Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time To Burn Your Expensive German Dynohubs

The Dish:  Chris Kulczycki - Entrepreneur, writer, founder of Velo Orange LLC, VO Imports, and of Chesapeake Light Craft Inc, and, most importantly, dad - elliptically disses BOBish icons Schmidt Dynohubs and Peter White Cycles in his popular and usually non-controversial company blog whose readers are alternatively beseeched (but not compensated) for their wisdom and berated for their idiocy and racism.

As a warning, what really puts Chris K in a reader-spanking mood are impertinent suggestions that, given the provenance of most VO-ware, couldn't there be at least one picture of a pagoda, rice paddy or noodle joint amidst all the pastoral French chalets, canals, and cafes that are setting the tone on the Velo Orange site.

But to the point - in a recent posting (berating variant) Chris K suggests that no one buy "expensive German hub dynamos" because they will soon be obsolete.  Chris K learned of this sensational news on a recent buying expedition to (French cafe/chalet-challenged but pagoda-rich) Taiwan from some guys who were trying to sell him stuff that included, among other things, non-expensive, non-German dynohubs.

While details remain vague, Chris K describes these new dynohubs as "game-changers".  Reportedly, this is one of the game changing dynohubs.  If the claims about this hub are accurate, this product not only changes the game for expensive German dynohubs, but for nearly all physical science since Isaac Newton and, by extension, the underpinnings of our modern, technological society, as some clever engineers appear to have developed an end run around the 1st and 2nd laws of Thermodynamics and by implication called into question various aspects of Maxwell's Equations, the Lorentz Force, and/or Newton's Third Law of Motion.

Fallout:  BOBish riders are ruefully cutting the sturdily sensible straight gauge spokes that attach their expensive German dynohubs to affordable and retro-redolent Sun CR-18 rims (polished) that look acceptable but not great on vintage bikes and recycling these now useless hubs.

Rivendell is acquiring these newly unwanted, pricey Teutonic castoffs, wrapping them with tweed and twine, and reselling them as quirky, vaguely green alternatives to common and distressingly low-brow bicycle hockey pucks and bludgeoning implements. The catalog description takes care to explain that the Riv combo bludgeon-puck is actually a wise and superior choice so long as the buyer suspends disbelief and congregates with like-minded individuals. Unfortunately, if one should wish to order one today, they are currently out of stock on the Riv site.

The VO faithful are withholding approval until it is confirmed that the new dynohub will be available in hammered aluminum trim.

Internet chatter hints at a "dynohub skeptic" backlash germinating in the fever swamps of the cycling fringe.  A shadowy BOBish type named Lug Nut has emerged as their leader with the rallying cry of, "When expensive German dynohubs are obsolete, only the obsolete will have expensive German dynohubs", which, by happy coincidence, has always suited that sort of rider just fine.

Japanese, English, and other non-German manufacturers of expensive dynohubs are just glad it wasn't them, while German manufacturers of expensive dynohubs have tartly responded to Chris K's remarks by observing, "Yo mama is obsolete, Herr 'Wanna Buy A French Threaded Headset?'".

One would think that French guys would have learned by now about mixing it up with Germans, but Chris K has no worries since he isn't really a French guy, he just plays one on the Internet. 

Everyone Else: For riders who eschew expensive German dynohubs in favor of batteries/rechargeable packs and smugly think they've dodged the bullet, bicycle component vendors trying to sell stuff are also whispering about a new, hyper-lightweight power pack that will hit the market "any day now".  Instead of forever screwing around with batteries and cords, a rider needs to simply once a year add a few ounces of common tap water to a cold fusion power pack.  The vendors of this product hedge their bets as did Chris K with his insightful remark about the perpetual motion dynohubs that "sometimes new technologies don't pan out".

Fuji Otaku is striving to remain detached from the fray, confidently optimistic that his expensive German dynohub, by its mere existence, will still be contributing to his joie de vivre as well as smoothly rolling along, lighting the road with subdued, trouble free elegance, shiny silver appearance, and to the envy of others, for so many years to come that it actually turns out to be notably inexpensive (but still German, no relief there). 

Further Reading: FUD.

Pagoda Love: Fuji Otaku's cherished Gran Tourer SE in repose at the Silver Spring Pagoda.

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