The Bikes

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The Bike. It is the central tool in pursuit of our craft. A Velominatus meticulously maintains their bicycles and adorns them with the essential, yet minimal, accoutrement. The Rules specify the principles of good taste in configuration and setup of our machines, but within those principles lies almost infinite room for personal taste.

It seems in some ways like a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, the way we honor our machines. We love them to a point that lies well beyond obsession. Upon these machines upon we endure endless suffering, but also find an unending pleasure. The rhythm, the harmony between rider and machine, the outdoors, the wind in our faces and air in our lungs.

The Bikes is devoted entirely to our machines. Ours, The Keepers, and yours, the Community. It features articles devoted to our bikes, and proves a forum for uploading photos of your own machines for discussion. We will be harsh, but fair; this is a place to enforce and enhance our observation of The Rules.

If you’d like to submit an article about your own beloved bike, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

  • Guest Article: Testing Rule #12 The MasterIf Rule #12 does not smolder deep in your soul, you might not be a Velominatus. I’ll still be riffling through bike magazine porn, from the inevitable wheelchair, in the old folks home. Some of us have hidden new bikes from our better halves. Every known bit of subterfuge has been employed to downplay the ...
  • La Vie Velominatus: Santoku The three virtues: Mind, Body, Machine.In Japanese, “Santoku” means “Three Virtues”. Exactly which three virtues it is referring to is unclear, but I am fascinated by the idea of a single word with such a rich, if ambiguous, meaning. I have several kitchen knives that goes by this name, and within the scope of knives the three virtues are generally accepted to ...
  • Weight Weenies Parting the waters on a 24 pound bike.My bike weighs about 6 kilos. It is no waify little thing either, with it having a 61cm frame and and three stories of seatpost. It has beefy tubes, a stiff bottom bracket and steerer, and deep section wheels which are laced 3x in the back and 2x in front. This bike has never made me go faster; ...
  • Leave No Bike Behind Pre Rule #26 photoWords of advice for the lads: If your girlfriend is a very good cyclist and you two are going to get engaged, a nice racing bike is not a substitute for a ring. I tried it. In my cyclo-centric male brain, she needed a proper racing bike a lot more than she needed a ring. ...
  • Voyeurs Sometimes, the eyes can only take so much.We are a sick lot. We have no morals whatsoever. I understand why others are wary of us, why café patrons reel in disgust, why real men driving utes want us dead. We attempt to assimilate while at the same time exhibiting no shame of our middle-aged bodies swathed in a thin shield of no real protection (for us or ...
  1. @RobSandy

    @tessar

    Cheers for the advice. I’ll look up those wheels.

    The GP4000S is what I have. Well done me.

    I was planning to crank up the pressure for TT’s – is that a bit old fashioned now?

    How do latex tubes make them faster?

    Another thing I don’t get, while I’m not getting things, is why old fashioned TT bikes only had bullhorns, and not drops. I watched a film of Fignon TTing on them, it looks a stupid position. Would he not have been more aero on a normal bike on the drops?

    Yeah, cranking up the pressure is old-fashioned. Testing showed that the energy for a tyre to deform around asphalt

  2. @RobSandy

    Sorry, pressed the button by accident. Anyway:

    Energy spent deforming around asphalt imperfections is less than the energy spent bouncing up and down from it if the pressure were too high. Similar concept to riders on cobbles, just on a smaller scale (and therefore higher pressures). For weights of 70-80kg, there’s no reason to run more than around 100psi, maybe 110psi if you weigh a touch more – any more and you’re just losing speed. If you’re on a perfectly polished wooden track and using super-supple track tubs, then it makes sense to crank up the pressure.

    Latex make you faster using the same principle: It’s more supple than butyl, allowing the tyre to flex more easily and lose less energy to heat. The only downside is price (and finicky installation).

    TT’ing before the ’90s was a very unscientific thing. I assume the bullhorns allowed them to get lower with those crazy funnybikes they were riding at the time? 24″ fronts, 700c rears and double-discs, those were the days…

  3. @tessar

    Cheers. I’m about 86kg and I think I usually run around 100psi, and upped it to around 115psi last week. I don’t think I’m at the point yet where a few units of pressure will be the limiting factor on performance.

    I am noticing the ride, grip and speed difference on the new Contis though. Well worth changing over.

    I’m also liking gradually customising my bike. The new crankset will be next, then if I get the new job I’m being interviewed for in August I might splash out in upgraded wheels. The next Spring will see the most crucial upgrade; white bar tape.

  4. @RobSandy

    The next Spring will see the most crucial upgrade; white bar tape.

    The key here is smooth or dimpled?  Using the golf ball principle you should go with dimpled bar tape.

  5. @VeloJello

    SPONG! Saw one of these on some trails just off the M5 in Worcestershire recently and fell in love instantly. Very nice!

    It’s a wonderful machine! Ridiculously light for a 500, it feels just like riding a big mountain bike.

  6. @Mikael Liddy

    @DCR nice, duly noted for the next time the Redback needs some new boots.

    Can’t beat hand made in italy goodness with 320tpi casings. not only that but the price is very good.

  7. @DCR

    New tires and wheels for the bike added today. I’m looking forward to the first ride!

    Also added this to the mix and will be building this over the winter. Exited to have some stainless steel added to the garage.

    Imagonna quote here because that bike and that frame need to be seen again. Also, I agree with @Mikael Liddy, skinwalls with a matte black frame are “the tits”. Last night I swapped my rear Veloflex Master 25 with another after 2K km. No more slipping in the sprint tonight!

  8. Spinaci bars discussion on Twitter…Check out @daniellloyd1’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/daniellloyd1/status/623929462355312641?s=09

    I forgot how fucking ugly they were.

  9. @RobSandy

    Good job, that’s 100-110psi is about right for your weight. You’re optimizing quite well it seems. Great job on the PR!

    P.S Crankset? There are more pressing upgrades. That one extra tooth on the big ring might be nice for proud Dutchmen, but considering the expense and the non-existent gain… Save the money.

  10. @tessar

    I feel like I’m making some progress. I also feel I still have room to improve fitness a lot.

    I’ve got my Dad to buy me the crankset as a birthday present! A 105 52/36 was only £80. I think I’ll notice the difference in a positive way. With a 50T big ring I end up spinning a lot; doesn’t need much of a downhill for me to spin out.

    The big upgrade is the wheels, which I will be funding myself!

  11. @RobSandy

    Ah, well, whatever crank you have now, if a 105 is considered an upgrade then it really is an upgrade. I had some rubbish no-name square taper on my bike, and Shimano’s Hollowtech cranks were a massive improvement.

  12. @tessar

    It’s only an increase in chainring sizes I’m after, and swapping a whole new crankset in was the cheapest way to do it. I’ve got a full 105 Group-San on my bike which does the job for me, didn’t see a reason to ‘upgrade’ it.

  13. @RobSandy

    @tessar

    I feel like I’m making some progress. I also feel I still have room to improve fitness a lot.

    I’ve got my Dad to buy me the crankset as a birthday present! A 105 52/36 was only £80. I think I’ll notice the difference in a positive way. With a 50T big ring I end up spinning a lot; doesn’t need much of a downhill for me to spin out.

    The big upgrade is the wheels, which I will be funding myself!

    JMHO here, but (unless you have already done it) a power meter is a much better upgrade than wheels. Especially if you have more fitness to gain. Since you have the 105 crank you could get one of the Stages Dura Ace arms while they are on sale (yes I know it won’t match) and probably 6 months of coaching for the price of a wheel set. Then you will be going so fast no one will know your crank arms don’t match, and you will be much faster than the set of wheels would have made you. The best upgrade you can give your bike is to the motor perched on top, a power meter will do exactly that. I don’t know why people overlook power meters when they start doing upgrades.

    I almost forgot… The new Power Tap chain rings are on the way, and you could also just sell the 105 crank and get one of the options from the Power2Max legacy series.

    Just throwing ideas out there.

  14. @ChrissyOne

    I know I rarely post around here any more, but I finally broke down and got an orange bike and I thought you guys might appreciate it.

    What?  No tan walls.  Do they even allow you on this site without tan walls?

  15. It is steel tho, so you have that going for you.

  16. @AJ

    It’s a suggestion with a lot of merit. However, looking at the price of power meters I think you’re probably over-estimating the amount I’d need to spend to upgrade my wheels; my bike is really quite basic.

    I can train like a mental bastard with or without a power meter. I am looking at starting to use a HRM, however. One thing at a time.

  17. The cageless water bottle…

    This, I feel, will fit the aesthetic sensibilities of my fellow Velominatus. No cage. Just bosses that fit the specific bottle.

    Rule #52 compliant possibly?

  18. @VeloJello

    I think I remember that set up being put forward in the 70s! Jim Dandy if you always use your own bottles. What will they think of next . . .

  19. @wiscot

    @VeloJello

    I think I remember that set up being put forward in the 70s! Jim Dandy if you always use your own bottles. What will they think of next . . .

    Something tells me you’d end up going thirsty on the Pave (and quite a few local roads I can think of).

  20. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @VeloJello

    I think I remember that set up being put forward in the 70s! Jim Dandy if you always use your own bottles. What will they think of next . . .

    Something tells me you’d end up going thirsty on the Pave (and quite a few local roads I can think of).

    Recently had that experience at a local mtn bike race. Chose poorly when I purchased the bidon cages for the Blizzard and promptly found myself at the 10km mark with the only remaining bidon being the “extra” I had stuffed in the jersey pocket. Not my brightest moment.

  21. @RobSandy

    @AJ

    It’s a suggestion with a lot of merit. However, looking at the price of power meters I think you’re probably over-estimating the amount I’d need to spend to upgrade my wheels; my bike is really quite basic.

    I can train like a mental bastard with or without a power meter. I am looking at starting to use a HRM, however. One thing at a time.

    Well, I had kind of guessed that $400-$600USD would be a solid wheel upgrade, but if you have those craptastic ALX wheels that come on most base builds a wheelset that is a couple hundred dollars would be an upgrade.

    Sadly, both of my suggestions are limited time deals. Stages is only going to sell the Dura Ace 7900 arm for $450 until its gone, and the Power2Max Classic power meters are only there for $500 until they are gone. So, its one of those things that unless you are ready to pull the trigger now, its a moot point.

    Are you, like myself, a Velominatus Budgetatus?

  22. @AJ

    @RobSandy

    @AJ

    It’s a suggestion with a lot of merit. However, looking at the price of power meters I think you’re probably over-estimating the amount I’d need to spend to upgrade my wheels; my bike is really quite basic.

    I can train like a mental bastard with or without a power meter. I am looking at starting to use a HRM, however. One thing at a time.

    Are you, like myself, a Velominatus Budgetatus?

    Yes, very much so. I got my bike on my company’s bike-to-work scheme so I haven’t actually even paid for it completely yet!

    It would be really interesting to have a power meter, but it is firmly in the category of ‘want’ rather than ‘need’.

  23. Thought maybe one or two velominati might be interested in the story of the restoration of a classic early eighties TT machine, which I think complies with most of the Rules. If you don’t like wordy accounts, there’s a link to a photo gallery near the end.

    – The Restoration

  24. Despite the painful beginning, that’s a very cool story. And a lovely restoration outcome also. Chapeau, sir.

  25. @George Barker

    Thought maybe one or two velominati might be interested in the story of the restoration of a classic early eighties TT machine, which I think complies with most of the Rules. If you don’t like wordy accounts, there’s a link to a photo gallery near the end.

    – The Restoration

    What a fantastically written story! I haven’t finished it yet, but will. And the steed looks fantastic. Cheers, and stick around; I’ve got a feeling you would fit right in over here.

  26. @George Barker

    That is a cool project and fantastic result. Interesting idea on the seat tube and down tube ahead of the bb and shorter wheelbase. But that made it most ideal for TT’s? The shorter wheelbase? I’d guess a fun bike to carve corners. A modern crit bike! Here is a thought: I love the idea that you were able to assemble with an accumulation of great components that had been lying in wait so to speak. Now, today I have a pile of “modern” components being collected in the garage. Say for ex a 10 sp rear Di2 derailleur. And any chance that this might might find a home 20 years from now on a project that in part celebrates craftsmanship? Hardly. Cheers Mr. Barker and thanks for sharing the story.

  27. @George Barker

    What a great story and bicycle!  The photographs are beautiful.

  28. @George Barker

    Excellent write-up; beautiful bike. And wonderful pictures! What more could we ask for? Chapeau and thank you for posting this.

  29. So my VMW has been doing more cycling over the summer. She’s taken advantage of some British Cycling organised outdoor track sessions, joined the local cycling club and hired one of their bikes, and has been getting me to take her out for short road rides.

    Last night, she bought this…

  30. @RobSandy

    So my VMW has been doing more cycling over the summer. She’s taken advantage of some British Cycling organised outdoor track sessions, joined the local cycling club and hired one of their bikes, and has been getting me to take her out for short road rides.

    Last night, she bought this…

    From VMW to VMH! Chapeau on your newest addition to your family!

  31. @RobSandy

    So my VMW has been doing more cycling over the summer. She’s taken advantage of some British Cycling organised outdoor track sessions, joined the local cycling club and hired one of their bikes, and has been getting me to take her out for short road rides.

    Last night, she bought this…

    Excellent!

  32. @sthilzy

    @Teocalli

    It’s such a good deal she’s happy with the bike – but she says she thinks it looks cheap!

    I think it looks great. Notice the white tyres? I think it’s a shame the saddle and pedals/cranks aren’t white, too…

  33. @RobSandy

    @sthilzy

    @Teocalli

    It’s such a good deal she’s happy with the bike – but she says she thinks it looks cheap!

    I think it looks great. Notice the white tyres? I think it’s a shame the saddle and pedals/cranks aren’t white, too…

    New bike and already working the justification for the upgrade. Indeed she is one of us.

  34. @RobSandy

    @sthilzy

    @Teocalli

    It’s such a good deal she’s happy with the bike – but she says she thinks it looks cheap!

    I think it looks great. Notice the white tyres? I think it’s a shame the saddle and pedals/cranks aren’t white, too…

    The saddle is an easy fix.  How many folk stay with the stock saddle as sold anyway?

  35. @George Barker

    Thought maybe one or two velominati might be interested in the story of the restoration of a classic early eighties TT machine, which I think complies with most of the Rules. If you don’t like wordy accounts, there’s a link to a photo gallery near the end.

    – The Restoration

    Wonderful story, George, just wonderful. I do love a short wheelbase and that thing is very short. How is the TT scene in the UK these days? Have all the courses been ruined? Sure seems that way in and around Glasgow where I used to race. Lots of lights and roundabouts.

  36. @George Barker

    Fabulous.  Chapeau.

  37. @George Barker

    George! Fantastic article!  Thanks!

    I love what you’ve written here:

    Now, before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t hold with the indiscriminate adoration of all things old-fashioned.  I regard that as an emotional refuge for people daunted by the modern world and/or grieving the loss of their youth.  (A group to which I belong only in the hours immediately following exposure to popular television.)  There’s a reason why “they don’t make ’em like they used to, lad.”  The reason is that they’ve discovered ways to make ’em better.  Broadly speaking, modern bikes and modern cycling gear are lighter, stronger, more efficient, more reliable, more comfortable and easier to maintain than anything we had when I was young, never mind when some of my associates were in their pomp.

    My inner grump cringes at the ‘steel is real’ brigade.

    Also, I hate gumwalls.

  38. @DeKerr

    @RobSandy

    @sthilzy

    @Teocalli

    It’s such a good deal she’s happy with the bike – but she says she thinks it looks cheap!

    I think it looks great. Notice the white tyres? I think it’s a shame the saddle and pedals/cranks aren’t white, too…

    New bike and already working the justification for the upgrade. Indeed she is one of us.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not the stock saddle – the guy we bought if from upgraded it for his wife. First thing that gets binned if you’re setting up a bike for a womanfolk, in my experience.

    She is very aware of The Rules and the way of the Velominati…and thinks it’s snobbish and infantile. To which I reply, “of course it it, what’s your point?”.

    Picking it up tonight, exciting times.

  39. Any UK Velominati have any experience of Strada wheels?

  40. @mouse

    Lighter, in most cases yes. More efficient, in most cases probably. More reliable, dubious. Stronger, in what sense? Comfortable is way too broad a criteria – there are both steel and carbon bikes that will punish you, or either that will give you a smooth, couch ride. Easier to maintain, no. How often do you need to tune your 11 speed gears in comparison to a 7sp friction set-up, or get the creak out of your BB30 compared to a Campagnolo bottom bracket? Case closed.

    I like a modern bike if I get the chance to ride one, and I don’t believe “steel is real” or that one single type of bike is “better” than another, but I still love old bikes in the way people like old Ferraris, Spitfires or Seamasters – it’s a tactile, ferrous kinda love that can’t be duplicated with modern gear.

  41. @RobSandy

    So my VMW has been doing more cycling over the summer. She’s taken advantage of some British Cycling organised outdoor track sessions, joined the local cycling club and hired one of their bikes, and has been getting me to take her out for short road rides.

    Last night, she bought this…

    If she’s going to keep the bar tape white, a white saddle might look good. All black tires would dial down the “pimp my ride” effect nicely. Either that or a black saddle/ black seatpost. That and black tires would help make the frame stand out more.

  42. @mouse

    @George Barker

    George! Fantastic article!  Thanks!

    I love what you’ve written here:

    Now, before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t hold with the indiscriminate adoration of all things old-fashioned.  I regard that as an emotional refuge for people daunted by the modern world and/or grieving the loss of their youth.  (A group to which I belong only in the hours immediately following exposure to popular television.)  There’s a reason why “they don’t make ’em like they used to, lad.”  The reason is that they’ve discovered ways to make ’em better.  Broadly speaking, modern bikes and modern cycling gear are lighter, stronger, more efficient, more reliable, more comfortable and easier to maintain than anything we had when I was young, never mind when some of my associates were in their pomp.

    My inner grump cringes at the ‘steel is real’ brigade.

    Also, I hate gumwalls.

    I’ve got a couple of all black steeds. I’d put gumwalls on them in a heartbeat.

    You get so much more bang/value for your $$ these days compared to 20-30 years ago. Carbon forks, STI shifters, alloy wheels, reasonably priced carbon bikes, well designed aluminum frames, the list goes on. Just as modern cars are more efficient/reliable than their predecessors, doesn’t mean a vintage car isn’t fun to drive. I’m not a car guy BTW, but can appreciate the style of older cars.

  43. @Oli

    @mouse

    Lighter, in most cases yes. More efficient, in most cases probably. More reliable, dubious. Stronger, in what sense? Comfortable is way too broad a criteria – there are both steel and carbon bikes that will punish you, or either that will give you a smooth, couch ride. Easier to maintain, no. How often do you need to tune your 11 speed gears in comparison to a 7sp friction set-up, or get the creak out of your BB30 compared to a Campagnolo bottom bracket? Case closed.

    I like a modern bike if I get the chance to ride one, and I don’t believe “steel is real” or that one single type of bike is “better” than another, but I still love old bikes in the way people like old Ferraris, Spitfires or Seamasters – it’s a tactile, ferrous kinda love that can’t be duplicated with modern gear.

    Spot the fuck on, and that bike is perfect.

    To mouse’s point; I’ll reach for the light, stiff, carbon-wheeled Strada every time the sun is shining and I’m not going on a leisurely ride, which is another way of saying I prefer the ride of my lightweight modern bike. But it doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart the way an old classic bike does.

  44. @DCR

    New tires and wheels for the bike added today. I’m looking forward to the first ride!

    Also added this to the mix and will be building this over the winter. Exited to have some stainless steel added to the garage.

    @DCR, That Cannondale is a fine specimen.  Carbone aye.

  45. @RobSandy

    @AJ

    @RobSandy

    @AJ

    It’s a suggestion with a lot of merit. However, looking at the price of power meters I think you’re probably over-estimating the amount I’d need to spend to upgrade my wheels; my bike is really quite basic.

    I can train like a mental bastard with or without a power meter. I am looking at starting to use a HRM, however. One thing at a time.

    Are you, like myself, a Velominatus Budgetatus?

    Yes, very much so. I got my bike on my company’s bike-to-work scheme so I haven’t actually even paid for it completely yet!

    It would be really interesting to have a power meter, but it is firmly in the category of ‘want’ rather than ‘need’.

    Well, if you have a 10spd setup don’t be afraid to look on eBay for used gear. Since 11spd is the new thing there is all kinds of 10spd stuff in mint condition on the market. I just picked up a set of SRAM Red brifters for $125, and they are in great shape. The Pro’s Closet is my favorite eBay store, deals to be had for days, and it is all verified in good condition.

  46. @Oli

    Thanks!

  47. @frank

    Cheers, Frank.

  48. @wiscot

    Thanks, Wiscot. The TT scene in the UK is certainly not what it used to be. I regard that as both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing insofar as the former significance of fixed-distance testing in the UK was a hangover from the period when mass-start racing was against the law. Before WWII, TTs were all that there was, and they consequently had a status in club culture that lasted for decades after mass-start racing became legal. We have gradually becoming more ‘continental’, with a proper programme of road racing, crits, etc, and plenty of opportunity for people to do challenge rides and so forth, which has to be positive. However, the flip side of that is that fewer and fewer people have been doing TTs, especially long TTs. The decline has been accelerated by traffic conditions: traffic volumes are way higher now than in my youth, and were way higher then than 10 or 20 years earlier, when testing was at its zenith. Drivers are less tolerant and many previously suitable roads have been made unsuitable by lights on roadabouts, traffic calming measures and so forth. It’s sad in a way, but, as I say, the cycling scene as a whole is much more healthy now. My own club (Beacon RCC, Birmingham) has twice as many members as when I joined in 83, and they are involved in a much wider range of activities. That picture is replicated across the country.

  49. @mouse

    Thanks!

  50. @ErikdR @wilburrox @JCM

    Thanks for the generous feedback.

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