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.

  • On Rule #12: The Bike #1 Paradox This helps make a bike special.The only parents who proclaim to have a favorite child are the ones who have only one; all the other ones pretend they don’t have a favorite because they are each “different and special in their own way”. It’s complete bollocks, that, and we all know every parent does in fact have a favorite, but we ...
  • In Memoriam: The Funny Bike The FunnybikeSummer, it appears, has been snatched abruptly from Seattle’s grasp, like a squeak toy from a puppy’s mouth. A week ago, we were setting record temperatures which were sadly playing their role in producing the worst wildfire season the state has ever seen. On the plus side, I haven’t ridden my Nine Bike in so long both its ...
  • 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; ...
  1. @PanzerPuss

    Nice. I’m not a great fan of Cervelos – I find them very samey – but I quite like that white top tube effect.

    No obvious misdemeanours I can spot. Might have an issue with the stem angle… is that a Rule?

    Your choice of reading material on the other hand…

  2. @ChrisO

    Thanks Chris. I am breaking a rule on the slammed stem but its a new bike and graduating from a Giant Defy I am still dialing in my position before I remove the two spacers.

    As for the books … have a wife that’s all I’m gonna say about that ;)

  3. @PanzerPuss

    Like the white top tube. And even though I’m a Shimano guy, what’s not to like about your full Campy build!

  4. @PanzerPuss

    @ChrisO

    Thanks Chris. I am breaking a rule on the slammed stem but its a new bike and graduating from a Giant Defy I am still dialing in my position before I remove the two spacers.

    Aesthetics aside, you need to get your stem/bar height at whatever height works for you. Doesn’t do any good to go long and low if it’s going to kill your back. That said, you should ditch the spacer and swap in a -17 degree stem.

  5. @chuckp

    Thanks for the advice Chuck :) This is my first Campy bike too, my other ones are Shimano … loving it so far.

    I will stick to the two spacers for a few more weeks and then make a call on slamming the thing. The negative angle stems are beyond my flexibility limits now … I know HTFU …

  6. @PanzerPuss

    Not sure what headset you have, but if it came with a taller top cap you could probably use that with one spacer and still be OK. When I first built my Felt FC I used the taller top cap with one 10mm spacer under the stem. Have since ditched the spacer (so 2x10mm on top, which is OK since I saw a pic of Wiggo’s Dogma with 20mm worth of spacers on top of his stem) and after going 20mm shorter on my original stem length went 10mm longer (from the shorter stem). Oh yeah … -17 degree stem. Part of me says I could swap out the taller top cap for the shorter one (maybe 5mm difference) and still be OK, but I don’t want to tempt fate.

  7. @chuckp

    Sorry Chuck trying to keep up … so your saying that you switched to a longer stem and removed all the spacers below it and stacked them on top instead? Are the spacers on top insurance in case you change your mind about the slammed stem? What other benefit does the taller top cap provide?

    Also, is that a -17 degree stem? Whats the length on that?

  8. @PanzerPuss

    My original build was with a 3T ARX Pro 120mm -17 degree stem, a 10mm spacer below, and a 10mm spacer above. But the stem was actually longer than 120mm (3T takes the measurement for +17 degrees), almost 140mm! So I got a 100mm ARX Pro stem. After riding it for a year, I thought I could ride a little more stretched out and lower. I found a 110mm ARX Pro stem on eBay for cheap, ditched the spacer under the stem, and added it to the spacer on top. My plan was to cut the steerer tube (carbon) once I was sure I was OK with the longer and lower position. But after seeing a pick of Wiggins’ Dogma with 20mm spacer on top, I decided if Wiggo is willing to ride that way so can I and to just keep the spacers on top. That does give me the option of raising the stem if I ever decide I want to do that. It’s overkill in terms of having sufficient steerer tube above the stem to guard against possible steerer tube breakage. Everything I’ve read says a 5mm spacer is OK and 10mm is ideal. 20mm is about as much as I would go. I’ve seen guys riding with 30mm worth of spacers above the stem and it looks dorky.

    Yes, -17 degree stem. 110mm according to 3T spec but actually measures out more like 120mm.

  9. What are these “spacers” you speak of?

  10. @EBruner

    They are part of a kit of parts from a different generation than filigree, polished lugs and sexy quill stems! Very nice.

  11. @EBruner

    Now we’re talking!

  12. @PanzerPuss

    My new steed posted for your critique/suggestions :) Hopefully I learned something from the last time I posted my old bike.

    First off, smart choice of chorus groupo. I would argue that that it’s the best campag group regardless of price. I think chorus has a better, more durable chain and cassette than SR/Record, a stronger FD and sturdier RD cage. Weight penalty is realistically about 30 grams in the crankset through the use of Ti bolts. Bora Ones are perfect. The only no no I see is the setback seatpost with the saddle pushed full forward: Zero setback post with saddle in the middle of rails would be perfect. Great looking bike!

  13. @PanzerPuss

    @chuckp

    Sorry Chuck trying to keep up … so your saying that you switched to a longer stem and removed all the spacers below it and stacked them on top instead? Are the spacers on top insurance in case you change your mind about the slammed stem? What other benefit does the taller top cap provide?

    Also, is that a -17 degree stem? Whats the length on that?

    Hold it on the stem!

    Let’s look at the history of a -17 stem. This number came about because bikes of yesteryear had level top tubes and a 73 deg head tube. In order to give a level appearance with regard to the 73 HT angle, 17 degree was used. With a quill stem, you simply undid the bolt and raised or lowered the stem to the best height. 17 degree was purely to balance the aesthetic.

    Nowadays, the -17 stem is a pro bailout move that says ” my damn sponsor only makes one size head tube in their plastic bike that fits my TT length, so I need to rig it.”

    We, as smart consumers, can choose proper fitting custom sleds, or choose between various manufacteurers to get a bike that actually fits us. Additionally, a 7 or 8 degree stem compliments the geometry of both sloping and traditional geometries.

    Remember, the idea of bike fit is to be able to ride comfortably in the drops for the MAJORITY of the time you are riding on level terrain, with your back as flat as possible.

  14. @fignons barber

    Nowadays, the -17 stem is a pro bailout move that says ” my damn sponsor only makes one size head tube in their plastic bike that fits my TT length, so I need to rig it.”

    Spot Fucking On!!!! Preach it!!

  15. @fignons barber

    interesting you mention that, it’s the exact same issue I have (aesthetically) with the R5. There’s one of these in the near future – https://www.bikethomson.com/product/masterpiece-seatpost/

  16. @fignons barber

    Thanks for the compliments.

    Good spot on the seat position. I was tying to replicate the position on my endurance bike which I bought a frame size too large and hence had to get a zero setback seatpost. This one is a small but I set it up just like my old bike. Realized the mistake one halfway through the second ride when the knees started hurting. The seat is now moved back halfway between the rails.

  17. @chuckp

    Thanks Chuck for the detailed explanation. Will wait it out a little bit. Get more comfy on the bike. Its a different experience than riding my Giant Defy and I definitely had some back aches on the first few rides getting used to the more long and low position as compared to the Defy.

  18. @EBruner

    Beautiful!! What bar tape are you using?

  19. @fignons barber

    @fignons barber

    @PanzerPuss

    @chuckp

    Sorry Chuck trying to keep up … so your saying that you switched to a longer stem and removed all the spacers below it and stacked them on top instead? Are the spacers on top insurance in case you change your mind about the slammed stem? What other benefit does the taller top cap provide?

    Also, is that a -17 degree stem? Whats the length on that?

    Hold it on the stem!

    Let’s look at the history of a -17 stem. This number came about because bikes of yesteryear had level top tubes and a 73 deg head tube. In order to give a level appearance with regard to the 73 HT angle, 17 degree was used. With a quill stem, you simply undid the bolt and raised or lowered the stem to the best height. 17 degree was purely to balance the aesthetic.

    Nowadays, the -17 stem is a pro bailout move that says ” my damn sponsor only makes one size head tube in their plastic bike that fits my TT length, so I need to rig it.”

    We, as smart consumers, can choose proper fitting custom sleds, or choose between various manufacteurers to get a bike that actually fits us. Additionally, a 7 or 8 degree stem compliments the geometry of both sloping and traditional geometries.

    Remember, the idea of bike fit is to be able to ride comfortably in the drops for the MAJORITY of the time you are riding on level terrain, with your back as flat as possible.

    Much needed history lesson ;) I learn new things everyday here …

  20. @Kay_Jay

    Dont normally show people my stuff until its fully built and buffed but I’m more excited than usual by this one. It’s a Colnago Carbon Volo (less than 200 produced in 1988) and I have the gruppo to go with it (full C-Record, of course) and the original Ambrosio Metamorphosis/CR freewheel hubs.

    The first Colnago full carbon monocoque frame in all its crazy 1980ness topped by a ridiculous marmo/marble paint job and with the original owners signature on the top tube (Ottaviano Frugeri). Will post more when finished.

    That’s one heck of a paint job. Looks beautiful. You never have to worry about scratches ;)

  21. @PanzerPuss

    @EBruner

    Beautiful!! What bar tape are you using?

    Fizik super thin.

  22. @chuckp

    @PanzerPuss

    @ChrisO

    Thanks Chris. I am breaking a rule on the slammed stem but its a new bike and graduating from a Giant Defy I am still dialing in my position before I remove the two spacers.

    Aesthetics aside, you need to get your stem/bar height at whatever height works for you. Doesn’t do any good to go long and low if it’s going to kill your back. That said, you should ditch the spacer and swap in a -17 degree stem.

    THIS x 1000.

    I “slammed my stem” a few years ago and ended up getting so much nerve damage that my doc made me stay off the bike for 6 months.

    Make sure you have the fit correct first. It does no good to “look pro” and not be able to ride at all (which is the least pro thing you can do).

  23. @EBruner

    @PanzerPuss

    @EBruner

    Beautiful!! What bar tape are you using?

    Fizik super thin.

    Thanks much. I am switching from my regular Fizik tape.

  24. This seat position stuff I find quite intriguing. I find my arse ends up where it wants to be based on my physiology and not based on where my saddle is. So if my saddle is too far forward I sit on the back of it (rare as I’m a short-arse) or too far back I get the rivet up the wrong place. So I adjust the saddle position post test riding to align with where my arse ends up. The two key factors influencing where I sit on the saddle are reach and saddle height.

  25. @Teocalli

    This seat position stuff I find quite intriguing. I find my arse ends up where it wants to be based on my physiology and not based on where my saddle is. So if my saddle is too far forward I sit on the back of it (rare as I’m a short-arse) or too far back I get the rivet up the wrong place. So I adjust the saddle position post test riding to align with where my arse ends up. The two key factors influencing where I sit on the saddle are reach and saddle height.

    And Rule #20

  26. @Buck Rogers

    @chuckp

    @PanzerPuss

    @ChrisO

    Thanks Chris. I am breaking a rule on the slammed stem but its a new bike and graduating from a Giant Defy I am still dialing in my position before I remove the two spacers.

    Aesthetics aside, you need to get your stem/bar height at whatever height works for you. Doesn’t do any good to go long and low if it’s going to kill your back. That said, you should ditch the spacer and swap in a -17 degree stem.

    THIS x 1000.

    I “slammed my stem” a few years ago and ended up getting so much nerve damage that my doc made me stay off the bike for 6 months.

    Make sure you have the fit correct first. It does no good to “look pro” and not be able to ride at all (which is the least pro thing you can do).

    Just to clarify, I was talking about the stem angle not the slamming thereof.

    I totally agree it needs to work for you and I don’t see the point of having several spacers above the stem and then using a positive angle so it slopes upward. To my eyes it looks better to have less space above so the base of the stem is a bit higher but have the stem at a closer angle to horizontal.

    The bars end up in much the same place so it doesn’t make a difference, just looks a bit nicer in my view.

  27. @fignons barber

    For the record … I like the look of a -17 degree stem even on bikes with sloping top tubes (like my Felt FC). But the reason I ride with a -17 degree stem is because that’s what fits me and works for me on my bike. I wouldn’t if I couldn’t. One of the reasons I don’t like endurance geometry is that the head tubes are too tall (in a frame that’s otherwise sized right for me), which means if I had that kind of geometry I’d have to undersize my frame and go much longer with my seat post and stem.

  28. @Teocalli

    I’m from the Greg Lemond school of seat position. Set back seat post. Slam the seat back as far as you can. Probably not Chris Froome’s seat position given how fast he can spin.

  29. @ChrisO

    I totally agree it needs to work for you and I don’t see the point of having several spacers above the stem and then using a positive angle so it slopes upward. To my eyes it looks better to have less space above so the base of the stem is a bit higher but have the stem at a closer angle to horizontal.

    This is just hideous.

  30. Pics of Wiggo’s Dogma with 20mm spacer above the stem. If Wiggo can do that, so can I.

  31. @PanzerPuss

    @chuckp

    Thanks Chuck for the detailed explanation. Will wait it out a little bit. Get more comfy on the bike. Its a different experience than riding my Giant Defy and I definitely had some back aches on the first few rides getting used to the more long and low position as compared to the Defy.

    If you’re familiar with the movie “Magnum Force,” just remember that a man’s gotta know his limitations. I know a lot of us here are on the other side of a half century. Long and low may be the pro look, but if you don’t have the flexibility to ride long and low … don’t even try. You’re just asking for nothing but back pain/trouble … or worse. Get your bike set up so that you’re riding without any aches first. Then gradually and in small increments (maybe 5mm at a time) experiment with a different position.

    I’m lucky. For whatever reason (despite my advancing years) I’m still able to ride in a position that resembles what I used to ride when I raced. Ironically, my back actually likes it better with my 10mm longer and 10mm lower position (and my previous position wasn’t what you would call “upright”).

  32. @PanzerPuss

    My “slammed” stem with 20mm worth of spacers on top. Some would argue it’s not really slammed since I have the “tall” headset top cap. Fair enough point.

  33. @PanzerPuss

    You never have to worry about scratches ;)

    That may be the best thing said about that frame. Some kinda desert storm camo color way would all but disappear on a dirt road.

    And a great reason for getting a black bike when the frame is C is no see scratches. I don’t know that I’d ever buy a C frame mtn bike again that wasn’t black.

    cheers

  34. @chuckp

    @Teocalli

    I’m from the Greg Lemond school of seat position. Set back seat post. Slam the seat back as far as you can. Probably not Chris Froome’s seat position given how fast he can spin.

    It all depends on the rider and femur length. I think Lemond has very long femur length as well as massive upper legs. The way back saddle accommodates his long upper leg and uses his upper leg strength. The farther you move the saddle behind the bb, the more you rely on your thighs for power, the more forward you move the saddle, the more the lower leg powers you. I remember someone on another site recently posted a measurement sheet from the old Z team. It listed the geometries for all the riders on the team. Lemond, even though he is only 5’9″ or 5’10”, rode a 57cm top tube!

  35. @PanzerPuss

    Im also building a Colnago Volo right now just buyed.C-record delta and Shamal wheels.Im excited with that proyect.

    Please contact me adriort19@hotmail.com want to ask you some questions

  36. @chuckp

    @PanzerPuss

    My “slammed” stem with 20mm worth of spacers on top. Some would argue it’s not really slammed since I have the “tall” headset top cap. Fair enough point.

    Cool … I may not be that flexible yet … working on my aero tuck position :) As someone mentioned above changes in small increments …

  37. @Randy C

    @PanzerPuss

    You never have to worry about scratches ;)

    That may be the best thing said about that frame. Some kinda desert storm camo color way would all but disappear on a dirt road.

    And a great reason for getting a black bike when the frame is C is no see scratches. I don’t know that I’d ever buy a C frame mtn bike again that wasn’t black.

    cheers

    Or you could cover it up in helicopter tape :)

    http://www.amazon.com/ISC-Helicopter-OG-Surface-Tape-Outdoor/dp/B000O6BQMG

  38. @chuckp

    Pics of Wiggo’s Dogma with 20mm spacer above the stem. If Wiggo can do that, so can I.

    I’m almost certain its the red stripe effect on that fi'zi:k saddle but it doesn’t look level with the ground. Nose tilted upwards?

  39. @fignons barber

    @chuckp

    @Teocalli

    I’m from the Greg Lemond school of seat position. Set back seat post. Slam the seat back as far as you can. Probably not Chris Froome’s seat position given how fast he can spin.

    It all depends on the rider and femur length. I think Lemond has very long femur length as well as massive upper legs. The way back saddle accommodates his long upper leg and uses his upper leg strength. The farther you move the saddle behind the bb, the more you rely on your thighs for power, the more forward you move the saddle, the more the lower leg powers you. I remember someone on another site recently posted a measurement sheet from the old Z team. It listed the geometries for all the riders on the team. Lemond, even though he is only 5’9″ or 5’10”, rode a 57cm top tube!

    I’m 5’8″ (on a good day). For my height, my legs are short-ish and my torso is long-ish so I ride with a 54.5cm top tube (on both my traditional steel frame that is 53cm and my Felt FC that is 54cm). The other “benefit” of a further back saddle position is that if you’re an “old school” bigger gears/lower cadence climber, you can “push” the pedals for more power. If you’re more of a spinner, you’d probably want a more forward-ish saddle position.

  40. @PanzerPuss

    I’m almost certain its the red stripe effect on that fi’zi:k saddle but it doesn’t look level with the ground. Nose tilted upwards?

    That’s actually how I set my saddle (Fizik Kurve Bull). It’s level from nose to tail.

  41. @chuckp

    Pics of Wiggo’s Dogma with 20mm spacer above the stem. If Wiggo can do that, so can I.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right…

  42. V-Gear – hope everyone got the exciting update this morning. The dog will be chasing the postman daily in anticipation – if we had a dog that is.

    Picked up my Campy Super Record update yesterday evening and the sun is out this morning for it’s first ride.

    A good start to the day!

  43. @Teocalli

    V-Gear – hope everyone got the exciting update this morning. The dog will be chasing the postman daily in anticipation – if we had a dog that is.

    Picked up my Campy Super Record update yesterday evening and the sun is out this morning for it’s first ride.

    A good start to the day!

    i didn’t receive anything, of course i only ordered a casquette, so perhaps thats why. Wonder if it will make its way out the door as well?

  44. @Teocalli

    Another solution for a problem that does not exist?

    http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/videos/watch/watch-rear-wheel-steering-singlespeed-bike?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social

    i see falling on this hurting more than falling off a normal bike….not sure why, perhaps the fear of the handlebars and backwheel being on the same side of the bike.

  45. Riding has been limited to the 5k commute recently due to illness sweeping through the Liddy household, upside is I’ve had a chance to reconnect with this beauty.

  46. @Mikael Liddy

    That does look a beauty.

    First ride today on the Campy Super Record upgrade. Wondered if I would notice a real difference to Chorus but wow it is super slick. Heck of a price difference by I don’t have that many vices that I can’t indulge myself a bit! Big grin time.

  47. @Mikael Liddy

    Riding has been limited to the 5k commute recently due to illness sweeping through the Liddy household, upside is I’ve had a chance to reconnect with this beauty.

    More, more and more shots required. Brooks saddle, matching bar tape. Yes please

  48. @PanzerPuss

    Hello,i have one like this Volo.I have just bought it.Could you give me more information about this model?

  49. @Adri

    The Volo belongs to @kay_jay

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