Friday, April 10, 2015

George's rocket

When Big G finished building up his new Specialized Roubaix last week, he put it on the scale in the shop.

Drum roll...

Twenty-two pounds. Carbon fiber and bla de bla,and the friggin' tank weighs twenty-two pounds.

Mind you, 22 pounds is a perfectly respectable weight for a top quality butted steel racing bike from the 1980s. In other words, thanks to tinfoil chains, cog-packed clusters and temperamental, expensive brifters, we have achieved equality with a simpler machine powered by the same engine 30 years ago.

I know: more gears! Convenient shifting! And with the simple investment of at least a thousand more dollars in crank, handlebars, stem and wheels the bike could be an easy two pounds lighter. Still temperamental, but the fancy ones always put you through hell. You have to decide for yourself whether the ride is worth it.

Planning to commute on his new steed, Big G has been checking out all the bag options. Frame packs, enormous, projecting seat packs, anything that doesn't require a rack. He's got a messenger bag on order. That would not be my first choice for a 25-mile open road ride to work. But then this whole acquisition went entirely where I will never go. All this baggage, of course, gets added to the basic curb weight of the bike.

I understand wanting a light bike. Last summer I got a frame pack to increase the cargo capacity of my own road bike. It's a nice break when I know I'm sticking mostly to pavement. But if you only ride a light bike it will eventually feel heavy to you. And when it comes to transportation I really like the secure feeling I get from wider tires, fenders, lights and a good tool kit.

4 comments:

greatpumpkin said...

My 1986 Raleigh Grand Prix had a starting weight of 23 pounds. Now it's a bit heavier with some equipment changes, but still respectably light. The Suntour Barcons work perfectly, the Brooks B17 saddle is comfortable and the MKS pedals don't hurt my feet. My total investment in it is about $300. I see nothing in the intervening years that works better. Today you can pay thousands of dollars to replicate what we had in the 1970s and 1980s.

Chandra Eswaran said...

Cafiend,
Thanks for the comparison of ole time steel and the new carbon. Not sure how many know about these things, these days, when carbon fiber has more or less become the norm for a racing (or light-weight) bicycle.
Really enjoyed this post!

Happy Earth Day!

Have a Beautiful Day!!
Peace :)

cafiend said...

The bike industry tends to fall in love with a material and use it obsessively. They did it with aluminum. Things didn't totally work out with titanium for some reason. They also do it with componentry, as they are doing with disc brakes right now. EVERYBODY needs what we're high on!

greatpumpkin said...

My only personal experience with disk brakes on a bike is the parking brake on my Trice recumbent trike. That's enough of a pain for me never to have them on another non-motorized vehicle. I think their popularity may stem in part from the context for most bicyclists today, which is motoring, in which disk brakes are good. You can see that the attitudes about cycling and equipment are different over time as the context has changed.