Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Misc Thought

We'll get back to Tri/TT Bikes and frame design soon, but for now I'm still stewing about the loss of a big bit of word-smithing.

Meanwhile, saw the latest Tech Q&A w/Leonard Zinn over at Velonews. IMHO, it shows just how pervasive commercial power is over the press.

The first question was about someone who wanted to upgrade their current DA crank to the "...new stiffer..." 10 Speed Crank without having to upgrade the rest of their drive train. Leonard said go ahead. He didn't ask: What are you trying to accomplish, or Why do you want a "...stiffer..." crank? Seems to me that these should be the first questions. Like, how many people had problems with flexible cranks prior to marketing folks churning out stiffer ones? Answer: approximately zero. Who cares about stiffer cranks? It's a nonsense issue that has led to poor bottom bracket bearing design. First there were the bearings crammed between an oversize spindle an the bb shell. Now there are oversize bearings (yea) cantilevered outside of the bb shell (BOOO). Nope, stiffness isn't a problem with reasonably good cranks, but bearing longevity, friction, and alignment are. Give me a traditional tapered square axle any day.

Which leads into the next question. It was about getting a long crank capable of running small chainrings for climbing. Zinn answered the question fine. But the correspondent mentioned not wanting "...old school square spindles..." Lennard ought to ask what's wrong with old school spindles, and then answer the question: Nothing. He doesn't and won't. Don't want to make Shimano mad. But face it, Shimano's antics in spindle design have been about two issues: a) planned obsolesence to drive more replacement sales of perfectly functional product; b) proprietary design as a means to weaken competitors. Kinda anti-consumer aren't they? Makes me wonder why they can't survive on their own merits without a bunch of marketing engineering.

Then there was the guy who wanted to know what he should do to convert his triple crank to a double. Zinn went farther than either of the opposing opinions he was adjudicating. Len suggested that the rear derailer should be replaced as well. Why? DUH? He goes on to say that "...it probably would work acceptably with your old triple derailleurs." Gee, you think so? Its shifting across the block fine as of now, but removing a chain-wheel will reduce that capability to acceptable, or potentially less? Give me a break!! Moreover, his choice of words is poor when her refers to "...your old..." triple derailers. These are '04 derailers. How new do we need to be to avoid being labeled "...old..." Current generation only for Mr. Zinn, please.

Don't get me wrong. Zinn knows more about bikes than I could ever forget (and I can forget alot). He's not just dancing to Shimano's drum - nowadays its a requirement for the press to watch out for the boss's cronies, advertisers, and political/social/religious fellow travelers.

But, its too bad so many readers are so frequently fooled because the press is complicit with corporate marketing departments. And Lenny, appears to be playing into this role with gusto.

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