Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shopping Process

Quick update.  Or at least I have a short amount of time, but when I get typing, it is hard to know exactly what will come out.  For instance, I just had thoughts about the Ruler of Zorblef and his intergalactic out-of-body experience, but that isn't really our topic for the day.

Our topic of the day is single speed bikes and parts for those bikes and the selection thereof.  Each of the Single Speed Kids has been scoping out parts, imagining their bikes built up, finding fantastic selections of interesting and not-all expensive parts and generally wanting to get on with the process.  SSK1 has a moondust grey bike and has decided to buy some blue parts to trick out his bike.  I thought this was a surprisingly tasteful considering some of his fashion choices.  Similarly surprising to me was the choice of SSK2 to want a kermit green bike, since he normally wears more sedate colors.  I am also pleased, however, that SSK2 has not decided to do a kaleidoscope of colors and will be selecting grey and/or black parts to go with his electric green bike.  My bike is raw aluminum, or more specifically scandium, which is a fancy aluminum derivative, so I have decided to pimp it out a bit with some red accents.  We'll see just how this goes when we start mixing and matching pieces.

One thing I have steered the kids away from, literally and figuratively, as you will see, is a bunch of the carbon parts that are available for bikes.  I do enjoy watching the process of them looking at ads, reading websites or looking at reviews.  You get the impression from these sources that everyone in the world has a $10,000 bike and carbon everything.  For my money, however, most carbon parts are better suited to 1) road riding, where the stresses on parts tends to be more linear and predictable, and 2) bigger pocketbooks, since there is a premium on most carbon.  It is interesting to me that there are lots of areas where aluminum is lighter and stronger than carbon, and often costs less.  Not the high-style points maybe, but I will just keep that in mind for the next time P Diddy needs my bike buying advice.  Even the professional riders who can get parts replaced easily and at no cost are not flocking to carbon stems and carbon handlebars.  Of course, now that I am pondering it, it is funny that stems and handlebars are eschewed in carbon, but lots of us use carbon seat posts and carbon rims.

I had a carbon bar on a bike a couple of years ago and after a "crinkle" at the stem, it was replaced under warranty and I took the opportunity to trade the new bar for an aluminum one.  I value the safety of the aluminum, but it is hard to forget the extraordinary feel of the carbon bar.  It absorbs vibration in a way that nothing else does, which I only appreciate after I replaced them, but I still think it is the right thing to do.

Anyway, we have together ruled out carbon stems, carbon handlebars, carbon seatposts and carbon rims as not practical or cost-effective.  Now, when it is time for my next road bike, which assuredly should be a 14-pound, $10,000 wunder-bike . . .

But I digress again.
Single Speed Dad

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