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Author Topic: Question for mountain bike riders (stop giving me funny looks, geeks ride bikes too!)
zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 16:35      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know this is a long shot, but I figured I might as well give it a try. I just got a really sweet deal on a Shimano M952 XTR crankset ($100 for what's essentially a $300 part,) but I'm still trying to recover from sticker shock after seeing an XTR bottom bracket at a local bike shop. So, here's the question: is the M952 crankset only compatible with the BB-M952 XTR bottom bracket, or can I use a (much) cheaper BB-ES71 XT bottom bracket instead? The guy at the bike shop told me the XT won't work, but he was probably just trying to sell me a $100 part instead of a $35 part - I mean, both bottom brackets use the same Octalink interface...

Now, I know Demosthenes will axe-murder me, but here's another question on the same subject: what's the deal with the fixed gear madness? Riding a properly-geared fixie is a great workout, but I've seen plenty of kids rocking along at 5mph on bikes with a huge rear cog and a tiny front chainring. Spinning like a madman with no resistance whatsoever wouldn't be much of a workout, now would it? It doesn't look that cool either, IMHO. Now, expert fixed gear riders are a whole different story, they're the elite of the cycling world and get my utmost respect.

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csk

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 18:51      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't know about the parts stuff, but the fixed gear bike riders I've seen seem mainly to be teenagers with BMX-like bikes, and image seems more important than functionality (well, gears are apparently a limitation for true BMX since you don't have time to stuff around with gear changes, but how many people with BMX bikes actually do BMX?).

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 19:15      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm talking about full-size track bikes, the ones that are normally used by bike messengers. Something like this one:
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csk

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 19:27      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dp004i:
I'm talking about full-size track bikes, the ones that are normally used by bike messengers.

Hmm, maybe for city riding gear changing is a pain in the neck, too. I know even in my small suburb it's a pain to try and anticipate cars in front slowing down in order to change down gears

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6 weeks to go!

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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 19:33      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We did a little mountain biking yesterday, along the border between Idaho and Montana. I didn't even realize there were mountains in Boston.

Guess my geography education is a bit weaker than I realized. [Big Grin]

Oh yeah. About the parts fitting question: I dunno. [crazy]

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 19:38      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
csk: assuming you have a multi-speed bike, have you tried riding with the chain on the medium chairning in the front and one of the larger gears in the rear? Not too practical for flat terrain, is it? That's how most of those hipster wannabes set up their bikes, so I don't quite see an advantage of having a fixie when it's geared that way.

gg: you're right - a proper term would be trail bike or all-terrain bike, not mountain bike. I called it "mountain bike" simply because it's a general term for bikes with knobby tires and a suspension fork. I obviously don't have one of those full-suspension monsters that can withstand a nuclear blast or a 50-foot drop and cost more than an average compact car.

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csk

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 19:45      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dp004i:
csk: assuming you have a multi-speed bike, have you tried riding with the chain on the medium chairning in the front and one of the larger gears in the rear? Not too practical for flat terrain, is it? That's how most of those hipster wannabes set up their bikes, so I don't quite see an advantage of having a fixie when it's geared that way.

True. I've got a 21 speed MTB, and I usually ride on the medium front chaining, and vary the rear according to whether I'm flat, uphill, or downhill. I can't imagine that setup you mentioned working too well.

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6 weeks to go!

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 20:11      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by csk:
quote:
Originally posted by dp004i:
I'm talking about full-size track bikes, the ones that are normally used by bike messengers.

Hmm, maybe for city riding gear changing is a pain in the neck, too. I know even in my small suburb it's a pain to try and anticipate cars in front slowing down in order to change down gears
Strange...changing gears usually doesn't even make my list of "annoying things about biking". Taking my foot in and out of my stirrups does, but I like having them on hills too much to take them off. Slow cars don't bother me much. I'm on a bike. I can just sorta slip around them and give the fender a kick if they deserve it.

Then again, I typically only change gears when the terrain changes, not when I'm trying to slow down, and I'm pretty good at anticipating hills. Road just sorta rises up in front of me y'see. [Razz]

The full-suspension monsters typically weigh as much as a compact car as well.

I don't have much experience with fixing mountain bikes (yet...one of my labmates gave me an old bike he pulled out of a ditch and it's going to be cheaper to ressurect it than it is to buy a decent used one). However, I have seen parts get mixed and matched. Generally speaking, Shimano is compatible with Shimano, Campy likes Campy, and so on. You can do three things. You can take the bike shop dude's advice. You can take the bike to the shop with you and compare the parts yourself and decide whether or not the bike shop dude was full of it. Or you can buy the cheaper part, try it out, and if it doesn't work go for the more expensive one. A word of caution though: you want cheap you get cheap. If this is part of the drive train I'd just shell out for the higher end part. Do some shoppng around and you might find a better price. Try E-bay or Craig's List. The more expensive stuff lasts longer and works better and weighs less. This is true for everything, from tires to derailleurs to wires to brake pads.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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csk

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 20:20      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
Strange...changing gears usually doesn't even make my list of "annoying things about biking". Taking my foot in and out of my stirrups does, but I like having them on hills too much to take them off. Slow cars don't bother me much. I'm on a bike. I can just sorta slip around them and give the fender a kick if they deserve it.

Then again, I typically only change gears when the terrain changes, not when I'm trying to slow down, and I'm pretty good at anticipating hills. Road just sorta rises up in front of me y'see. [Razz]

Oh, I've got the terrain based gear changes down pat, it's the traffic based ones that are trickier. Like when you're riding through the shopping district and the car right in front of you suddenly decides to slow down/stop to park, without any prior indication.

Not a fan of the stirrups, I tried them, and got paranoid that I'd get my feet stuck in them and fall off.

Hmm, this all reminds me, it's probably about time to get my bike serviced again. Yes, I'm one of these wussies that gets the bike shop to do it for me (but, hey, still cheaper than running a car).

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6 weeks to go!

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 20:28      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Take a look at your derailleurs. You'll need either an allen wrench or a Phillips head screwdriver (my bike takes a screwdriver for the rear and has something completely different going on up front). Google for real instructions. [Razz]

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 21:04      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dp004i:
Now, I know Demosthenes will axe-murder me, but here's another question on the same subject: what's the deal with the fixed gear madness? Riding a properly-geared fixie is a great workout, but I've seen plenty of kids rocking along at 5mph on bikes with a huge rear cog and a tiny front chainring. Spinning like a madman with no resistance whatsoever wouldn't be much of a workout, now would it? It doesn't look that cool either, IMHO. Now, expert fixed gear riders are a whole different story, they're the elite of the cycling world and get my utmost respect.

*puts axe away quietly*

Why, whyever would I axe-murder you for giving me an opportunity to ramble on about my beloved track bike, Fenrir?

On a fixed-gear bike, you never, ever have to worry about a derailleur binding up or losing the chain. When you're flying down the highway or across a busy street, this is integral; drop your chain, and you go down with it. Also, you can feel the tire traction under the back tire at all times, which is good when you're pedalling on wet or icy pavement; you never have to worry about going over the handlebars suddenly, or having your rear wheel slide out from under you. The direct-drive also increases the efficiency of each pedal; without running it through a freewheel cog, you get more distance for each rotation of the pedal.

On a direct-drive bike, you've got the opportunity to do trackstands, which is when you rock the pedals back and forth to keep your bike stopped without having to take your feet off the pedals. Surprisingly convenient, and tends to garner awe from pedestrians.

Sheldon Brown puts it best on his his website about riding track bikes on the road, though.

If you're ever in the neighborhood again and feel like taking my track out for a test run, you know how to get in touch with me. [Big Grin]

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 21:09      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Addendum...

For some reason, "old-school" bikes are a craze among the art-school emo kid crowd in town. As with any fad, when it gets popular it gets watered down, as people who don't understand how to build, ride, and maintain such a bike dive headfirst into it. (On the upside, they usually end up under a taxicab. Divine retribution!)

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 21:28      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanthine: I'd love to get an XTR BB heck, Id love to change everything over to XTR, but I just can't justify spending $100 on a couple of bearings and a metal tube. XT is the mountain bike equivalent of Ultegra, so it shouldn't be too bad either. XTR is like Dura Ace - stuff that's bought by moneybags and professional racers. That's probably why XTR parts never seem to go on sale - I've seen plenty of LX and XT stuff marked down, but XTR is always sold at MSRP. The only reason I got that crankset was the price (that, plus my old crankset was a piece of junk,) and all I could get at a bike shop for $100 was a regular Deore (Shimano's lower-end part, probably like Sora on road bikes,) which probably isn't that much better than what I have on my bike right now. Speaking of pedals, why don't you go clipless if you don't like toe clips? If you didn't have a problem shelling out $900 for a handbuilt Gunnar frame, plus another $someinsanelylargenumber for the rest of the components, I'm sure a cheap set of clipless pedals and shoes wouldn't hurt your wallet that much - you can get them for under $100 if you shop around.

Another question - how many miles should one cover per ride in order for it to be considered useful excercise? I'm talking about regular road riding here, not forest trails - those are just for fun.

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 21:56      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Demosthenes: Thanks for the offer, I might swing by and take that Langster of yours for a spin - you'll get to enjoy the awesome performance of me going for a nice flight over the handlebars when I forget that I'm riding a fixie and try to coast, or, better yet, approaching some large, hard object at 20 mph while frantically searching for brake levers [Smile] I actually had a chance to try out some Fuji track bike at ATA Cycles today and liked it quite a bit - it just felt more natural, so to speak. Stopping was an adventure though - I had no idea what I was supposed to do, and perhaps my legs just aren't strong enough. I guess I'll keep riding that ugly, heavy monster of mine until I get good enough for a fixed gear - obviously, a properly set up one - I'm not planning to join the 28/20 emo crowd.
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 22:20      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have a pair of clipless pedals. I use them for longer rides. I like them alot, even though, after a wipeout that resulted in me doing a somersault with the bike into a ditch, I was unable to get the shoe free of the pedal and had to, while still completely entangled in my bike, remove my foot from the shoe and free the shoe manually...in front of witnesses. Now that, that was embarassing. However, for commuting I'd rather have the stirrups. Lots of off-the pedal-on-the-pedal at stoplights and I'd have to pack around extra shoes 'cuz, even though I've got the type you can sorta walk in (as opposed to the heel-balancing act) I don't want to be running around the lab in a pair of bike shoes all day. With the stirrups I can cruise around in my Birkenstocks and enjoy the occasional "what the fsck is she doing" look.

In other news, I have finally found purple camo handlebar tape. And not a day too soon. I ripped the hell out of the tape on my right bar back in April and a whole chunk of it finally got around to falling off today. My poor Stellar. Once I get that mountain bike ressurected she'll be able to rest a bit.

And my frame was built by Rodriguez, thank you very much. [Razz]

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 22:37      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanthine: weren't you the one with a Gunnar Roadie? As far as pedals go, I'll take a decent pair of spiked platforms over toe clips any day. They're great at gripping shoes (and ripping shins if you're not careful,) and they let you bail in a hurry if you need to. With platform, you're unlikely to have your bike landing on top of you, unless you get really creative [Smile]
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 23:01      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like to feel attached to my bike. Seriously. I've gotten so used to either stirrups or clipless pedals I feel very weird riding without them.

The Gunnar roadie is someone else. I've got a Rodriguez roadie that is currently looking deceptively ghetto. I've also recently taken possesion of a GT mountain bike that's in bad shape. So maybe my friends and family will stop pointing at my tires and telling me I'm crazy in the wintertime...

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2005 23:17      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
 -

This is my current set of wheels - a handbuilt frameset is too rich for my blood. Heck, the whole thing originally cost me about half of what you paid for your frame alone. I've gotten a few upgrades, but it still hasn't made it past the $700 mark.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 00:18      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I didn't shell out for the Rodriguez. My parents did back when I was in HS and riding at least one century and several other, shorter rides a year. I rode RAGBRAI the year I graduated from HS. Sadly, I haven't been able to do it again, but that's what happens when you have things like internships and grad school to deal with. I'm not sure why they got it for me. It happened between my birthday and Christmas. I'm not sure if I got much for Christmas that year, now that I think about it, so maybe it was an early Xmess gift. That was also the year my sister got sick the first time and all I remember about the holidays is the post-remission euphoria the whole family was in. I hadn't been asking for a nice road bike, but they knew I wanted one. I'd been caught oogling any nice road bike that crossed my path, theirs included... I guess it was sorta like how I ended up with my first pair of hiking boots but scaled up a few notches. They got themselves nice shiny new roadies and got embarassed about the shit I was able to keep up with them on. I'd finished growing so it's not like I'd need a new bike anytime soon. I love my bike. I don't let anyone else ride it (and wow did that make my sister mad). It flies up and down hills. It's squirrely as hell but I've bent it to my will. It's needed some minor fixes along the way and there are better, more expensive bikes out there, but honestly, I wouldn't give this one up for the world. If I somehow lost it, after I got done crying, I'd scrimp and save and do whatever it took to get a new one.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 05:28      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
gaaaa!!!! So much about bikes I don't know. I think I have an old huffy 'mountain' bike somewhere, but I dunno... my parents might have sold it off because it got a wee bit small.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 07:45      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dp004i:
or can I use a (much) cheaper BB-ES71 XT bottom bracket instead?

Probably. On my road bike, I have an Ultegra BB and D-A cranks, both Octa-Links of course. You can always take your cranks in and verify they'll fit on the BB you're interested in. Shimano boxes aren't typically shrink-wrapped if I remember right.

what's the deal with the fixed gear madness?

I dunno. You'll have to get an answer from someone who's taken the Kool-Aid. [Razz]

Personally, I like gears and the ability to coast. I like to coast when I reach down to get my water bottle, and going down hills. On the hills I still spin my legs a bit to keep the muscles moving, though.

Now, expert fixed gear riders are a whole different story, they're the elite of the cycling world and get my utmost respect.

Nothing against fixie riders, but in my opinion, the elite are touring France right now... on geared bikes! [Smile] Also, the people that I know who used to race on tracks (for the US national team) ride their geared bikes the vast majority of the time, and riding geared bikes has not hurt their ability at all: they can pull their kids behind their bikes in trailers as fast as you can ride without!

Of course, that's only one kind of elite. The gonzo mountain bikers, the trials riders, the triathletes who ride more than a century in an uncomfortable aero tuck positions and then go run a marathon, the BMX stunt teams: all incredible athletes.

quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
On a fixed-gear bike, you never, ever have to worry about a derailleur binding up or losing the chain.

True, this happens on multi-speed bikes, but the number of times it happens is insignificant compared to the number of gear changes that are made. In 17 years, I've only gone down twice from that, and one of those was because I bumped the down-tube shifter with my knee, and that won't happen any more since the invention of integrated shift levers.

you never have to worry about going over the handlebars suddenly

This is possible on all bikes with a front brake. Having a feel for the rear wheel doesn't make it impossible.

The direct-drive also increases the efficiency of each pedal; without running it through a freewheel cog, you get more distance for each rotation of the pedal.

No! Distance-per-pedal stroke is strictly a function of gear ratio. There is less friction from a straight chain, though, so less of your input is lost as heat in the driveline.

On a direct-drive bike, you've got the opportunity to do trackstands

You can do them on multispeed bikes too. The distance between the point an imaginary line drawn down the steerer tube hits the ground and where the wheel actually touches the ground gives you side-to-side leverage on both kinds of bikes. However, instead of rolling backwards, you have to balance your brakes against your pedal torque, so you have to keep it in one place. It's hard, though. I can do it on my mountain bike, but my trackstand-fu is not so good that I would feel comfortable doing it on the more delicate wheels on my road bike.

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 08:20      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by supaboy:
Nothing against fixie riders, but in my opinion, the elite are touring France right now... on geared bikes!

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: Lance Armstrong sucks.

Ever catch his team's ad campaign for the USPS last year? They rode around all day, delivering packages, and come back at 5 o'clock to check out. The postman punches them out and says something like, "So, same time tomorrow?" The USPS team looks around at each other, panicked. "Tomorrow?!"

These pretentious fucks have never put their lives on the line for a measly envelope, commission, and a tip if they're lucky.

*grumble grumble* [Mad]

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 11:36      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
supa: Thanks, I'll give the XT bb a try. On the second though, maybe I should try to trade those cranks in for a lower-end set and a set of decent derailleurs instead - having XTR parts, especially large, highly visible ones, on a bike that gets left outside every once in a while is like posting STEAL ME signs all over it.
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 18:02      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dp: Don't be ashamed of your Giant. I have a stock Giant Cypress with Shimano hardware that I really, really like. I sold my Dell Latitude so I could afford it. During my senior year of college I commuted to school on the Giant. Wow, could I fly down hills on that baby! (It's now hanging on the wall of my garage 'cause there's no room to have it on the floor; the three cars fit in our garage with barely any excess room. [Frown] )

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 18, 2005 20:50      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonnie, that sounds a lot better than one of the bikes I had in college (think $30 at a garage sale...). I left it behind. I'm not sure what happened to it. It was heavy and didn't have index shifting on the front gears so interesting things happened when I hit bumps.

So, Demosthenes, are you saying your entire opinion of a team is based on one ad and that your entire opinion of all the athletes in the Tour de France is based on that opinion of one team? Doesn't make much sense to me...

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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