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.

  • Brush Strokes On The Soul The V-Lion of FlandersI dream of painting and then I paint my dream. -Vincent Van Gogh Poor old Vinnie may have been Dutch, mad as a cut snake, riddled with gonorrhea, a romantic in the most insane sense, and a raging alcoholic, but despite these encumbrances he knew a bit about the use of colour. He also spent a good ...
  • The Torch Song That's not a robot right there.Live music is better than recorded music. It’s a given. Having that connection, where you’re sharing the same space as the artist is a unique experience that can’t be replicated on a plastic disc. To receive the gift from the giver personally is a moment of intimacy not possible if it arrives in a package in the mail. ...
  • Guest Article: The Emonda and the Montello The Red EmondaIt is important to have a steel bike and a carbon bike and maybe a titanium bike. It just is. The steel bike might not be ridden too often but it is worthy bike to ride. A steel frame will be heavier and less stiff but it will feel great. For many of us, we ...
  • How Soon Is Now? Eddy waits for his JaegherWaiting has never been my strong point. I’m anxious, but don’t really suffer from anxiety. Good things come to those who wait isn’t at the top of my list of proverbs to live by. Do What Thou Wilt always has been, though; kind of a Just Do It for early 20th century Satanists, and me. It ...
  • Where Have You Been All My Life? Yes, indeedLife is full of surprises. Some you don’t want, like a funnel web in a shoe, while others are completely unexpected but more than welcome, even if you are then left with figuring out the hows, whys and HOW?s of the serendipitous conundrum now presented to you. This is how I now feel, after fate knocked ...
  1. @Teocalli

    I’ve got to head to my closest LBS tomorrow, so I’ll be asking about fitting services and and seatposts. Looking at it right now, it looks like decreasing the offset could be the biggest difference maker.

    My previous rides were a 50cm 1980s Bianchi Campione with the original components that I acquired 3rd or 4th hand, and then a 54cm 1980s Takara that had been rebuilt with new Suntour bits.

  2. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Is it possible to get 52/36 10 speed chainsets or even replacement chainrings of that size? I’m contemplating upgrading from my compact.

    I think you will find that until 2015 Campag you could not interchange compact and full chainrings without changing the cranks as the spiders were not compatible.  A bit nuts really.  So you may find that depending on what chainset you have it may not be possible to fit a 52 on the spider.  If you can then it should be possible for the front mech to handle the jump but again might depend on which mech you have…………..

    …and I can’t get a full 10 speed crankset with 52/36 rings either. I could get 52/39 or 53/39 I think. But then my knees would fall off.

    And that’s without trying to find out if my front mech would still work or if that would need replacing too. Boo hoo I want a 52×11 not a 50×11.

  3. @Teocalli

    @SamV – or put it another way – at 5’6″ we are never going to have a seatpost like @frank

    Yes, you can. Isla Bikes. 24 Inch wheels…

  4. @Teocalli

    @SamV – or put it another way – at 5’6″ we are never going to have a seatpost like @frank

    You would if you had a frame which was a size too small.

  5. @RobSandy

    Your only option might be to run an 11sp Chainset to get a spider small enough to run a 36 inner others may offer a better opinion of how rattly that would be with a 10Sp chain.

  6. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @SamV – or put it another way – at 5’6″ we are never going to have a seatpost like @frank

    You would if you had a frame which was a size too small.

    ……..or 2 or 3 or………….

  7. @Teocalli

    @SamV – or put it another way – at 5’6″ we are never going to have a seatpost like @frank

    HA! Fine with me. I’ll save a couple grams not needing a meter-long seatpost. And @frank will never be able to draft off me, should we ever find ourselves on a ride together.

  8. I build this bike in early 1994. I purchased the frame from a now defunct LBS chain and ordered all the rest from catalogs. It originally had the Manitou 3 fork to match the rear, but I did the Mach 5 upgrade for performance rather than aesthetic reasons. I wish I would have kept that fork! Tragically, perhaps, I traded it for the Vitus frame I’ve shown you before.
    It also had Magura hydraulic calipers when I built it, but if you know what those were then you know how temperamental they were. Added the XTR V-Brakes whenever it was that they were new. 97ish…?
    XTR mech, Grip Shift X-Ray, Pulstar front hub. The original Nuke Proof rear hub sadly was not Chrissy proof, so I rebuilt the wheel with an XT hub ages ago.
    Thanks to http://www.suspensionforkparts.net for remanufacturing the elastomers, so the suspension actually works kind of well. The blue tires are a concession to vanity, but they are pretty close to the Panaracers I originally ran on it. It should, of course, have skin-wall Smoke and Darts, but those are extinct.

    The head tube, like many Manitou frames, is heartbreaking cracked, so it will never be ridden very hard again. But it will look fantastic in my bike room.

  9. @ChrissyOne

    Holy shit that thing’s awesome! What a slice of history right there.

    The Manitou hardtail was always a ‘want’ bike for me, and I only ever saw one in the flesh. That stem…

    I think I’ve owned just about everything on that bike too. Had a Manitou Sport fork (a rebadged OEM 1 basically), a 4, and a Mach 5 like the one on your bike. Then changed the lowers for the carbon-bridged ones… I’m pretty sure I swapped out the elastomers for a Ti spring too.

    As for Grip Shift, well I loved it… owned every incarnation from the SRT500 (coz Ned and Tomac ran it) through ESP, X-Ray, 9.0, Half Pipe, and X0. Never had much trouble with any of them… rear derailleurs though, another story. They’d snap just by looking at them.

    The glory days, no denying it.

  10. @brett

    @ChrissyOne

    Holy shit that thing’s awesome! What a slice of history right there.

    The Manitou hardtail was always a ‘want’ bike for me, and I only ever saw one in the flesh. That stem…

    It really is a wonderful bike. They never made anything else quite like it. It would have been my #1 for years longer if it had disc brakes.

  11. @RobSandy

    Is it possible to get 52/36 10 speed chainsets or even replacement chainrings of that size? I’m contemplating upgrading from my compact.

    Yes from Rotor. What crank do you use?

    52/36 and 52/38 is available alongside compact options of 50/34 and 50/36

    These are Rotor noQ 5 arm 110 BCD chainrings , 10 and 11 speed compatible.

  12. @Teocalli

    @SamV

    I’ve got a question for the group: I bought my first nice road bike (Felt Z85) about 6 months ago and have come to learn that the frame’s a size too big for me. It’s workable, but slamming the stem isn’t going to happen. I’m saving up to buy #2 this year (a CAADX to be a Rule #9 bike) and buying two bikes isn’t financially possible. I’m thinking of going one season on a slightly too-big frame (54cm, I’m 5’6″), buying the Nine bike late summer/early fall, riding that in the ‘off’ season while saving for a new #1. Then come spring, sell the big one and get an appropriately sized one that might even be a bit of an upgrade.

    But I’m curious, how would you approach this situation?

    @SamV  I’m 5’6″ and tend to ride a 54cm – though the concept of 54cm does vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer.  So I’d suggest you do not make the assumption it is too big without getting a bike fit.  I do tend to use a seatpost with minimal lay back but I don’t have to use a short stem and have 100mm or 90mm depending on the individual bike top tube measurement.

    You say it is your first nice bike so I’d also ask what have you ridden previously and maybe it is just a matter of getting used to nice bikes!  One thing to bear in mind is that if you have stem spacers in the 54 then typically if you go down to a smaller frame you will tend to have a greater seat to stem drop with a smaller frame (depending on make/model).  So actually you are more likely to be able to slam the stem on a bigger frame than a smaller one.

    A qualified bike fit would be the way to go.  Personally while I could go down a size when I have tried a smaller frame I do feel a bit tucked up and the bike fits I have had come out at a 53/54 equivalent depending on make and how their stock sizes pan out.

    Hey fellas:

    I’m 5’6″ as well.

    For me this equates to a 52cm top tube frame with a 12cm stem.

  13. Not sure why pictures not coming through on last post.   Unless its just my end ?

  14. @Barracuda

    nope, they’re not showing at all this time.

  15. @Sparty

    I started purchasing items for this build during the early winter.  The build is nearly complete.  2015 Ridley Helium SL.  I have yet to ride it.  My current number 1 will be angry at me when it becomes my daily training bike and doesn’t get to race any longer.  Well maybe some Crits and Gran Fondos, it at least deserves those.

    That’s looking cool,got mine at the end of last year as a frameset and built it up with an Ultegra group-san;thought it rode nice straight off the bat but fitting some open paves + latex tubes makes the grotty roads around here almost pleasurable.

  16. @Barracuda

    laces to bike, pro level matching!

  17. @Mikael Liddy

    @Barracuda

    laces to bike, pro level matching!

    Exactly, not bad given that his little bike is actually two old shitty bikes ( one purple and pink and one red ) melded together and painted.

    The “V” decal finishes it off.

  18. @Barracuda

    does indeed.

  19. So the R3 is in the shop after Wednesday night’s car vs bike ordeal.

    I thought the main point of impact was midway up the forks (where there was a paint scrape from the car), that was until we leant on the hood/shifter & watched the whole drop give way! 3T Carbon bars had broken clean through under the tape on the tops, tape job (not mine) was obviously solid enough to hold the bar in place until we put some downward pressure on it!

  20. @Mikael Liddy

    So the R3 is in the shop after Wednesday night’s car vs bike ordeal.

    I thought the main point of impact was midway up the forks (where there was a paint scrape from the car), that was until we leant on the hood/shifter & watched the whole drop give way! 3T Carbon bars had broken clean through under the tape on the tops, tape job (not mine) was obviously solid enough to hold the bar in place until we put some downward pressure on it!

    R5 coming up ?     I know where you can get some Rotor cranks to suit !

  21. @Barracuda

    interesting you say that. Steve mentioned that as they no longer do a “Team” version of the R3, the closest comparison is the R5…to say the eyes lit up is an understatement!

  22. @TommyTubolare

    @RobSandy

    Is it possible to get 52/36 10 speed chainsets or even replacement chainrings of that size? I’m contemplating upgrading from my compact.

    Yes from Rotor. What crank do you use?

    52/36 and 52/38 is available alongside compact options of 50/34 and 50/36

    These are Rotor noQ 5 arm 110 BCD chainrings , 10 and 11 speed compatible.

    Ooo…thanks…<research mode>

  23. @Barracuda

    Awesome stuff. My 3 year old Velomini got stroppy because he noticed the wheels on his first, cheap (crap) balance bike were bigger than the wheels on his nice, cool Puky bike. Cue a wheel transplant, which involved drilling out the holes in the forks and rear stays to fit the thicker axles for the bigger wheels.

    He’s now very happy with his bike again, plus it gives an extra inch of room so it should last until we can get him on a pedal bike.

  24. A very nice compilation of handlebar information. Not a bad resource when there are so many bars and bends ou there.

    http://ruedatropical.com/2009/03/road-drop-bar-geometry/

  25. Thought I’d put a couple of pics here of my Helium in it’s current guise;

    Just fitted a superleggero stem but not ridden it yet with it.Have done with the recently bought Open Paves(+latex tubes) which are pretty awesome.

  26. Since it is show off time, first one in North America and only one with proper cantis in North America…

  27. @ChrissyOne

    I am really happy for you that things got sorted out. I don’t sell the Pinos, but it is good to know that the shop backed you. fi'zi:k tape, best white ever.

    @RedRanger

    I’m not mad at you anymore. Not that I was that mad to begin with! Matches nicely.

  28. @wilburrox

    Okay, so the before (after first ride/race a day after assembly) and after (major cleaning and misc repairs including the folks at Industry Nine had repaired with a new rim my one and done rear wheel) of the new Ritchey Swisscross disc bike. Mounted (major pain doing this) some 30c open tubular Challenge Strada Biancas with intention to ride a century this coming Fri with a good bit of Alabama red dirt roads. I’ve been riding these roads on 25 and 27c Vittoria Pave’s w/road bikes. The CX bike I suspect will be more work. We shall see. Red saddle is on order. I dig this bike.

  29. @Dan_R

    Something tells me that the person racing that bike would be kicking my a** in a CX race on my bike. That’s a machine. Gorgeous. I really had desire to build mine with the Shimano hydraulic brakes and was dang glad I had them for the mudfest I recently raced. Next CX bike I build will be lightweight carbon w/canti’s and uber stiff front end w/a 1×11. Still, I’m psyched to be racing on a proper CX bike later this season after racing a mod’d mtn bike last year for first time. Great fun. In meantime, I’m gonna be searching out some forest service roads and such. Cheers.

  30. @fenlander

    I flat out love Pave’s. On the days I get the tire pressure just right for road conditions and temp… they can be about perfect. Admittedly I’ve most recently been riding the all black ones. Originally I was riding the 24c’s with the green skunk stripe down the middle. Lately I’ve been swapping the 25c and 27c depending on what I’m feeling like riding. Ridley’s and Pave’s are a dang good match. Cheers.

  31. @ChrissyOne

    That’s not the first snapshot of a cool classic mtn bike you’ve posted !

  32. @RobSandy

    @TommyTubolare

    @RobSandy

    Is it possible to get 52/36 10 speed chainsets or even replacement chainrings of that size? I’m contemplating upgrading from my compact.

    Yes from Rotor. What crank do you use?

    52/36 and 52/38 is available alongside compact options of 50/34 and 50/36

    These are Rotor noQ 5 arm 110 BCD chainrings , 10 and 11 speed compatible.

    Ooo…thanks…<research mode>

    While you’re in research mode, these might be worth checking out…

    http://www.praxiscycles.com/product/compact-road-sets/

  33. @Dan_R

    That thing is so rad.

  34. @Barracuda

    Nothing better than kids and bikes together. That’s perfect. And when ya have kiddos in the house that like bikes as much as we do? End up with 2(n+1) or 3(n+1) or whatev… You’re just getting started! Much fun ’cause they grow outa them fast.  I swear I like planning and assembling bikes for my kids more than for myself. Cheers

  35. Hand raised, looking for help from the Velominati IT neutral service vehicle. Tried fruitlessly to post picks of my 2015 Canyon Ultimate SLX w/shamal milles, and my newly  built up Merckx MXL. Somehow, my picturing and messaging abilities have been clipped. Please help.

  36. @Mikael Liddy

    @RobSandy

    @TommyTubolare

    @RobSandy

    Is it possible to get 52/36 10 speed chainsets or even replacement chainrings of that size? I’m contemplating upgrading from my compact.

    Yes from Rotor. What crank do you use?

    52/36 and 52/38 is available alongside compact options of 50/34 and 50/36

    These are Rotor noQ 5 arm 110 BCD chainrings , 10 and 11 speed compatible.

    Ooo…thanks…<research mode>

    While you’re in research mode, these might be worth checking out…

    http://www.praxiscycles.com/product/compact-road-sets/

    Praxis are incredible. Forged, rather than machined, and with really good ramps. 52/36 is becoming a new standard, and availability is increasing. I’ve got SRAM 52/36 rings on one of my bikes – doesn’t match the group-san, but suits the black crank.

  37. @fignons barber

    Hand raised, looking for help from the Velominati IT neutral service vehicle. Tried fruitlessly to post picks of my 2015 Canyon Ultimate SLX w/shamal milles, and my newly  built up Merckx MXL. Somehow, my picturing and messaging abilities have been clipped. Please help.

    How are you liking the Shamal Milles? I’ve just ordered a set for my mum’s birthday. Textured and treated aluminium should put that silly notion of disc brakes back to MTBs, where they belong.

  38. @Mikael Liddy

    While you’re in research mode, these might be worth checking out…

    http://www.praxiscycles.com/product/compact-road-sets/

    Even better! A black 52/36 would match my bike perfectly. And not too expensive $170 dollars is about £115. And I’ve just found a UK distributor.

    <plotting mode>

  39. @wilburrox

    @fenlander

    I flat out love Pave’s. On the days I get the tire pressure just right for road conditions and temp… they can be about perfect. Admittedly I’ve most recently been riding the all black ones. Originally I was riding the 24c’s with the green skunk stripe down the middle. Lately I’ve been swapping the 25c and 27c depending on what I’m feeling like riding. Ridley’s and Pave’s are a dang good match. Cheers.

    Yep,really liking the pave’s;saw a pic of a helium with the same paint as mine with green pave’s on and was sold,just got to see how long they(and the tubes) will last on the roads and droves around here although I am actually seeking out the rougher roads just to see how they go.

  40. Brake pads: What are you guys riding for alu rims?

    Looking for a pad that’s grippy and won’t grind my rims down too fast. Don’t mind if the pad itself wears quickly, and it’ll mostly be dry weather. Swisstop? KoolStop? Plain Shimano?

  41. @tessar

    Brake pads: What are you guys riding for alu rims?

    Looking for a pad that’s grippy and won’t grind my rims down too fast. Don’t mind if the pad itself wears quickly, and it’ll mostly be dry weather. Swisstop? KoolStop? Plain Shimano?

    I run Koolstop salmon blocks. I rode them for a couple years commuting before picking out a roady, and they work great in all weathers compared to the other blocks I have ever tried. I use them a lot in the dry, get about 10,000k out of a set? But they shine in the wet compared to regular black blocks I have used. YMMV.

    I also find they don’t tend to pick up shards of aluminium which other pads do and then grind the brake track. I think they almost polish the rim. Perhaps they are a bit softer than regular brake pads.

    Swisstop gets a lot of props also in their special colours (can’t recall which is the best though), so they might be worth a look.

    I’ve never seen to change, and been through 4 sets of the pink pads.

  42. @Beers

    @tessar

    Brake pads: What are you guys riding for alu rims?

    Looking for a pad that’s grippy and won’t grind my rims down too fast. Don’t mind if the pad itself wears quickly, and it’ll mostly be dry weather. Swisstop? KoolStop? Plain Shimano?

    I run Koolstop salmon blocks. I rode them for a couple years commuting before picking out a roady, and they work great in all weathers compared to the other blocks I have ever tried. I use them a lot in the dry, get about 10,000k out of a set? But they shine in the wet compared to regular black blocks I have used. YMMV.

    I also find they don’t tend to pick up shards of aluminium which other pads do and then grind the brake track. I think they almost polish the rim. Perhaps they are a bit softer than regular brake pads.

    Swisstop gets a lot of props also in their special colours (can’t recall which is the best though), so they might be worth a look.

    I’ve never seen to change, and been through 4 sets of the pink pads.

    +10 on Koolstop Salmons for aluminum rims.  Been very happy with them on Nemesis (wet and dry), Nucleons, TB-14 hard ano.  I switch out to Enve blues for my carbon rims.

    I did read good things about a new Swisstop pad, but don’t recall the color.  Also thinking about the Campagnolo reds as well.

  43. @teleguy57

    Someone here (Chris) recommended Swisstop Green to get along with hard ano rims.

  44. @teleguy57

    @Beers

    @tessar

    Brake pads: What are you guys riding for alu rims?

    Looking for a pad that’s grippy and won’t grind my rims down too fast. Don’t mind if the pad itself wears quickly, and it’ll mostly be dry weather. Swisstop? KoolStop? Plain Shimano?

    I run Koolstop salmon blocks. I rode them for a couple years commuting before picking out a roady, and they work great in all weathers compared to the other blocks I have ever tried. I use them a lot in the dry, get about 10,000k out of a set? But they shine in the wet compared to regular black blocks I have used. YMMV.

    I also find they don’t tend to pick up shards of aluminium which other pads do and then grind the brake track. I think they almost polish the rim. Perhaps they are a bit softer than regular brake pads.

    Swisstop gets a lot of props also in their special colours (can’t recall which is the best though), so they might be worth a look.

    I’ve never seen to change, and been through 4 sets of the pink pads.

    +10 on Koolstop Salmons for aluminum rims.  Been very happy with them on Nemesis (wet and dry), Nucleons, TB-14 hard ano.  I switch out to Enve blues for my carbon rims.

    I did read good things about a new Swisstop pad, but don’t recall the color.  Also thinking about the Campagnolo reds as well.

    I’ve got Salmons on my TT bike, never really thought about them but it’s true that they’ve been very gentle on that rim, and despite being an aero-brake I’ve never lacked traction either. I guess “never thought about them” is the biggest compliment a brake pad can get. My climate here is mostly dry, so wet performance isn’t critical.

    I think I’ll give those a shot, or take another look at Swisstop – my carbon-riding friends have been very happy with their Yellow and Black Prince compounds. Green, you say?

  45. @tessar

    Brake pads: What are you guys riding for alu rims?

    Looking for a pad that’s grippy and won’t grind my rims down too fast. Don’t mind if the pad itself wears quickly, and it’ll mostly be dry weather. Swisstop? KoolStop? Plain Shimano?

    Shimano DA blocks and pads. I like to keep the pads and brake tracks clean and will regularly “floss” in the little pad slots. I just can’t help but think that the grit and such that accumulates in there is best if not there re: rim wear. I guess that even if didn’t affect anything, I’d still clean ‘em out. Just one of those things.

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