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.

  • Rule #12 and the Cascade Effect Rule #12: the minimum number of bikes to own is three. That is a very reasonable opening salvo for the Rule about bike ownership. Three is good and certainly a minimum, and we are talking road bikes here, if there was any doubt. They naturally become ordered: the #1 is ichi-ban, top dog, go-to bike ...
  • Guest Article: Black Is Not The New Black  @kogalover is singing my song here. Bikes are beautiful. ’nuff said. VLVV, Gianni With all those posts on riding in winter and being visible, either by putting Eyes of Sauron or other car melting devices on one’s steed, or by even considering a YJA instead of donning plain black kit, it was about time to finally get ...
  • Dialing in the Stable This was going to be an article about Rule #45. It is amazing how much time is wasted and matches burned when professionals stop for that second bike change to get back on their #1. With all the jigs available to team mechanics it would seem they could set up five bikes exactly the same. And ...
  • Matching the drapes to the rug As a longtime titanium bike owner, I’ve always been jealous of a beautiful painted frame but Ti and carbon frames don’t need paint like a steel frame needs paint. But I want some painted beauty. It’s like buying a white car; I can’t do white, need some color. So between a Ti frame and a ...
  • Festum Prophetae: Waiting for the Hour Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. – Mike Tyson The one thing everyone should always plan for is that however well-conceived a program might be, things will never go to plan. The high level plan for my Festum Prophetae Hour Ride was as follows: Have a custom Hour Bike built by Don Walker. Because reasons. Reasons like custom ...
  1. Crikey. Strade Bianchi had 5,000 entrants across the 2 routes and a combined total of seemingly only 2,765 finishers within the time limit. That’s some rate of DNS/DNF. I feel pretty chuffed.

    There were only 42 finishers in my age group on the long route. Though the top guy in the group did beat me by 1 Hr 20 mins averaging roughly 8 Kmph faster than me.

    Will just have to try harder next year!

  2. @Teocalli

    Crikey. Strade Bianchi had 5,000 entrants across the 2 routes and a combined total of seemingly only 2,765 finishers within the time limit. That’s some rate of DNS/DNF. I feel pretty chuffed.

    There were only 42 finishers in my age group on the long route. Though the top guy in the group did beat me by 1 Hr 20 mins averaging roughly 8 Kmph faster than me.

    Will just have to try harder next year!

    Woah, something tells me they needed to call in a squadron of extra broom wagons that day… or meatwagons (à la 2000AD) for that matter!

    Pay no mind to what the other guy did. He could be a beast, or a wheelsucker of the highest order for all we know. You finished, and that’s what matters (Chapeau, by the way!). Read Lanterne Rouge if you haven’t already. Quite inspiring.

  3. @DVMR

    @Teocalli

    Crikey. Strade Bianchi had 5,000 entrants across the 2 routes and a combined total of seemingly only 2,765 finishers within the time limit. That’s some rate of DNS/DNF. I feel pretty chuffed.

    There were only 42 finishers in my age group on the long route. Though the top guy in the group did beat me by 1 Hr 20 mins averaging roughly 8 Kmph faster than me.

    Will just have to try harder next year!

    Woah, something tells me they needed to call in a squadron of extra broom wagons that day… or meatwagons (à la 2000AD) for that matter!

    Pay no mind to what the other guy did. He could be a beast, or a wheelsucker of the highest order for all we know. You finished, and that’s what matters (Chapeau, by the way!). Read Lanterne Rouge if you haven’t already. Quite inspiring.

    Indeed. No need to feel bad at all. You came, you rode, you finished. That’s a helluva lot more than a lot of others did. Chapeau!

  4. @Teocalli

    Crikey. Strade Bianchi had 5,000 entrants across the 2 routes and a combined total of seemingly only 2,765 finishers within the time limit. That’s some rate of DNS/DNF. I feel pretty chuffed.

    There were only 42 finishers in my age group on the long route. Though the top guy in the group did beat me by 1 Hr 20 mins averaging roughly 8 Kmph faster than me.

    Will just have to try harder next year!

    Yeah, you weren’t slow for that sort of ride. Chapeau.

    First road race of the season this Sunday. Finished 15th in this one last year and I’ve added some extra watts and lost a kilo or so.

    Wish me luck!

  5. Anyone seen this before? Big bulge in my tyre. Not caused by the tube, and there still seems to be plenty of wear left in the tyre.

  6. @RobSandy

    Seen it a couple of times on car tyres. Faulty tyre I’m afraid, the inner carcass has failed, you could try to see if Continental will replace but that’s trash.

  7. @Teocalli

    Bugger it. Fitted em about a year ago, probably done about 6000 kms.

    I do have a spare set but was hoping to get away with riding the old ones for a good while yet.

    And of course, my OCD wont really let me fit a new front without also fitting a new rear – thoughts on this?

  8. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    Bugger it. Fitted em about a year ago, probably done about 6000 kms.

    I do have a spare set but was hoping to get away with riding the old ones for a good while yet.

    And of course, my OCD wont really let me fit a new front without also fitting a new rear – thoughts on this?

    Front takes less wear so switch your old rear to the front and put the new on the rear. That’s what I do if I trash a front and the rear is still good.

  9. @Teocalli

    I didn’t come here for such common-sense!

    I’ll have a look, there were a couple of nicks/cuts on the front, not enough for me to replace the tyre yet but enough I wouldn’t re-use it if it was off. If the rear is the same I’ll just throw a full set on.

    I’ve asked about Conti warranty as it’s not that old a tyre and it doesn’t look like a wear and tear issue.

  10. @RobSandy

    Ooops sorry – I got carried away there!

  11. @RobSandy

    Anyone seen this before? Big bulge in my tyre. Not caused by the tube, and there still seems to be plenty of wear left in the tyre.

    I think the first 2 letters of your rim indicate what happened to the tyre, it’s fu….

    Jokes aside, I saw on GCN a while ago a video on how to repair punctures when you have no more spare tubes (using the wrapper of your candy bar or even grass) but that one also suggested that you carry a 5cm or so piece of used (outer) tyre with you. (I carry it with me). If you then see that your outer tyre has been worn until the carcass and you still need to get home, you put this piece of old tyre underneath the worn spot. That will ensure that the innertube will not bulge out like a boil nor get punctured.

  12. @Teocalli

    That’s what I also always do, but then again, I am Dutch. You happen to be Sco”ish?

    I will be riding the Eroica also on Conti’s so I will make sure I have that piece of scrap tyre with me in case I run into Sandy’s issue.

  13. @KogaLover

    @Teocalli

    That’s what I also always do, but then again, I am Dutch. You happen to be Sco”ish?

    I will be riding the Eroica also on Conti’s so I will make sure I have that piece of scrap tyre with me in case I run into Sandy’s issue.

    I noticed it when cooling down after a 10m TT on Sunday, felt like I was riding over a rumble strip. Means I probably rode the TT with the tyre like that, too. And did a PB. Hmm.

  14. @KogaLover

    No, it’s worse. Originally I’m from Yorkshire (A Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with every ounce of humanity wrung out of them) but then I spent 18 years in Cardiff (Wales) when I were a lad.

  15. @RobSandy

    Anyone seen this before? Big bulge in my tyre. Not caused by the tube, and there still seems to be plenty of wear left in the tyre.

    I’d give Dave Braisford a call. He might know what’s hidden under that tire. Personally, I think it something like in the Alien movie rather than an easy obtained on the continent decongestant . . .

  16. @wiscot

    I think it’s pretty normal to have a package of unknown medical products stuffed in your tyre but not ask what they are…

    I’m just pleased my tyre didn’t explode on the return leg of the TT; there was a strong headwind out so the way back was a LOT of fun. I averaged 49kph for the last 7kms. Would have been painful with a sudden de-inflation of the front tyre though.

  17. I have another question – I’m contemplating N+1 (as one should) for a year’s time, maybe.

    I’m currently riding a 58 frame but at 183cms I think a 56 might feel more racey and would still fit fine with a bit more seatpost extension and a 120cm stem.

    However; most manufacturers seem to supply their 58cm bikes with 175mm cranks and 56cm bikes with 172.5mm cranks. I’d find it really annoying to have bikes with different crank lengths (especially if I get myself a power meter, which I’d like to do) – would it be usual to ask for a different length crank than usually specced?

    Or if you wanted that, would you end up buying it yourself and fitting it to the new bike?

  18. @RobSandy

    I have another question – I’m contemplating N+1 (as one should) for a year’s time, maybe.

    I’m currently riding a 58 frame but at 183cms I think a 56 might feel more racey and would still fit fine with a bit more seatpost extension and a 120cm stem.

    However; most manufacturers seem to supply their 58cm bikes with 175mm cranks and 56cm bikes with 172.5mm cranks. I’d find it really annoying to have bikes with different crank lengths (especially if I get myself a power meter, which I’d like to do) – would it be usual to ask for a different length crank than usually specced?

    Or if you wanted that, would you end up buying it yourself and fitting it to the new bike?

    It never hurts to ask – the worst thing they can do is say “no”!

  19. @RobSandy

    I have another question – I’m contemplating N+1 (as one should) for a year’s time, maybe.

    I’m currently riding a 58 frame but at 183cms I think a 56 might feel more racey and would still fit fine with a bit more seatpost extension and a 120cm stem.

    However; most manufacturers seem to supply their 58cm bikes with 175mm cranks and 56cm bikes with 172.5mm cranks. I’d find it really annoying to have bikes with different crank lengths (especially if I get myself a power meter, which I’d like to do) – would it be usual to ask for a different length crank than usually specced?

    Or if you wanted that, would you end up buying it yourself and fitting it to the new bike?

    I am 1.78 and have 56cm (my old steel bike #9 is 60cm!) but also have 120mm stem (aero-position). So I’d be careful with too short (unless you want to mirror a Dutch Monkey).

    My trackbike has (for obvious reasons) shorter cranks and I do not really notice the difference. But when I ordered my latest roadbike I was able to choose crank length (Koga Signature, where you could put your bike on the internet together), guess depends on how much customisation you can have when you select your bike. I prefer not to touch my BB so I would try to have the LBS change it.

  20. @RobSandy

    I have another question – I’m contemplating N+1 (as one should) for a year’s time, maybe.

    I’m currently riding a 58 frame but at 183cms I think a 56 might feel more racey and would still fit fine with a bit more seatpost extension and a 120cm stem.

    However; most manufacturers seem to supply their 58cm bikes with 175mm cranks and 56cm bikes with 172.5mm cranks. I’d find it really annoying to have bikes with different crank lengths (especially if I get myself a power meter, which I’d like to do) – would it be usual to ask for a different length crank than usually specced?

    Or if you wanted that, would you end up buying it yourself and fitting it to the new bike?

    tell them you want the bike, but they must replace the cranks. especially if you pay cash, i think they’ll do as you ask.

  21. @RobSandy

    Why not just try it and see if 1) you can tell the diff and 2) you like it ? Maybe then switch the other bike to 172.5. There’s a school of thought that shorter = better. Though I’ve not tried shorter I’d sure do so if had good opportunity.

    I’m also 183 cm and race a 56cm CX bike but w/road bikes I’ve stayed with 58’s.

    Pro’s at our height would be racing 54’s… I say that half joking. But dang they like little bikes.

    I’m not sure that the reasons for pro’s racing smaller bikes; I assume lighter weight and more stiff, are as much a factor nowadays as was in years past?

  22. @Cary

    @RobSandy

    I have another question – I’m contemplating N+1 (as one should) for a year’s time, maybe.

    I’m currently riding a 58 frame but at 183cms I think a 56 might feel more racey and would still fit fine with a bit more seatpost extension and a 120cm stem.

    However; most manufacturers seem to supply their 58cm bikes with 175mm cranks and 56cm bikes with 172.5mm cranks. I’d find it really annoying to have bikes with different crank lengths (especially if I get myself a power meter, which I’d like to do) – would it be usual to ask for a different length crank than usually specced?

    Or if you wanted that, would you end up buying it yourself and fitting it to the new bike?

    tell them you want the bike, but they must replace the cranks. especially if you pay cash, i think they’ll do as you ask.

    We would just get 175mm cranks for you, 172.5 is the most common so easy to sell to another customer, I’m also 183 and ride/race 56 and 172.5, Hansen had some interesting things to say about crank length on GCN, he is a God as far I can tell.

  23. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    Bugger it. Fitted em about a year ago, probably done about 6000 kms.

    I do have a spare set but was hoping to get away with riding the old ones for a good while yet.

    And of course, my OCD wont really let me fit a new front without also fitting a new rear – thoughts on this?

    Front takes less wear so switch your old rear to the front and put the new on the rear. That’s what I do if I trash a front and the rear is still good.

    Personally I go the other way around, front is the one that does your steering so you’ll want the most grip there. As the rear will wear quicker from driving the bike you switch your old front to the rear & then put the newest tyre on the front…

  24. @Mikael Liddy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    Bugger it. Fitted em about a year ago, probably done about 6000 kms.

    I do have a spare set but was hoping to get away with riding the old ones for a good while yet.

    And of course, my OCD wont really let me fit a new front without also fitting a new rear – thoughts on this?

    Front takes less wear so switch your old rear to the front and put the new on the rear. That’s what I do if I trash a front and the rear is still good.

    Personally I go the other way around, front is the one that does your steering so you’ll want the most grip there. As the rear will wear quicker from driving the bike you switch your old front to the rear & then put the newest tyre on the front…

    Yep, This !

    New tyre always on Front first, with either old front to the back, or if it’s the right end of the fortnightly pay, then two newbies. I’d rather have the rear fail before the front any day !

  25. I might have had a mental aberration there about which way round I ride my bike………

  26. I put a new pair on anyway. Then got a bit of a kicking racing.

  27. N+1 strikes again….I present the Red Dawn…my Don Walker built homage to the 1988 Masi Pursuit special ridden by Viatcheslav Ekimov.

  28. @Haldy

    Sweet. Though Yikes that is going low – Rule #45 might need an addendum.

  29. @Mikael Liddy

    This is correct. I’d never put an ex-rear on the front unless it was new or near new.

  30. Dammit, I’ve got to stop replying before I’ve read the whole thread.

  31. @Teocalli

    @Haldy

    Sweet. Though Yikes that is going low – Rule #45 might need an addendum.

    You know your stem is slammed when it is BELOW the entire headset! :-)

  32. New bar tape! I went from all yellow to black with yellow finishing tape.

  33. @G’rilla

    New bar tape! I went from all yellow to black with yellow finishing tape.

    Classy.

  34. Van Dessels are cool. We need a bigger pic of that bike ! I’ve had my eye on their Aloominator for some time thinking of a fun cool CX bike to build up. I’m such a sucker for alloy bikes. And especially, being a homeboy, a fan of the Made in the US of A tag.

  35. I couple of dumb techy questions for the class:

    I decided it was time to replace the jockey wheels on my bike. I bought some bog standard Shimano (105, I think) replacements for my 105 RD. The previous ones are Ultegra (with seals and ceramic bearings). When I fitted the new one (no seals and metal bearings), once I had got the screw tight it would not turn. At all. The Ultegra ones spin no matter how tight I do the screw. Have I bought the wrong type (i.e. 11sp vs 10sp?) or is something wrong?

    Q Nr.2 I want to lower my stem in the same manner as in the picture below. Is it a case of buying a thinner top spacer/bearing cap or would I need to replace the whole headset? And does anyone know anywhere UK based you can buy these things? I’ve tried and failed.

  36. @RobSandy

    I’m assuming the replacement jockey wheels are the type with a sleeve (or bush) between two side plates and the wheel spins on the bush. In theory the sleeve is marginally longer than the thickness of the jockey wheel so that the whole should spin irrespective of how tight the bolt is. The only thing that springs to mind is that some jockey wheels (well the cages) have studs to locate the side plates and if the side plates have no corresponding holes they could result in the plates jamming the jockey wheel – not familiar with Shimano on road as I’m Campy but I do remember that I’ve had that problem on mtbs. Not sure whether this would work with the types you have but what happens if you use the side plates and sleeve from the old jockey wheels or are they different?

    In theory you only need a new top cap that is lower – as you say, finding just that part is the challenge! eBay?

  37. @RobSandy

    I’m assuming that these jockey wheels are on a different bike and your’e not downgrading drive chain components?

    I might be wrong but I vaguely remember from taking my 105 10 speed jockey wheels apart, the top and jockey wheels being slightly different with the top one having lateral play but not the bottom one. If you got them the wrong way round or manage to mix up the various bits you might be able to over tighten them to the point of not turning.

    Have you had a look under the cone spacer, some bikes have a flat one hidden away for proper rule compliance. Otherwise you might try here.

  38. @RobSandy

    You could try sjscycles as they stock spares for some makes but you will need to be sure that any replacement is compatible with your bearing if you mix and match makes. Otherwise it would be a new headset.

  39. @chris

    @Teocalli

    I only went to replace the top pulley (the one where the teeth aren’t profiled). The plates on either side are as simple as can be so I don’t think ti’s that. I would have thought that when you tighten the bolt it grabs the bushing in the middle so the jockey spins on that. But it barely moves.

    Could it be an issue fitting 11speed jockeys to a 10speed RD?

    And yeah, I went to downgrade as the Ultegra jockey wheels I saw when I went to buy them looked different to the ones I had before. Didn’t think it’d make much difference.

  40. @RobSandy

    Ah – so an 11 sp jockey wheel will (should?) be slightly thinner than 10 sp. So if you have 1 11Sp and 1 10sp it may be that the cage is at a sufficient slight angle to jam the wheel in the side plates?

  41. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    Ah – so an 11 sp jockey wheel will (should?) be slightly thinner than 10 sp. So if you have 1 11Sp and 1 10sp it may be that the cage is at a sufficient slight angle to jam the wheel in the side plates?

    Hmm…that could be it. So it might be fine if I replaced both. I might have a change of plan and invest in some better quality ones anyway.

  42. @RobSandy

    Replacing both and checking would check the theory……

  43. @RobSandy

    Me thinks we need @Oli‘s wisdom here. But heck out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57gu6H3YEHM

    and

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBZ_6BUClVs

    Pulleys are generally different.

    Top jockey wheel usually has more float to support the easier indexing.

  44. @KogaLover

    I’ve decided to leave the existing jockey wheels in for now. Once I took them out, cleaned them and regreased them I realised they actually weren’t in as bad of a nick as I’d thought.

    In other news, I departed for work this morning to discover my Garmin’s screen has broken. The unit still seems to work to record data, I just can’t see it while I’m riding. This surely is the Velominati dream computer?

  45. @RobSandy

    @KogaLover

    In other news, I departed for work this morning to discover my Garmin’s screen has broken. The unit still seems to work to record data, I just can’t see it while I’m riding. This surely is the Velominati dream computer?

    That’s classic yes… Good story here: this weekend at races I realize we’d left my daughter’s garmin back at the parking lot in the car. As we were prep’ing for race start I asked her if she wanted me to go get it for her and she said no, she didn’t want it and she hates to look down at it. Come to find out too, another one of our kids is racing with his in his pocket.

    How may people feel naked if they’re not recording their ride? I know I’ve been there. Got to get away from that feeling. It’s just so uncool and yet it’s so much fun to have a record of it and be able to look back at it either individually or all added up for a year. I guess that that’s the one reason to keep it in your pocket.

    fwiw… another fun fact, one of our racers recorded an avg HR of 198 bpm in his race ! I guess that there are F1 motors and there are diesel engines hey?

    Cheers all

  46. @RobSandy

    Your new pulley should work, so something must be faulty or you must be doing something wrong.

  47. @Oli

    Can’t rule out the latter but I may try going back to the LBS claiming the former…

  48. 105 jockey wheels both have plastic bushes, ultra jockey wheels have one ceramic bearing and one plastic bush – from memory (and I could be wrong) the upper position takes the ceramic one and the lower takes the plastic bush. You may have them the wrong way round, but also it sounds like mixing speeds is the likely culprit.

  49. @RobSandy

    I have ridden 170, 175 and 172.5. I typically ride 175 but don’t notice the difference with 172.5 much. just raise the seat post 2.5mm and all is well. 170 does feel noticeably different to me. Like riding a clown bike. The frame fit I think would be a bigger issue. Reach and toe overlap could both be issues on too small a frame. You could also need a post with more setback if Seattube angle is different though rarely would it be between 58 and 56. And no reason not to request your preferred crank length if different than spec.

    As for the conti tire, I have never done that to a road tire but have torn two mountain king front tire casings in a similar way. They tore to the side and created a wicked wobble. I couldn’t tell what happened when removed visually from the inside or out but they were trash. my guess is that the weave tore. One of them was basically brand new and I thought about checking into warranty but didn’t. Not really sure how Continental would respond.

  50. Wow, good to see your Van Dessel is still going strong, G’rilla. Mine is too! Been riding my Gin & Trombones as a gravel bike lately, rather than cross. Have two wheelsets so the change is easy. Riding some 42 mm Continental Speed Kings, great tires at a very nice price. Ha, my 32 mm cross race tires now seem skinny!

    And, nice work with the tape. As much as I luv some Leader Tape, I think it’s crazy to go for white on a bike that is going to get muddy, crashed, dropped, carried, etc.

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