Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rivendell's Got A Secret

Anyone catch this item from Riv?  I saw it a while back but it came up again in a forum thread.

Basically, GP is asking 8 of the faithful to pony up 4300 smack for a proof of concept bike.  But nobody gets much of a clue of what it is until it is delivered.  This is a rather novel approach to budgeting for R&D and it has taken a right proper pummeling in various blogs and forums.

Here at Fuji Otaku we normally consider it a grave and objective moral wrong not to shoot every fish in the barrel.  But in this instance we're gonna make an exception and hold our fire because of the one issue that hasn't been thoroughly chewed over, derided, horsewhipped, etc, by the commentariat in this affair.

That is, what is the mystery cycle?  Please bear with me, as I'm doing all I can to not push the big red, tweedy, lugged (and frequently used!) Riv cheap shot button.

Riv's already done mixtes, MTB, club racer, fixie/single speed, and some other stuff.  Tricycles and unicycles seem out for the U.S. market, although, interestingly enough, unicycles are quite popular in Japan, especially with the young ladies.  Quite often when I pick up my son from school I'll get mobbed by a pack of Japanese first grade girls on unicycles peppering me with attempted English.

My guess is a dedicated internal gear hub bike - the IGH stuff, especially with the new Alfine 11 hub, is getting too big to ignore for trendsetters and fits into the Riv sensible cycling/gizmo-lust story. 

Any other guesses out there?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bling o' the Day - Spidel Maillard 700 Professional High Flange Hubs

Been clearing out the parts lockers some more, really getting down to all the stuff that is hard to part with (I'm robatsu on ebay too, ya know, just sayin...).  And despite putting up all sorts of Campy C-Record treasures, I still can't bring myself to sell these:

These are from the last gasp of the French component industry when a bunch of French manufacturers tried to join forces against the Japanese onslaught under the virtual brand of Spidel.

It didn't work, but some nice stuff came out under the Spidel name, the guys were fighting for their lives...

So everyone knows about Maillard 700 Pro hubs, but just the ones with a big decal on the axle housing and with an (ugly) black plastic quick release nut.

These Spidel/Maillard beauties are a later generation with a very fragile silk screening on the axle housinge:

Plus, a far more otaku-worthy quick release than the functionally vulgar black plastic of yore:

Finally, the finish is not to be believed, considering that these have been sitting around for 30 years or so:

Beyond that, the bearings are sealed (not cartridge, though) and buttery smooth.  I did have a low flange set of these as well, but they disappeared in some ebay frenzy a while back.  They were definitely nice, but didn't quite have the panache of the high-flange version.

I know I'll never see another set of these again.  I'm debating whether to keep them around for show and tell or build a nice set of wheels for my Mondia with these.

In case anyone is wondering, 126mm/british/36h, which is as it ever was...