Perspective is worth a pound.
So let’s start the day with a ride in the Wayback Machine®™©. Hold on tight. It can sometimes be a bumpy one;
Before we get onto the main course, it’s been brought to my attention by a little bird that the good people at SE Racing have some ridiculously cool things in the works for this spring;
You know who has two thumbs and is peeing themselves like a child in excitement?
This guy, for certain.
And I don’t want speak for anybody but maybe Mike has at least one;
I’m gonna try to not let these slip by me like I did the original re-issue of the OM Flyer.
I still lament that day.
Now that we’ve got that bit handled, let’s get on with the rest of it.
The meat of today’s effort revolves exclusively around perspective and experience, both of which I have just enough of to maintain one foot in front of the other. Once a person has been in and around the various advances the bike industry has to offer long enough, one begins to develop a highly honed skill in detecting what’s good, what sucks, and what falls somewhere in the middle. Of course the variable in all of this is personal preference, which last I checked continued to be allowable. Do you still have cantilever brakes on your cross bike? That’s fine, because they still work as well as they ever have. Do you prefer disk brakes instead? That’s ok too.
Do you have seven speed on your mountain bike? Maybe less? Maybe a rigid fork? Yep- If you like them, all of these things are going to still work just fine.
Case in point- Somewhere along the way back in the mid to late 90s, the Rock Shox company came up with a fork called the Judy SL, and except for those few hapless souls who got pegged in the forehead by the rapidly ejected top cap, life was good;
This delightful yellow beauty happened to be my first suspension fork. Up to that point I’d been quite content with a beautiful Bontrager rigid fork, that I regret every day having gotten rid of.
Anyway, this was an era in which elastomers ruled everything.
Both front and rear suspension;
At the time, a lot of this technology appealed to a lot of people, myself included. It was generally maintenance free, and when you did have to work on it, it was a super easy task to handle, and best of all, for the most part it wasn’t prohibitively expensive.
Of course around this time a number of manufacturers also released another elastomer specific part, being the seatpost;
The above which is actually still available.
Why, in the years that followed, even the road market wasn’t immune to all of this rubbery goodness, as Specialized introduced their Roubaix framesets;
Though I have it on good authority, (one of the people who actually was responsible for designing the frame), those little rubber bits in the fork and seat stays don’t actually do anything.
Shocking, I know. (No pun intended.)
Now, folks with any knowledge of my own personal bikes probably have an idea where this discussion is headed. Besides applying this technology to their forks, Rock Shocks also made themselves a suspension seatpost;
It’s been said by people who were actually in their employ at the time that this was the best product Rock Shox ever made, and I would be inclined to agree. They’re ridiculously simple to work on;
And take just enough of the edge off to keep my lower back happy.
Upon their initial release I wound up with one and I quite liked it. Then another, then another, then before I knew it, I had them nearly each of my bikes;
Oh, and that WTB Deva saddle wormed its way deep into my heart as well.
But my preference for the post was partially a thing of preference, and partially a thing of convenience. In the time since I’ve come into possession of a boatload of them, sent from all over the country because apparently I’m the only one left who likes them.
And eventually this thing which was near the height of technology also became an item of ridicule.
I’ve had people actually passive aggressively note that perhaps I wouldn’t need it if I knew how to ride a bike. These are the same people who fall all over themselves for such things like elliptical chainrings, because to their mind this is somehow ‘new’ technology. Of course the reality that they’ve been riding bikes for all of five years lends to the fact that they simply don’t know any better. I can’t blame them for their ignorance… I can only mock it, or at the very least try to show them a different way of looking at it.
One point I’m making I suppose, is just because it’s ‘new’ doesn’t mean it’s ‘better’, but I’ll be damned if aspects of the bike industry, its occasionally cyclical and recycled ideas, and those who support them are able to get that concept through their thick skulls.
A secondary point is that after all of these years, I pulled out and photographed a new old Rock Shox seatpost, and a new new Rock Shox seatpost;
The latter of which I threw on my snazzy new Kona, and then propped up on Buddy so that I could snap a photo of it;
Holding your bike up with sticks, or disembodied hands is yesterday’s news.
Now I’ve moved on (at least on this bike) to what is currently among the most technologically advanced hardware available, and at least for the time being, I’m back on the crest of the proverbial wave.
The overriding point being I suppose, that people should ride what they wanna, worry about that alone, and chances are better than good that I’ll have it long enough so that people sixteen to eighteen years from now will make fun of me for it.
And I’m guessing as long as it still works, my perspective will remain exactly the same.
Bontrager rigid forks. Yeah baby! However, life got pretty good when I pulled the, of my OR Race and installed some Halson inversion forks. Those things were pretty damned sweet. Sweet until the epoxy holding the stanchions to the crown gave up the ghost.
Funny that this should end up here today, as I just put the finishing touches on my “new” bike. An early-to-mid 90s Bontrager with ridgid fork, and (you guessed it) elastomer shock seatpost.
The disembodied hands were used in an old VooDoo catalog.
Crest of the wave? I don’t see no 27.5+ bruh.
From my perspective, that’s a thing the industry came up with to make up for the fact they missed the boat on 29ers.
Is that an STR-1 Replica? Yes dont let them slip by….
I regret selling my ’83 Kuwahara LaserLite. That is a bike that will forever hold a special place in my heart. The OM Flyer is a close second.
Todays post was, for lack of a better word, Rad. Not one to ogle over bike stuff too much these days but the SE homepage filled me with Lust. Cheers!
Been rolling with my Rock Shock seat post for 15 + years! Great read!
“The overriding point being I suppose, that people should ride what they wanna, worry about that alone…” Fuck yes!!! You’re echoing sentiments near and dear to my heart. It seems that I’ve missed the memo that says, ‘If you ride bikes, you must pick which brands/parts/food preferences, you like, tout them as the greatest thing ever, and shit on anyone else who may have a preference not in line with your own.’ Actually, I’m ok that I missed it. I’ll be out here having fun, riding my bike.
I also regret selling my early 80’s Kuwahara, among others.
The good thing about your new Reverb is that if it performs like most, it will soon be a suspension post too!
This seems to be the overwhelming perspective.
You’re not the only lonly one Stevil. I’ve got a nice stash here in MN as well. Love those old posts.
I miss my caramba double barrel cranks… But I think my tattoo designed by a prof-hessian-al will last longer and not creak as much. The onzas brought a smile to my face man! Thanks for doing what you do!
The more technology is developed the less I feel I need. It just confuses my small brain and leaves me longing for the simplicity and functionality of the olden days, dagnabit..
I concur on the Onza pedals which were my intro to clipless. I never had an issue with them except for wearing them out. Ran Onza’s Rip and Rail rubber on my polished aluminum Fisher Mt. Tam with a Judy XC at the 1995 Chequamegon mud riddled death march . I now run full rigid SS at the Cheq because it is hard and makes me smile. Oh, my 1983 Hutch Pro Long hangs in my garage. Born and raised on the full rigid SS. And, I miss that deep blue PK Ripper I cracked learning to throw inverted tables. Ride what makes you smile and slays the demons. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!
I have a shock post on my hardtail m4 sworks mtb. its awesome! it takes off the edge of bumpy terrain amazingly well and I concur with the zero maintenance on the think. I wonder if rockshox will make a dropper post for hardtails with a few elastomers in it. it wold be easy to add i bet.
i found this post by scrolling images after searching “original rockshox seatpost” i just scored one for $11. i can’t find any info on it. user/maintenance would be awesome, if anyone had a link to spare
They take very little maintenance. Pull the bottom out and lather the elastomer up with Judy Butter (which I’m sure there’s still loads of somewhere), and you’re on your way.