Bikes are the coolest invention in the universe

Yes. They were/are the DH specific group from shimano. Lovely stuff.
I’ve actually got two unused 20mm front hubs- the Saint is the nicer of the two, so…

Because bike thieves came up in another topic:


Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas responded to a New York Times reporter’s testimony regarding the extensive use of bicycles by the Communist forces in Vietnam. The reporter, Harrison Salisbury, who had recently been in Hanoi, detailed for the committee how bicycles enabled the Viet Cong (VC) and regular North Vietnamese Army (NVA) to continually resupply their forces even under the most adverse conditions. Salisbury concluded his testimony with a strong assertion: “I literally believe that without bikes they’d have to get out of the war.”

The astonished Fulbright, almost springing up from his seat, replied to Salisbury: “Why don’t we concentrate on bombing their bicycles instead of the bridges? Does the Pentagon know about this?” Most of the committee members and those in the audience thought the senator was being sarcastic. Laughter erupted at the idea of vast numbers of sophisticated American aircraft hunting down bicycles in the thick jungles of Vietnam.

In contrast to the smirks and snickering, the stone-faced silence of the uniformed members of the U.S. military in attendance was revealing. They, along with their bosses in the Pentagon and in Vietnam, knew that the enemy’s employment of bicycles in the war in Southeast Asia was hugely significant to sustaining their war effort against the United States. It was no laughing matter. The bicycle had survived the most modern weapons in the American military arsenal.

In the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Viet Minh used strengthened bicycles to transport over 200 kg (and up to almost 420 kg) an average of 25 miles per day across narrow trails that were seldom straight for more than four yards and were studded by stumps, roots and snags, as well as tiny bridges, by night and in silence.


These bad boys are pretty bombproof, too - Swiss Army M05 bike, issued to Bicycle Troops from 1905 to 1993 (a new bike was developed after this although the units have since been disbanded).

They are heavy as hell, but moving parts are such good quality that they feel lower-effort to ride than the weight would indicate. That said, research regarding weight and performance turns up some unexpected things…


I just saw an ad for some recent vintage versions of the swiss army bike they were freakin spendy! No rifle included but it did come with all the other bags.

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You used to be able to get them pretty cheaply; when the bike units were originally disbanded the military surplus market was suddenly flooded with bikes. Fast forward a few years and they’ve become collectors items and fairly scarce.

One thing’s for sure - you’ll never need to buy a second one!


I broke my bike.
One of them, anyway.
My much-loved and forever tormented 1999 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro frame has (finally & understandably) given up the ghost. She came with a full XT/XTR group, a SID fork, and lightweight everything- a CrossCountry machine made for speed and efficiency. All that was left of that original build was the seatpost, crankarms (not the BB, rings, pedals, or bolts, mind you), and the headset.
And on Saturday, the drive side dropout broke clean in two- and there’s no recovering it. She’s dead, Jim.

I placed the order for a new frame yesterday- it’s coming to New England from the west coast, but it’s (supposedly) showing up tomorrow. I’ll need to get a headset un-installed from another frame and pressed into this new one, but the rest of it should be doable by me. I’ll put pics up when the new build is together, but for now, I’ll leave you with this:


Yep. 2016 sucks.


Everything that has a beginning has an end. And this frame really did owe me nothing.
Onward is all we can do.


Yep, 2016.

What were you doing when it broke and how dynamic was it?


As they used to say: JRA. Just Riding Along.
Trail riding, but just pedaling- no major trauma to speak of, at that moment.
That said: this poor thing had been ridden in all manner of unspeakable ways for 17 years. And I’m not a… small… man. And while I do have finesse on a bike, I am what you’d call demanding.
So: It didn’t bite the dust while being ridden off roof of the house (this time), nor did the back end come unglued at 45 mph on the steeps. Pedaling down some singletrack was all it took.
Though, the frame’s old enough that I think it came with a “lifetime” warrantee. Honestly, I’d feel pretty guilty if I tried to take advantage of that now. Know what I mean?


Yep. You asked a lot and it gave a lot. This trusty steed has been ridden.

I’m glad to hear it didn’t involve over-the-handlebars aviation.


Aluminium does have a limited fatigue life… and (certainly in retrospect) that dropout looks a bit undercooked.


All true.


The frame, technically, is a Metal Matrix- so it’s aluminum as a base, but doped with ceramics. That was supposed to make it stronger and have better fatigue properties. And who knows? Maybe it did, as it put up with 17 years of abuse through those tiny dropouts.
And, more technically, every material has a limited fatigue life- it’s just how close you’re coming to the elastic limits of the material that governs the time until a failure. Aluminum work hardens, but that’s only a factor if you’re applying sufficient forces to deflect the frame enough to trigger that- not all frames do. Certainly, there are plenty of Cannondale frames far, far older than this one still running around happily. They probably haven’t, however, spent much of their long lives being ridden off the roof of the house. Or jumped down flights of stairs. Or whatever.


What ever happened to metal matrix stuff?

They were coming up with all kinds of stuff in the 90s… I remember reading about some mob who did a frame out of Aermet 100, I think it was called… Some steel alloy that was only about 50% iron, that was developed for the landing gear on aircraft carrier planes. Never heard of the stuff again.

Maybe it’s time for some fresh materials again… vitreous metal, anyone?


There was a frame made from Beryllium:

Which was terrible. As were many of the early Ti bikes (wet noodles, really). With wildly inconsistent tubing (as it was being sourced from Russia, and that was a mess at the time…).
Metal Matrix mostly died off, I suspect, because it’s difficult to explain to a buyer why this thing that’s mostly aluminum and looks like aluminum and rides like aluminum is actually any better than aluminum. That’s a tough sell, I think. And most people care way less about alloys and whatnot than hardcore bike nerds.
For example: The perception was that Ti bikes were Ti bikes- but there was little regard for which alloy was used where and how, so you’d get bikes with CP3 tubes, or bikes with 3al2.5v tubes that were seam welded, or bikes with 6al4v seamed tubing (because nobody was willing to draw that stuff for bikes…), or bikes that (rightly) used 6al4v plate for dropouts and 3al2.5v seamless butted tubes for the frame. And so on.
It was fun to watch the industry go nuts and try a bunch of interesting ideas, but it burnt a bunch of companies out. Still: it seems like everything is just carbon these days (or, if you’re “cheap” aluminum…) besides the really boutique stuff.


New frame came. After some “excitement” with the headset, it’s together.


Remember “scandium frames”? Marketing hyperbole for AL alloys with, what, less than 0.5% actual scandium mixed in?

No idea if it made any difference at all, but that’s a short-lived hype term if there ever was one.


Not to imply that anyone learned anything at all since then in this market. Brace yourselves for GRAPHENE ALL THE THINGS in 2017.


Damn, I hate the white bar tape tradition.

It’s so dumb.