Saturday, May 10, 2008
The beam bike - people seem to love these things
I snapped this photo at the 2008 Cat's Hill Criterium in Los Gatos, CA. This fellow and I were watching the men's 1-2 racers top out on the hill. Myself having ridden there on my steel frame road bike and himself having ridden there on the beam bike. I interviewed him. He told me that the mega downtube was welded aluminum and that the beam was titanium. He said that the guy who makes the bikes welds up custom beams given the weight of the rider, to give the right amount of flex. The owner said that he never notices the flex, but that people riding behind him see him bouncing down the road. Says it's great for his back. The frame is probably stiff as hell laterally, since it's a giant aluminum box beam, and vertically compliant, since your sitting on a diving board, only, it's probably illegal to race on. Why? Because Merkx didn't use one, that's why. Besides not having a good place to put water bottles (same problem with most dual suspension MTB's), or mount a rack (which very few factory bikes are set up for these days anyway), there's no reason why people shouldn't be racing and riding on beam or "Y" bikes. There's a whole set of nerds out there who are devoted to the Trek Y-Foil.
full suspension Magna mountain bikes. Truth is, except for one or two models at the top end (Specialized Roubaix SL and Tarmac SL, or Orbea Orca for example), 99% of the bikes a big company makes will never see action in a sanctioned race. I'm not crazy for liking the idea of road frames with passive suspension. Or, if I am, I have good company: