Saturday, 9 June 2012

Stay upright or Timber!

Cyclesguff isn't making out that we are in anyway different to the sheer number of blogs and websites covering the best things since slice bread in the world of the velo. Dura Ace 9700 anyone? After all, we have made a few statements and pops over the past months covering bikes and kit. The other factor is the split camp of Shimano and Campag riders in the cyclesguff bunch. Shimano has the edge when it comes to the number riding their components, but that doesn't stop the cyclesguff campagnista explaining the virtues of the quick release emblasoned gruppo. The issue of ultrtatorque has also come into the bunch conversation on a number of occasions. One, or let's say eleven items that haven't made the local cyclesguff airwaves is 11speed.  Campag's EPS has also been noticeable in its absence. Is the cyclesguff bunch becoming ambivalent about the razor blade effect of the gears on a rear cassette - quite possibly.

we know that they also make razors

The marketing hyperbole that provides an introduction to the latest and greatest is one well oiled machine. It can be long before marketeers develop percentage by offering another order of magnitude. I've always been a fan of the 7900 Dura Ace brakes.  One reviewers account of the new Dura Ace calipers provides an insight to the '30% more stopping power'. They then ask the question 'why would you need disk brakes on a roadbike? Well, let's see how long your rims last with that amount of stopping power. You will also be forking out for new wheels as the 11speed cassette doesn't fit on the current range of Shimano wheels.

Shimano's OCD has played a trump card with offering a new chainset BCD. The new chainset can run compact, standard, time trial, triathlon (what about track?) chainrings. Cancel your holiday if you want to purchase the full set of rings. Since we are on the subject of chainsets, Shimano have to be applauded for continuing to develop their hollowtech forging technology. They've dabbled with carbon cranks in the past, the sublime FC-7800C being one of the most sensual and elegant offerings in recent years. For those of us that can't justify shelling out for the top road group, we will see the hollowtech trickle done through the ranks. As for Di2, let's leave that for another day.

 In stark contrast to the above and cycling related websites and blogs, this guffer will offer a brief review of a product that embraces new technology and applies it to an ancient task. Many years ago, I was walking the aisles of a local DIY store, one that has the inclusively sound policy of employing elderly people. Picture the scene of a smartly dressed man (just back from a bells and whistle official opening of a hi-tech industrial facility) taking the opportunity to nip in and buy a few items. I wasn't long back from the Raid Pyrenean, so was sporting a good tan and a visual appearance that was bordering on menacing; cropped hair do and facial characteristics that could be best described as gaunt. The elderly checkout operator gulped as I placed a hatchet, compost accelerator and duct tape on the belt. With a trembling lip and whispering voice, she said 'that's an interesting range of items' I quietly, but assertively said 'I have an interesting job' paid by cash and left. 

A wee spot of harmless mischief is never a bad thing. The hatchet was a Fiskars X7 - what a piece of kit! The beautiful balance of a well thought through handle is matched by the business end that just asks for abuse. It's been the to go to tool for splitting and chopping small pieces of timber for a number of years. Recent tree surgery work has required the services of something substantially more. Thankfully, axe manufacturers don't offer more blades, they tend to offer longer handles. The extra leverage of the recently order Fiskars X25 is a whole new ball game. I've never experienced an axe that splits timber so efficiently. The composite handle absorbs and damps the impact of striking the timber so well that I sometimes have to take a double look.  I would say that the edge is even an improvement on the X7, what the percentage increase is, I don't really care.

This axe is the splitting equivalent of my single speed. A simple (that's the difficult part to design and engineer), no nonsense go to piece of kit that is a joy to use.

Stay upright

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