Category Archives: photos

Flandersox

flandersSocks

 

I’m starting to get a little addicted to buying weird cycling socks. Here are some “Flanders” in bright yellow. Are they talking about the Tour of Flanders? I’m guessing they are. Mainly I bought them because the logo reminds me of the old progressive breakbeat dance music record label Rampant Records. They used a similar logo on the B-side labels of their 12″ vinyl releases.

Socks are def a little easier to collect than vintage bicycle water bottles.

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Gatorskins Finally

contiUltraThe Continental Ultra Sport tires that came with my road bike finally reached the point where I could legitimately justify replacing them.  One of the top rules of being a LOW BUDGET SOUL RIDER is that you don’t replace parts for sheer vanity.  You replace them when they wear out, or you break them. So Mote It Be. The rear tire actually had threads showing through, so I figured I was good to finally get some Gatorskins.  I’m not going to lie…I have always loved how they look, and I’ve wanted a set forever. All the reviews I read said that the Ultra 4000 was better, or at least more preferred by the high performance set.  But the Gatorskins still seem to have a zillion tons of hipster market penetration due to their supposed high anti puncture reputation. The final component that needed to come together for me to plunk down the dollars was a good deal.  REI happened to be having an anniversary sale, so I was able to find them for $37.99/ea! Not the super cool foldable ones, the steel bead ones, but that is fine with me, I don’t need an extra tire that I can stick in a pack or jersey pocket at the moment.  I opted to go with 25c instead of 23c…hoping to get a little more comfort without gaining too much rolling resistance.  I’m sticking to my polan of only riding the fixed gear during the week, so I won’t really know how they ride til this weekend.

gatorSkin2

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“Stealthbomb” Aventon Cordoba Test Report and Bar Reduction

I have had my Aventon Cordoba for about 3 weeks now, so it is time for a review. I cal it the Stealhbomb as a nod to the matte black paint and the awesome airplanes made by the Lockheed Skunk Works. I’ll keep it short.

Overall this bike ROCKS!

My previous fixed gear is an 84 (or 86?) Peugeot which I coverted top fixed and did a flop n chop on the bars, so the Aventon is a big jump to modern geometry. Love it.  Also it has a 44t chainring as opposed to the 39 on my older bike. I’m pretty sure that the rear is a 17, but I haven’t counted and it isn’t listed in the specs. Anyway, I thought the taller gear would be EXTREMELY difficult to get used to, but it hasn’t been at all. In fact I dreaded doing hills with this new larger gear, but the momentum I get on flats and downhills seems to actually be helping level out the hills a bit.

DOWNSIDES: I trashed the pedals on day one. Toss them straight away and get something proper. I switched to the same type of BMX pedals , but higher quality models…Anumal Hamiltons. Instantly the bike became a zillion levels quieter.

I also ended up replacing the seat which was a bit small and hard for my ass section, which is larger than the average hipster type who might buy this bike. It’ll work for a while though. Don’t put a Brooks on this bike it will look stupid.

So, my final word on the Aventon Cordoba: Money Well Spent. Make sure when you get yours you tighten up the chainring bolts, crank bolts, and lock ring just to be safe.  Oh one other thing…on the City Grounds description it says the brake lever will only work with the riser bars. This is not true, the brake lever will work with the bullhorn bars also if you mount it up by the stem. It just won’t mount in the end of the bar like some of the levers out there that you may have seen. You’;; most likely need to cut a few inches off the brake cable also. Great bike. Love it love it love it.

The bullhorns it comes with are fine, but they are BIG. For me, a little too big, so I cut about 3″s off of them, and now they are perfect. Here is a before and after pic:

fixeBarB&AMUCH BETTER!

 

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Aventon Cordoba Fixed Gear

aventonCordoba

I broke down and ordered this murdered out Aventon Cordoba fixed gear from City Grounds. I have been looking to get a new fixed gear for quite a while, and pretty much everything in my size in the under $500 has been sold out for months pretty much everywhere. When I got an HTML email from City Grounds advertising this new build, I jumped on it right away before they run out.

Of course I alreay have plans for it. The matte black offers the perfect canvas to constantly change op the look via accesorization. The most lajor plan though, is to replace the crankset with tubular chromoly BMX cranks. I finally found a mnaufacturer who makes 1/8″ BMX sprockets that are more than like 28 teeth, yet aren’t goofy looking saw blades. More on that later. I also found a suitable euro BB that will work for the mod. It’s gonna be freakin SICK. Also I won’t be scared to stomp on it once the tubies are installed. I am always afraid I am going to crush aluminum cranks.

My currentfixed is a 1984 Peugeot with a flop n chop on the bars and some Vuelta fixed wheels, which I have to say have been pretty rad condidering how low priced they were . My friend Katie iMac gave me the bike, so it kind of has a sentimental value, but I’m pretty sure it musy be sold. Gotta make some room, and I am thinking it just won’t get ridden once I have the new, currently unnamed bike.  I’df much rather have someone ride it often.

Yeah, this new bike needs a name, and I am sure one will present itself. Cordoba is a name I am just not that into. It reminds me of the Chrysler that Ricardo Montelban was hawking back in the 70’s. Welcome to Fixed Gear Fantasy Island.

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Ringle’ Quick Release Lever – The Talisman

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Pictured above: My Ringle’ Quick Release Skewer/Bottle Opener / Talisman.  Here is how I got it.

Sometime around ’92 or ’93ish, me and the rest of the crew from Golden Ring Bicycle Shop headed to Interbike Bicycle Trade Show and Schwag Accumulation Event which was either in Atlantic City or Philadelphia the year we got these awesome artifacts. I’ll just go ahead and admit my memory is a little fuzzy since we always used Interbike as an excuse to get pretty wasted the night before. Anyway, whichever year this happened, here is how it went down.

We were walking around collecting a zillion tons of literature, stickers, water bottles and all the free stuff that the manufacturers give awar at bike trade shows, when we came upon the Ringle’ booth.  Zillions of sweet looking parts were on display, in typical early nineties anodized glory, and some dude was giving out these “Bottle Openers”.   The guy who was giving them out was kind of a big dude, and at some point we overheard him telling another attendee…”I’m Geoff Ringle” and I am the testing department as well as the company namesake. If I can’t break it then it is strong enough for us to sell.” I may not be exactly precise on the wording here, but that was the point he was getting across, and believe it when I say he def looked like he could destroy some parts. We were kind of stoked to be talking with the man himself, since Ringle’ parts were all the rage that year. We all got out samples and kept on pushing on.

Since then this little unit has been my trusty beer opening companion for over 20 years and still going strong! Actually, it has worn down quite a bit, and I have to work a little bit to get it to open a brew these days, but I will always give it a try before I opt for some cheaper, less meaningful mode of beverage enabler.  This is because I am convinced that every time I use this on a beer, I get a little boost of good luck.  I never go on big rides without it.

I’ve stayed in contact with the other brothers from “way back when” at the bike shop. If I remember correctly, I may be the last man standing who has one of these from our group.  I hope theirs served them as well as mine has.

I got out of the bike business in 1995, and sort of lost track of what happened to most manufacturers, and I am almost sure that Ringle’ got bought out by a larger company.  Here is an ad from the company when they were in their heyday:

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To see a much more thorough collection of Ringle’ history, head over to the MOMBAT Bicycle History Pages (where I copped the ad image from thanks folks).

 

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Super Fun! Terminus 5c Resurgens by Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Saturday I participated in the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition TERMINUS 5C RESURGENS bicycle challenge in Atlanta Georgia.

The Terminus is not a race.  The object of the event is to ride your bike to all 5 of the participating bars and complete a mental or physical challenge at each location, for which you are awarded points.  Although it is not a race, there is a time limit, and everyone needed to be back at the after-party location by a set time to begin draining the complimentary keg of beer.  There was small entry fee for ABC member and a higher entry fee for non-members which got you into the event and a one year membership.

At the start of the event you received your map/manifest/score sheet which revealed the bars everyone would be riding to.   Most of the people who participated probably knew where all of these places were, but since I’ve been out here in Flowery Branch for so long I did not, so I did a little prep work finding the actual street addresses of all locations.   Then I plotted what I thought would be the most practical route and settled in to wait for the noon start.

My first stop was Octane Westside.   For each location you stopped at you received bonus points for buying something, and although I had already had some pre-ride beers, I kind of thought that I might skip a beer here and opted for a bagel instead.  The challenge at this location was about local artists/art.  You were given a stack of 10 numbered photos, and a list of artists, neighborhoods and streets. You had to match the right artist, neighborhood and street name  to each photo.  I’m not going to lie, I straght up guessed my answers, the only actual art in the set familiar to me at all was by R.Land, who has a very unique and recognizable style.  Downside (for me) was that you had to ID the artists by their twitter usernames, and I did not know any of them.  Using context clues I guessed as well as I could, and actually ended up doing -okay- at this challenge.  Better than I thought I would anyway.

The next stop for me was Villains in midtown.   I opted for a Fat Tire here since part of the loot for Fat Tire went to ABC as part of the events fundraising effort. The challenge here was a TRUE/FALSE quiz on Georgia Bicycle Law.   I did -okay-, not perfect.  I answered wrong about there being a law against “Tall Bikes” as I thought it was a trick question…I did not know that tall bikes were enough of a problem that there would actually be a law against them.   For bonus points you could draw a bicycle villain and make up a bio about him/her.  Here is mine:

bustaSpoke

My villains name is BUSTA SPOKE.  His villain superpower is “riding one gear taller than everyone else, always.” What put him on the path to evil was being made fun of by riders with super expensive bikes and fancy riding kit, so he devoted his life to being a LOW BUDGET SOUL RIDER, going twice as fast for half the price with three times the style. LBSR represent!  I didn’t get the full bonus points but rather a 90/100, which was fine by me.

The next location was Elliot Street Pub.  I grabbed another Fat Tire and headed to the outdoor area for the Bike Jousting challenge.  Here you had to ride an adult tricycle and joust with an opponent, using pool noodles that had been dipped in water soluble paint!  They had a bunch of gigantic overclothes you could put on if you wanted, some home-made “armour” and a bunch of masks.  You got different levels of bonus points for different masks.  One of the best masks was the white unicorn, but I opted for the gorilla.

joust

My opponent fought bravely, but on the first of three passes I landed a really good blow so I ended up winning the challenge.  As part of winning, I was eligible for the extra bonus points, which required writing a haiku to one of the folks who staffed this location, or maybe just a haiku in general.  I dunno I was kind of feeling the beers at this point. Anyway, I wrote what might be the worlds worst haiku and read it aloud to my opponent, who was also celebrating his birthday.

Happy birthday dood
We jousted like true white knights
A timeless battle

This challenge was so much fun I actually opted to stick around and see the next competitors, who upped the ante by riding two people on each trike, one driver and one jouster,  using two pool noodles.  So funny!  They also wore some of the crazy gigantic overclothes to guard from the paint splatter.  This challenge more than any other seemed made for photo opportunities and if you were for some reason not having a good time yet, you would be by the time you finished this challenge.  Easily my favorite challenge of the day.  My score was perfect!

Next up was Radial Cafe.  It has been years since I have been to Radial, but I knew the location from when I used to live right down the road a bit.  Since I knew where I was going, I took the opportunity to stop by my secret parking spot in 04W and grab a quick beer and Red Bull from my party cooler on the way. T his would turn out to be an unwise move as we’ll see later.

The challenge at Radial went like this. You have one chance to lower a big magnet into a pile of pieces of bicycle chain.  Then you have one minute to toss those pieces into cups of various sizes and point values.  I grabbed a quick beer to get the receipt bonus points and then dove in to the challenge.  Unfortunately I did not do well.  No…let’s be truthful here, I failed miserably, coming away with NO POINTS at all.  I stuck around afterwards to watch another competitor to get a gauge of how well others were doing, which was a mistake as we’ll see later. As soon as I saw one competitor get 300pts, I was on to the next and last challenge.

The final stop for me was Midway in East Atlanta.  First things first…I got a beer for the receipt bonus.  Unfortunately the place was swarmed busy so it took a minute to get served.  Well, it took about 10 minutes.  Not a big deal and I am not mad at them, there was only one lady working the gigantic bar so I just settled in and was patient.  But time was passing, and it was already  about 4:40pm.  I figured this was no problem since the after party location was only about 10 mins away and the cut-off for turning in your score sheets was 5:30.  I had almost an hour.

So I headed outside to the challenge which looked like a fun one.  The Grocery Getter challenge involved 1 minute of stuffing a messenger bag with as many items as you could, each item having a different point value.  Then once the bag was packed you had to ride your own bike around a short course that required navigating a very sharp almost 180 degree turn without any dabs from your feet off the pedals.   Some of the items you could stuff into the bag were a laptop, a six pack of PBR, a pumpkin, a bunch of flowers, a yoga mat, a half gallon of water, and the mandatory bicycle tools.  There was also a bicycle frame and fork which you could carry around your neck for 200 bonus points.

This challenge looked pretty fun and everyone was having a good time.  The only downside for me was that I wished I’d have not spent extra time at the last two challenges, or stopped by my car for 10 mins, as there was a waiting list to complete the challenge.  I put my name on the list and waited, and watched a few people have a blast competing.  But time kept passing and by 5:05 I knew I wasn’t going to get a turn and still be able to make it to the end point by the required time to turn in my sheet.  I decided that I’d rather get some points than no poinst at all by missing the cut off, so I went ahead and bailed without waiting for my turn, which I am sure would not come til after 5:30.  Oh well.

The after party/awards was at Mother on Edgewood.  There was a free keg for all the participants and we all went to work polishing it off.  There was about an hour before the awards, so I had some brisket tacos which were delicious and I highly recommend if you visit Mother.  Everyone was in good spirits and it was evident that whether you won anything or not, the event was a success.

There were a bunch of give-aways and winners.
It was pretty cool that there were not just overall winners but also prizes for the top scorers at each stage. I was one of a 4 way tie in the Joust so I got a rad set of bikey drink coasters.

coasters

The overall winner received a super cool vintage Miyata bike which I am pretty sure was donated by SOPO (I may be worng about that if so, let me know).  I had actually been chit chatting with the overall winner, one of the folks from The Spindle,  before the prizes were awarded.  The Spindle has a unique concept towards commuting bicycle clothing and sturdy but fashionable gear. Click that link to check them out.

Terminus 5C was the most fun day of riding I have had all year.  I am not fit enough to compete in an Alleycat race, but having to visit locations that were not revealed til the day of gave the event an Alleycat feel.  Because it was not a race though, even if you made to just a few locations, you still had fun and knew that your entry fee was going to a good cause.  Mid October is a great time for this event as it was not broiling hot which would have made it nowhere near as much fun.  Since I live so far out from Atlanta it has been kind of tough to make friends with a lot of intown bicycle people, but at this event I talked to more people than any other ride I’ve been on all year.  I really hope there is another event like this next year, I will definitely participate and this time I will make sure to bring a few friends along.

STRAVA STATS: 18.9 miles, 809ft climbing.  Add me to your Strava Friendlist.

To everybody that had something to do with making this event happen, thank you so much it was a blast!

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Bicycle Upgrade Funtime – Ye Olde GT Talera

For a while now I have been wanting to put some purple handlebars and purple cable hangers on ye Olde 1993 GT Talera. I finally got around to ordering the parts, so my big project for the weekend was to make the swap. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’d much rather be riding my bikes than working on them. After 7 years of working at a shop a zillion years ago, I learned that what I really like is to get the thing set up right once and then ride the crap out of it, as opposed to switching parts all the time, which was more my thing during the BMX days.

Right away I ran into a major unforeseen problem. I had stupidly ASSumed that the shfters were a separate component from the brake levers, similar to how they are on my mountain bike.

WRONG!

LucyShifter580

Lucy Does Not Approve Of One Piece Brake Shifter Combos

I sat there looking at the thing forever, trying to figure out a way I could saw it in half, but that was’t going to happen. It was pretty evident that to complete the mods, I was going to have to buy some new shifters, which I wasn’t looking forward to/ We are talking about a 20 year old bike, so I was really anticipating compatibility issues.

Since I already had the thing apart though, I figured I would move on with what I could do, which was to revers the positioon of the stem so it was angled downward, and put on the new bars. This whole operation went pretty smooth, including the part where I removed the logo from the side of the stem so I wouldn’t have to ride around with a bunch of upside sown lettering.

stem

The next day, and a few internet searches later, I found that they had a 7 Speed SRAM Grip Shift at my local REI, so I headed over there and grabbed it. I would love to have put some under bar shifters on, but the idea was to do these mods without ending up in the poor house, so I opted for the Grip Shift which was ridiculously inexpensive, and hoped that if I set it up correctly, that it would work better than the sloppy feeling versions I remember from BITD.

I was pretty stoked to be able to work outside since for the first time this year the sun actually came out here in Georgia. No seriously, all it has done all year is rain, and if you don’t believe me, check the records. BUT ANYWAY, working outside is fun, much better light and all, so I loaded up the surgery cart with my gear and got ready to dig in.

surgeryCart

First was the front shifter and brakes. Everything went smooth as glass. The new anodized precision cable hangers are SO RAD! Total Overkill. It is the kind of piece that most people will not even notice but heads will know.

frontHanger.fw

Rear shifter and brakes also went silky. Taking my time and paying attention to the details really helped this Grip Shift perform much better than I thought it would.

rearHanger

Overall the whole thing turned out pretty much exactly the way I envisioned. A few people have told me that adding all the purple anodized parts is very 90’s, which is fine sith me since the bike is 20 years old. Period Correct. To me it is like a modern version of a Rat Rod type thing…the beat up old frame hung with a bunch of upgraded parts, wheels, etc. I love this bike, so much SOUL!

wholeBikeTaleraAug2013

Oh Yeah, I Got Some Tricked Out BMX Brake Levers Also, And Added Purple Anodized Barrel Adjusters. Another Touch For The Pays Attention Crowd.

levers

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Flowery Branch Criterium 2013

IMG_0034Headed over to downtown Flowery Branch to check out the first of two weekend criteriums that are part of Dingo Race Productions Dingo Days of Summer Series. I only found out about this race 3 days ago from the local Flowery Branch newspaper. I was hoping that the event would be well attended and go rain free because I’d love to see this be a yearly thing. I also thought it would be interesting to see some actual FAST people blaze around  a course made of streets I am very familiar with.

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Shooting was tough. I’m not anywhere near an expert photog, but I have a Canon point and shoot with “the most manual features you could get on a point and shoot” at the time I bought it. It has enough control over shutter speed/f-stop, & ISO that I can -sometimes- get some neat shots where the background shows the motion and the riders are in focus. Today that was hard though because overcast sky just screws with the camera, ugh sooo bright.

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Pretty sure this was the start of the cat4 crew.

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Tried to get one of those fancy arty shots you see from the big tours when the riders are small but the countryside is huge and beautiful, but hey, this is the FB so it didn’t really live up to the quality you see in the bike mags, aight?

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Found some giant old industrial cement blocks to stand on which allowed me to get a sort of overhead angle of the back stretch. The pace at this section was usually pretty tame as the riders had just come up the only real upgrade of the day and then hooked a 90 degree turn just before here, Strategy seemed to be planned here then applied just before turn 4 and the front stretch, which was blazingly fast. I may not be totally on point here but from my perspective that is how it was going…

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Both shots above from the same corner. For the second one I was laying down because I wanted to get the whole police building in the pic. That place is so Mayberry/Andy Griffith-esque.

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There was a somewhat gnarly manhole cover right in the middle of turn 1 which I am suprised nobody bailed after hitting today. Pretty sure these are the cat3 riders possible mixed with another class. Girl on the front was absolutely mashing it. Stupid white overcast sky.

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Really wanted to get a shot of a long string of riders across the storefronts of the whole block of downtown, but this was about as close as I got. I overheard the owner lady of Sample Pleasures saying that she wished she would have had more notice that this event was happening.  The Calliope Sweets folks and Liberty Candy folks seemed super stoked about the race and the foot traffic it was creating for them. I would love to see this race become an annual event in Flowery Branch, but to do so, Dingo Race may need to think about having some things happening alongside the event that will draw some non-bike people to check it out. One thing that may be helpful would be a printed handout that explains how crits work, primes, the different categories of racers, etc. It was super cool to have a handout explaining all the different kinds of races at Dick Lane Velodrome at one of the big events I went to there. There were still a decent amount of spectators today, but the event does have the ability to grow.

IMG_0112Overall I had a  good time, and I would like to have stuck around to watch the Pros, but I had to bail. The schedule may have been able to been tightened up a bit as there seemed to be a lot of time that passed between races. This gave the riders lots of time to warm up on course, but for spectators if the action isn’t supplemented with something between race action, it can get a little long.

Good job Dingo Race Productions and THANK YOU for bringing an event like this to Flowery Branch. I never dreamed I would see a bunch of road bikes hauling ass up Main Street in a real actual race here, so rad. Hope everything goes well up in Oakwood tomorrow and come back again next year.

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Shimano 8speed to 7speed Spacer Issue: Hall of Fame Level Cheap Dirty Fix

Got a new set of wheels for my beater bike, Ye Olde GT Talera, which is a thousand years old and still jammin.  Seriously, I love that bike, it is so weird.  So Thursday night I was stoked when the wheels arrived and I could finally remove the one with the giant flat spot from that pothole I hit at Atlanta Mobile Social.

The new wheels have an 8 speed freehub, and Ye Olde Talera is a 7 speed, so I ordered the appropriate space from Bike Island  as recommended. Dove into the install and immediately found that the spacer was way too big! It was big enough that I couldn’t even get the  lock ring to catch the threads.

Bummer.

I put all the tools and gear away, and headed in to see what I could find about getting a smaller spacer, which was pretty easy to find, but I just couldn’t let the issue go. I had to WIN. It was the kind of day where a bunch of crap had happened that sucked and getting the wheels put on was going to be the redeeming element, there was no way I was going to give up that easy.

Then I got an idea. A -possible- solution. So crazy it just might work. So I headed out to give it a try. I’ll let the pics do the talking from here…

hanger1

 

hanger2

 

hanger3

 

Yep.  I used a freakin coat hanger to create a makeshift spacer…and it WORKS!

A few notes.  The cassette I have is very old, the original from the bike. I’m pretty sure that newer cassettes as completely flush on the back of the big cog, as the connector pins are recessed. At least that’s how they are on my SRAM cassette on my mountain bike, so I figure Shimano must be doing the same.  This particular cassette has pins that are like rivets, I don’t know if they are removable, but they ad about 3/4 mm to the stack size that butts against the inner part of the freehub.  This contributed to the problem, and is a factor in the makeshit install as well.  In the places where the rivets bumps are the coat hanger wire is bent inwards a bit when they line up with one of the “hollowed out” portions of the freehub body. You can sort of see this at the top of the pic with the yellow arrows.  As far as I can tell this han’t caused any alignment issues at all, it spins straight and shifts fine.

My rig is awesome but it will be temporary. The wire has the potential to pop out if the circumstances are correct, and I don’t want to take that chance, o I ordered a proper spacer, just to be safe. Overall though I was pretty happy since I WON, and I’ll actually be able to use the bike this weekend. Ordered some wicked new Kool Stop brake pads also…upgrades are fun. Cantilever pads are increasingly hard to find, unless you want clunky black uncool bricks.

So Ye Olde talera now has actual round wheels again. Truthfully these wheels are a little much for this bike (bladed spokes? cmon now…), but the price was good and hell, why not trick it out, I love this bike. Still haven’t decided whether I’m going to remove the stickers from the wheels or not…they kind of mess up my vision of a totally murdered out blackity black ride, but at the same time they are kind of growing on me. I’ll decide in a few days. Comparison below.

TaleraB&A_NewWheels_edit

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