Motos, Metal, and Mystery
--How often have you been engaged in conversation with someone, telling them that you’ve been out on your bike for a ride only to be questioned, ‘you ride a sport bike or cruiser?’ No. Bikes. Bicycles. I’m talking about pedaling here. The mistake is easy, I suppose. After all, many of us are out on the road for hours at a time, and it seems the easy assumption most folks make is that when someone is out on a ‘bike’ for five hours, they must be twisting a throttle and covering some serious miles. There’s no real offense taken when the mistake is made. After all two wheels are two wheels. And is there anyone who rides bicycles who doesn’t like motorcycles?
Many of us ride both. The intricacies of the organism are generally the same as are many of the pitfalls out on the road. The arduous task of speed on the bike however, becomes a luxury on the moto. Yet, they feel the same -- the lean, the vibrations through your hands and feet, the visceral experience, the dirt on your face when you get back home. These are elements of the two wheeled experience that I’m particularly fond of.
We’ve recently dealt with a customer who works for Ecosse Moto Works. A quick trip to their website reveals a passion that appears to rival what goes into the bikes that we sell, and we appreciate that. We’ve actually seen them before, and along with Confederate, they build some incredibly intriguing muscle motorcycles. What got us here anyway, is that Ecosse does a lot of titanium fabrication and they use it on their motorcycle spaceframes. Apparently a few of them like to relax their right hand sometimes and ride bikes with pedals. But as craftsmen, they couldn’t help themselves but to build some bikes of their own. For guys like this, it’s inevitable. And as a handy guy, I fully understand. My mantra, ‘why buy one when I can spend twice as much money building it and have it last half as long,’ is probably not theirs, and a look at their titanium 29′er hardtail dispels the notion in a hurry. It looks as good as any we’ve ever seen. The beauty of the welds and the tricky Ti machine work is impeccable. We’re in awe of the headtube. It looks a bit like a crown on the top. And there is the motorcycle brain manifesting itself. These guys have passion, skill, and are looking from a different direction. Kudos!
--Tire Hair. Tire Titties. Call them what you may, the phenomenon of those tiny rubber protrusions is certainly curious. In the automotive world, they’re a symbol of virginal newness. And if the tires have some miles on them, surely every secondhand car sale in America used them as a gauge for the accumulated abuses of the road, or to be more appropriate, how fresh the tires still are. As in, ‘look here, these tires still have tits on them! Let me make you a real good deal.’
On bike tires, they seem a bit…well, a bit distracting. With less than one horsepower under the hood, we’re subject to far greater effects of resistant forces. Nobody likes riding through sand uphill, or the ting, ting, ting of a dragging brake rotor, or the incessant grinding of a dirty chain against the inside plate of the front derailleur. Shall I go on? So why would we want our tires covered in a thick carpet of those little rubber hairs? Sure, it can be said that, over time, they will wear off. But how long must we suffer the resistance? And by the time the tits wear off of the shoulder knobs, the crown knobs are no longer sharp and what did we get from our new tires? Perhaps not the desired or intended performance.
Tire Hairs are caused by rubber squeezing up into vents in the mold as the elements of the tire are pressurized and formed in the mold. Some tires are shipped with hair, some without. Why? I don’t know. I vote that we give all new tires a haircut so they’ll be presentable upon arrival on our doorsteps. Who’s with me?
--The long awaited Santa Cruz Tallboy delivery has finally come! We’ll fill 98% of our backorders, and have open stock in all sizes apart from Large. We won’t be deep by any stretch, but we’ve got you covered if you act fast.
--And, on March 25, we’re pleased to welcome Team Topeak Ergon’s Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove to Competitive Cyclist Headquarters. We’ll have an Ergon Klink and a group ride for all that evening. Details soon. Please join us!