Matching tops and bottoms

March 1, 2015 § 52 Comments

One of my friends in the “industry” sent me this link to a review of Wal-Mart skateboards. Since the sound on my brand new HP computer is already broken, it took me a couple of days to get around to viewing it. When I finally saw the video, well, let’s just say you don’t need the volume. Two skateboard dudes take turns jumping off concrete stairs on cheap-ass, defectively designed products that are marketed to little kids.

The boards fail catastrophically. If you have kids, grandkids, know anyone who has kids, or were once yourself a kid, this video will scare the hell out of you.

I see this a lot in the bike “industry” as well. I love it when people call it “the industry” because it sounds like a huge conglomeration of space-age manufacturing facilities, globally designing, testing, marketing, and retailing sophisticated services and products, and it doesn’t sound like some smelly old unemployed guy in his underwear, hunched over his computer screen in his mom’s basement sipping his third cup of coffee after awaking at noon to put out his bicycle industry blog. In short, it doesn’t sound like Steve Tilford.

Fact is, part of the bike industry revolves around the same kind of deadly, low-quality, defective products that Wal-Mart loves to sell on its skateboard shelves. Full carbon wheels made of 100% carbon that disassemble on steep descents when ridden by over-the-weight-limit riders, a weight that is often “super plus” sizes like 190 or 200 pounds–weights that are completely normal for certain body types. New generation disc brakes (always the front) that mysteriously stop working. Front fork failures. And of course my personal favorite, a Specialized tire that was slightly non-round at the bead, which meant that it would seat and inflate, then blow off the rim once you started going downhill.

“Oh, you tore your face off and spent a month in the ICU like the guy who runs my sister publication at Red Kite Bore while exhibiting your descending skills down Las Flores? Here, have another tire. It’s on us.”

In addition to the physical danger of product failure, there’s the fraud that occurs in the advertising of such products. Mrs. WM likes to go to the Korean spa around the corner. It’s a place where chubby middle-aged women, Asian and non, go to sweat away a few pounds of water weight while chowing down on the pork noodles and ice cream. The key thing about the Korean spa is that you aren’t allowed to wear clothes.

The other day I went to pick her up after her day-long bathing session and she was hopping mad. “I’m so onna sick of these cheaters,” she said.

“Cheaters?”

“Yes, they are cheaters.”

“Who?”

“The blonde bathing ladies, all coming onna spa dressed up all onna fancy with a pretty blonde hair.”

“I didn’t know you had it in for blondes.”

“I like onna blonde hair it’s pretty hair but then they are takin’ off onna bottoms and it’s all black like a parking lot in a Wal-Mart, that’s a fake advertising.”

“Fake advertising?”

“That’s what I’m saying. If I was a boy and getting all happy at a pretty blonde lady and she’s dropping off onna her bottoms and it’s all a black patch like a motor oil I’m gonna cry and ask for a moneyback.”

As usual, Mrs. WM had a great point. Nobody wants to pay for blonde and get black, or pay for black and get blonde, or pay for carbon and get rim failure at 50 mph going down Tuna Canyon.

Super products that have been tested and that work make a difference, and yep, they cost more. In a pinch, and when you’re racing your bike there’s always a pinch, good products can make the difference between a bad bicycle falling off incident and losing your eyesight. Just ask Ronnie Toth, who would have been blinded without his performance glasses, made of course by SPY Optic. Save a few bucks and get a cheaper brand? The worst that could happen is, well, you go blind.

Quality matters. Choose wisely.

END

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§ 52 Responses to Matching tops and bottoms

  • Michelle Landes says:

    Hilarious ! Lot’s of false advertising in MB 👸

  • Greg says:

    Buying expensive name brand bits is no guarantee. Zipp just recalled a ton of hubs. SRAM recalled their disc brakes a while ago. 3T recalled one of their aerobars. Felt recalled some CX bikes. The most you can say is that name brands will feel compelled to eventually own up to their mistakes after the first 5-10 people leave trails of gore down the road….

    • fsethd says:

      Not really. They won’t own up until they are sued and lose. Otherwise, it’s just a cost of doing business.

  • LesB says:

    I think Mrs. WM got it bassackwards. The gals in the spa dye the lower patch dark. Still a truth-in-packaging issue though, so the Mrs’s point well taken.

    BTW, Patrick’s epic crash was on the level stretch just after the Tuna Cyn descent. When I come off the Tuna descent my rims are searing hot from braking. My theory is that hot rims on his bike altered the characteristics of the tires and therefore the handling of the bike.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Which is precisely why I subscribe to this blog…… In hopes I can handle the truth!

  • Pablo says:

    I’m most shocked to hear some women still have hair down there…

  • Steve says:

    riding super light wheels and weighing over 170 and putting too much pressure in you tires (for carbon clinchers) is bound to cause a problem….. long descents cause heat from braking, heat cause air pressure to rise….

  • pvannuys says:

    Despite all the quality claims the bike “industry” makes, the consumer is still the final QA step. Nothing those wankers do (or don’t) in their Chinese labs can predict what real world buyers, egged on by bullshit advertising, will do to the product out on the road. Buyer be very wary.
    And brand name stuff at incredible online discount? Probably fake and especially flakey!

    • fsethd says:

      Yep. And double yep. Also, maybe hold off on that first generation purchase.

    • channel_zero says:

      i’m a former low-level industry guy, and yeah, it can be a suuuper joke. But, the Asia bashing is unfounded.
      1. There are very high international testing standards and legitimate product is certified to those levels.
      2. Product built in Taiwan is done at nearly Western labor standards and sets the world standard for bike production. China, definitely not, and can have vexing production issues. Not so much quality, but delivery.

      That’s not cheap or easy and that’s why I’m perfectly willing to pay for name brand product. Just not the first model year and never, ever, Specialized.

      • fsethd says:

        People have been bashing Asia since the first Toyotas were derided as “rice rockets.” Countless high end Euro brands build all of their product in China, Taiwain, Vietnam, and the Phillipines. The manufacturers in Asia are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Tamar T. says:

    “You get what you pay for.”
    And if a manufacturer (like Zipp or SRAM) recall their products, that’s good. That means they found a weakness and are willing to fix it for free. As far as fake advertising? That’s living in the glamorous south beach. Any part of LA, actually.

  • Tamar T. says:

    And when I read matching tops and bottoms? I thought you meant kits. Not — um — never mind.

  • A-Trav says:

    Don’t get me started on the “industries” that routinely kill people as an accepted practice because the cost of litigation is less than the cost of fixing the problem (mining, fossil-fuel, and the Ford Pinto all come to mind). Before corporations bought our government, charters were routinely revoked for companies found to be operating outside of the public trust. How many people must we allow them to kill before we even question their right to exist? Bring back the corporate death sentence.

    • fsethd says:

      Corporations are people when it comes to rights, but not when it comes to responsibilities. Nice gig if you can get it.

  • Winemaker says:

    Buyer beware….now, if everybody had to finish all races with what they started with (a la BWR), that would be something… and we’d see a lot less expense; sometimes heavy gets to the finish first. I can remember when you knew you were truly dropped and left for dead because your team car passed you and somebody handed you a frame fit pump and a spare tire (everybody rode tubulars then) tied to it with an old toe strap.
    See you later.
    Races were great battles between strong men. Results not determined by radio-supplied perfect information, just guile and guts.
    The art of racing in the rain? Heavy cotton tires, good, strong wheels, stay up front, or even better, attack off of it. And if you’re not up front, expect mishaps galore, and great suffering.

  • This is so true. When someone touts about Chinese made bikes, frames and forks. They generally get real quiet when asked how much they trust the products touted when they’re flying downhill on them.

  • jorgensen says:

    So, the cyclists need skateboard dudes to do destructive testing?

    Or, maybe the consumer’s bike weight vs. well-being equation needs to be rethought. Oh, yeah, 32 spoke wheels and 450 gram aluminum rims are just too performance robbing to train on. And that UCI minimum bike weight is too heavy.

  • Mark 'Fred profamateur' Holt says:

    I almost always enjoy your blog. Ripping on Tilford and RKP is beneath you though. Bike industry, Freds, Profamatuers, dopers, have at em…but why rip guys that contribute to the sport/lifestyle/whatever the heck it is that we all enjoy?

    • dangerstu says:

      I weight around 190, and love to descend, I might not be the fastest guy down the hill, but I used to road race motorcycles so I’m not the slowest either, the only issue I ever had with my Zipp 303’s was the yellow pads sticking to the rims if I came to a full stop after descending. That being said my new bike has disc brakes, so I can actually stop when I want to.

    • fsethd says:

      Not ripping on anyone, just poking fun. And I have no problem with getting poked back!

  • Steve says:

    All kidding aside…….. It is asinine and scary to hear riders talk about getting their bike down to 13lbs! I cannot imagine how scary that would feel to sprint on or climb out of the saddle in a big gear. The Chinese have been making stuff for a long time including most carbon parts now for big names. There were Cat1s in So Cal riding Chinese made carbon frames 15 years ago! I actually have 2 pairs of Chinese made carbon clinchers that are great. But….. they are 24/24 DT 14g spokes. 2x front & back Brass nipples. I also will never put more than 110psi in them…

    But, I also do not use, carbon stems, carbon bars, Ti railed seats or carbon railed seats.

    • fsethd says:

      Got a buddy whose bike clocks in at 9.9. The brakes look like they were delicately carved from uber-thin plywood.

      • Winemaker says:

        You so funny Wanky!

        These comments remind me of Joni –

        “All this talk about holiness now, must be the start of the latest style.”

        I have dropped 20 pounds and I would still break all the stuff Steve talks about before I got ten miles from home!

        I am firmly convinced that bike racing (and bike racer posing) has largely become a sport for engineering afflicted dweebs. A true sign the apocalypse is upon us.

      • fsethd says:

        The apocalypse was last Thursday, so, we’re good.

  • renagade69 says:

    Neil knows how a light bike can get you up Mt. Charleston in a hurry… but then he’s not a clydesdale either. unlike myself @ 200#, Wheels are Not something I skimp on.

  • The whole blonde cheater scandal would be non-existent if these posers would prep their surgical field properly…because when Ms. Priscilla is happy, everybody’s happy 🙂

  • Woody says:

    Yep, “the carpets gotta match the drapes!”

    • Woody says:

      I had a riding buddy who’s top name stem snapped during a race. He was lucky to get away with a broken collarbone and grazing. The other 3 guys he bought down were almost as pissed off as he was.
      I’m stating to worry about the sanity of my 14lb ready to ride bike now…thanks for the confidence boost.

      • fsethd says:

        Oh, I’m sure all that full carbon with the 100% carbon has been thoroughly tested by big guys doing big miles with no pro mechanic doing a once-over before every race. Really.

    • fsethd says:

      Or at least offer a discount.

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