Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beam Me Up

Whenever I come across one of these relics, I think it should have a sticker that says, “My Other Bike is a DeLorean.”

Allsop dreamed up the suspension “beam” 20 years or so ago, in an era when the concept of suspension was so new that many people thought it would be cheaper and more efficient to “suspend the rider, not the bike.” Hell, I worked with an aerospace engineer in those days, and he knew I was a bike geek, so he once excitedly told me how he thought this was a brilliant concept, and he had ideas on how to do it. He thought it was the future of mountain biking.

The problem was that such well-intentioned folks didn’t realize that suspension is about more than rider comfort. It’s also about control and performance at speed, and that means keeping the tires in contact with the ground. You can’t just have a bike bouncing all over the damned place, even if the rider is comfortably cushioned by a flexible carbon-fiber beam and a spring-loaded stem. 

But you have to respect Allsop’s commitment. I mean, look at that bike frame. It was as if someone said, “Seatposts? Bitch, please! Our idea is so damn good, you’ll never need one. We’re goin’ balls to the wall and building a bike that is 100 percent dependent on a $200 doo-dad that’ll float your ass in ‘Softride’ comfort, dude! Seatposts are SO ’80s. Fuck ’em!”

This stuff was either going to be The Bomb, or it was simply going to bomb. We all know how that turned out. Allsop now manufacturers towing accessories, and bike racks for cars.


lemmiwinks said...

I miss reading about fat bike rides in the snow.

Tim said...

Thanks, man. I had a busy autumn, but I've been thinking about reviving this here pimple on the ass of the Internet. Don't give up on me yet.