Ride With Pride: Shop Talk: A Phrase Book for the Bike Bazaar

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, March 1995

Ride With Pride: Shop Talk: A Phrase Book for the Bike Bazaar
By Scott Sutherland

CNC: Computer numerical control, as applied to hunks of raw aluminum, is the hot way to machine weight from components -- and to put them in the price range of fine jewelry. These are some of the lightest, strongest giblets going, from derailleur pulleys to cranksets.

Geometry: Frame geometry, the realm where comfort and performance intersect, is determined by the angles of the head and seat tubes: The closer to vertical, the harsher (and more responsive) the ride. No need to pull out your protractor -- if you know that your frame size is correct, but your neck, shoulders, and lower back have been feeling every bump, check out a bike with more laid-back geometry.

Asymmetrical Tread Patterns: A bike outfitted with these has different tire treads in the rear and the front. In back, the patterns are designed to boost traction; in front, to help with steering. Mounting your asymmetrical treads backward helps neither cause.

Anodizing: Want to look like your favorite off-road hipster? Slap as many anodized parts on your bike as you can. Anodizing is the electrochemical process used to protect and, more important, to tint aluminum, the magical result being purple handlebars, blue cranks, green derailleur pulleys, yellow water-bottle cages, and orange seatposts. Abuse of anodizing has been rampant as of late; we suggest that you don't exceed the spectrum of downhill racer Greg "Hairball" Herbold's colorful mount.

Presta & Schraeder: You need a spare inner tube -- presta or Schraeder? You'd best know which type of inner-tube valve is which. Your car has Schraeder valves, as do many mountain bikes. Road bikes almost always have presta valves, which are tall, skinny, and have little knurled-metal locks that you have to unscrew before filling the tires with air.

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