Good bike

February 4, 2017 § 31 Comments

Last year I got a Cannondale Super Evo 6, or maybe it is an Evo Super 6, or maybe it is a Super Motel 6, I’m bad with names.

What it is, is carbon. Full carbon. It has so much carbon in it that if it had any more you’d have to spell it “carbone.” Which is Italian for “carbon,” only more so.

The reason I started riding this bike is because it was time to start riding a new bike. You will know when this time happens. It is different for every man, like menopause. But you suddenly don’t feel right on your current ride and you need a new one.

This is usually because your bike loses carbon as it ages. Bicycles are made from a special kind of carbon called carbon-14, which is radioactive and decays over time. You can actually date your bike frame by analyzing its carbon-14 radioactive isotopes. The fewer the isotopes, the older the bike. A typical full carbon bike that is made of all carbon, 100% hugely big carbon, the best, loses about half its carbon every two years.

That’s why you’ll be pedaling on the stiffest frame known to man one year, and the next year you’ll be pedaling around without a front fork. Which is awkward. Or maybe it’s because Boozy P. gave you a tune-up. Either way you need a lot of new 100% carbon.

The best solution is twofold: Get a new carbon-14 frame immediately and all new carbon parts. Or get disc brakes.

Disc brakes have revolutionized cycling since they were first used in 1982. Bicycling has never been the same. Now, the revolution that changed everything is something that you need to buy (a lot of) so that you can be part of The Spirit of ’82. Disc brakes are important because you can stop real quick on them.

Think of all the times you need to stop quick! There you are, pedaling to the porncery store, and a giraffe crosses your path. Bam! Grab a handful of front brake and fall on your head, causing permanent brain injury! Disaster averted!

Now, with full 100% all-carbon disc brakes you can stop a lot faster and you can slam yourself on your head even if a giraffe is nowhere in sight. Trust me, what’s good for a high performance motorcycle is even better for a recreational hobby bicycle. Plus, you can never have too much front braking power. Super good for fast, wet, downhill, off-camber turns. Trust Wanky on this.

But back to my Cannondale Motel 6.

It is the best bike I have ever had. Why? Because it’s all carbon? Nope. Because it handles great? Nope. Because it is more aero than Strava Jr. after a month of fasting? Nope.

It is the best bike ever because it is black. Fact is, Cannondale Super Motel 6 makes one of the best black bikes anywhere. It is better than ALL the black bikes Stern-O has ever had, and Stern-O only rides black. In fact, the Cannondale Motel 6 has blackness comparable to deep space. No light is reflected whatsoever from the Cannondale Super 6 Flags.

But just because it has the best black color, that doesn’t mean you should buy one.

It means you should buy TWO. Three if you can afford it or if you get the special Wanky discount (coupon code is #fullcarbonMotel6).

Still, it is possible that you are a comparison shopper, truly a despicable creature. And it is also possible that you really do like your hand-lugged Pegoretti with that unique Italian flavor that only comes from having a sweaty old man with garlicky breath and cauliflower farts lovingly join the lugs to the handlebars with a rubber hammer and pliers handed down from his great-grandfather, who died in prison due to his connections with the Mafia.

But whatever. We both know that your Pegoretti lives on the wall because no one rides art. Ever seen the French president gallop around town on the Mona Lisa? Of course not.

When it comes to stomping dicks, you’ll need carbon, and you’ll need a black Cannondale Super Motel 6 Stomper of Dicks.

Here are some things I’ve achieved this past year with my Cannondale Dick-6 Stomper that I could never have achieved on a much worse-black-painted Giant.

  1. Won the 50+ CBR rain crit, decisively beating Chris Lotts who was so weak he flatted, that dude who started late and wasn’t eligible to sprint, that other 66-year-old dude who had won the previous race in a one-hour solo break, that dude with the one knee pointing to Rome and the other to Beijing, and that dude who was racing in a different category. Not possible without the Dick Six.
  2. Had a natural way to chat up local Cannondale pro riders Krista Doebel-Hickock and Phil G. “Hey y’all, I ride a Cannondale too!” They think you are really cool when you do that.
  3. Set over 500 PRs this year on Strava. (*I deleted my account a couple of years ago and started a new one in 2016 but that has nothing to do with the plethora of new PRs.)
  4. Put on new handlebar tape.

Anyway, I hope you run out and get a Cannondale Super Evo Motel Dickstomper 6, black model only. You can get a great deal on them at Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, or Manhattan Beach. You can also hang around outside the shop and wait for someone to leave one unattended and borrow it. That’s what I would do. Did.

END

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Amateur stripper

February 26, 2016 § 35 Comments

Used to be, you could strip the bolt on your seat post without any special tools. You wanted to adjust the seat so you took an Allen wrench and loosened the bolt, put the saddle at just the right place to give you patellar tendinitis, and cranked down the bolt until it got tighter, then tighter, then you gave it one last crank “to keep ‘er from slipping” and ping! The bolt would spin freely in the bolt-hole thingy, completely stripped.

Then you would cuss and yell and kick something gently and go rummage around in your tool box and not find another bolt and then go down to the bike shop where Uncle Phil would sell you a new bolt, never saying a word but looking at you like, “Wow, you are a 14-carat maroon with chocolate fudge on top.”

You could pick the generic bolt for $4.95 or the Campy bolt for $8.95, so you always chose the Campy one, went home, and then tightened away but this time you were so afraid of stripping it that you didn’t get it tight enough and so you did your next few rides with the seat post slipping and you kept stopping to move it and everyone would be pissed off at having to wait until after about five stops you’d get it magically right so that the seat height was right and the bolt was tight.

All you needed to create this bleeding migraine headache was a little 4mm Allen key.

I said goodbye to all that when I got an integrated seat post with my fully carbon Giant TCR frame back in 2013, which was made of 100% full carbon. The seat post was part of the frame and to set the seat height you just sawed the thing off until it was right. If you cut it too short you were in the market for a new frame, but once you got it cut right it never jiggled up or down and there were no bolts to strip. When I say “you cut it” what I mean is “Manslaughter cut it.”

Then, I said hello to all that when I got my new all carbon Cannondale bike, which is also 100% carbon. It has an old-fashioned seat post with a bolt that you can strip the shit out of, but Smasher had warned me not to dare to even try to tighten it.

“Yo, Wanky,” he said, “you got to use a torque wrench for that.”

“A what?”

“A torque wrench.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a wrench that lets you measure the torque on the bolt.”

I gave him my don’t-get-technical-with-me look followed by my monkey-examining-a-semiconductor-look. “What are you saying?” I asked.

“Your 100% carbon frame that is made of full carbon isn’t like your old 95% steel frame made of 95% steel and 5% manganese, chrome, nickel, molybdenum, and niobium. You used to be able to tighten the shit out of your steel frame and only strip the bolt, but with full carbon frames that are 100% made of genuine all-carbon, if you over-tighten the bolts you crack the frame and then you have to go buy a new frame or give it to Fireman to fix for $43, which is fine except that when he slaps on a few sheets of carbon and duct tape things can go sideways when you’re whizzing downhill at 50.”

“What are you saying?”

“You need a torque wrench.”

“What is that?”

“It’s a wrench that measures torque so you don’t over-tighten or under-tighten things.”

“Like Old No. 72?” I asked.

Smasher rolled his eyes in despair. “Yeah, just like that, only completely different.”

“Where can I buy one?”

“You don’t really want to buy one.”

“How come? You just said I’d crack my frame without it.”

“Yeah, but you’re the kind of guy who can really hurt himself with tools. You know how you used to create a week’s worth of hell and misery with a fifty-cent Allen wrench?”

“Yeah. So?”

“A torque wrench set costs $40 and has about thirty sockets. That’s a year’s worth of misery and a couple of new frames at least.”

“Forty bucks?” I said. “You can get a Snap-On wrench for $40?”

“Whoa, Wanky. I never said nothin’ about Snap-On. That’s $40 for a Made in Chinese Slave Kitchen special. But you don’t need Snap-On. It’s above your pay grade, trust me.”

So we fought for a couple of hours about whether I needed a Chinese Slave Kitchen set with fifty pieces, a driver, and a cool box for $40 or a Snap-On handle and a single 4mm socket for $400.

“Dude,” he said. “You’re never going to use either one, but at least if you have the Slave Kitchen Special you can have more sockets and break more shit.”

“I only need the 4mm socket.”

“Why’s that?”

“I only have one 4mm seat post bolt.”

“You’re a nut job. Look, I’ll loan you my Snap-On and my Slave Kitchen Special. Try them out for a week and tell me which one you like best.”

“Sorry, I never borrow tools.”

“You’re not borrowing. You’re testing.”

wanky_torque_wrenches

Well-stocked Wanky tool box with toquey wrenches and stuff.

“I can tell you right now that Old No. 72 won’t want to be anywhere the Slave Kitchen Special.”

“Whatever. Just try it out.”

So I took the two items home and got to work on my seat post, which was perfectly positioned at the perfect height and perfectly snug, not slipping even a tiny amount. After five minutes of diligent work I had stripped the shit out of the seat post bolt. So I called Boozy P. “Dude,” I said, “I stripped my seat post bolt and may have cracked my new frame.”

“You idiot,” he said. “I told you not to work on your bike.”

“Yeah, but I got some new tools.”

“You idiot,” he said, “I told you not to own any tools.”

“I couldn’t help myself.”

“Seat post was too high?”

“It was perfect.”

“Was it slipping, then?”

“Snug as a bunny’s butt.”

“Then what the hell were you doing?”

I got ready to tell him, but then he cut me off. “Bring the bike by,” he said. “I don’t want to know.”

(P.S. New Cannondale Evo Super Six, size 56 mm frame with less than 500 miles on it, in almost mint condition, is now for sale for $150 bucks. Message me for details. No refunds.)

END

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Cannondale Evo Super Six v. Giant TCR

February 17, 2016 § 42 Comments

The last time I got a new bike was July 2014 after the great bicycle falling off incident of October 2013 when many of us on the NPR jumped off our bicycles together in a big heap and broke each other and things. My Giant TCR had a cracked seat tube but I continued riding on it until Brent Garrigus at RIDE Cyclerly in Encinitas was working on it and noticed the crack.

Fortunately Giant warrantied this obviously defective frame that couldn’t withstand the normal wear and tear of bouncing along the asphalt at 40 mph on its seatpost. However, the replacement frame was identical to the 2012 model I’d been riding, so technically I’ve been riding the same frame for four years, which is a billion years in bicycle coffee shop smack talk time.

Yesterday I picked up my new Cannondale Evo Super Six, courtesy of Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica, after having my trusty mechanic Boozy P. fine tune it. This morning on its inaugural ride it was humming along even with the fine-tuned rear brake pad dragging against the rim, which was easily adjusted but not by me.

So after 180 minutes on the Cannondale I’m thoroughly prepared to compare it in detail with the Giant TCR which I rode for four years and 40,000 miles.

WANKY’S BICYCLE COMPARISON CHART

  • Wife Handling

TCR: The TCR handled wife quite well. Offered at not much of a discount, it nonetheless escaped spousal ire by being associated with new team and a cash stash I had in an old sock.

Super Six: Terrible spousal handling characteristics. Delivery clumsily planned on Valentines Day, in tandem with thoughtlessly forgetting a spousal gift and trying to make up for it with leftovers from Rite-Aid’s card rack (“Dear Jesus Thank You for Our Heavenly Love,  To My Wife”), and a $25 Starbucks card. Came close to catastrophic failure; needs major redesign.

  • Bank Account Weight

TCR: Weighed in way over budget, but camouflaged with savings stuffed in old sock and timely purchase of a new Italian leather couch for Mrs. WM in lieu of son’s college tuition.

Super Six: Extremely light, so light that it was hardly noticed except for the aforementioned Valentines Day issue, which ended up in a nasty spat along the lines of “Happy Valentines Day for you onna new bike and I’m onna cheap coffee and ugly Jesus card.”

  • Wheelset Sleight of Hand

TCR: Superior wheelset swap-out while Ms. WM was out of the country, allowing replacement of shitty wheels with full carbon FastForward F-4 100% carbon clincher wheels and carbon FastForward tubular climbing wheels that are 100% carbon and full carbon. Unbeatable wheel swappiness.

Super Six: Requires lots of careful, technical work not found in the manual, for example, when planning to replace the perfectly good F-4’s, it is necessary to buy the new ones with behind-the-couch-cushion savings, then stick the old wheels in Boozy P.’s shop while waiting for them to sell, and being sure to never, ever, ever come home with an extra set of wheels. Tricky, can result in complete incompatibility and spousal relational failure.

  • PayPal Slush Fund Upgrades

TCR: Pretty good for saving a few blog subscription bucks and then secretly buying Ceramic Speed BB and jockey wheels without being caught or having to do “equivalent purchase” restitution in the form of nice restaurants or new granny underwear.

Super Six: Very poor PayPal application due to generally low balance in account. Unable to effectively hide major wheel purchases, resulting in borrowing from friends and promises to pay Jon D. for the new wheels next October.

  • 100% Carbon Full Carbon Composition

TCR: Drop-outs were not full carbon, so completely worthless POS frame and I’d never own another one. Thinking about class action.

Super Six: Full carbon 100% carbon everywhere, including full carbon drop-outs, carbon bolts, and carbon bar tape that is 100% carbon. Buy the bike for this reason alone.

  • Peloton Envy

TCR: No longer the shit because, fad.

Super Six: The new hot chick/sexy guy everyone wants to be around.

  • Shoe Rack Leanbility

TCR: Leaned pretty solidly against the shoe rack in our apartment without upsetting the clogs and ratty sneakers.

Super Six: Seems to take up less space, probably due to higher carbon content.

shoe_rack

  • Performance Tool Requirements

TCR: Could pretty much fix anything with Old No. 72.

old_no_72

Super Six: Requires torque wrench and a new set of tools that I won’t be able to use, to go with the other ones I used to use until Smasher made them all pretty and put them in a box where they’ve been for the last fucking month because when I was younger I didn’t care if they were trashed but now I’m older and know the value of money and a clean tool (you read that right) and I’m afraid to touch them. However, Smasher did send me some purchase options, a $350 Snap-Off torque wrench set or a $40 Spin Doctor torque wrench set that was just as good, so I went with the more expensive one that I’d never use. “I like your style,” he said.

  • Wind Chatter Aerodynamics

TCR: Did a good job of muting unwanted spousal criticism because it came with Team SPY and she was distracted by the awesome kits.

Super Six: Terrible at breaking the wind resistance of angry Mrs. WM, whose tirades about that $25 Starbucks card and the Holy Jesus Loving Wife card are going to be a feature of the family landscape for a while.

  • Climbing

TCR: Too heavy to effectively scamper away up hills avoiding family troubles, life problems, and penury.

Super Six: Spry, quick as a gazelle, offers endless hours of escapism.

  • Kit Integration

TCR: Went pretty well with the SPY-Giant-Ride color scheme, which improved yearly.

Super Six: Same black-and-white pattern as TCR, but glossy black and goes great with Team Lizard Collector’s 2015 classic black kit. May not work as well with the 2015 Calvin and Hobbes design, but the jury hasn’t hung itself yet.

  • Conclusion

TCR: Best bike I’d ever ridden.

Super Six: Best bike I’ve ever ridden.

END

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