Monday, August 25, 2008


With the Soggy Bottom coming up in a few days, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon on some overdue bike maintenance and other race preparations. It hit the shops for sports-drink mixes, and bike parts like a new cassette, a 32-tooth ring and a fresh chain.

Holding a SRAM chain in each hand, I had to decide whether to spend 50 bucks on the hollow-pin chain, or 30 bucks on a model that has always held up well for me with no significant weight penalty. I was talking with a few members of the shop staff when we tossed the two packages on a scale and found a difference of less than 20 grams. Easy decision.

But I jokingly pointed out that the more expensive chain had a higher bling factor because the inner plates were silver instead of dull gray. Combine that with the hollow pins, and you have a techy-looking piece of hardware for anyone who would bother to get down on his hands and knees to check it out at close range.

That’s when Zane, the mechanic, pointed out that if another rider is enough of a gear geek to roll up to next you on the trail and comment on your new hollow-pin chain, “You really don’t want to talk to that person anyway.”

Hard to argue with logic like that.

I’ve always preferred the kind of rider who would ignore the extra few grams and spend the other $20 on beer.

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