To be, OR not to be

Well, here’s one more reason not to visit Denver in November.



38 Responses to “To be, OR not to be”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Oh, bugger….

  2. SAO’ Says:

    “And we are excited!” wrote Marisa Nicholson, who appeared to be trying to convince herself, since no one else was buying it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Bwah ha ha. It’s probably exciting to jump off the Empire State Building, too. But the sidewalk is waiting just the same.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Just like the old joke. As a guy is falling from the Empire State building he passes a lady sitting on her balcony. She says, How are you?” He says, “So far, so good.” Welcome to the global economy.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Emerald’s not looking so brilliant at the moment I guess? Dunno how you put real value into a trade show these days, nobody seems to care about face-to-face, in-person interactions anymore and the rest can be done (as you noted) via high-speed internet.
    Is this the result of the fact that the quality of your product is very, very much secondary to the quality of your marketing BS these days? Truly high-quality products don’t seem to offer enough markup to pay for expensive marketing campaigns vs stuff cranked out in low-wage countries. It’s certainly true in the bike biz and I’d guess pretty much the same with everything else as well?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      As one industry wag (not me) noted, “Emerald’s getting really good at canceling shows.” So that’s something, I guess, Maybe they should go into the newspaper biz, where combination, consolidation, cutbacks and closings are the only moves that make the shareholders smile (see the Gatehouse-Gannett megamerger, soon to be closing a newspaper near you).

      Is the customer’s comfort with online shopping drifting up the supply chain? You don’t need to go to the store to buy some socks or shorts if you know your sizes. Let the Brown Truck Dude do that heavy lifting for you.

      Maybe shops are doing the same thing. Order up the usual Tiagra/Deore bikes from The Big Three, a few e-bikes (all those magazine editors can’t be wrong, can they?), and maybe a cargo bike just for laughs. Click ’em into the virtual shopping cart and get on with your day. Trade show, schmade show, I got bills to pay.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        The Big’s (S, T and G) already have their dealers by the short ones for the most part so they certainly don’t wanna see ’em get distracted/confused by going to a trade show and seeing what else might be out there, do they? Hell no!
        The Little’s might pony up for a show but who goes there and do they have any “open-to-buy” left if/when they show up?Then of course a few of the Big’s react rather angrily when their sales rep reports the dealer has the cojones to have competing products on the shelves, threatening to yank their oh-so-important products out and put ’em in the guy down the street’s bike shop.
        Makes me wonder why trade shows like Interbike lasted as long as they did. I usually went for the people, but there are no longer many left – they’re now either consumers (marks, suckers, rubes, boobs, etc.) or carnival barkers (marketing mavens, PR hacks, con men) who prey upon them.
        I was considering go to NAHBS 2020 since I have to be in the USA near that period anyway, but the wife refuses to spend that much time in the US…and it’s hard to argue against that idea!

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          The Professor knows what’s best. Trek and Specialized are the walmart and amazon of the bike world. They don’t want a piece of the pie; they want it all. Much of the rest of the biz is owned by hedge or private equity funds. They suck out whatever value is left, leave the carcass by the side of the road, and move on to the next distressed company. They tell you they are rescuing the business.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            Yep, and none of ’em really give a s–t if you actually USE the stuff they’ve sold to you. I think sometimes they like it better if it just hangs in the garage. No warranty claims or recalls to deal with that way.
            Saw the Big T’s travel company at LeTour this year…more than one person who should know has told me they run that purely as a promotional vehicle to sell the bikes – they don’t give a rat’s a– if it turns a profit. It’s genius – get folks to pay you $thousands to test ride a Big T bike on some great roads – then go back home and get online to order one!!! A few of the other brands have their own tour companies too these days. Makes it tough to compete since we don’t have revenue from bike sales to blow on marketing BS…but WE don’t make you buy your own wine or tip the staff…so there’s that 🙂

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Yesterday I made a feeble attempt to buy a subcompact crankset online via FSA. They didn’t even list choices of bottom brackets, so I used their web interface to ask them about it. I have some old square taper stuff but not sure the required width. So far, crickets.

    I’m thinking instead of pulling off the Ultegra rear derailleur and putting on an old XT and spinning on a Captain Bike Brand (aka the late Sheldon Brown) 13-32 cogset instead. Already have the parts, so why not give it a try? Yeah, I know. That leaves some guy in Taiwan starving.

    Meanwhile, Buycycling magazine provides so little actual technical content in their reviews that it looks more like bike porn than ever. “Buy this shit, ‘cuz its really really cool stuff”. Um…why me? My fifteen year old CAAD5 works just fine with my latest tune-up and overhaul. I just want a goddamn crank that fits my cranky personality. As an aside, Adventure Cycling reviews are usually great, but I keep finding errors in the reviews such as incorrectly calculated gear charts and pictures not matching the technical description. What gives, Patrick?

    Used to be one figured a bicycle could be a green purchase. Lugged steel, lasts a long time, runs on beans and rice. Well, maybe a Surly that will last a couple decades and which hauls home the groceries and drywall will fit that bill. But a lot of this stuff seems to be just another way to separate customer from greenback in return for something to make us feel like Mr. or Mrs. Plastic Fantastic Lover. Slap it on the roof of the SUV and Bob’s your uncle.

    So what has a greater footprint, only buying what you need at the local store, or clicking a box to buy lots of shit and have it delivered in the brown truck? So much for a Green New Deal. The only GND I see is all those companies trying to deal me out of my green.

    Ok, back to the cube farm.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Subcompact crank that uses a square taper BB, heh? How about this. Last time I asked IRD, I think they said this works for 9 or 10 speed Shimano. I was considering one for the Double Cross.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      “Subcompact” is what exactly? A way to get money out of someone who used to be happy with a triple crankset? I’ve been riding a bike with 50/34 compact and 11-32 11-speed cassette the past few weeks (like our carbon rental bikes have) but when I come back up here next year I’ll be pulling my old-time 10-speed 52/42/30 and 12-30 out first thing to remember how it oughta be! Got a 9 speed version down in Sicily that I’ll be happy to ride again soon.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Which gear charts are buggered, K? I use Sheldon Brown’s calculator for the most part. When I get an oddball it doesn’t cover I rely on this alternative.

      As regards pix that don’t match the specs, that can be traced to (a) a lead time of months between the actual reviewing of the bike and the publication of the review (sometimes a manufacturer makes a running change); and/or (2) a magazine design philosophy that requires studio pix from the manufacturer rather than candid pix from the reviewer.

      Case in point: The bike pictured in my review of the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff looks nothing like the bike I rode (and eventually bought).

      • khal spencer Says:

        I don’t recall the exact issues but it was a couple times in the reviews. One was a review of one of those internal hub gearsets and the ratios looked really odd. Or, the text did not match the gear chart. I emailed Nick Legan about it a couple times and never got a response.

        Saw a couple reviews that showed double front chainrings but the pic was of a single chainring bike. As you say, its partly a matter of timing and what the manufacturer provides.

        Its no big deal. I figure anyone who bothers to read a gear chart can do the math for himself. And its probably just old assholes like me who are pedantic about it anyway. Hell, I cut my teeth reading Frank Berto’s columns back when Bicycling was a real bike magazine and I set up Excel spreadsheets with gear calculations in them. Just shoot me.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      I’ve got it! Find a cast-off triple setup and just use the inner and middle ring. You could even put some rubber or plastic tubing around the circumference of the unused big ring (unless you have a machinist friend who can machine off the teeth) and end up with a chain/pants guard! Sub-compact my a—!

  5. Stephen Newhall Says:

    Khal, I don’t think you are going to find any square taper sub compact cranks. Shimano, FSA and SRAM are doing them, but they are all some variation of the new weird BBs that I can’t keep track of. 10 or 11 speed. Maybe one of your old 74/110 triple cranks, 30T inner, then use a 46T in the middle position, use the limit screw so the F. Der doesn’t go too far.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Stephen, IRD does a 46/30 square taper. It’s pricey ($249.99), but it’s a looker, and it works. I have one on the Soma Saga disc, which is a nine-speed SunXCD friction-shifter setup.

      IRD Defiant crank

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Thanks, Patrick. I forgot to put the link in my above reply to Khal. I plead old age!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        No worries, Hoss. I’m an old feller my own bad self.

        Rivendell has some crank options too — low/low doubles, wide/low doubles, and triples. And they’re Johnny-on-the-spot. You orders, you gets.

        Also, New Albion, a cousin of the Soma Fabrications outfit, does some nice-looking square-taper cranks as well. Check this one out: 42/30, billed for riders “who prefer a simple set-up and the quick shifting of a double [and] do a lot of steep climbing, but don’t mind coasting downhill.”

        Incidentally, I just hauled the Soma Double Cross disc down to Two Wheel Drive for a brake swap. It soon will be sporting a set of the very finest TRP Spyres.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Pad changes are much easier than on the BB7. You TRP disc calipers on another bike, right? I can’t remember which one.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          The BB7s are a pain in the keister, pure and simple.

          I have TRP cantis on my other Soma Saga, but all four disc-equipped bikes have the accursed BB7s.

          The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff will be the next to undergo brake-reassignment surgery, and it may be the last. I don’t ride the Bianchi Zurigo or the Jones all that much and can live with disappointment there for a while.

          Frankly, I continue to question the value of disc brakes for 99.9 percent of cyclists. For me, the additional complexity of setup and maintenance overshadows the improved modulation. Give me a nice set of Paul’s finest rim brakes any ol’ day.

          • psobrien Says:

            I with withhold further comment my luddite buddy. Speaking of new shiny bits, the smarter half just got herself a new Macbook Air. Got the model without touch ID, now discontinued by Apple, for $250 off at the Best Buy.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Ooo, atsa nice. Get ’em while they hot.

            Herself’s iPad keyboard folio croaked a while back, so I gave her mine and since have been doing without, in part because I rarely use my iPad.

            But I felt the urge the other day, and missed having that external keyboard. I decided against buying another one of the failing folios and instead sprung for a Brydge 9.7, a product line that has gotten some positive attention from Jason Snell over at Six Colors.

            So far, so good. It makes the iPad look like an itty-bitty Apple laptop, and the tablet-keyboard combo is even lighter than my 11-inch 2011 MacBook Air. It’ll make a nice traveler.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            I’m with you on the disky brake concept – pretty much a great way for the bike biz to make your rim-braked bike obsolete, otherwise – meh.
            Got caught in a rainstorm the last few kms of our ride today but Campagnolo dual-pivot brakes squeezing the sides of Torelli/Ambrosio aluminum rims did just fine when it came to the slowing down parts. Sure, the brake blocks make an ugly black mess of the rims (and bike) but in these cases the bikes get a quick soapy brush-up and rinse before they get put away anyway – same as I’d do with a disky braked bike.

      • khal spencer Says:

        That one in the link is a square taper for 90 dead presidents. I don’t know if I can actually order one direct or via one of the LBSs. like I said, I might just swap out a rear deralleur and put on a bigger set of cogs out back for the same effect.

        I was rummaging around the garage tonight. The BB on the CAAD5 has been creaking and making nasty cracking noises but it turns out I have a spare brand new ISIS BB for that bike’s crank, so the immediate need to spend dead presidents has passed.

        As far as Larry’s earlier comment, I don’t usually use a triple with a granny on the road bikes or need a 120 gear inch top end at my age. So a 46/30 or 48/32 up front and a 12/30 or so on the back works fine for just about anything I do any more.If I want to go real fast I’ll fire up the BMW.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          This brings back a question I wonder about often when it comes to an aversion to a triple crank. The chainrings don’t go stale or fall off if they don’t get used often, they’re always there when needed. Please don’t tell me the added weight or (wait for it, this one really cracks me up – the slower shifting) is an issue. I don’t spend much time in a 52 X 13 either but find the wide range of gears from super low to super high useful, requiring nothing more than a stab at a handlebar-mounted lever to use any one of them. But I continue to hate being forced to choose between chainrings with massive (like 16 teeth) gaps between them. When you try to figure out a progression of ratios with one of these, the number of shifts front and rear required is, well….too damn many!

          • khal spencer Says:

            I don’t have an aversion to triples. Have one on the Long Haul Trucker and the tandem. But the road bike is set up with Shimano brifters and the front one doesn’t do triples as it is a 9 spd Dura Ace I got half price at Bike Nashbar some years ago..

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Hey the dumpster ordered, hereby ordered no less, US companies out of China, so I guess Trek and Specialized are up shit creek with no means of propulsion. Maybe big T will reopen their plant in Madison and start building bikes there again. Ya think? What a tool this guy is. He hits a new low every single day.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I hereby order all of yis to buy Mootses with White Industries cranks, Chris King headsets, Paul’s brakes, Enve wheels, L.H.Thomson handlebar, stem and seatpost, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

      You may have to take out a second on the house, but freedom.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Yep, every day’s tweets from this twit make me happier I no longer live in Trumpland. And even better, Italy’s own version of Orange Hitler just got his a– handed to him after his clumsy attempt to destroy the government and take all the power for himself blew away like Don the Con’s hairdo in the wind.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The cheese has done slid all the way off his burger, for sure. I keep waiting for him to snap in public, maybe take a wild swing at some CNN hack, or unleash a racist/anti-Semitic tirade so vile that even David Duke goes all like, “Dude, Jesus, dial it back a bit, a’ight? You’re killing hood sales.”

      • Pat Oo'Brien Says:

        The G7 is today’s opportunity to show the world that he’s incompetent as they think he is. I doubt the dumpster will disappoint them. Get ready for a steady stream of twit rants from the head twit. Hey Hurben, you still got tent space in the back yard?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        He’s already kicked off with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. All you limited-gummint, free-market Republicans in my audience please take notice.

        I wonder who pointed this one out to him. It should be a reminder to Congress to write its legislation a little more carefully, because assuming that the executive will be competent and/or sane is no longer an option. But I fear the Larry’s Wife Theorem is holding firm.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Probably Mulvaney or Miller. Just like the national emergency on the border. I got my heater loaded up and ready. Just waiting for the invasion. Except it never comes. Maybe I will trade the pistol for a guitar amplifier. You know, something I can use.

          When will the oligarchs in charge finally tell congress to impeach this loser?

  7. Bill Britton Says:

    When speaking with brethren of the deluded right wing, I point out that before any other considerations, I just can’t get past the pathological lying. Some of them — no really, I kid you not — then ask “When has he ever lied?” I have taken to asking them to produce a note from their doctor verifying that they have been in a coma the last few years.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      They must mutter NOT between the EVER and the LIED?
      Not that this is news but when this guy’s lips are moving… know what’s coming out is pure fantasy. Pure con-man 100%

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