all these decisions are really giving me a skid patch, if you know what i mean
right now i’m in gear ratio purgatory. i’ve learned (what feels like) a TON about chainring/cog ratios lately, but every time i finally reach the point of “getting it” and understanding what ratio will probably work for me, i learn something else that totally changes what i thought i wanted. take skid patches, for example. your gear ratio defines which parts of your tire are used to execute skip stops, so if you plan on skidding a lot, it’s important to choose a gear ratio that offers MORE skid patch options so that you don’t wear out your tire very quickly by skidding at the same part of your tire every single time.
easy enough, as there are lots of people out there with sound opinions on what the best number of skid patches, right?
right. right in the sense that, with access to the internet, you can find sound opinions on literally any question about any bike ever. but those opinions are also usually vastly different and strongly-held.
the best gearing calulators also account for whether one is a single-legged skidder or an ambidextrous skidder. if you don’t skid at all, you’re supposed to go with an even ratio to sustain the life of your chain and cog. single-legged skidders should chose odd chainring/cog rations. ambidextrous skidders can choose a gear ratio that simplifies to an odd number to actually DOUBLE the number of skid patches.
okay, i take that back. how sweet would this look on an all-black, otherwise low-profile build? it’s $75 bucks more than I can spend, but…
yeah yeah. i’ve been quiet for a few…months. but i’m back on my grind. i’m figuring out cranksets right now, and i came across this custom one from Candy Cranks (the bike itself is actually a Fast Folks build).
i myself am going for a murdered-out crank/bb combo, but i had to share this ridiculously detailed piece of art.
a purty 32 hole phil wood hub, i love the details of PH hubs…but i cannot pay $150 for one!
i don’t ride eggbeaters, but i love, love love they way they look with this fixed crankset. so simplistic and elegant. i can’t get over it!
goldilocks and the three frames
my frame & fork arrived yesterday, and today i walked over to smart to pick ‘em up.
when i finally decided that i wanted to pay the premium and get a steamroller (which is mostly paying for the name, i admit), it wasn’t just smart that didn’t have a 53cm black s-roller in stock. the frameset itself was on backorder until the end of january! which kinda makes sense, since a lot of people use the winter months to pursue this sort of dubious endeavor, and to build a bike you gotta buy SOMETHING to put between the wheels. though i do hear a broomstick will do in a pinch.
so instead of wait until the end of january, eric at smart ordered a full bike and inventoried everything but the frame, fork and headset, which would become mine (this technique is also known as “buying”). i’d imagine that the chances of me buying one or two of those inventoried stock parts back from him are decent, but so it goes. i’m an american and i’d prefer to “have it my way,” even if ”my way” is shorthand for “the assbackwards way.”
i bundled up and walked down the street to smart. the frame was already hung up after being taken apart yesterday. it looked kinda big to me. keep in mind that i have NO eye for this kind of thing. we started talking about rust inhibitor - eric is going to let me keep it in their basement for a day after i spray the frame, since the stuff smells pretty stinky for an apartment. i turned the frame over to see the little holes at the ends of the chain stays where the inhibitor needed to go. eric pointed out that the bottom bracket (where the crankset will go) was stamped ”FIXED 56.”
huh. weird, i’ll grant you. but i didn’t immediately think that it denoted 56cm. after all, the box - which was still in the back - clearly said 53.
but sure enough, no matter how we measured it - from the center of the bracket to top tube, from the outside of the bottom bracket to seat post, from the top of the bracket to the bottom of the top tube - it was always bigger than 53cm. eric called the surly guy, and confirmed after we tried a few different measurements - we’d gotten a 56cm frame in a 53cm box.
the right frame is coming tomorrow, which is NBD (yay, easy MPLS to Chicago shipping!). what WOULD HAVE really sucked:
1. that i could have gotten it home and spent a ton of time building it, only to realize the first time i get on the thing that it’s waaaaaaaaaaay too big for me. even if that happened, i doubt i would think “this must be a 56cm instead of a 53cm.” i would have assumed that i just needed a frame smaller than 53cm - which is NOT the case. a 53cm is skirting too big for me to begin with, but a 49 (the smallest size s-roller) is far too small for me.
2. for a second he thought that it might have been a more widespread problem - as in, a whole batch of 53cm frames had been mislabeled and shipped to people. what a nightmare!
anyways, yet another example of why i’m really glad i decided to buy my first frame from smart, rather than do it entirely by myself - i would have never noticed this stuff, and would have spent a lot of time and energy working on a frame that is way too big for me! moreover, i couldn’t have picked a nicer, more friendly, and smarter (pun intended) shop to go with. it also doesn’t hurt that it’s four blocks from my house.
eric also told me that when he first opened the shop, the first fixed bike he ever rode was a steamroller that he paired with a crabon fork - he said it was the most fun fixed bike he’d ever ridden. which is always nice to hear, since that’s kind of the goal of Safety Bicycle ownership, right?