Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Track Porteur


















Saw this on Broadway yesterday. I'm a big fan of CETMA racks and porteur style bikes.
This one uses stitched leather grips with Velo Orange/Nitto Montmartre handlebars and an inverse brake lever to tie in the porteur look.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet 1983 Stumpjumper Remixed

I just came across this slick Stumpjumper brought back from the dead.
(old Stumpjumpers are probably the undead since they're so rad and still around)















According to the SOMA blog
"Bryan over at Renaissance Bicycles built up this gorgeous '83 Stumpjumper with a great modern spec. He kept it classy with timeless parts, and the bars seem to fit the theme of the bike's heritage. It is also cool that it is a 650b conversion, which when you consider what the Stumpjumper was in its time, gives it the chance to be on forefront of unique and cutting-edge cycling trends once again. If you haven't seen the work that they do, check out the Renaissance site. All of their builds are of this quality and very well-thought-out."

Good eyes SOMA.

Every part on the bike is classy, both the modern and the retro. I'd definitely like to check out a 650b conversion as well as those Direct Curve 5 brakes from Cane Creek.


2010 Pro Peloton Whips

Thanks to Sasha E., we've got a nice sneak peak from roadbikeaction.com at some of the 2010 Pro Peloton's rides. Team name listed above the pic of their team bike.

AG2R La Mondiale


Astana


BMC




Caisse D'Epargne


HTC-Columbia


Euskaltel Euskadi


Footon-Servetto-Fuji


Fran├žaise des Jeux


Garmin-Transitions


Katusha


Liguigas


Milram


Omega Pharma-Lotto


Quickstep


Rabobank


Radioshack


Saxobank


Sky


Here's some interesting stats...

Out of 19 team bikes,

7 are equipped with Campy SR11

6 with SRAM Red

4 with Shimano Di2 7950

2 with Shimano DA 7900

Note some big changes of sponsorship, Quickstep will no longer be on Specialized Bikes, instead Belgium's Spring Classics favorite Tom Boonen will be on a Belgian bike, and Specialized now sponsors Kazakhstan's team Astana as they are no longer with Trek. Obviously Lance and team Radioshack will be on Trek Madones. I do believe that BMC painted in US colors is Big George Hincapie's new ride, and I think the BMC with WC stripes is Cadel's - don't quote me on that though. Cadel was riding a Canyon.com Omega Pharma-Lotto team bike at his victory at the Road World Championships, but now he is with BMC. Lots of big names making some waves, we'll see what this season brings!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Blogger, New to Blogging



Hey All, I'm Blaine, the newest addition to Tony and Henry's blogger slaves (friends).

I'm a photographer by trade, but I'd have to list bikes as my number two obsession.
I love riding bikes, but I also love not waiting for the subway, so I've been mostly commuting by bike for the last 3 years.

Within the last year or two I've quickly transitioned from minimalist fixed gear rider to a total racks and fenders OCD Fred.


Exhibit A, Iro Mark V with round Dedaccai tubing: The first bike I ever got to build up nicely from the frameset; built the wheels myself, etc. Nicest bike I'd ever owned.

















Exhibit B, 1975 Raleigh Gran Sport: Great touring bike modified into a wonderful all purpose townie bike.



















Over the next few weeks I'll see if I can cobble together a visual timeline of how I got from A to B.

So, I'll be in touch, and I'll likely post random bike pictures along the way.








Friday, January 15, 2010

LSD Bike Shop, Seoul

A internet search for Seoul fixed gear bike shops will bring up LSD Bike, and they come recommended as the only exclusively track/fixed shop around town by other shops. One of my favorite things to do in foreign countries is check out bike shops, especially if they're track or fixed related, and I decided to drop by on this balmy (27*F) Friday afternoon.

LSD Bike is located a few blocks away from Yaksu station off lines 6 or 3 of the Seoul subway. I just kind of got off the train and wandered around, it's pretty easy to find and immediately recognizable with its distinct sign and a track bike in the window.



The amount of space they have is great - and they pack a bunch of stuff in there. Immediately when you enter there's a bunch of complete builds and all sorts of wheels hanging from the ceiling - everything from carbon tri and 4 spokes to various bolt on track wheels and everything in between.



There's a cake refrigerator that's been appropriated as a components display, it's got all the goodies you could want from NJS goodies to LSD's own house-branded components.



And finally, a wall of frames - if you're in the market for a track frame they've got everything from Korean Keirin frames from Interpro, Cello, and Corex, to Vintage Pogliaghis and even the new Leader trick track frames.



The people are super friendly, and down to hang out and have a chat with an American. I met the owner Lee and Johnny, who happens to have lived right by the shop in Park Slope, BK - small world! They speak great English, which was welcome after having stepped into a few nice shops that were unable to answer any of my questions due to the language barrier. Lee and Johnny say that there's a large growing number of trick riders in Seoul especially, and their bikes are mirror images of some of the top trick guys from North America - 32c and up tires, beefy unicrown forks, bmx style platforms with velcro foot retention a la Holdfast FRS. I like to experiment at track shops in foreign countries and name-drop Prolly and see if they know who I'm talking about, and I was't disappointed.


Johnny's on the left, Lee the owner in the middle, and some goofy dude on the right.

Anyway, the shop's got a couch in the back, the people are friendly, and they're stocked to get you rolling again if you happen to need some service, they've got pretty much any tool I could think of, plus a few more - my favorite being this wheelbuilding tool.



Seems to be based on a slide hammer, it's like an automatic mechanical screwdriver that's perfect for lacing wheels - their mechanic laced a wheel in about 4 minutes while I was asking what the tool was - apparently it's Japanese, go figure.

Drop by if you're ever in Seoul, or check them out here on the interwebs. Lee was kind enough to hook me up with a sick LSD shirt, you can snag one at the site.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Craft

So it's super cold here in Seoul, pretty much prohibitively so. Today it's a balmy 27* F, but usually it hovers around 12* F for most of the day, dipping lower at night when the sun takes a trip over to you guys in the West. This means that I've been spending a lot of time indoors, that is to say in my girlfriend's tiny shoebox cubby of an apartment on the computer. But when I do muster up enough cojones or stir-craziness to venture out into the tundra, it's with some Craft gear.

Last winter I was commuting in Manhattan in a pair of jeans and some Vans canvas shoes, a skateboard helmet, and a snowboard shell. Most of the time I was okay, my commute was only like 15 minutes from the East Village down to Tribeca, but when it got really cold my lower half was angry with me. Tony hooked it up for my birthday with some Craft proZERO long underwear and man it changed everything.



When the mercury dips below the 40* F mark, you'll find me sporting these under whatever the pants d'jour I'm sporting. Craft has a few different lines, proZERO Extreme targeted at 35-65* Windy weather, proZERO being for 30-60* F weather layering, and proWARM for when it gets really cold.

Craft is good quality stuff, designed for comfort and durability as I think all products should be, and they have a full lineup of gear for layering all the way to outerwear and bike specific gear - you've seen team Saxobank riding their stuff in the Pro Tours. I liked the proZERO long underwear so much that I picked up some Craft Gore Windstopper Boxers for when it's not cold enough to wear long johns, but it's windy.



That windstopper protected area happens to be completely exposed to the wind, and believe me those undies will make your ride a LOT more comfortable.

Anyway, I've been loving the Craft gear since Tony turned me on to them a year ago, it's top notch stuff and really worth checking out, especially if you're commuting by bike. I layer up with my stuff whenever I'm planning on being outside and active - it's all designed with comfort and breathability in mind on top of keeping you warm. Idea for biking, snowsports, running, hanging out in the cold, what have you. Check em out at craft-usa.com. If you see something you like, drop by the shop - we've got a good stock of craft layers, and if we don't have it we can always order it for you.

Stay warm!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Korean Keirin

Last Saturday I spent the day with my girl at Gwangmyeong Speedom Velodrome just outside Seoul. It was a gnarly snowy day, so it was a good one for indoors. Accessible via Line 7 of Seoul's extensive subway system, exit 4 puts you out on the main street that the velodrome is on. 5 minutes on a bus or in a taxi will have you there, or it's about a 15-20 minute walk, no turns.


(Pic via flickr)


Korean Keirin is very similar to Japanese Keirin, which has its own rules slightly different than UCI's rules for Keirin. There are 7 racers on the track, and they are paced by a pacer for several laps, during which the racers jockey for position behind the pacer. Just before the final lap, the pacer drops below the cote d'azure and into the infield where he awaits the race finish. Just before the racers pass turn 3 going into their final lap, a gong sounds sounds, and is struck increasingly fast until the racers begin the final lap, or the "bell lap." This is where the real action begins.



The Speedom Velodrome is a 333.3m track with some pretty steep banks. One of the stats given for each racers is his 200m sprint time, which is usually around 11-12 seconds, so the bell lap is quite quick. During the bell lap each of the 7 riders attemps to be the first to cross the finish line, resulting in some very tactical sprinting and usually a dramatic last few meters after turn 4. For the finish, the lights illuminate the finish line like a concert venue stage. Lots of excitement during the bell lap with ajoshi's (Old Korean Men) urging the racers they bet on to the finish in various amusing NSFW ways.




All the while 80s sports video game music is playing, and tons of old men (It's 99% the boys club) are betting all day. It's a pretty fun atmosphere if you're into track racing, everyone there is excited about what's going on on the track. There's about 3 races an hour all day Saturday and Sunday starting at around noon and finishing around 7pm. 400 won, a bit less than 40 cents gets you into the 'drome to watch.

The racers are all riding beautiful steel handmade track bikes from one of three Korean frame builders - Corex (the Specialized of Korea), Interpro (my personal favorite - using Nagasawa lugs), or Cello. Otherwise, the builds are identical to NJS certified Japanese Keirin race rigs - NItto this and that, Dura Ace here and there, box section tubulars, and super narrow saddles, oh and of course they all use slotted cleats with clips and straps.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

La Legenda di Celeste

If you're used to the classic geometries of steel road frames a la "Breaking Away," today's race machines may look very strange to you indeed. Massive down tubes, huge bottom bracket areas, and fluid shapes mimicking today's automobile designs are all but the norm, all geared towards creating a platform that transfers the energy input from the rider as efficiently as possible to turning the wheels, made as light as possible.

Before cycling's governing body UCI created a stringent set of rules in the hopes of leveling the field in terms of performance advantages afforded to the cyclist by his or her machine, many companies, especially and most visibly frame builders were experimenting with designs that would make the hallmark innovations of today's bikes seem tame. Fairings, funny bikes, frames with no triangles were all tried in an attempt to make the most aerodynamic time trial bike possible. Aerodynamics are especially important in a TT as there is no peloton or other riders to share the job of pulling at the front, the rider must fight the wind on his or her own and race against the clock.

Recently on the NYCfixed forum, Ethan Laek discovered a treasure trove of some of Bianchi's TT bikes from before UCI sanctions limited the designs to the types of bikes we see in the TT today. Check him out over at Laek House when you get a chance and support a local NYC/BK business. He does some really cool stuff, most notably applications of ELVS which you can grab on some Velocity Deep-Vs.

So, just for comparison, here is Bianchi's 2010 Team Flaminia TT bike, the Pico Chrono.



And here are some of the pre-UCI sanction Bianchi designs... wild stuff!

One of Pantani's TT bikes





This one is CRAZY...

Note the bottom bracket shell, which is apparently integrated into the downtube, and also the DISC brakes!? and the aero bar extensions from the fork, too.






Here's a quick comparison of Pantani's bike from earlier in the decade (2002?) with a 2010 Flaminia 928 SL.





Pretty wild, no? Cycling is continually progressing as companies try to innovate and push the limits of design while following the rules (for the most part...), and that makes it such an appealing, exciting sport to follow. The fact that there is a market for equipment that facilitates maximizing human performance simultaneously existing with a market for established technology that will allow for a fun ride makes cycling accessible to a vast spectrum of demographics. Fun stuff!