Monday, May 11, 2009

"?" Bikes On Fixed Gear Gallery: Mixed Company

I have posted my fixed gear commuter bike on, a showcase for everybody and anybody who has assembled or bought a fixed gear bike. I must confess, I did it partly to add a little variety to the mix on that site, where many of the bikes are beautiful, some of the bikes are hideous, and very very few are practical. Most bike photo links there look like Yournamehere's Brandname (marque), but my link was Rant Wick's ? I saw that I wasn't the only "?" in the bunch so I didn't feel too bad, but I did feel the need to find out what other ?'s were like. At the time of posting, the ?'s immediately following mine were:

A DeadHead! I couldn't have been happier. Deadheads (although I never really was one myself) are my kind of people. So far, ?'s are great.

Next: Constant's ?

At first, I though that black, spikey, barbabeau thing was a spoke card, but upon closer inspection it is just behind the bike. Just the same, displaying that thing in the photo was excellent. ?'s - Two for Two!

Third: Damien Guy's ?

OK, the overall bike wasn't really to my taste, but the groovy applique of spiderman comics kind of won me over... I think I was really wanting the ?'s to come through, so I liked it.

Fourth: Jesse Sotelo's ?

This is where things started to go south, and paradoxically, north again! Flipping your stem to go way down so you can have your pink anodized bars rise back up on your otherwise powder blue bike just didn't compute for me. My hopes that the "?" was the key to FGG bikes I would like were sinking like a -30 degree stem. Hoping against hope, I carried on to the next...

Zach Hollandsworth's ?

This bike is where my whole theory unraveled, both literally and figuratively. The owner of this bike describes it as his "commuter", just as I described my own. An open wire basket, complete with items various and sundry. A proud close-up of the venerable Brooks saddle, contrasted with what would appear to be some sort of misplaced pride in that awful bar tape. The owner describes the bike as "recently finished", so I guess he's done. This "?" is truly just one big question... I am going to stop writing at this point. I have already violated my Mother's (and everybody else's Mother's, I think) rule that starts with "If you can't say something nice..."

One last thing: I am a big fan of BSNYC. Before other fans of the snob lambaste me with critical comments for ripping off his regular and excellent evaluations of entries into FGG, please know that this post was prompted solely by my own entry into those hallowed web pages, and my "?" theory was based on an honest hope. I have no intention of doing this again, because RTMS does it best, and I know it.




cafiend said...

I have a theory which I have not substantiated except through personal experience, that dropped stems impart more stability to the steering than stems that rise above the steering axis. Think of one of those self-centering swinging doors or gates that dangle slightly below horizontal, and therefore seek the center. If you want your hands a certain height, but don't want the drawbacks of an up-angled stem, the combination of a dropped stem and rise bars makes perfect sense.

Or it could be an unreasoned fashion statement. But, accidentally, it works.

RANTWICK said...


The physics of that (and your description) makes sense to me... thanks! There's also a good chance that the builder was just using what he or she had available; and I guess I shouldn't put people down for what I have done myself a more than once...

Crank said...

Glad to see someone else recoiled in horror over the truly hideous bar wrap job. Not just ugly, but it seems truly unsafe. And our motto is "Safety first!". That's why I always look both ways before I blow through the stop sign.

RANTWICK said...

Yep, those bars (and tape) have some serious signs of aging. They must have been added as-is, or perhaps the only part of the bike that was changed was the fixed conversion bits and the seat... who knows.

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