Vintage Trek Restomod!

February 20, 2024 11:30am by rob
Watch as BikeFarmer updates this old Trek road bike with bar end index shifting. It also get a bottom bracket and headset overhaul. Plus fresh bar tape! Gotta love 27 inch MA40s! Should be good for another forty years.

Park AWS-1: You Can't Stop Progress

February 13, 2024 2:33pm by rob
I bought the Park AWS-1 on the left sometime in the early 90s. This is the tool I always had in my front apron when working in bike shops, with the plastic sleeve removed on the 5mm for easy identification. Removing the plastic sleeve from the 5mm also made it easier to get into road bike brake/shifter hoods. This design was phased out in the late 90s and today we have the plastic version on the right (which I assume is made overseas).

So does this represent progress? I much prefer the old style. It’s more compact and feels better in your hand. You can clamp it into a vice. The new one with the bulbous plastic middle feels cheap by comparison. I’m a huge fan of Park but I think they went backwards with this change.

What do you think?

Seller Spotlight: polthedestroyer

February 5, 2024 11:58am by rob
This week’s seller spotlight is on Paul Doble AKA polthedestroyer, who has sold a ton of bikes, frames and accessories on BikeList since he joined in September 2022. Currently he is selling a few cool bags like this Velo Orange bag and this Ostrich bag. You can also follow Paul on Instagram!

How did you get into bikes?

I started cycling when I moved to Los Angeles because I was broke. Everyone said I needed a car but it turns out the cycling infrastructure included buses that had bike racks attached and a subway and light rail system that let you put your bikes onboard. So I pretty much spent no time in cars. Perfect weather, wide open spaces, passing cars stuck in gridlock, it felt like freedom. But I really started nerding out about bike history and design after moving to NYC 13 years ago. The cycling community here is big, strong, and diverse. It's great.

What bike do you ride the most?

My bike Enola, photo attached, is my all season commuter. I bought it from a guy who was living out of his car 11 years ago. It was originally an 80's touring bike, but 2 years ago I converted it into the ultimate rat bike: intentionally rusted 40 year old Japanese frameset, fat tires, silver chrome components, skinny road bike saddle, flat bar, and a 3 speed coaster brake wheelset. Cyclists appreciate it, thieves think it's garbage. It's perfect. Sometimes I actually take it to other cities instead of my modern bike, an All-City Space Horse.

What is your favorite bike ride?

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to Jacob Riis Beach. Going from the city to the sea.

Campy or Shimano?

Shimano. Campy is expensive, beautiful, and wholly unnecessary for my riding style.

Any big plans for the next year?

Planning a 12 hour ride to the tip of Long Island, NY, and a 9 hour ride to Philly. And I'm really excited to convert a 90's mtb into a touring bike. The frameset is a Giant Sedona ATX with the poison dart frog paint job that shimmers in the sun.

Dangerholm's Crazy Scott Spark RC Builds

February 2, 2024 9:13am by rob
I first came across this bike on Instagram and now PinkBike has the full writeup. I have never really cared about light road bikes, but have always ben somewhat fascinated by light mtbs, ever since I first laid hands on a Ritchey P-21 way back in 1993. My XC bikes back in the 90s were in the low/mid-20 pound range, but my V4 Ibis Ripley is a bit of a porkey pig at over 31 pounds. So I can really appreciate the mad lengths that Dangerholm went to in order to get a version of this bike under 20 pounds. Wow! Read more at PinkBike!

Wende Cragg’s Custom 1983 Breezer Series III

January 30, 2024 2:21pm by rob
If you are at all familiar with the early history of mountain biking in Marin County, then you are familiar with the photos of Wende Cragg. She was there from the beginning, and it's thanks to her that we have so many great photos of the early days of Repack and beyond.

After she went through a series of too-large Schwinn clunkers, Joe Breeze built Wende a custom bike in 1983. The Radavist has a fantastic feature on her Breezer Series III--which she still rides today--with words from both Wende and Joe. Check it out!

Eddy Merckx is Back!

January 23, 2024 1:34pm by rob
After a three year absence from the market, the Belgian Cycling Factory is re-launching the Eddy Merckx brand with several updated road and gravel options. And for a limited time, several models will be available in this awesome retro Team Panasonic colorway. No word on US dealers or availability at this time. Read more at Bicycle Retailer and Eddy Merckx

How To Give New Bike Advice

January 18, 2024 12:14pm by rob
BikeSnob’s rant today on new bike advice got me thinking. I used to be an “automotive journalist” and so I get a lot of new car questions from friends and family. And as a former bike shop employee, I have always gotten a lot of new bike questions. My answers to these “what car (or bike) to buy?” questions have always been the same:

1. Decide what you want to spend.
2. Decide what you want to use the car (or bike) for.
3. Go buy the appropriate Toyota or Honda (or Trek or Specialized).

Now, in the case of bikes, there is the added question of fit, but I’m going to assume your local Trek or Specialized dealer will fit you to the right size bike, once you have it narrowed down to the right model. (Of course, in the rare case where you have odd body dimensions or a very big budget, you might do better with custom.)

Do I follow my own advice? No. I’ve never bought a Toyota or Honda. And I’ve never bought a Specialized. (I bought a Trek 950 in 1994, but only because the employee deals were too good to pass up, and I sold it at a profit a few months later.) Most of my personal bikes are weird mongrels ill-suited to anyone but me.

When it comes to cars, over the years I’ve mostly purchased old American junk, old Swedish junk, Italian cars and used mid-engine Porsches with potentially catastrophic IMS bearing issues that have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve. Would I recommend any of these cars to friends or relatives? Absolutely not.

However, if my friend or relative follows my generic advice above, there is a very good chance that they will be happy, and a very low chance that I will receive any kind of blowback. In the worst case scenario, the friend or relative ends up with a high quality car or a bike with half-decent resale value.

Now, the nice thing about bikes is even if they buy something other than a Trek or Specialized they will probably still be fine, assuming they spend more than about $400 at the LBS (strangely, this $400 LBS threshold has held firm for decades). This is very unlike cars, where if you don’t buy a Toyota or Honda, you can end up with blown head gaskets, recalled batteries or worse.

The closest I have come to following my own advice was when I bought a new modern full suspension 29er two years ago. I hadn’t really kept up with the evolution of these bikes and was not up to speed on a lot of the new tech. My own personal feelings/biases/vibes prevents me from shopping Treks or Specializeds, but to keep it simple, I decided to limit myself to two very established players in this category: Ibis and Santa Cruz (and I've owned a few of each over the years). I decided what I wanted to spend ($5,000, which would get me the top notch frames with half-decent parts I could upgrade later) and what I wanted to use the bike for (riding in the PNW woods with lots of nasty roots, but nothing too crazy). This allowed me to quickly narrow it down to the Ibis Ripley and the Santa Cruz Tallboy. After watching several YouTube comparisons between the two, I ascertained that the Ripley was a tad better going up hill and the Tallboy was a tad better going down hill. The sizing/geometry was nearly identical: in both cases, I would ride a size Large. Normally at that point I would have just gone with the one that I could find cheaper. But this was during Covid, so I went with the first one I could get my hands on, which turned out to be the Ripley. And it’s worked out just great.

Now, how about used bike advice? That’s a whole other topic! And a lot more complicated! But a good place to start is BikeList Price Drops!

BikeSnobNYC: Still Hilarious

January 16, 2024 1:04pm by rob
I started reading BikeSnobNYC shortly after the blog launched in 2007. Back then I was an ex-racer, ex-bike mechanic and my time on/around bikes was confined to bike commuting, which I did every day in Seattle, rain or shine. Reading about bikes for a few minutes each morning at work seemed like good harmless fun and was a nice daily escape. Also, blogging was THE hot thing back then, and I thought BikeSnob did it better than just about anyone. My coworkers would see me laughing hysterically at my desk each morning and would be like, “Oh, he’s reading that bike blog again.” They didn’t get it, and it was too hard to explain BikeSnob’s humor to someone who wasn’t a full-on bike nerd. Which made it even funnier.

Eben Weiss dropped his anonymous stance with the publication of his first book in 2010. He did a book tour and I saw him read at the UW Bookstore, which was really cool.

For some reason, I stopped reading Bike Snob a few years ago. I’m not sure why. I have seen his name pop up on paywalled articles on Outside and Bicycling, so I knew he was still alive and active. But now I’ve rediscovered his blog and feel like I have to catch up. I have no idea how he maintains this daily/weekly output, but I am impressed. He explains why he continues to keep blogging in the TikTok age here.

These days his blog seems less concerned with the PistaDex and more about his rotating stable of oddball 80s and 90s bikes with gears and fenders. He’s settled into a retro-grouch stance that would make Grant Peterson proud. He hates full suspension mountain bikes and e-bikes. He appears to ride his Jones bike more than a fixie. Hey, we all get old. But I’m happy to report he’s still hilarious, and still a snob.

Is It Time For More E-bike Standardization?

January 9, 2024 4:12pm by rob
Watch this video and let me know your thoughts!

Want to Start a Bike Brand?

January 4, 2024 11:33am by rob
If you’re a big bike nerd, chances are you have thought about starting your own bike brand. I know I have. In fact, a buddy and I gave it a try a few years ago with Domestic Bikes. I learned a ton in the process. Mostly I learned that it’s really really hard. We shut it down before we got too far.

Our buddy Jeff Frane launched All-City while he was working for QBP. And now he has gone out on his own with Wilde. I’d say he’s doing everything right. But guess what? It’s still really really hard. Listen to his convo with Russ on The Path Less Pedaled.

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