Friday, August 17, 2007

Anti-Carbonism - The Revolution is in Me

Introducing my latest "project" that I've named the Super-Bee for obvious reasons.

It is an early 1970s vintage steel Motobecane (that's Moto-bee-con) and it is by far the least expensive bike I've owned plus it's a blast to ride. The bike came with gears (ho-hum, yawn) that I found annoying to even look at so I stripped it down to the single-speed (SS) level. The large ring had a wobble which made it useless to sell so I shaved it down into an outer ring guard (hacksaw, file, a beer and some time does wonders on custom projects).

Someone recently stated to me that the reason I ride SS is because I am not smart enough to shift...well maybe, but more likely the reason is that I just enjoy SS with its simplicity and challenges...

I'm still trying to decide what to do with the narrow, funky handle bars...love that yellow bar foam though... I had a saddle sitting around that is perfect for the Super-Bee scheme the bike has going for it...

And in case you didn't notice, this bike is 100% anti-carbon...






Anti-Carbonism...
In the last year or so I've been struggling with carbon and steel frames...carbon is super light, has some give on rough roads, and makes me drool plenty. Several weeks ago at B&L Bicycles I put my hands on a new 2008 Trek Madone super-bling, made-me-drool-all-over, ultra-light carbon road bike. I was instantly wanting this thing and still do to some extent. But, after a few weeks of pondering my bike situation (i.e. I've only ridden my carbon road bike (Trek Pilot) 280-miles since the 1st of the year) I realized that I have unknowingly developed a preference for steel framed bikes.

I have been much more apt to get on my LeMond Poprad cross bike and ride the road than on my Trek carbon bike. And then there was the other night when I was riding the ancient Super-Bee SS with some friends... somehow I was leading and I took one of my usual routes on roads close to the river...one of the group on a carbon roadbike came up to me and stated that they never ride this road since it is so rough...I honestly never noticed it, but then again I was riding a yellow & black steel tank. I pointed out to him that he was on a carbon bike and shouldn't it ride smooth on this chip-seal??? He grumbled something. Hmmm...I started thinking again that maybe steel is really that much better.

As far as my single-speed mountain bikes I have not once ridden my Fisher Rig (an aluminum frame) since getting the Fisher Ferrous 29er (a steel frame).

Why has this happened??? I can only say that the steel frames provide such a nice ride that I have developed a blind preference for them. I've always heard that with time steel becomes the frame material of choice for rigid frames for most riders due to it's comfort (it flexes), value, and longevity. Titanium probably would be a top choice if it was not so blasted expensive (the typical Ti frame runs $2800-3500+). The Poprad and Ferrous steel frames have changed my outlook on bike materials and have lead me to my current anti-carbonism. I can not stop the anti-carbon revolution within me...more to come on this I'm sure...

Beyond my anticarbon antics I still get out now and then for a ride in the local inferno...here's the profile of a short little dirt/pave road ride I did the other day on my Poprad up Couse Creek Road to Edeburn Gulch then down Weissenfels road. Edeburn Gulch should be renamed Thorn Gulch because there were thorns everywhere on that steep so called (goat-path) road. Once again for the locals' reference, Critchfield Grade are the little bumps on either side of the profile...another easy riden on a 100-degree day...

4 comments:

monk3y mike wellborn said...

On the subject of steel, I agree. The only carbon bits on any bikes I own are in the mountain riser bars that I've had for a while. Everything else is steel. I love getting the looks when I whip past everyone on a downhill on my rigid 29er SS, or riding through a field of glass, asphalt, and litter on the side of my road during my commute on the Surly. People spend money hand over fist to have the lighter, blingier, "faster" bikes. Hmmm.... me, I'd rather be comfortable and enjoy the ride, day-in and day-out.

Viva la anti-carbonism!

ERic said...

I have a late 80's vintage steel Trek mtb that is so harsh that I developed a dislike for steel that carried until I got the Poprad. I found that this one bad experience (the Trek mtb) was just bike's design and some old-school thought on making steel mtb bomb-proof which made it super stiff instead of comfy. I have more steel coming soon.

Anonymous said...

Eric this is Felix. All I have to say is Go Steel!!
What size is your poprad? What size is your Gunnar?
Later...

Anonymous said...

hey i have the yellow motobecane as well, i got rid of the gears but i was wondering where were you able to find the tube and a new pair of wheels with it? and what size is the rim??
did you also make it single speed? with a fixed gear?