xmas and yet another year end top 10 list

My brother the astronaut

It was like 42 degrees!

ya'll are screwed now that I have THAT to make sacrifices for prior to the big April show

funny how a new camera makes you all artistic

love the smiley face

Now onto the list...

Everyone is doing it, why not?

Plus, maybe mine will be worth reading for someone. At least I would like to think so. I ride and race a lot, more than most and I'm not going to try to tell you how cool the stuff I got from a bike shop that I work at or from my friends at the bike company is... maybe I can balance out some of "those" voices just a little bit?

10. carbon wheels- my favorite are the Reynolds. As cheap as used as light aluminum wheels are used and faster/lighter. Tubular of course. They also have a mystical effect on... your competitors. They think you have an advantage and therefore you do (even when your wheels are heavier than theirs... shhhhh).

9. My 1999 Trek 720 Multi-track- there are other old, steel, 700c, bikes like this out there. This particular generation of trek fits 29x1.9s... is it a 29er? Not according to Guitar Ted's history of the 29er. Does it matter? This sort of bike is a perfect commuter, winter bike, touring bike, gravel bike etc., can be ridden on singletrack pretty well, it absolutely does it all. I even think it's beautiful in the manner of things that do their job right. It's a bit heavy to race, but I ride it far more than anything else I own. Tough to beat something like this for day in day out use. If I had to go down to one bike, it would be this one (and the frame/fork/seatpost/fenders cost me $30)

8. DT hubs- they don't get screwed up. I have 240s in every wheelset I can. Maybe even better is the 40h CODA rear hub with the same internals that I scored from Trevor (off of his tandem for peanuts) for a rear wheel for that Trek 720... want to bet it will make it through the next 10 winters?

7. Bontrager's tubeless system/RXL wheelset- I've got the older 2008 wheels with the DT hubs. I also had some Stans wheels that were lighter. I sold the Stans wheels. These are so much more secure with the way they hold the tire and the wheels are stiffer.

6. SRAM gripshift! Just can't see going away from this on my mountain bike. Where is the 10 speed 'cause I can't wait. I also like my noir crankset and reba on my Orbea. Just don't make the mistake of running any of their front derailleurs! (although I've HEARD they XX one and the newest Red versions work very well)

5. Shimano heat-moldable, m310 mtb shoes. I've got skinny feet, Trevor doesn't... We both got these shoes, molded them properly and love them. I've got some fancy road shoes from sidi and nike both, these shimanos would truly be the only pair of shoes I would need for mtb, road and gravel.

4. aero-bars... the stuff of tri-dorks, right? I have historically had trouble with my back/hands (maybe related to scoliosis or breaking my back a while ago) these solved those problems for me! Plus they are fast. Who cares what you look like?

3. Shimano stuff- DA 7800 to be precise. It's cheap and it's awesome. It's heavier than SRAM, it's not CARBON... but that's just not the point. Last year in the Royal one guy running SRAM had BOTH SHIFTERS stop working. A lot of people complained about major bike issues, cost, repairs. I replaced a bearing in a jockey wheel... I used the same parts for dirty kanza, a bunch of road races and cyclocross- it's as perfect as ever. There is a drawback to Shimano though and that's the SRAM gripshift as above.

2. tubular tires- I don't care which ones. Did you read my little "ode to tubulars" at almanzo.com? Would I race every discipline on them if I could afford proper 29er rims/tires? Yes! Drawback? $$, but this is the place to spend it. I'd rather race my the trek 720 for cx or gravel with good wheels/tires than any other bike with bad.

1. My 2005 Giant OCR carbon road bike... for gravel. Gravel has taken off. Every manufacturer wants in on the action- they would like to tell you they are doing something better and special than what has been done before... There is a reason my results got better this year, part of that reason is this regular old, cheap, taiwan carbon, 7 year old road bike that cost $100 for the frame/fork. Everyone wants to tell you that you need whatever and whatever. What I needed was a fast bike that I was comfortable riding all day... turns out a lot of companies have been making such bikes for years and promoting them as such. Why they haven't hit the gravel scene yet so much I haven't a clue (aggressive marketing by others?). Do you need something similar? If you do then you are in luck- these and similar bikes from other companies (in no way is my Giant better than or even as good as a lot of the others) all over the place used for <500 frame, <1000 complete.


  1. I still can't help but thinking that a carbon bike that was built for paved road use is not strong enough for the increased stress of gravel use.

    Your price comparisons are also a little skewed. You are comparing used aluminum or steel not to used carbon, but to used BROKEN carbon. That naturally brings the price down pretty rapidly, and frankly as a consumer I would pay less for a broken carbon part than for a good condition aluminum or steel one. Unless a person has carbon repair skills this is not a market they can work in.

    So I guess at the end of the day I see you as riding repaired broken stuff meant for lighter duty than you are putting it through, and I am crossing my fingers for you that it isn't going to disintegrate on you in a sharp turn at the bottom of a 30+ mph hill. I wish you luck but that isn't the solution for me.

  2. no, the price quotes for what a used 2005 Giant OCR would cost up above are not for broken stuff... there have been quite a few non-broken OCRs on ebay the last few months in that price range. The specialized would cost a bit more. You could also get an aluminum version of either bike and my same comments apply. What makes these bikes good isn't the carbon it's the comfort/layout/tire clearance. Would one of those make you feel more comfortable? Frankly, I'd feel less comfortable, if anything, on a light aluminum frame.

    My frame/fork was $100 and, yes, was damaged.

    I have complete faith in Roubaix style carbon road bikes for any type of use- do you know of anyone who has broken one without a crash or impact (like falling off of a rack or a car hitting it)?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Either of these would make great bikes/examples-


    beautiful condition size L frame with extras sold at $289 shipped.

    Or complete with decent parts for $765


    edit- think about the parameters of the design that goes into these bikes... they have to anticipate/worry about very heavy riders and law suits during the design/testing process. My 170-190 lbs plus gear and my usage is pretty minor. The OCR isn't particularly 'light' either, certainly weighs more than a lot of aluminum frames out there. I think there is a lot of evidence pointing toward it being strong. Obviously, it WAS broken at one point... that was in shipping when something heavy crashed through the box onto the top tube fwtw.

  5. Good points. I have probably been reading too much by Grant Petersen.

  6. no worries- I've clearly been reading too much bikesnobnyc myself.