More Carbon More Problems: Save Your Money, Keep Your Integrity

As I mentioned yesterday, at least one cycling website feels that a $1,000 power meter was the most exciting thing at Interbike, due largely to the fact that in the strange and anal retentive world of quantifying your own inadequacy $1,000 is considered cheap for a power meter. Well, part of the reason I was less than impressed is that I don't read Interbike coverage to see "cheap" stuff; I read it to see stuff that's so stupendously expensive that only the most delusional person would even consider paying half the full retail price. Fortunately, Reynolds has come to my rescue with a wheelset that costs $6,000, and if you don't believe a wheelset could possibly be worth $6,000 then perhaps the fact that Reynolds has actually purchased the URL "" will convince you otherwise:

So what else are you paying for besides a website? Well, one thing you're paying for is carbon spokes, and unlike the spokes on the wheel you're probably "palping" these are under no tension. As Reynolds puts it, "No tension. No problem." That's certainly catchy, though I did have trouble wrapping my mind around their explanation:

Reynolds says their spokes are " the hub and the rim with no tension." Then it says, "This is important because, while carbon spokes perform well in tension, they are less reliable in compression." So if carbon spokes perform well in tension then why don't they use it? I don't know. Perhaps if I were smarter I would understand. Furthermore, I'd also understand why these wheels are worth $6,000. As it is, I guess it's my own ignorance that is preventing me from fully understanding and appreciating them. Sometimes it pays to be stupid.

But while I don't understand Reynolds's seemingly contradictory marketing copy, I certainly do understand why they're selling a wheelset with carbon spokes. Considering Mavic's explosive success with the R-Sys, how could they not? Furthermore, companies are clearly still experimenting with ways to make a reliable carbon spoke, and how could roadies and triathletes possibly resist spending thousands of dollars to be the Rhesus Monkeys in these experiments? Plus, Mavic may very well have found a solution to their self-destructing carbon spoke problem. No, they haven't actually fixed the wheel; rather, they've come up with a reassuring slogan:

I encountered this while reading Competitive Cyclist's Interbike report, which included some bold Mavic testing videos meant to reassure an understandably skeptical public. Here's one where they smash both a Ksyrium and an R-Sys:

"The wheel keeps its integrity" is clearly French for "All you haters suck my balls." However, I remain unconvinced. If you watch the way the Ksyrium wheel breaks, the spokes bend for awhile--actually, I'm not sure they even break at all. On the other hand, the spokes of the R-Sys snap immediately upon impact like pieces of Men's Pocky. As for the other videos, I'll concede that if your typical ride involves "intrusion tests" and simulated potholes then the R-Sys could very well be the wheel for you.

But while wheel manufacturers continue trying to crack the carbon spoke problem by figuring out how to make a carbon spoke that won't crack, the fixed-gear "culture" (which, of course, is now closed) still does its best to remain elusive and inscrutable to those unfortunate enough not to have gained access during the "open enrollment period" (which was roughly 2003 to 2009). For example, until recently it seemed fairly obvious that the correct way to lock a fixed-gear bicycle was the "Hipster High-Lock:"

However, this morning I happened to pass the very same bicycle in the very same place, only to find it locked at ground level:

Clearly, the fixed-gear culture realizes that outsiders are not only aware of the Hipster High-Lock, but are even employing it on geared bikes. As such, they're quite literally "taking it back to the streets" by dispensing the technique altogether. Either that, or it could be that the height at which fixed-gear riders lock their bikes is determined in the same way as the height at which government institutions fly their flags. Ordinarily, fixed-gear riders may fly their bikes high by locking them atop fences, trees, and lampposts. However, when a hipster tragedy takes place, perhaps they choose to fly them at half mast. I'm not sure what the reason would be for today's display, though it could have something to do with Roman Polanski's arrest.

It could also simply be that fixed-gear culture is mourning its own death. Some of you may recall a Craigslist conversion factory called 718 Cyclery, "curators" of such classics as the Bumblebee Bike. Well, I guess even Republic/Urban Outfitters cannot meet the demands of the masses the fixed-gear "culture" left behind, because judging from this Craigslist post it seems as though 718 Cyclery is thriving:

718 Cyclery Fixie Fixed Gear Bicycle Conversion Restoration Shop
Date: 2009-09-27, 7:51PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

I own and operate an independent shop that converts new and vintage (i.e. "older") road frames from the 60's, 70's and 80's into modern bikes (commuters, fixies, 3 speed, etc), complete with all new components and a professional powder-coated finish. In addition to building my own projects, about half of what I do is build collaboratively with people who want to learn how to build. The atmosphere at my shop is free from arrogance and attitude. My bikes have been featured in Bust Magazine ( and I have great reviews on yelp when yelp decides to show all of my reviews (

We have a custom wheel building shop, and also have an exclusive relationship with The Mission Bicycle Company to use their frame in our builds

To book a free consultation/appointment/shop tour, go to my website and click the "Book Now" button on the right to access my online calendar.

Check out my website at (, to see whats for sale, whats in progress, how our collaborative build program works and what we're all about.

I did visit 718 Cyclery's website to see what they're all about, and I feel like I've got a pretty good idea. However, I'm still not sure what part wood screws play in bicycle assembly or why you would align your truing stand's indicators with your spoke nipples:

Still, I was impressed to learn that 718 Cyclery's work has been featured in Bust magazine:

Of course, Bust published in its prestigious "One-Handed Read" series the now-classic fixed-gear flat-fix sex story, which features one of the most famous opening sentences in American letters:

And, as the Craigslist ad promises, 718 Cyclery are indeed reviewed on Yelp. In fact, they've got five stars:

I should add though that this rating is based on a single review:

"This joint, and, in particular, its owner Joe, has provided me with countless minutes of entertainment."

If Bumblebee Bikes, One-Handed Reads, and backhanded compliments are not enough to convince you to see 718 Cyclery for your next conversion, maybe it's because you're from "nonhipster Williamsburg:"

I was recently reading a New York Times article having nothing to do with cycling when I noticed the above qualification, and I find it amusing that Williamsburg has become so trendy that simply entering it is now a threat to one's "street cred." Personally, I think this sort of thing is unnecessary, and I'm sure most people understand that not all of Williamsburg has been hipsterified. Furthermore, simply entering Williamsburg does not necessarily mean one is a hipster or is conducting hipster business, just like simply entering a bathroom does not necessarily mean one has to urinate. Sure, if you entered Williamsburg on a 718 Cyclery fixed-gear conversion then the evidence is damning, but it's equally possible you entered it on a distinctly unhip shopping cart bike conversion:

I only hope this one has been properly tested:

All you haters suck my integrity.

automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine