Velonews: Are They Serious?

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Lately, I just can't believe what I read on Velonews.com. 

Earlier this week, they published an article about the Spanish Worlds team, in which, for the infinity-eth time in recent history, they referred to Contador's ban as having been 2 years.  This is the kind of willful misrepresentation that earned sharp kicks in the ass in the house where I grew up.  Here's a list of races he raced while he was banned.  "Banned" means "a period of time in which he didn't race."  It doesn't mean "a period of time in which he was racing and winning major tours and acting for all intents and purposes exactly like he would have otherwise."  Yes, these results were "stripped" from him, whatever that means, because clearly he still thinks he keeps all the results that he got during his "ban."  As far as the benefits accrued, he's functionally right. 

This isn't really about Contador or doping at all.  I mean, yes it is, in that none of these stupid convoluted BS *asterix era* whatever you want to call it things would even be going on were it not for doping.  And if the UCI weren't apparently the flock of idiots that they are.  But the point is that in that article, the message serves the myth that he "served" a two year ban.  He did not.  He served approximately a six month ban and had some results vacated.  There actually IS a need for editorial precision - always. 

The next one that got me going was this article about pimping your BB7 brakes.  I don't really know what to say, other than "wow does that sound like a freaking party to me."  To address the weight cost of having discs, they advocate spending about $60 on titanium bolts to drop about 25 grams.  They also advocate trying different pads, at $20/per, until you find the ones that work best for your specific application.  It's like you're a complete pariah in their eyes if you choose to use rim brakes - all the cool kids* are using discs so who even gives a rat's behind about rim brakes. 

*except if by "cool kids" you mean "the cool kid who wears the cycle racing t-shirt done up to be all America-looking because he's the FREAKING NATIONAL CHAMPION.  he's a pretty cool kid, and he uses rim brakes despite this article in Velonews (of all places) that would have you think he's totally ditched rim brakes in favor of discs.  To be fair, that was likely the impression that Velonews was given when the bike was presented to them. 

This isn't really about disc brakes on cross bikes.  It's about an editorial entity describing things as one thing (DISCS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!) when they really aren't that way at all (I thought I saw fewer bikes with disc brakes at our local season opener even than I recalled seeing at most races last year.  But that sample size is only like 610 people or so).  And it's about unquestioningly shoving the "next great thing" (at least for their advertisers) straight down your throat, despite all of these issues that the author is telling you how to overcome.  It's like "oh yeah, she's got hep C, a raging coke habit and a mean strike a mile wide, but you should totally ditch the girlfriend that you're totally happy with for her!"

Finally, they have this wheelset review.  Again, it's got to do with the disc brakes thing, but that's not mostly what's relevant here.  It's that, first, they get it completely backwards in favor of their advertising constituency when they say things like "if a rider wanted a competitive set of tubular wheels, the only real option was to get a custom set built and pay the associated cost."  The context of this is of course talking about tubulars for disc brakes, but I raced Sunday on competitive tubular wheels.  They were built by hand, by me, as yours would likely be if you ordered them from us.  The set I laced yesterday were just like the ones I raced this weekend, only they are for disc brakes.  The customer paid a WHOPPING $505 for them.  Boy, talk about associated cost!  Thank heavens this machine built set which weighs more, on which you can't choose the spoke count, type, or color, or have built with ultra-premium hubs, is here to save the day - at two and a half times what our equivalent wheel set costs.  It's not that I think the wheels in question are bad.  The opposite - I think they are probably great - about on par with the ones we make.  And then of course there's that little 130 gram penalty, which in the other article they suggest mitigating at the cost of about $2.50 per gram.  So by implication if you get these wheels, then go ahead and figure on spending a bit north of $300 to take weight off elsewhere. 

This isn't about the wheels in question.  It's about how the supposed "editorial Chinese walls" are a complete farce and editorial departments are often the best ad sales force you can buy. 

I won't even go into the fact that two of three of these stories come in a series called "The Fall of Discs."  Have your own fun with that. 


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  • Dave on

    Chris – Thanks for the info. I didn't know that. Sort of funny how cross sneaks up on people like it does. Dave

  • Dave on

    Didn't know that, Chris. Thanks for the info, and I agree that it's pretty likely that in ~ 3 years everyone will be doing discs.

  • Chris M on

    Well, to be fair, Jpow's disc bikes got stolen, so there's that. He has said in 2-3 years everyone will be running them once they get some issues ironed out, like where to put the hydraulic reservoir. SRAM should debut that in the fall from what I've heard.And, somehow, 'cross sneaks up on the industry EVERY YEAR. I doubt JPow has all his stuff yet. He was just issued shoes and helmet a few days ago.I don't speak for Jpow but I heard him answer the disc question at both our clinics.

  • MB on

    Oh, Dave. There's no such thing as the cycling press. Just the cycling PR machine.


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