Sunday, July 26, 2009

From this morning's VN online Live Tour Coverage

I'd have missed this, and it's as remarkable as anything this year's Tour has revealed:

[Comment From Angus ]
I may be wrong, but it appears as though the top 10 riders on GC are all on American bike brands, that must be a first?
CPelkey: Pretty close, Angus. The La Francaise des Jeux team is on Lapierre, a company based in Dijon, France, if I recall correctly.
1. Alberto Contador (Sp), Trek
2. Andy Schleck (Lux), Specialized
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Trek
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Felt
5. Frank Schleck (Lux), Specialized
6. Andréas Klöden (G), Trek
7. Vincenzo Nibali (I), Cannondale
8. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Felt
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cz), Cannondale
10. Christophe Le Mevel (F), Lapierre


Earle said...

This is interesting, but it also reflects why rational riders are finding that they have to buy custom. More and more, the same race bikes, with clearances too tight for anything bigger than 23 mm tires, are sold to anybody who wants a road bike. When was the last time any of these companies offered a frame with a lifetime guarantee, race-bike handling and clearance for 25 mm tires AND fenders. Yeah, some of them offer bikes with that kind of clearances, but they trade off race-bike handling for some version of "comfort," which for some riders is just not very comfortable. And they build them out of carbon fiber, which is gonna get killed if you use it regularly for real-life riding. The bike rack I use at work not only has the paint knocked off where my top tube hits it, but the metal underneath is being shined by the repeated contact and slight rubbing. And it sometimes gets windy out there. How many times can you bang on the middle of a carbon top tube and still ride the bike with confidence?
If you look at the bikes Eddy Merckx rode into Paris 5 times, you will see that any of them makes more sense as a daily rider than most of the high-end offerings of the makers on that list.
Thank heavens there are a lot of small builders out there who are not directed by current fashion, but rather by real world function.
Order a custom bike today!

Anonymous said...

And all but three (at most) are actually made, molded, or whatever you call it-- in China. American names sure, but as American as the Chinese car called the "Cherry". Luckily they're cheap enough for the sponsor to buy they can afford to throw 'em all in the trash after LeTour is over. What puzzles me is WHY these things cost so darn much to the retail customer?

Russell said...

I don't know that you have to buy custom, perhaps you just need to look past racer-wanna-be bikes.

When I bought my Salsa Casseroll, I also looked at bikes from Surly, Jamis, and Rivendell. All were perfectly suited to real life riding, even if they lacked race bike handling. Sadly, they aren't available at many LBS's.

Sjb said...

"When was the last time any of these companies offered a frame with a lifetime guarantee, race-bike handling and clearance for 25 mm tires AND fenders."

Trek will offer just the bike you pine for in 2010 under the Fisher brand.

Earle said...

Where I lock my bike, the top tube regularly strikes the bike rack, enough that the paint on the rack at the point of cotact is destroyed. We also get some wind storms that bounce the bike off and onto the rack numerous times. How long will one of those carbon frames take that kind of real world use? So far, my titanium frame has a slightly damaged sticker.

Cramps said...

You guys are such curmudgeons;-). Times change. Bike racing has changed. Carbon isn't a good commute bike material- no argument there.

The 'real life' of my Tarmac is racing and training 200 miles a week- if that's not real life, where have I been?

...There are piles of bikes offered of steel and aluminum that meet the needs of non-racers...I'm not sure where you are looking.

And as far as China built- *Taiwan* has been making your bikes for over twenty or thirty years..They are damn good at it, and its an insult to hard working, intelligent, good business men and women from that country to suggest that just because they are Asian that they can't make a good product- because that is the implication of that comment.

I don't quite get the rationale that a custom bike is better for 'real world' use, at around $2000 (or more!) bucks for a frame of steel. That's not real world to me. If you're gonna lock it up, and you're worried about your paint, wrap it in bar tape.

BTW, Earle, As far as 'rational riders' are concerned...the word 'rational' isn't a truck you can just pile meanings on...Did you buy custom and now have to 'rationalize' your purchase? ;-)

Earle said...

I don't have to rationalize my purchase. After 30 years of riding high-end bicycles, I needed one bicycle to serve my few purposes: commuting in good weather, recreational riding and a couple of organized centuries every year. I wanted it to handle as well as my previous custom bike, to have clearance for 25 mm tires and fenders, and to have fittings for those fenders. I also wanted it to last as long as my last custom bike or longer -- no less than two decaded of regular riding. At the time I ordered it, there was not a production bike that met my needs. Carbon fiber will never meet my needs. I'm an industry insider, so I was able to get a very reasonable price on a custom-built Litespeed.