Like any cyclist, I constantly study the weather report with some intensity. Rain means rust on my components, and while a steel brush could probably remove most of that, it can’t do anything for my image should anyone see me with rusty components. It’s already bad enough that I’m still racing on an aluminum frame.
Like politics or the Mac vs PC argument, the bike frame materials argument is a big pile of abstract numbers and specifications that ultimately boil down to which one you like more. Carbon is more expensive and has the cool factor, like a Mac. Aluminum is stiffer but has arguably the same performance or better for less money, like a PC, and steel is for people who judge each other on beard length or ironic tattoos, like Linux.
Then there’s the component group debate which, oddly enough, falls into the same three slots. Campagnolo is the cool, expensive choice (like a Mac). Shimano is less expensive, more widely used, and probably has just the same performance (like a PC), and then there’s SRAM, which is… um… which is screwing up my analogy.
I’ll just stick SRAM in with the fringe players, even though some pro teams ride SRAM and it enjoys arguably more cachet than Shimano.
Here’s a handy chart to help show you what products and ideologies go together:
We get started right out of the gate with my font choices across the top. We have Helvetica for “Hip”, Times New Roman for “Stodgy”, and Papyrus for “Fringe”.
Times New Roman is in nearly every book ever printed, and Helvetica is on things that people need to be able to read, like subway maps and the new Census form. You may recognize Papyrus from every artsy/crafty flier ever made by someone who is not a designer (and should never become one), or the Avatar subtitles. If you see Papyrus in the wild, you know you’re looking at work done by someone who isn’t a designer, and is very likely a miser.
On the next line, we have carbon fiber, the coolest and most expensive frame material, then Aluminum which is not quite as cool but has a lower price point and a higher market share, and finally Remington Steele, who looks smart in a tux and pronounces aluminum “al you minnyum” for some reason.
The component groups I have gone over already, and the politics you know about as well, with the possible exception of the tomato which represents, of course, the Sidewalk Tomato who I heard will either make a run for congress in 2012 or be included in a soup.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the computer section, which features Apple, Microsoft, and a fat nerd who represents Linux/BSD. If you don’t know what Linux or BSD are, then smile because you’ve probably had sex in the last year.
That about wraps it up for this week, my friends. Have a great weekend and meet me back here on Monday morning!