Further to Friday’s post, after they dried out I once again wore the Osloh jeans for the duration of the weekend (riding included, sleeping and showering excluded) and as they break in I’m increasingly impressed with them. I mention this because Osloh sell various bike accessories, and last week they sent me one of them:
It’s called the “tex-lock,” it comes from Germany, and here’s a video:
I can’t personally speak to how effective it is against an all-out assault by a thief, since I only just got it, and also I don’t have a lab where I can attack bike locks with various tools and then give them ratings. However, other people do, and here’s how the various components fare:
I also did get a chance to try it out over the weekend when I had to ride to an appointment, and–spoiler alert–my bike did not get stolen after sitting outside for an hour, so it succeeded in that regard:
Locking a bike is something of a logic puzzle. First, you’ve got to consider the integrity of the object you’re locking your bike to, then you want to make sure your frame is attached directly to it, and in such a way that it can’t be taken if a thief removes a component. (Occasionally you see bicycles locked by the seatpost or the fork, and you’d probably see it more except the bikes probably get stolen pretty quickly.) On top of all that you want to lock your wheels to the frame, especially if they’re quick-release, and of course you’ve got to consider your saddle and anything else that the nefarious opportunist might be tempted to nab.
For a super-cheap beater fixie in a city like New York you can probably get away with a single high-end U-lock most of the time, especially if you’re not leaving it for too long. But for anything else you need more security, which could involve multiple locks, a braided cable for the wheels, theft-proof bolts and fittings, and so forth–all of which can be a hassle. So the tex-lock is an attractive solution in that it can secure multiple parts of the bike with a single key, it’s much less cumbersome to carry around than one of those monster chains, and as a bonus it’s soft and you don’t have to worry about it marring your frame.
So how did I approach this particular logic puzzle? Well, the shackle portion of the lock was maybe a couple of millimeters too narrow to pass over this particular rim/tire combo. However, I was determined to secure both wheels and the frame, and so I locked the shackle over one (1) spoke:
Clearly someone who really wanted the wheel could simply cut the spoke and take it, but I was willing to gamble that there wasn’t a vintage mountain bike enthusiast on the loose who was in desperate need of a 7-speed XT rear to complete his latest project–or, if there was, that he wouldn’t choose W. 231st St. as his hunting ground.
As for the quick-release saddle and seatpost, the Hite-Rite took care of that, though obviously my imaginary vintage mountain bike enthusiast thief would have made short work of that as well:
Anyway, besides ultimately relying on a single spoke to protect my wheel, the overall concern here is that the security of the bike is ultimately dependent on the silver-rated cable portion of the lock as opposed to the gold-rated shackle. In fact, you’d have to be able to lock the frame directly to the rack with the shackle and then secure your peripherals with the cable portion in order to get gold protection for your chassis, which could be a tall order given how narrow the shackle is. Still, depending on which length you use (it comes in medium and large), what you’re riding, and where you’re locking, this could be a good all-in-one setup, and I intend to continue experimenting with it. In retrospect, I should have tried to lock the seat tube directly to the rack and then used the cable for the wheels–that would be the winning combo, assuming of course the shackle had sufficient clearance and the cable had sufficient length. So next time I’ll see if you can pull that off on a standard-issue NYC bike rack.
Also, by way of disclosure, I’ve joined Osloh’s affiliate program, so if you buy jeans or a lock or even a bell or a cap using the links in this post I get some sweet, sweet action off that–which may encourage you to buy or to not buy from them, depending on how you feel about me and my bottom line. Either way, just putting that out there, and if you are inclined to buy please note they’re currently running a sale. And yes, the “BSNYCFANCYPANTS” discount code works for all of it, so if you do end up buying something then everybody wins.
Speaking of buying stuff, we discussed tires at great length today, and this weekend I took delivery of some Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires for my Rivendell:
As I mentioned, the Panaracer Gravelkings were a bit delicate for urban riding, and after much shopping these seemed like the best compromise between light weight and long-term durability. Obviously it’s way too early to tell, though so far I’m pleased–even if I did lose the oh-so-fashionable tan sidewalls and gain a dorky reflective strip:
Though of course there’s nothing dorky about safety:
I did worry a bit that I’d lose too much off-road grip, but detouring briefly onto some hyper-local trails yesterday reassured me that they’ll be just fine:
Then, when I got home, I found this waiting for me in the lobby:
Its formidable presence called to mind the monolith in “2001:”
And I scratched my head and contemplated it in a puzzled, ape-like fashion until I realized it was the latest bike from Classic Cycles.
When I told Paul Johnson from Classic Cycle that I was returning the Teledyne, he informed me that he’d be sending me one of Specialized’s “latest and greatest gravel bikes,” since he happened to have a demo bike on hand that was too big for him. While it made me kind of sad to be getting a modern bike and not a classic, I also looked forward to trying a mondern-day trendy bike, and to juxtaposing it ironically with my current gravel bike, which is basically the Rivendell.
As I schlepped the case containing what I assumed must be an S-Works Diverge to the basement, I noted that it felt a little heavy for a carbon bicycle. My suspicions were further aroused when I opened the case and saw these:
I knew Specialized’s latest tactic is passing off old technology as new technology and selling it at a considerable premium, but speccing their top-of-the-line gravel bike with 26-inch wheels and Schrader valves seemed like a lot of chutzpah even for them. But then I peeled back the next layer of protective foam and realized I’d been had:
Here’s Paul’s letter:
And here’s the “user guide” he references:
Do you have a personal shifting strategy? Because you totally should:
In addition, Paul included both flat and clipless pedals:
Those of course are budget bear trap pedals, and you may or may not be surprised to learn the classic Suntours go for big money:
One day I will build a bike entirely out of vintage parts that people are willing to pay for through the nose. For example, a KHS Aero Track frame with Suntour XC II pedals, Campy Delta brakes, and Magic Motorcycle cranks would be ugly as hell, but it would also be worth like $95,000.
Anyway, once I finished taking inventory of the contents of this velocipedal treasure trove, I got to work:
Yes, I always use plenty of my proprietary grease blend when dealing with creak-prone components such as quill stems:
Before long I had the bike together. Dig those colors! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Crust Evasion! No…it’s a Specialized!
More specifically, it’s a Specialized Rock Combo:
In all its late-’80s glory:
Make that custom gauge double butted glory:
Butts were very big in the ’80s:
I don’t know if Diamond Dave rode, but Sammy Hagar did:
Heady days indeed.
Anyway, while the Rock Combo was clearly ahead of its time given the current gravel bike craze, it was not the first mainstream bike to marry off-road riding with drop bars in its stock form. In fact this had already been done by–who else?–Grant Petersen, with the 1987 Bridgestone MB-1:
And of course the first person to make the obligatory reference to John Tomac in the comments get’s $5 of their next Osloh order, just enter discount code “BSNYCFANCYPANTS” at checkout.
So let’s take a closer look at the components. The first thing you may notice is that this bike as three (3!) chainrings, hence the need for a personal shifting strategy:
Though it makes up for this by having only seven (7!) cogs in the back:
And if your personal shifting strategy fails there’s a Shark Fin to prevent your chain from committing suicide between your tire and chainstay:
Once a strategy is in place, shifts are actuated by these paddle-like levers at the ends of the handlebars:
Stopping is accomplished with the aid of these pivoting cantilevered arms, though the technical name for this sort of brake escapes me:
And traction is administered by the original Specialized Hardpack tires:
I only got the bike yesterday, but I did take it for a quick spin this morning, and I’m looking forward to some mixed-terrain adventures:
I think Specialized may be onto something here.