Refinement: Trimming the Trim

For many years, I used to go into Mahattan every day. Now, though, I visit the city infrequently enough that I notice the changes that have taken place since my previous visit. This makes me feel like a befuddled rube. For example, what happened to all the pushcarts on Orchard Street? Where are the checkered cabs? And who was the genius who got rid of all the fully-enclosed phone booths? Like, where's Superman supposed to change his clothes? How are the homeless supposed to relieve themselves in private? I suppose when Clark Kent needs to fight crime he's supposed to go to a Starbucks bathroom and wait on a huge line for 20 minutes while a homeless person washes his undercarriage in the sink.

Nevertheless, I enjoy feeling like a befuddled rube in my own backyard, and to underscore this effect I sometimes like to take my Big Dummy into town:

(I don't know why this photo has a bluish tint and I can't be bothered to find out. I didn't get into the bike blogging racket to "work.")

When I visit Manhattan on the Big Dummy I'm the "bike culture" equivalent of a dorky suburban father driving the family station wagon in from the 'burbs, and the bike's considerable heft, greenish hue, and ample load-carrying capacity all conspire to make me feel like Clark W. Griswold in a way that warms my cockles:

In fact, I'm often tempted to scrawl the words "Honky Lips" on it to complete the illusion:

Though arguably having a great big cable lock through the rails of your Brooks saddle is tantamount to the words "Honky Lips."

But the Griswold Effect is most pronounced on the Manhattan Bridge, where the Cat 6 racers drop me like Christie Brinkley speeding away from the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in her Ferrari:

However, this last time, it was different. On the way into town, there was a considerable headwind on the bridge, and thanks to the parachute effect of my XtraCycle PeaPod child seat it was enough to bring me to a virtual standstill. However, on the return trip to Brooklyn it had the opposite effect and acted as a sail, and I climbed the span as effortlessly as as Fabian Cancellara on a bike equipped with a Gruber Assist. Carried over the bridge on the wings of smugness, I was, for a flew fleeting moments, the fastest and dorkiest Cat 6 racer in all of New York City.

One day, I will modify the PeaPod by installing hinges, springs, and a ripcord. In "stealth mode," the seat back will lie flush against the Big Dummy's cargo deck. Then, when I'm climbing the span of the Manhattan Bridge with a tailwind and am locked in mortal combat with some beshanted fixie doofus, I will give him "the look," pull the cord, and the seat back will suddenly spring into the vertical "sail mode" position, catching the wind and carrying me to victory.

Just get a load of some of these features:

First and foremost is a new DoubleTap lever body shape, which will supposedly sprout a more pronounced knob up front to provide a more secure handhold...

This sounds like it was lifted straight from an article about Herman Cain. "I absolutely reject these claims of sexual harassment," said the GOP hopeful. "She simply looked a bit unsteady as she bent over the Xerox machine, and so as I approached her I sprouted a more pronounced knob up front to provide her with a more secure handhold."

But that's not all, and SRAM are also completely revolutionizing the front deraler derailleaur thing that moves the chain:

Based on this description and what we expect to be marked improvements in the accompanying chainrings, we anticipate far faster front shifts – a known weakness with the current Red group – along with quieter operation and possibly the complete elimination of trim.

In other words, for 2013, "trim" is "out," and big knobs are "in."

Of course, it's going to cost you a lot of money to get your hands on those knobs, but if you're patient maybe this trim-free technology will "trickle down" to your level:

Hopefully, SRAM's outstanding track record of trickling down technologies to lower price points will continue, too, but Zellmann was noncommittal on the topic so buyers may have to wait a year to see if that happens.

Actually, I have it on good authority that all of this technology will only trickle up. Given the success of "halo bikes," manufacturers are increasingly learning to focus on the 1% instead of the 99%. That's why the 2014 model year will see an even more expensive version of SRAM Red branded as "SRAM Fred." While completely identical to Red, it will be wildly more expensive--and don't worry, it will be completely trim-free, though it will certainly cause your fellow Freds to sprout pronounced knobs in their Assos when you roll up to the café with it.

Lastly, speaking of riders who abstain from trim, yesterday I mentioned how the Pope once got a gold Colnago, and one reader shared the following story:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I remember when John-Paul II came to Hull in Quebec in 1984, the local frame builders Cycle Bertrand gave him a bike too.
And of course it was gold plated!

I remember, I was so envious of the pope. Lucky bastard.

NOVEMBER 30, 2011 5:51 PM

As well as this picture:

"Throw it on the pile with the others," the Pope appears to be saying as he digs inside his hear for holy relics. Perhaps one day all these bikes will be liberated, at which point they will surely appear on eBay, and the new must-have hipster accessory will be a gilded "vintage" road ride with spurious papal pedigree. After that, it's only a matter of time before they start prattling on incessantly about their rides on an Internet forum called "Papal Bull." And then we'll start seeing the articles:

"It's a communion thing, you feel totally tithed to the bike."

I already miss the days when having a Pope bike meant something...

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