Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Worst Idea Ever

I want to like 2Hip, I really do. Ron Wilkerson obviously means well—he's been riding forever, and every year he continues to put his money where his heart is. But then he comes out with stuff like this, and I literally reel in amazement:


The "Groovetech" steering system hasn't been written up on the 2Hip site yet—no surprise, since said site seems to be updated semi-annually at best—but it did earn an article on RIDE (a glowingly positive one, no less). Sigh. Basically what we have here is a four-piece bar with an oversized, splined clamping area, a stem that is complementarily (!) splined, and a steerer tube with three notches that match up to splines on the stem. Greater engineering minds than I could probably write 50,000 words on why this is a terrible idea, but allow me to just present three or four reasons I thought of all on my own.


1. It's too obvious.

If this were truly a good idea, it would be on the market already. I have no doubt that other companies have prototyped (or at least sketched up) similar products and rejected them. No doubt whatsoever. Virtually anyone who runs three-piece cranks has wondered "hey, why don't they make splined steerer tubes?" Then someone explains why it's a bad idea, and they move on to wondering why that hot girl from Thursday never responded to their text message and whether her Myspace would be easy to find even though all they know is that her name is Heather and she lives in Brooklyn. Or was it Manhattan?


2. Some slippage is good.

Back in 1985, when Ron was airing five feet out of six-foot quarters on bikes built for 12-year-olds, slippage was bad. You had tinfoil bars held by beercan stems, and death (or at least unconsciousness) was always waiting right around the corner.

Things work better now. And even if your bars do slip, it's generally not catastrophic. You go to your bag (or someone else's) pull out the multi-tool, re-adjust, and keep trying those tailwhip flyouts. With the 2Hip setup, your bars and stem won't slip, but they WILL bend. Or crack. Or shear off. Which means instead of a simple re-adjustment, you get to go home and order new bars. Or a new stem. Or a new fork. Which brings is to the next point...


3. Compatibility.

Unless this system catches on (which it won't), you're buying a whole 2Hip front end. Good luck with that. And once this is patented, other companies would have to license the "technology" before making their own gargantuan stems and hideously ugly four-piece bars. (Can you even make two-piece bars to fit that stem? And if so what would they look like? Maybe éclat will make a converter for "regular" bars.)


4. They're ugly as sin.

Not sure whether anyone's noticed, but BMX is all about aesthetics these days. Damn kids painting their bikes to match their outfits and whatnot.

Hold on, I'm shaking my cane.

OK. Regardless, if you're gonna come out with some sort of revolutionary new product, it had better look as good as it performs. Otherwise it's just not going to catch on. And this setup, while it may have looked cool back in like '95, just isn't gonna cut it today. Like my man Jules Winnfield once said, "sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker." It's the same thing. Trust me.

I kind of hope this whole setup is just a hoax like the Lumberjack Slams. But I don't think it is.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••

This feels strangely appropriate:


26 comments:

rully said...

for the bar clamp, the idea is not too far off from KHE's centaur bars (welded=no adjust ability).. so i think this is the future. although i really don't like the way it looks.

Anonymous said...

ralph sinisi's part? i forget the video

Anonymous said...

I'm the same way - Wilkerson was one of my idols, so I was down for the cause even when they called the brand "Wilkerson Airlines." I defended the aluminum Pork frame and everything. Still, while my degree is not in engineering, I can't pretend to even imagine this being a good idea. We all hate slippage, but it's a necessary evil.

Noel said...

That last post was mine. Even positive comments shouldn't be anonymous, you Come Up kids.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in Northern California, my first encounters with pro bmx were watching Cameron Birdwell, Ryan Nyquist, Chad Kagy, Joey Garcia, and Rob Darden do badass moves over the badass SJ Ramp Club box. The Crobars will always hold a special place in my heart because of this time in my life (late 90's, age 13). That said, I wouldn't put those on my bike with a 10' pole with an allen wrench taped to the end of it.

brien said...

god, I wish HWM didn't stop playing that song years ago. What video was it used in?

Stephen said...

I know Andrew Burleson rode to a HWM song in Standard Country, but I don't think he rode to this one. Maybe he did.

I really think Ron hit his head again. Either that or there is some residual "enchantment" from the Enchanted Ramp floating about...

ben said...

Turnstile was used in Standard Country

brian said...

ATI tried something like this with a special bar/stem set up in the late 90s. two piece bars with a crazy thick clamp area that tapers down to 7/8th for the grip area and a matching stem that would fit the entire thing. no one accepted that but that (and they never ran any ad for anything larger than half page).

Anonymous said...

Russ speaks the truth

Anonymous said...

Russ speaks the truth

Russ said...

Anyone else remember the ridiculous one-piece bar/stem that Bully put out (or at least thought about putting out) in the late '80s? They were just a t-shape like MTB bars. I can't imagine anyone ever bought them.

rich said...

when i read the article on ride this morning i liked it but it isent really needed, my bars have moved once in all the time i have been riding and i weigh a lot and have grand slams, sooo i don't understand the reason to re-invent the bar/stem. but personally, i like the look of 4 piece bars (maybe because im 16 and i didn't have to ride them the 1st time around haha)

Anonymous said...

russ fucks little boys

rich said...

don't hate anonymous

tim said...

ride, through the lens, sinisi? i think! haha i still have that one, it's awesome!

i'd be doing alot better if i was still in high school! hahahaha

sweet dude said...

I feel like someone, somewhere has already got the patent on this. I mean like Russ said people have thought of this before and it's too obvious. I bet some kook somewhere who doesn't even ride any kind of bike owns the patent for this.

bill said...

Will this new stem "technology" ever catch on? NO. Like Russ, I am a fan of Ron...

But really? This Bar, Stem, fork combo? naaaah. Can't see it catching on, and sadly if it does it will not be a Wilkerson launching pad for the new millennium. If said "steering break-though" catches on, it will be the profit of one of the newer fashionable companies who will re-skin it and make it all CNC fancied and anodized. But again, it'll never happen. It would have already. It's to obvious an idea.

Better bet would be to bring back the aluminum Pork. That could start something new....Again.

OT: How about Nasty getting second at the Dew Tour? Good for him! He's had a kick ass year so far.

BLOG POLICE said...

Ron, instead of blowing all your money on more corny 2-hip products..... how about you pay your riders that rep your company? And no Wilkerson didn't put me over a turn in B Pro?

t.f.a. said...

there is an anniversary Pork due out soon, really.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the next post about Odyssey pivotals. Hate on that shit.

Chris from Odyssey said...

^
You'd have to "hate on" offering alternative railed seats also, since all we've done is make a seat shape that is "unavailable" as a Pivotal, "available".

We haven't rebranded an existing Pivotal seat and we haven't rebranded a seat post.

So, unless Russ "hates" the Pivotal system as a whole, I don't see how or why offering a Senior 2 qualifies it as being "superflous". There's only one.

robbiemoralesmoustache said...

^
logic has no place on the internet.

Anonymous said...

self-serving logic, anyways

todd from albe's said...

Damn you, Chris from Odyssey and your proving why your part is relevant, thought out and needed! that's not how things are done in BMX, didn't you read the hand book? i'll see you at Interbike and we'll discuss this matter.

Anonymous said...

fuck the lot of you assholes.

38 years old and still riding?

loser