You Asked For It!

Further to yesterday’s post, in which I indulged a request for more pictures of my Rivendell, I’ve now received another request:

I’m assuming this is not “DC Commuter,” by the way:

Can we just skip ahead to 2021 at this point?

Anyway, this is for you, DC Commuter! I also tried to replicate the photos I took of the Rivendell, but I didn’t do that great a job. Behold, an almost totally stock 2018 (?) Specialized Tarmac SL5 Expert in all its generic crabon glory:

Here it is from…a slightly different angle:

Here’s a close-up of the headtube, fork, and completely obsolete rim brake:

Notice how the headtube is specially shaped to optimize steering imput and to reduce vibration while simultaneously ZZZZZZzzzzzz *falls face down onto keyboard* aweirqhw-9eufqwh4fuqwfhu

The next shot in the Rivendell pictorial was of the low-normal derailleur. I forgot to take a photo of the normal-normal derailleur on the Specialized, but it’s this one:

It’s a funky angular-looking thing, but I will say this: the last two days in a row, while riding up a steep climb, I accidentally shifted all the way into my largest cog in the rear but forgot to shift into my little ring up front. This of course meant I was badly “cross-chained.” However, the latest Dura Ace is so well designed that it was still totally smooth and silent, and the only reason I realized I was cross-chained in the first place was that I wondered why the gear felt a little big. I mean, I’m sure you don’t need to get Dura Ace to experience this. In fact I’m sure all the latest road groups are designed to accommodate cross-chaining, and indeed the very idea that this is a bad thing to do is basically obsolete now anyway thanks to better drivetrain componentry across the board. So you know what? Forget everything I just said. (It’s still really, really nice though.)

Here’s the non-drive side, which, as we established yesterday, is the best side of a bicycle:

The next photo in the Rivendell spread was a rim shot, but I forgot to do that too, so here’s a rim shot:


The Rivendell has a dynamo hub; the Specialized has DT Swiss 350 hubs, and they’re attached to Roval-branded aluminum rims with DT Competition spokes:

Unlike the wheels on the Rivendell these were not hand-built by a cool person in San Francisco, but they’re still true and made out of good components so I’m not complaining.

Here’s the bottom bracket area:

And yes, that’s a threaded bottom bracket. I think the higher-end models had press-fit whatever so as far as I’m concerned this is the best frame Specialized offered for sale that year.

By the way, you know it’s spring when your bike’s undercarriage gets tarred and feathered due to abundant rain and greenery:

Also further to yesterday’s post, there was some discussion in the comments about tubing: specifically, one reader suggested Rivendell was intentionally obfuscating the provenance of the tubing they use. Well, I don’t see it that way, but regardless, when it comes to decals that mean absolutely nothing you can’t beat crabon frames:

What is “Fact 10r?” Why, it’s one below Fact 11r. However, I don’t feel too bad about that, because it’s one better than Fact 9r. So there you go.

Hey, the bike rides beautifully. In fact, it’s easily the second-best riding road bike I’ve ever owned after the Litespeed. But the fact that there are probably people out there losing sleep over whether or not they should splurge for the Fact 11r over the 10r is everything that’s hilarious about bikes. (And the reason it’s hilarious is that, duh, it all sucks, you should only ride Fact 12r.)

Oh, wait, there’s another decal:

That means I can actually ride my bike in the Tour de France! Oh sure, they might give me a hard time at the start line, but once I showed them that decal they’d wave me right in.

See, you can’t do that with a Rivendell.

Oh, here’s your Requisite Tire Clearance Porn:

The tires are 24mm, because apparently Specialized saw the need to split the difference between 23mm and 25mm. I’d imagine I could fit 28s in there if I wanted to, since that’s exactly what I did with my old Tarmac and I had plenty of room.

Here’s the saddle:

I just assumed I’d want to change it right away, but you know what? I actually find it really comfortable.

Alas, I forgot to take a picture of the pedals, so here’s a photo of some grated cheese for no reason:

And here’s the downtube, which is nowhere near as cool as the downtube on the Rivendell, what with its exquisite paint job and decals:

Though the plastic bike does have a whole sparkly thing going on:

You really need to get the bike in the light to see it; most of the time it just looks black. Overall I think it’s pretty cool.

Obviously the Rivendell is a much more “capable” bike what with all those eyelets, but one thing the Specialized has that the Rivendell doesn’t is a computer:

Though if I take the Rivendell out of town with me I’m totally going to use the computer with it so I can map out some rides. Just don’t tell them, because I think using a computer like this on a Rivendell will void the bike’s warranty.

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