Wood That I Could

You may remember that last week I posted about SRAM’s mustache-rich promotional video for their new DUB crank interface:

While I speculated that SRAM may have some sort of facial hair-related hiring policy, one commenter pointed out the following:

Anonymous said…

FYI – Yes it was filmed in November (read the YouTube description). No, it was not a corporate challenge. It was a charitable challenge honoring a co-worker who had passed.

January 23, 2018 at 1:19 AM

Well now don’t I feel like a douche:

In any case, while I was wallowing in the comments, I also came across this:

Anonymous said…

I have also found the square taper to be reliable. And cheap. When it is improved upon I will stop being a retrogrouch.

JANUARY 19, 2018 AT 9:01 PM

Nothing against square taper, but it has been improved upon:

Hollowtech II uses the same bottom bracket shell and makes installing and removing cranks about as complicated as adjusting your threadless stem.  Plus, since it’s external, the bottom bracket itself is a lot easier to install and remove.  I’d call that an improvement–certainly not an “I’m gonna change all my bikes over immediately!” improvement, but easily an “On my new bike I’m gonna go with…” improvement.

I will entertain no additional opinions on this matter, and if you’re tempted to leave a comment about how square taper bottom brackets allow you to adjust your chainline I invite you to send it here.

Then there was this comment:

Jojo Potato said…

Why are mountain bikers in videos with pounding music always going downhill?

JANUARY 18, 2018 AT 10:15 PM

Because going downhill on a mountain bike looks cool and going uphill doesn’t:

Moving onto more roadlier matters, as I mentioned yesterday I’ve been doing some intensive testing on the Renovo Aerowood, aka the “Loophole Bike,” shown here with my finger in the shot:

And please note that’s “Loophole Bike,” not “Knothole Bike:”

No knotholes in the Renovo, so if you’re a squirrely rider you’re gonna have to find someplace else to hide your nuts:


In any case, the dead of winter may not be an ideal time to test an aero bike with skinny tires:

Nevertheless, now that I’ve sorted out the creaking (as I mentioned, it turned out the bottom bracket simply needed tightening–which was very easy since it’s a Hollowtech II with a threaded shell) I’ve been riding it regularly, and so seductive is this exotic wooden bicycle that my inner Fred, dormant for years, is now sprouting anew from the frozen earth.  Yes, it’s true: while at first I thought the bike had kind of a deluxe backgammon set aesthetic that was at odds with my recent affinity for unhurried riding on pragmatic metal bikes, I must admit I now find myself beaming from the sense of self-satisfaction that comes from riding an esoteric Fred Toboggan.  Indeed, as I pedal, I’m transported 20 years back in time, when I used to look covetously at the older riders astride their Calfees and Colnagos and tally up the components in my head.  “Perhaps one day that will be me,” I used to pine.  “Successful, busy with children and career, yet able to reward myself with an expensive bicycle and–most importantly–also still able to hammer.”

Well, here I am: I’ve got the kids and I’ve got the expensive bike (on loan anyway), and while I may not have a career, be successful, or even be able to hammer, it turns out none of that really matters that much when you’ve got a couple decent kids and a sweet bike.

Basically riding the Renovo makes me feel like I’ve arrived, despite having never gotten up off my ass.

So yes, I’m here to confess that this bicycle has managed to rekindle my inner Fred.  Moreover, between this and Ol’ Piney I’m currently existing in an ambiguous Schrödinger’s cat-like state, suspended between monied master douchedom and jorted, fat-tired dirtbagitude.  Of course I’ll fully revert to the latter when it’s time to send the Renovo back, but until then I’m enjoying the paradox.

As for the particulars of the bike, it rides beautifully, as you’d expect from a well-fitting bike with high-end components.  My experiments with wheel-swapping also indicate it preserves this ride quality even when fitted with wheels costing roughly 1/10th of the price of the crabon wheels with which it came.  (Not to mention the metal wheels result in much better braking.  While the crabon wheels stop acceptably, they’re nowhere near as smooth as metal rims, and they continue to shriek intermittently which is, quite frankly, antisocial.)

As for the cost of the bike, as the discount perineum salesman says, “Taint cheap:”

But let’s just say you have actually arrived in life, and you want to blow a bitcoin on a road bike that will draw attention to you.  Here’s comparably priced bicycle:

On one hand it’s got Dura Ace instead of Ultegra, but on the other hand it’s not from Portland and made of wood.  And if you’ve got a globe that opens up into a bar, you’re gonna want to go for the latter:

Anyway, now that I’ve taken delivery of an 11-speed cassette I plan to configure the metal wheels for the Loophole Bike and continue riding into the spring and summer when I can truly unleash my pent-up Fredness upon the world, and like it or not I’ll continue to keep you apprised of my exploits.  (Of course, they might want the bike back before then, but I’d like to see them try to get it.  Portlanders don’t scare me.)  And watch out, because already over the weekend I bagged my first Strava KOM!

That is 100% a Strava error since I actually made a right before reaching the very top of the climb but I’ll be goddamned if I’m gonna report myself.

So there.