented horsey things that will be invented. I can’t wait!

      • bikefag permalink*
        December 24, 2009 7:54 pm

        Horse riding also involves incredible irony-levels.


  2. Tristan permalink
    December 22, 2009 5:46 am

    Haha, I totally didn’t expect this to be posted, or I might have gone through it a few more times for spelling/typing/grammar corrections.

    But seriously, can you deny the oozing sexiness and complete irony of this bike while riding around the city? I can’t!!!:

    or the new old stockness of aero seats on an 80’s Benotto?

    Also see for art projects: <- My own, I guess I'm biased.

  3. December 22, 2009 7:11 am

    The TT bikes of the 80s are already like a hipster elite class of a ride.. And the holy grail is the Cinelli Laser or the Russian Thlakion. Funny bikes. You gotta love em.

  4. December 22, 2009 7:15 am

    Tristan. Just checked your links and I see u found the crazy swedish guy. He has a passion for those things and used to post these drool inducing photos on the swedish fixed gear forum and ofc photos of parts he tracked down from obscure italian/russian forums..

  5. LoRoK permalink
    December 23, 2009 7:51 pm

    Hey, I wanna add an entry! How about the expensive carbon fiber road bike?

    Exclusivity: 6 (oh yes I did!) On the one hand, the expensive carbon fiber road bike (or e.c.f.r.b.) puts you in the “dentist class” of exclusivity, and majorly uncool.-2 But then, you realize the irony factor (explained below) and this is then bumped up to a 3. Once more, if properly used, it can be a validator of one’s previous fixed gear riding. We all say that we ride fixies because we love to ride, and swear it’s not scenesterism. Well, buying an e.c.f.r.b. can show everyone that we really meant all that! Therefor, the e.c.f.r.b. can be treated as a throne upon which we can look down upon the hipster kids who have not yet been able to get their parents to buy them an e.c.f.r.b.+3 more.

    Irony: 5 What would be more ironic than walking a $5000 bike with clipless pedalsto the coffee shop in tight jeans and a v-neck t-shirt and dunks? Or better yet in a team kit and dunks? We all know that the fashionable irony started by “taking back” that which was considered geeky. Well, I’ll tell you something; the entire world (other than cyclists) think that lycra is geeky. Let’s take it back! (side note: any time I ride more than 30 miles one-way on my fixie [almost daily] I wear lycra)

    Street Cred: 3 I doubt that tricking, or e.c.f.r.b. freestyling, will really catch on. That leaves a gap in the street cred arena between those who can actually ride their bikes fast, and those who can’t. Many riders will lose street cred, but some will gain.

    Aesthetics: 3 They look ok. In my opinion, most of these e.c.f.r.b. are excessively slathered in it’s own logos in a bold and garish manner. A good coating of counter-culture stickers and beer labels will help bump the score up. Also, the eccentric shapes of e.c.f.r.b. tubing isn’t nearly as attractive as steel framed bikes. However, tight geometry and seat-tube cutouts for the rear wheel do look bad ass.

    Impracticality: 5 Ridden only on flat ground within a 2 mile radius, a $5000 e.c.f.r.b. is like driving a formula 1 race car to the corner gas station for a pint of ice cream. The bike itself is practical, but it’s in the lack of application that makes it so impractical.

    Total of 22! Oh yeah!

    • bikefag permalink*
      December 24, 2009 8:04 pm

      I don’t know, LoRok.
      Here’s my take:

      Exclusivity: 2.5 (you can’t necessarily buy exclusivity. And if you could, it’d cost a lot more than a $5,000 road bike, which like 100,000 yuppies already have)
      Irony: 3 (I guess it’s kind of ironic, but not really, considering how many “bike hipsters” already OWN flossy road bikes)
      Street Cred: 1 (roadies are NOT street-credulous)
      Aesthetics: 4 (many road bikes are very beautiful:
      Impracticality: 2.5 (I’ve ridden a “racing bike” across the state of Colorado with a Bob Trailer, and it did just fine. I’ve ridden it thousands of miles on gravel, I can bunny hop up curbs with ease, I lived for 1.5 months with it as my only bike. Then again, riding a $5,000 bike around town IS stupid, and it won’t do you too well in the winter. Then again AGAIN, my road bike didn’t cost $5,000)

      Total Score: 13

  6. Mike D permalink
    December 29, 2009 12:13 am

    Completely unrelated, but:


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