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 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 for every and all rides. #2 was the old #1, it ...
  • 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. @Oli Can’t rule out the latter but I may try going back to the LBS claiming the former…

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  2. 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.

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  3. @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.

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  4. 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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  5. @GoldenGorilla

    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.

    I checked and there was no warranty cover. Maybe it’s a year? Don’t know. I fortunately had a new set kicking about.

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  6. Does this belong to anyone here???

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  7. @Teocalli Never do this – the front tyre is way more critical, so putting a worn one on isn’t a good plan. If you don’t want to replace both, move the worn front to the rear, and put a new tyre on the front.

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  8. @chuckp Given the (ahem) small frame and amount of seatpost on view, I think we can safely say it’s not Frank’s.

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  9. @SunDodger

    @Teocalli Never do this – the front tyre is way more critical, so putting a worn one on isn’t a good plan. If you don’t want to replace both, move the worn front to the rear, and put a new tyre on the front.

    Yeah – as said later I had a mental aberration over which way round I ride my bike………..

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  10. A few pics from Bespoked custom bike show in Bristol Uk a week or so back……

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  11. @Teocalli Thanks, I needed that. Who else does the bowed seat stays? I think @Nate got a custom but damned if I can remember the frame builder. 3E? GM? C3PO? I like that cream and black King. And that burgundy red frame color. cheers

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  12. Buggery. Just had a chat with the LBS about a few odd issues with my bike – the bolt holding the top cap of the headset down is spinning in the star nut – the solution seems to be to drill out the bolt and see the start nut can be removed and replaced, or at least hammered down deeper into the steerer tube to allow a new unfucked one to be installed. There is also uneven wear on my rear drop outs causing the wheel to be slightly off-square in the frame on a certain wheelset. I either need to adjust the axles to give it more to grip onto on the drive side or *shudder* file down the NDS drop slightly to match. Ugh. I only went in to buy a length of brake cable.

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  13. @RobSandy

    There is also uneven wear on my rear drop outs causing the wheel to be slightly off-square in the frame on a certain wheelset.

    Taken as written that makes no sense to be only “on a certain wheelset” if it is literally as written sounds more like a bent axle?

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  14. New steed is up and running finally, after a small mishap with a too-short seat pin. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m loving the Super Record EPS so far.

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  15. @frank Hot damn

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  16. @frank Dang, I was thinking of working a Mondrian scheme into my planned custom build in some way too.

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  17. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    There is also uneven wear on my rear drop outs causing the wheel to be slightly off-square in the frame on a certain wheelset.

    Taken as written that makes no sense to be only “on a certain wheelset” if it is literally as written sounds more like a bent axle?

    Do you use that wheelset on a turbo trainer. I was setting my lad’s bike up with Youth gearing the other day and had issues with the cassette which appear to be down to a bent axle resulting from over tightening the turbo. In other news, he’s now shaved three times. The third occasion was the legs. Blood everywhere but does that mean I’m a cycling sensei.

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  18. @RobSandy

    @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?

    Yup, sounds perfect. To round out the other questions, in case they haven’t been answered: jockey wheels matter a great deal – and buy good ones. Just think how much they are turning around and how much extra drag in them would make over the course of a whole day. As for the headset – you can buy a new, flat top cap but it has to match the size of the bearing in the headset. Just look up which one you have and go find a replacement top cap with less stack. Some pro’s are even taking them out altogether in order to get a little more drop. I imagine that’s a great way to ruin a headset.

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  19. @Teocalli

    @frank Dang, I was thinking of working a Mondrian scheme into my planned custom build in some way too.

    The paint is “candy” which means it has sparkles in it. The white is pearlescent. The Vondrian thing had to be painted by hand. The whole bike was a gift for my 40th last September from Hedrick and Campagnolo. It is outrageous.

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  20. @frank

    @Teocalli

    @frank Dang, I was thinking of working a Mondrian scheme into my planned custom build in some way too.

    The paint is “candy” which means it has sparkles in it. The white is pearlescent. The Vondrian thing had to be painted by hand. The whole bike was a gift for my 40th last September from Hedrick and Campagnolo. It is outrageous.

    Must be fantastic to ride a bike that is 100% unique. Amazing.

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  21. @chris

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    There is also uneven wear on my rear drop outs causing the wheel to be slightly off-square in the frame on a certain wheelset.

    Taken as written that makes no sense to be only “on a certain wheelset” if it is literally as written sounds more like a bent axle?

    Do you use that wheelset on a turbo trainer. I was setting my lad’s bike up with Youth gearing the other day and had issues with the cassette which appear to be down to a bent axle resulting from over tightening the turbo.

    It’s on my training wheels and not my race wheels, but I don’t think it’s a bent axle, I think it’s because the axles are adjusted slightly differently on the wheelsets i.e. on my race wheels there is more axle extension on the drive side, so it rests on the RD hanger and so the wheel is straight. Adjusting the axle to match on the training wheels is a possible fix. In better news, I have almost completed my Giant Rapid flat bar to drop bar conversion – I’m so pleased with myself. I had to disconnect all the cables and remove, install new stem, bars, brifters and then reconnect all cables. And it works! Mostly. But of tweaking needed to the FD but the rest works sweet. And somehow the bike is 2kg lighter.

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  22. @RobSandy “And it Works! Mostly.” Classic, love it.

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  23. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy “And it Works! Mostly.” Classic, love it.

    Ever tried to set up a triple FD? Shifts up fine but wont go nicely from big ring to middle. And has chain rub all over the place.

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  24. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy “And it Works! Mostly.” Classic, love it.

    Ever tried to set up a triple FD? Shifts up fine but wont go nicely from big ring to middle. And has chain rub all over the place.

    Errr – yup I have. (Insert random punctuation here)

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  25. @Teocalli

    Ever tried to set up a triple FD? Shifts up fine but wont go nicely from big ring to middle. And has chain rub all over the place.

    Errr – yup I have. (Insert random punctuation here)

    Did you lose your mind? Any sage advice? Currently I’m getting from Big ring to middle ring by shifting down twice then up once.

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  26. @frank Wow. Bel Mezzo. But I’m having a hard time picturing you on an electronic Gruppo.

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  27. @xyxax

    @Teocalli Thanks, I needed that. Who else does the bowed seat stays? I think @Nate got a custom but damned if I can remember the frame builder. 3E? GM? C3PO? I like that cream and black King. And that burgundy red frame color. cheers

    If you aren’t looking for custom, Lynskey does bowed seat stays. I have an R230 with them and it rides great.

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  28. @Skip Hey, great, thanks for the tip. Always loved me some Ti food and the Lynskey bikes are so elegant.

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  29. Vive la France.

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  30. Oops, blame the cat for dulicate downtube pictures

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  31. Some help needed – I went to readjust the FD on my ‘new’ road bike. I noticed a bit of lateral play in the FD which led me to discover one of the pivot bolts wasn’t tight. I went to tighten it and discovered it was more or less stripped – I did what I could to get it tight enough to hold the thing together then went to the LBS for a replacement. They didn’t have one. I’ve looked on the interwebs and no simple source of spares can be found. Can anyone here help? It’s a Shimano FD-R443 and it’s the lower of the two pivot bolts (the one what is obviously stripped in the picture below).

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  32. This morning, in Koblenz, Germany, someone turned up for work and found a ticket to assemble my new bike and pack it for shipping. I have no idea how I’m supposed to stay sane until it arrives…

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  33. @Oski Bear

    Vive la France.

    Be still my beating heart. Gorgeous!

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  34. @RobSandy Try using an appropriately sized easy-out in the top cap bolt and exerting upward force as you try to wind the bolt out.

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  35. @RobSandy For the time being try:

    1. using a fine hacksaw blade carefully a slot for a flat head screw driver in the head of the bolt Best not to use a standard blade, you want one that is typically sold in a coping saw kit.
    2. Force a torx bit into the hex wrench whole (this can be used to remove the offending bolt for the procedure above.
    3. Once bolt is removed you’ll probably be able to size it and find a good replacement at a specialty fastner supplier or online.

    Good luck

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  36. @Oski Bear What a beauty! Nice further options resting in the background!

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  37. @Quasar

    This morning, in Koblenz, Germany, someone turned up for work and found a ticket to assemble my new bike and pack it for shipping. I have no idea how I’m supposed to stay sane until it arrives…

    You are not. How long will it take to ship? I suggest you take that amount of time off from work, or inform everyone who expects a deliverable from you that they will have to expect decreased productivity until such time that you are able to ride yourself stupid on the new steed.

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  38. @RobSandy As @Chris says kinda like this…..

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  39. @RobSandy ……but go easier on the hammer!

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  40. @RobSandy Wouldn’t have happened if you cleaned your bike first. It places you both in the right frame of mind for such tasks as adjusting derailleurs.

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  41. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy As @Chris says kinda like this…..

    He may be an imposter but it sounds like this other @Chris might know what he’s doing…

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  42. @chris

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy As @Chris says kinda like this…..

    He may be an imposter but it sounds like this other @Chris might know what he’s doing…

    Crikey this place is case sensitive. That could be confusing!

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  43. Very pretty color on that Mercier! Frank – NICE new steed. No complaints outta me, it looks great!

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  44. @frank

    @Quasar

    This morning, in Koblenz, Germany, someone turned up for work and found a ticket to assemble my new bike and pack it for shipping. I have no idea how I’m supposed to stay sane until it arrives…

    You are not. How long will it take to ship? I suggest you take that amount of time off from work, or inform everyone who expects a deliverable from you that they will have to expect decreased productivity until such time that you are able to ride yourself stupid on the new steed.

    Sounds like a plan! So that will be about two weeks off then…

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  45. Okay, so my wife has a nicer car than mine. That’s cool because she deserves it and then some. With my daughter’s recent upsize she ends up on a nicer bike than mine. That’s fine. She’s doing more racing than I am. And we had a plan all along to help make that happen as she grew. So, that leaves my son. And he’s been training and racing on my old mtn bike. It’s a great bike just well used as any respectable mtn bike should be. But the BB developed a crack. Lifetime frame warranty replacement and that means new frame, and that means upgraded sworks frame gets sent. It’s being built up now. And so, now, my son has a nicer bike than I. That all just goes to show where I stand on the totem pole at my house. One of these days !! Cheers all

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  46. @Randy C Nicer bike or not, it’s awesome that your family are all into riding!

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  47. @Ron

    Very pretty color on that Mercier! Frank – NICE new steed. No complaints outta me, it looks great!

    The old Merciers were originally a Pepto Bismol pink, which never achieved the revered status of Bianchi Celeste or Gios Blue. This color was inspired by a 2010 Dodge Challenger or He’ll cat as marketed in the UK.

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  48. Cheers @chris I’m a lucky dude for sure. And really, the more I think about it, it’s not that the bikes are nicer so much as they are just newer. After all, a cool bike is a cool bike and I dig my old bikes.

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  49. @frank What a phenomenal paint scheme. Wow. More and more the the painted stems on custom bikes to match up with frame are really making for that extra special touch. Wasn’t there an article on that not long ago? That whole push button shifting and having to plug your bike in with usb to charge up? A person can get over that fast given the ultimate performance. Such a beauty! Cheers

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  50. @frank

    New steed is up and running finally, after a small mishap with a too-short seat pin. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m loving the Super Record EPS so far.

    wow. i remember seeing a pic of this bike with David Millar in the frame, and you sporting a Sagan beard. these sunlight pics do it even better justice than the fluoro shop lighting in the Millar pic! the orange almost glows, here. very nice indeed, man!

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