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.

  • That New Chain Feeling Chain Breaker.  photo-Cor VosI replace my chain every year, more or less. It tends toward less as I don’t have a set anniversary for new chains. Usually I notice the shifting is lagging a second and it dawns on me that the chain is in need of replacement. In my youth I would keep the same chain on ...
  • The Real Diel There she goes, my beautiful worldEurope is full of history, ancient buildings filled with original masterpieces of art that you can spend days discovering. Looking at these artworks lasts but a moment, the only way to retain their majesty by memory or memory card. Other works of art take different forms, and some of these can be taken with you. ...
  • 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 ...
  1. @piwakawaka

    Lilah MkIV, TMR01 “Stealth” 2015 Dura-ace, C35’s Zipp Sprint Stem, cages, Prologo Scratch Pro saddle, 3T bar with Lizard Skin tape. Lovin’ the Bell lid, haven’t worn the visor out yet.

    40km hit-out in the autumn sunshine, quite a different beast to The SLR01, 600gm more beast for a start, which you only notice on the steeper stuff, maybe all the extra weight has gone into increasing the stiffness in the rear end, she responds beautifully to Sur la plaque stomping, but really excels when ridden as designed, on the tops, flat back, full gas, feels absolutely brilliant above 40kph, now just have to keep her there…

    the devil’s in the detail

    That’s about the baddest looking BMC I’ve ever seen. Radar reflective finish so the cops can’t pull you over for going too fast through a school zone. Just badass.

  2. @piwakawaka

    This machine is severity at its best

  3. @Gianni

    @Mikael Liddy

    @piwakawaka

    must be the day for new bikes…took delivery of The Redback today as well.

    2015 Cervelo R5

    Dura Ace group-san (apart from the Rotor 3D Crankset), 52/36 up front & 11-25 down back

    HED Ardennes Plus LT wheels

    FSA K-Force bars & seatpost, OSI-99 stem

    Fizik Aliante saddle & bartape

    Group-san 105 pedals

    6.9kg of awesome

    Chapeau sir. Bel Mezzo.

    Yes, yes and more yes.  Sundays ride report ?

  4. @Barracuda didn’t happen, FD was rubbing a fair bit on the ride home Friday night & despite numerous attempts & much swearing it didn’t get any better. Back to the shop today to get it sorted…

  5. @Quasar

    Test ride everything you can get your hands on, then buy what you like the best. Unless you are sub 4% body fat, bike weight won’t be much of an issue when it’s cheaper and easier to loose the weight off yourself.

  6. @Barracuda

    Tuesday’s ride report can be summed up in one picture…

    except my fitness levels!

  7. Please critique my position. I’m having all sorts of horrible doubts.

    Aerobar position – is my saddle too high?

  8. @RobSandy

    Your rear wheel is not touching the ground, thats the problem.

  9. @1860

    @RobSandy

    Your rear wheel is not touching the ground, thats the problem.

    I did think I was going a bit slow…thanks…

  10. @1860

    @RobSandy

    If your hips aren’t rocking, don’t bother knocking – around with seat height.
    Looks really high! Hows the back of your knees after an effort? Mine are sore looking at that photo.

  11. @RobSandy

    The rule of thumb seems to be 25-35 deg bend at the knee when extended.  The key to doing that though is not to just sit on the bike but have a mate help so that you so you can pedal a normal tempo and then try to freeze at extension to establish your “norm”.

    Also chock up the front wheel when you do it so that the bike is in level config as that could influence the dynamics of your position.

    You look a bit high though in the photo.

  12. @sthilzy

    @1860

    @RobSandy

    If your hips aren’t rocking, don’t bother knocking – around with seat height.
    Looks really high! Hows the back of your knees after an effort? Mine are sore looking at that photo.

    Interesting, my left knee is sore today. Just my left.

    I took a vid of me from the back (kinky) and my hips weren’t rocking at all.

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    You look a bit high though in the photo.

    I don’t know if it’s just the way the photo came out, but it looks like I’m having to point my toe to get to the bottom of my pedal stroke with my leg fully extended. The videos I shot (which I’m not going to bore you with) look fine though.

    I’m just being wracked with doubt. I moved my saddle probably 10mm forward from my normal position and 10mm higher for use with the aerobars. In my normal position I’ve done a lot of riding with no problems. Maybe I didn’t need to move my saddle at all? I might return it to the normal position and see how it feels.

    No point getting power savings by getting aero if I’m losing the same amount by being in a position which is no good.

  13. @RobSandy

    I’m just being wracked with doubt. I moved my saddle probably 10mm forward from my normal position and 10mm higher for use with the aerobars. In my normal position I’ve done a lot of riding with no problems. Maybe I didn’t need to move my saddle at all? I might return it to the normal position and see how it feels.

    No point getting power savings by getting aero if I’m losing the same amount by being in a position which is no good.

    10mm forward would be OK as most TT’ing is done siting on the tip of the saddle. Height is scary. Maybe start by sitting on the saddle with one leg hanging free and your hips level. The heel of the hanging should just touch the pedal when the pedal is at the bottom 6 o’clock position. Now slide your foot back to bring the ball of your foot to the center of the pedal and you should have a slight bend in your knee. Do again for the other leg in case one is longer than the other?

  14. @RobSandy

    I don’t know if it’s just the way the photo came out, but it looks like I’m having to point my toe to get to the bottom of my pedal stroke with my leg fully extended. The videos I shot (which I’m not going to bore you with) look fine though.

    Kinda bears out my point re not just sitting on the bike to measure up.  Your dynamic position in motion is very difficult to reproduce just by sitting on the bike and taking a photo.  Your comment re foot position and toe down illustrates that point.  Personally I do cycle fairly toe down and when I get a fit this point always comes up as to whether that is normal for me.

    But if you do not cycle toe down like that then…………….

  15. @RobSandy

    Just looking at your completely straight knee hurts mine. I also like to ride toes down, but with round about a 5 degree or so bend in the knee. 1 new pair of shoes and 3 different saddles this spring I have used @sthilzy ‘s method as base and fine tune from there with good results. But, do whatever feels comfortable and fast.

  16. @AJ

    @RobSandy

    Just looking at your completely straight knee hurts mine. I also like to ride toes down, but with round about a 5 degree or so bend in the knee. 1 new pair of shoes and 3 different saddles this spring I have used @sthilzy ‘s method as base and fine tune from there with good results. But, do whatever feels comfortable and fast.

    This was my riding position pre-aero bars and adjusting the saddle. Much more bend in the leg and less point to the toe. Think I’ll take some measurements, and do the heel-touch test again tonight and reset to where it was (or equivalent with the seat pushed forwards). Start from scratch, as it were.

  17. According to the saddle height calc I found online my current saddle height is a good 1.5inches higher than it should be for my height and leg length. Hmm.

  18. I really like this bike

  19. Many people ride with their saddles way too high. You look way too high to me, even in that riding shot.

  20. @RobSandy

    Please critique my position. I’m having all sorts of horrible doubts.

    Aerobar position – is my saddle too high?

    Yes, I don’t even think your leg is all the way to the bottom of the stroke, either. I’d say you’re a few cm high, but the camera can also be distorting the situation.

    You’ve got some monster guns though, so you’ve got that!

  21. @RobSandy

    @AJ

    @RobSandy

    Just looking at your completely straight knee hurts mine. I also like to ride toes down, but with round about a 5 degree or so bend in the knee. 1 new pair of shoes and 3 different saddles this spring I have used @sthilzy ‘s method as base and fine tune from there with good results. But, do whatever feels comfortable and fast.

    This was my riding position pre-aero bars and adjusting the saddle. Much more bend in the leg and less point to the toe. Think I’ll take some measurements, and do the heel-touch test again tonight and reset to where it was (or equivalent with the seat pushed forwards). Start from scratch, as it were.

    That looks more comfortable and normal to me.

    A big part of the problem though is that you’re trying to get a good TT position on a road bike with clipped on bars.

    They are just different beasts and it will always be less than perfect.

    I can’t see the stem in the ‘before’ photo but is it in the same position? For a TT position it should really go down lower. That would allow you to bring your saddle back to the normal height over the cranks but maintain the drop to the bars.

    And are you using the same saddle? If you went to a Tri/TT saddle with the cut-off nose it allows you to get further forward so you can stretch out a bit more and push back.

    But as I said, none of it is ideal. If you can’t change the bike set up then really I think stick to your road-bike position and just get what benefit you can from being slightly narrower on the bars.

  22. @frank

    @ChrisO

    @Oli

    Thanks for the advice, all.

    I think I’ve been gradually erring on the side of higher for my saddle, and clearly it’s got out of control. I’ll stick it back down to where it was and I’ll find out on the 12th of May whether the aerobars help or not. They are coming off after that as I go back to normal road riding.

    Just got to wait for the swelling on my knees to go down…stupid Sandy…

  23. @RobSandy

    Eek that’s a high saddle. Move everything a good inch or so down – including the bars, since the upper body fit is pretty good (and would be high if you only lowered the saddle). Negative-rise slammed stem should do the trick, and check if you can mount the aerobars under the bars (Profile Design and Bontrager bars can, some others too) for “free height adjustment”.

    For TT’ing, the forward position anyway disadvantages your hamstrings and places the bulk of the work on the quads. A lower saddle position helps the quads maximise their potential.

    A quick trigonometry lesson: Assuming standard road ~73deg seat-tube angles, if you’re trying to keep pedals-to-saddle height the same (which you shouldn’t, since you’re also rotating the pelvis which changes saddle height), a 10mm movement forwards should be compensated by ~3-4mm upwards.

  24. @RobSandy

    Just got to wait for the swelling on my knees to go down…stupid Sandy…

    When I hurt my left knee last year from riding, Mother Dear taught me about making and using a poultice. Did it for three-four days and was back riding sooner than I thought I would.

    Heat 1 cup of white vinegar to just bubbling, add 3/4 cup oat bran, mix into a porridge like paste. Take a little spoonful and test on skin area for say half a minute. Should be hot as you can handle, without burning skin. If too hot wait til cool enough, or if warmish – heat gently on low heat to suitable heat. Lie leg out on couch or bed and put a towel under knee area and stick paste around knee. Wrap plastic cling wrap around paste and then put a towel over knee to keep heat in. Leave on until paste goes cold. Be careful not to burn skin.

    Not saying to try it, just sharing a method that worked for me, and others with muscle sores.

  25. @sthilzy

    @RobSandy

    Just got to wait for the swelling on my knees to go down…stupid Sandy…

    When I hurt my left knee last year from riding, Mother Dear taught me about making and using a poultice. Did it for three-four days and was back riding sooner than I thought I would.

    Heat is a good idea. Ice packs, too. I was thinking of riding tonight but as its still a bit sore I might slap a hot water bottle on it for a bit. I’m quite familiar with different sorts of knee pain and some worry me more than others – this one isn’t a worry, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

    Major annoyance with it is I’ve taken a couple of training sessions out of this 2 week ‘block’ I have before the next TT due to my saddle shenanigans. If it was the saddle height which caused the knee pain. Which seems likely.

  26. @sthilzy

    @RobSandy

    Lie leg out on couch or bed and put a towel under knee area and stick paste around knee.

    I couldn’t help but visualise this as a bit extreme and having some other consequences.

  27. @davidlhill

    Nice bike for 80 EUR! Lucky you, wish my kids would ask me regularly for a road bike… Would give me an excuse to tell my wife the stable has to be expanded. I have already seen many that would be good to get (48cm-52 cm frame ranges) but never made the purchase yet.

  28. RobSandy – can we talk about your wristwatch in the trainer photo? Would that be a Casio W-71? My favorite watch and the bastards have discontinued it! Light, thin, simple, cheap. Mine has a scratched face though from years of wearing, now I have to find a new model that I like…Life is Tough.

  29. @Ron

    RobSandy – can we talk about your wristwatch in the trainer photo? Would that be a Casio W-71? My favorite watch and the bastards have discontinued it! Light, thin, simple, cheap. Mine has a scratched face though from years of wearing, now I have to find a new model that I like…Life is Tough.

    When I saw the first few words of this post I thought you were going to criticise my watch, and I was going to respond with righteous anger, but I see you too agree that it’s an awesome example of watchmanship. So we agree.

    Discontinued? Not in the UK my friend.

    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/2533393.htm

    Can’t believe you couldn’t get hold of one. Must be the best selling watch of all time. If you scroll up to my TT pic in full club kit you can just about make out the Casio strapped around my bars. Wouldn’t use anything else.

  30. Postscript to my pedalwan-error story above, I’m now spending what was to be the critical period of my training cycle waiting for the inflammation of my knee to go down (rather than training). But the lesson has been learnt.

    However, I measured my commuter bike saddle height and that’s also a couple of cms higher than online bike calculators would put it, and I’ve found that comfortable and pain-free over many thousands of k’s.

  31. @RobSandy

    Since you’re obviously very serious about your cycling and the principles of Training Properly, it might be worth seeing a fitter. Not necessarily to take the fit as gospel, but to bounce ideas and get an objective outside expert’s view on things. I learned a lot from my fits even if every coordinate ended up with slight differences afterwards. However, for example, despite doing tiny adjustments by feel and swapping saddles since my last fit, I discovered my self-selected saddle height was still within 1mm of recommended.

  32. @piwakawaka

    Very slick. And I especially appreciate the “custom” heatshrink on the brake cable; that is a nice touch.

  33. @RobSandy

    Was it from checking out pics of @frank‘s bikes that got you thinking you should have your seat that high?

  34. Thanks again to @frank, the Keepers, Veloforma, and Colorworks.

    Updates to follow as the build progresses.

  35. @RobSandy

    Miles too high. Also, couple of points –

    Bottom of the pedal stroke isn’t the longest distance from the saddle, it’s when the crank is lined up with the seat tube. So your saddle height is probably worse than that photo might indicate.

    Your seat tube angle isn’t necessarily the same on your commuter as your road bike, so taking your seat height off one bike to compare to another, unless they’re identical, isn’t always that reliable. This is before any considerations like using different saddles, shoes, the reach changing between bikes, which can affect your hip angle and how you sit on the bike, etc.

    When you start pedalling under load how you sit on the bike will most likely change, so it’s impossible to critique fit from static photos.

    But yeah get a fitting.

  36. @il muro di manayunk

    Thanks again to @frank, the Keepers, Veloforma, and Colorworks.

    Updates to follow as the build progresses.

    Is that your take from winning last year’s VSP?

  37. Wanna really lay down some V? Take up track racing! One gear…it’s always the big ring! :-)

  38. @Bespoke

    Yes indeed!

  39. From R&A cycles in NYC. Oh mamma mia. Get yours now. Get me one too!

  40. @il muro di manayunk

    @Bespoke

    Yes indeed!

    Congrats again! So jealous! Enjoy and yes to sharing with us as you get her up and running…


    @Haldy

    Where are you laying track? We’ve got a nice one here in greater Miami and next season I plan to spend some serious time there!

    @Gianni

    That’s a bleeding pinko commie bike! And a dam fine one at that!! I’ll put in an order too…

  41. @Rob

    @il muro di manayunk

    @Bespoke

    Yes indeed!

    Congrats again! So jealous! Enjoy and yes to sharing with us as you get her up and running…


    @Haldy

    Where are you laying track? We’ve got a nice one here in greater Miami and next season I plan to spend some serious time there!

    @Gianni

    That’s a bleeding pinko commie bike! And a dam fine one at that!! I’ll put in an order too…

    I am up here at Marymoor Velodrome in Seattle!

  42. @il muro di manayunk

    @Bespoke

    Yes indeed!

    Well then: congrats and enjoy. I’m sure you’ll show the final build!

  43. @Gianni

    I’ve been there just one time, but I liked it a lot.

  44. @Pedale.Forchetta

    @Gianni

    I’ve been there just one time, but I liked it a lot.

    Amazing you have been there. I was in Brooklyn looking for a cousin’s address, walking down that street and saw the store front. NYC is a big place so I was totally surprised to see it. There is no lack of Colnagos in there, or other bikes. What a store.

    I could happily ride a pink Colnago for the rest of my life. I’m sure of this.

  45. @Gianni

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    @Gianni

    I’ve been there just one time, but I liked it a lot.

    Amazing you have been there. I was in Brooklyn looking for a cousin’s address, walking down that street and saw the store front. NYC is a big place so I was totally surprised to see it. There is no lack of Colnagos in there, or other bikes. What a store.

    I could happily ride a pink Colnago for the rest of my life. I’m sure of this.

    Imagine that with full 3T stealth cockpit, black on black Enve 4.5’s with Pink Chris King hubs.    Stop it, I like it !

  46. My Casati frameset is from R&A Cycles. My parents are both from Brooklyn. I avoid that shop, for I fear leaving with $5K less in my bank account.

    My Sunday cycling pal just got the C-60 in matte black with Super Record 11s. It’s an amazing bike.

    The absurd fact is that he also has a C-59 in glossy white. I tell him all the time, if I was his size, I’d try and steal most of his bikes…

  47. RobSandy – That is a slightly different model and it doesn’t have a countdown timer. I love that feature, very useful for dual cooking/bike work, as I won’t forget I have something on the stove or in the oven.

  48. @Teocalli

    I’m just building up that steel Pinarello Sestriere frame I posted in the autumn and have a puzzle on the bottom bracket cable guide.  There are 2 holes under the BB but neither is threaded, one I assume is offset as the drain hole.  Anyone know how the cable guide was fitted?  I’m reluctant just to slam in a self tapper unless that is how they were fitted originally.

    You need a plastic press-in BB guide. Modern ones are mostly with thread. The last one I saw with plastic insert was from Cannondale CAAD 9 I think, pictured, so maybe worth checking with your local Cannondale dealer or online.

    Alternatively you can just glue any BB guide, as long as the shape fits with double sided tape or using glue gun. If you don’t have glue gun use sealing type glues, soft and waterproof which can’t harm near BB holes. Just glue the guide, run the cables. Tension from the cables will hold the guide in place. I saw bikes where just the cable tension hold the guide in place and shifting was perfect. Less practical when changing cables but still ok as far as shifting goes.

  49. @tessar

    @RobSandy

    Since you’re obviously very serious about your cycling and the principles of Training Properly, it might be worth seeing a fitter. Not necessarily to take the fit as gospel, but to bounce ideas and get an objective outside expert’s view on things. I learned a lot from my fits even if every coordinate ended up with slight differences afterwards. However, for example, despite doing tiny adjustments by feel and swapping saddles since my last fit, I discovered my self-selected saddle height was still within 1mm of recommended.

    Wisdom. Yes, it’s on my list of ‘things I should spend money on’. It’s quite a long list.

  50. @TommyTubolare

    Thanks.  I’ll check that out.  At the moment I have riveted in the one I have

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