So Good

02.9.2012 | 12:27 pm

This post is going to be a little gooey. Not gooey as in a “Hey, here’s a recipe for marshmallow and mozerella kabobs I just whipped up.” Gooey as in I’m going to be pretty much shamelessly gushy about some bike-related stuff.

So you may want to put on some gloves or something.

We Live In The Future

It’s been the strangest winter. Instead of sweating on rollers, we’re out on the pavement (and sometimes even out on mountain bikes). It’s the November that never ended.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Far from it. Really, really far from it. (You’ll see what I mean in a second.)

So last weekend The Hammer, The IT Guy, and I were out doing a nice half-century ride (for locals: From Alpine out to Cedar Fort and back). We were on the return trip, each taking 1-mile pulls. I was taking my turn pulling for a mile, enjoying the ride and everyone’s company, when the thought struck me:

We live in the future.

What I meant was that, in a lot of the ways that are important to me — in other words, in terms of bike gear — stuff is so amazingly advanced and well-engineered and attractively designed and light and reliable that it might as well be Star Trek.

As I faded right (the shoulder of the road coming back from Cedar Fort is huge; three riders can ride abreast) and dropped back to let The IT Guy take his turn pulling, I yelled my epiphany to The Hammer.

“We live in the future!” I yelled.

“What?” She replied, which is pretty much the most commonly-used word in on-bike conversations.

We live in the future!” I yelled, more loudly.

“I heard what you said the first time,” yelled The Hammer. “I just didn’t know what you’re talking about!”

“I’ll explain later,” I yelled back, and dropped onto her wheel. And I thought some more about how incredible bike gear is now.

Think about the bike itself. If you like carbon, you have an outrageous number of frame choices, all of them outrageously light (and many of them ridiculously strong). If you like steel, your options are better than ever before, especially as handbuilt bikes seem to be surging in popularity.

My road bike’s Shimano Di2 drivetrain hasn’t needed to be adjusted in more than a year, and I charge the battery maybe every five months. And that’s just Shimano. Amazingly, there are now three companies turning out fantastic drivetrains. The awesomeness of your choices is incredible.

Without really even trying now, you can build a 16-pound bike. If you try a little bit, you can build one that weighs under fifteen pounds.

That’s fifteen pounds. For a bike you ride all the time.

Of course, if you’re going to ride a mountain bike, the bike’s going to weigh a few pounds more. As in, it could weigh up to 25 pounds if it’s a cross country racer. Or it could weigh a ton if it’s a downhill machine, but in that case it’s going to be able to absorb hits you wouldn’t even have expected a motorcycle to tackle ten years ago.

Oh, and if you want to go all minimalist — rigid single speed — you can, without difficulty, build a mountain bike that weighs 17 pounds.

And then there are the wheels.

Thanks to tubeless tech, I hardly ever flat — road or mountain. And with some geniuses figuring out that larger, wider wheels are better for pretty much everything, my riding experience is now just unbelievably good.

And how about bike computers? Remember when there was a little wire that snaked along your stem, down the fork, and then kinda-sorta aligned with a magnet and then rewarded you with…your speed? And remember how you never had to replace batteries in your bike computers because bike computers never lasted more than the batteries they came with?

Now there are GPSs. My Garmin 500 is just remarkable, giving me all the information I could ever want (and more).

But that’s not all. Bike helmets have gotten measurably better. And so have clothes. And shoes. And pedals. And glasses. Everything, really.

It’s all so amazingly good now.

And so I wanted to say “Thanks.” Thanks to Ibis and Gary Fisher and Specialized and Orbea and Shimano and SRAM and Stans and Oakley and Garmin and Time and Giro and Twin Six and Pearl Izumi and Bontrager and Smartwool and Honey Stinger and CarboRocket and Action Wipes.

And thanks to the dozens — hundreds? — of other companies out there that I haven’t mentioned, because I can’t remember right now or I haven’t tried your stuff. You’re designing and building unbelievably good stuff that is so good I think back to just a few years back and laugh at how much better bikes and bike gear have become.

You guys in the bike industry work hard. And you make great stuff. Stuff that’s better than I would have ever even thought possible. Stuff that’s so good I can’t imagine it ever being better.

Cyclists have never had it so good. Really, we wouldn’t have even dreamed of having it so good.

So again, to you people who invent and design and manufacture: thanks. I love riding, and you’re a big part of why.


  1. Comment by Michael | 02.9.2012 | 12:37 pm

    Looking at this list I’m riding in the stone age. I still need to go tubeless and ditch the old wired bike computer. At least my helmet is new!

  2. Comment by YahooRob | 02.9.2012 | 12:37 pm

    Fatty, I completely agree – bike tech is amazing, and it’s just going to get better. I need to find a way to make amazing money, though, to compensate for the amazingly high prize that is being charged for this amazing technology.

    I am amazed…

  3. Comment by Terry Scoville | 02.9.2012 | 12:40 pm

    Well said and I agree 100%. Am riding a Trek Madonne 5.2 and what a difference from my (still loved,) Davidson Signature from 1988. Sweet rides!

  4. Comment by Jim | 02.9.2012 | 12:44 pm

    17 pound SS MTBs truly are minimalist solutions for us east coast riders, because nothing is more minimalist than busting your superlight bike in the backwoods and walking yourself out. The only way it could be more minimalist is if you did it naked (thus letting swarms of deerflies feast on you, making you smaller and lighter, albeit bumpier and redder, as the ride goes on). Who knew the future involved so much walking on rooty, rocky hills?

    Okay, so as Commander Lumpypants I may be a skewed sample but I’d agree with a proposition you can build a 19-20 pound SS MTB that is actually fairly rugged and reliable.

  5. Comment by thc | 02.9.2012 | 12:51 pm

    Sounds like somebody is buttering up the potential prize donors for the 2012 fundraising effort :)

    p.s. I agree, I just need future (read lower) pricing on most of it!

  6. Comment by ricky | 02.9.2012 | 1:06 pm

    gosh fatty,
    the more high tech and expensive bikes get,
    the more i appreciate old school elegance….

  7. Comment by KM | 02.9.2012 | 1:19 pm

    Ugh, I’m having to clean my keyboard after all that sugary sweetness made me ill. However, I’ll applaud the love of carbon. I got my Jamis Xenith for Christmas and never had carbon fibre before. Wow, wow, wow!!! I am now dying to convince my wife to let me get a carbon fibre MTB frame, and build up a SS!! I also got a new steel frame MTB two years ago and I agree the advancement in steel is awesome especially compared to the Cro-moly anvils we were riding back in the early 90’s.

    I hope all that sucking up to the companies you mentioned works out for whatever you’re scheming. To add to the love I absolutely love Smartwool and Twin Six clothing, SRAM components (and Shimano…gotta love Ultegra and Dura Ace) Honey Stinger waffles and Pearl Izumi (shoes, mostly I love PI shoes).

  8. Comment by roan | 02.9.2012 | 1:23 pm

    I in the Past and happy there. I love Steel, have aluminum(3), ride steel(6). The next bike custom steel with all high end components, maybe even some carbon.

  9. Comment by Skippy | 02.9.2012 | 1:23 pm

    Would like to thank the bike designer that will design the bike which stops the ” Aggro Driver ” from hitting any cyclist ! Perhaps it will be in their head and gve them ” Good & kind Thoughts “, whatever!

    Amy Gillett , Oz Olympian Rower then Pro Cycle Racer was lost in a Training accident and Rebecca Romero wrote about her fellow rower lost on the way to training :

    Finally the UK is starting to wake up to Cycle Safety and “The Thunderer ” is going to wake the World !

    ” We live in the Future !” is a great title for a safety Campaign!

    Thanks Fatty !

  10. Comment by rmullen | 02.9.2012 | 1:26 pm

    So what’s better? Do you ride a 15 pound bike while 10 pounds over weight? Or, do you spend that money on a gym pass, lose the 10 pounds, and ride a 25 pound bike? Or better yet, put the money in an IRA, and just lose the 10 pounds by running 3 times a week? Just curious.

  11. Comment by Tom | 02.9.2012 | 1:46 pm

    Enjoyed the post. Technology is amazing when put to good use. I purchased a pair of the Bontrage RL tights you mentioned a few posts back. I commute to work in Minnesota and even though we are enjoying the wonders of golbal warming it still gets cold here. These tights are amazing works of techonolgy.

    PS. I still ride steel from the past. 2000 Lamond Zurich, 1985 Gastane (commuting bike) and 1985 Specialized Hard Rock (winter bike).

  12. Comment by Dave | 02.9.2012 | 2:20 pm

    Can’t believe there’s no Camelback shout-out…

  13. Comment by yannb | 02.9.2012 | 2:27 pm

    I agree with all your points as well. I still LOVE my custom steel frame SYCIP with full Dura-Ace group. Haven’t ridden my carbon trek 5.2 since I won the Sycip last year through you. Thanks again, Fatty, Dustin and Jeremy.

  14. Comment by John H. | 02.9.2012 | 2:59 pm

    Yes we do!! I love my Madone 5.5

  15. Comment by Cathy | 02.9.2012 | 3:02 pm

    We have snow here right now. This post really made me want to get outside and ride.

  16. Comment by Fat Cathy | 02.9.2012 | 3:05 pm

    For a minute there I thought you were talking about us living in the future with global warming.

  17. Comment by Brian | 02.9.2012 | 3:26 pm

    You forgot dynohubs! Schmidt’s SON hubs are the gold standard, but Shimano and other manufacturers are getting pretty close to them. And LED lights. Most of my bikes now have lightweight, efficient, bright, reliable, and always-available lighting, no batteries required.

  18. Comment by Sara | 02.9.2012 | 4:06 pm

    Wow! You really DO live in the future – you describe things I cannot imagine. Sadly, I still live in the dark ages with cords and cables running all over my bike. But I still love riding. I can’t imagine how much fun I’ll have in the future! :)

  19. Comment by George | 02.9.2012 | 4:27 pm

    …and thank you Honey Stinger waffles.

  20. Comment by Dave T | 02.9.2012 | 4:32 pm

    My current road bike is a 1983 colnago arabesque complete with a state of the art mid 80’s SunTour group. Seems like it might be a good time to look for an up grade.

  21. Comment by James | 02.9.2012 | 5:08 pm

    Fatty, I have to agree with you. The equipment is mind-boggingly good.

    And it just keeps coming. Next year’s stuff will be even better. I’ve really got to hand it to all the engineers that are coming up with this stuff, it’s awesome.

  22. Comment by Anonymous | 02.9.2012 | 5:55 pm

    15 pound road bike; 17 pound SS: Easy to build, hard to pay for.

  23. Comment by Poor Cyclist | 02.9.2012 | 6:35 pm

    Even 10 year old bike tech is pretty amazing. It will have to do for me, anyways.

  24. Comment by Randall | 02.9.2012 | 6:46 pm

    Thanks Cervelo for bringing aero to the Tri guys, TT’ers and roadies!

  25. Comment by Jake | 02.9.2012 | 8:39 pm

    And exponentially more expensive. A top of the line RockShox in 1992 cost $250. Today? $950. Soooo much nicer though.

  26. Comment by Tom S. | 02.9.2012 | 9:56 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Fatty! I have an old 1990 Schwinn Woodlands that I dusted off and replaced everything but the frame/fork. Went from 36 pounds to 25 pounds for around $500 in basic non-extravagant parts replacement! It’s a great time to be a cyclist!

  27. Comment by Dean | 02.9.2012 | 11:32 pm

    Well said. I am a geek at heart and there is not one piece of information from a ride that I could not track, graph, compare, or measure. Sometimes it is almost too much, wait, maybe not…. It will be interesting to see what’s next….

  28. Comment by Mike Z. | 02.10.2012 | 7:43 am

    I hope the next post has the marshmallow recipe.
    Till then, back to Pioneer Woman and the bacon keyword.

  29. Comment by Kent | 02.10.2012 | 7:50 am

    My bikes are aluminum and paid for. They bring joy to my life almost everyday! The most High tech thing about them is the indexed shifters, but what a difference they make compared to the old lever system. Thank you Trek, Giant, Shimano, Sram, Twin Six, Fatty, and friends of Fatty.

  30. Comment by Mark | 02.10.2012 | 9:20 am

    Fatty, You have some crabby readers.

  31. Comment by Jeff Bike | 02.10.2012 | 9:26 am

    I just got a Trek X-Cal 29er (21″ frame) with SRAM 3×10 drivetrain. Just 26 lbs on the scale. My old MTB is a 1995 Gery Fisher Aquila (26″wheel) Steel 21″ Frame that also weighted 26 lbs. The things change the more they stay the same.

  32. Comment by John | 02.10.2012 | 9:51 am


    Can you explain why a Spanish version of “NUESTRA Covergirl-sofia vergera” came up for me on your page? This is getting out of control!

    On topic…I love Honey Stinger Waffles… Found them for .99/each at Whole Foods the other day and bought two boxes worth. Thanks for bringing my attention to good cycling products such as the waffles. I am looking forward to using them in the Steamboat Stinger this year.

  33. Comment by The Flyin' Ute | 02.10.2012 | 10:01 am

    Totally agree. I vividly remember the frustration of trying to tune bikes from 30 years ago. I still refuse to even touch a bike that doesn’t at least have Shimano LX on it.

    The future of today is bright and I love the thought that it is only getting better.

  34. Comment by MattC | 02.10.2012 | 10:23 am

    My 2nd road bike is a steel Ritchey Break-A-Way (frame comes apart so the ENTIRE BIKE fits into a 26″ S&S hard-shell case for travel). A true road bike that folds up into a small suitcase! Only problem with all this technology? It’s currently being held for ransom by Her Majesty’s people. You see, I MAILED my bike to MYSELF here in North Yorkshire UK (cuz I’m here until April). Who knew they’d put a 424 pound tax on my used personal property? (that’s about $640 US).

    Anybody out there have Prince William or Prince Harry’s cell number handy? I really need somebody with some clout to grease the skids and clear up this little misunderstanding. So far my appeals have fallen on deaf ears (’sorry for the misunderstanding, you should just pay it and try to get it back later’ is the answer I’ve gotten so far from the Gov people). Rats. At least it’s too cold and icy to ride just now. To know that our weather back in Cali is SO VERY NICE is just killing me. And THEN to add insult to Injury? UTAH is having riding weather too! NOT FAIR!!!

    Cheers to THE FUTURE! The Future is NOW!

  35. Comment by ScottR | 02.10.2012 | 10:46 am

    One I can have the nice bike stuff, but it is great that it is already exists.

    I’d settle for more time getting to ride the bikes I have.

    My Salsa Vaya was finished (bike shop put on and tweaked the disc brakes) on 3/18/11… The same day my son was born prematurely. He’s still ventilator dependent (at home) today, so riding has been pretty nil.

    (Though I got to go on one Christmas ride – – my younger sister’s present to me was a night of babysitting (assisting my wife), and she has no idea how much it meant to me)

  36. Comment by ScottR | 02.10.2012 | 10:47 am

    Doh – ‘One day I hope I can have’…

  37. Comment by Shep | 02.10.2012 | 2:10 pm

    I’m still riding a 14 year old Diamondback steel hybrid. But being as that I live in Florida (Clearwater area) and it’s still in the low 80’s here, I’ll take the weather and the steel over a carbon frame with all the upgrades and two feet of snow. Talk to me in July when the shoe is on the other foot.

  38. Comment by Larry | 02.11.2012 | 10:37 am

    It is great that bike technology continues to progress and offer so many options. I am looking forward to a new mountain bike this spring that I’m sure will be miles ahead of my Fisher Cake. That being said, the old rules still apply:

    Light – Strong – Cheap. Pick two.

  39. Comment by Trailer Park Cyclist | 02.11.2012 | 4:37 pm

    You’re a cool guy, Fatty.

  40. Comment by leroy | 02.11.2012 | 8:38 pm

    Oh dear. I know some one having an endorph high.

    You do know it’s habit forming, right?

  41. Comment by David | 02.12.2012 | 8:14 am

    A video showing that the future is better on the bike:

  42. Comment by Patrick | 02.12.2012 | 1:27 pm

    If you’re a fan of honey stinger you need to check out a local stroop waffle set-up. is run out of Pleasant Grove by Beth and Ryan Huntington. Absolutely amazing waffles and great snack on that long ride, couldn’t recommend them more highly. There are several shops in Utah county that carry them now.

  43. Comment by Tim | 02.12.2012 | 10:11 pm

    I so agree… but I was guilty of over-teching my bikes for quite a while there. I’ve now accepted that I don’t need 23lb XC bikes and 15lb road bikes, I’ve assembled an *awesome* set of bikes with straight XT/Ultegra-level stuff… and I’ve never had more fun in the 32 years that I’ve love bikes. And I’m stoked to see there’s an Aussie distributor of Action Wipes! ( if you’re interested)

  44. Comment by Tim | 02.12.2012 | 10:12 pm

    *loved bikes

  45. Comment by bryan | 02.13.2012 | 2:47 pm

    I would love to have one, but I find building a sub 16lb bike difficultly expensive. How much should a sub 16lb road bike cost? Can you build one of these bike for around $4K?

  46. Comment by Doug | 02.14.2012 | 12:03 pm

    Heartily agreed, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. But I do have clipless pedals, disc brakes and a Garmin Edge 500 and the impact of each has been mindblowing. Black magic that could only have come through a wormhole from another time, another place….

  47. Comment by John | 03.19.2012 | 2:13 pm

    Another suggestion for an amazing brand is Based out of Ohio and the waffles are hand-baked. Delish!


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