Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Equipment

This is the first of 7,000 postings regarding bike equipment, but this is one about something relatively mundane. When I got on my trainer last, and no, I can't tell you when that was because I am training in secret right now, but anyway, when I got on my trainer the last time, I noticed I was getting some, well, numbness. And, as anyone who spends time on a trainer knows, numbness can come with the territory, but this was a bit different and it seemed like the pressure points were a bit off. My sense was that the seat was sloped down a bit. This resulted in getting out a level to check it.

I should note here that I have a teammate who rivals Eddy Merckx for the title of "Mr. Millimeter". His super-power is knowing to the millimeter how his bike is supposed to feel, so that if the seat is up or down, or I suppose the padding is denser or less dense due to the air temperature, he senses it and it must be adjusted. Now, to his credit, this is not a daily thing, because, frankly, he is a good mechanic and his bike is within his micrometer tolerances every day. He must take care of the various barometric pressure adjustments before he wheels out of the garage, but I digress.

So, I got out the level and sure enough, the seat was a bit nose up. Not a lot, but enough that it was probably the cause of my "issue." So, I had my allen wrench at the ready and loosened the bolt on the seat post.

From Misc Bike Pics

I am used to this process, so I loosened and tried to slide the nose of the seat lightly. No go. I pushed a bit harder and realized that the nut must need to be a bit looser. Again, no movement. It turns out that I had forgotten to readjust my thinking from current bike stuff to "old" bike stuff. Here is a better picture of the seat post.

From Misc Bike Pics
This is a Campagnolo seat post, circa 1991 or 1992. It wasn't the nicest Campy seat post in those days, but it well represented the state of technology in that era. The issue, it turns out, is that the seat post mechanism for adjusting the seat involves a series of large teeth that match up, so that if the bolt is even slightly holding the pieces together, the seat won't move. Probably nice, but the downside is slight adjustments are simply not possible, only in the increments set by the teeth. Also, as a result, there is almost no fore-aft.

Today, the adjustment on a modern seat post is much more faceted and can be done in the tiniest of increments. That is not only good for Mr. Millimeter, it is good for everyone.

This leads to my pitch for the day. The new equipment really is nice. There really are differences between equipment of ten years ago (not to mention 20) and today. Today's stuff is usually stronger and lighter and more adjustable. Bike geeks who like the latest and greatest (guilty) enjoy the state of the art, but the truth is that in every price point the equipment is so much nicer than even the really expensive stuff of a few years ago that it is amazing. My guess is that the bottom of the line Trek 1.2 would be head and shoulders above the bikes that Greg Lemond used to win the Tour de France. Sure, Lance is still riding the top of the line, but it is cool to think about how nice, how strong, how light, how dependable, how adjustable and how rideable almost all the bikes are today. Whether it's Lance's, or yours, or the next one added to the stable.
Rider 3

From Misc Bike Pics

No comments:

Post a Comment