The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Superbe *or* Wizards of Suspension!

Simplicity through Design

In my opinion - the side pull brake is the pinnacle of bicycle component design. They aren't the easiest to adjust, the most powerful or flashy, but something about the simplicity and effectiveness of the design makes me smile.

With a few minutes of their day anyone can figure out how to disassemble, clean and reassemble a pair. Adjustment takes a special wrench, but even then it's just a turn and a tug to get them in the right position. Their form follows their function, but who among us is immune to the charm of satin finish? Now, though, dual pivot and the allure of carbon fiber have taken hold our collective imagination and the side pull has been relegated in all it's glory to the cheapest of brakes, mass produced in Taiwan with not the love or respect the design has known. They have immeasurable beauty inside and out - well worth the hunt for a decent pair from the 70's, 80's or 90's.

It was to my surprise that sitting on BRose's countertop the other day I came to find a pair of Suntour Superbe awaiting an owner. Probably lost in some bin at the cave which was his old home, now they sat with their satin glow. I picked them up and wondered how they got to this location. You see, BRose isn't known for simple...

Step back into the bowels of the Shockspital and you'll find forks, components of all anodized colors and shapes, frames in various states of repair, tools which defy the imagination. It is a lair of wizards and magic, ladies and gentlemen. With Dave Vance at his side their combined knowledge borders on the ridiculous - there is no problem too nuts for them to tackle. Just walking back into the haze of technical babble and disc brake fluid is enough to set even the most serious mountain cyclist into a frenzy of joyous babble.

BRose has set out to make the mystery of suspension and this 'mountain cycling' as simple to me as my beloved side pull break. Over these next few months I'll begin to spend more time with these two gentlemen and try to absorb as much information as possible. It's true, I've never ridden a mountain bike, but I'm going to do my dardest to try. What kind of spandex does one wear in the woods?

So here I stand, in the midst of this wondrous and mysterious land. Feeling almost as out of place as these brakes. Still, the handsome BRose and the wise and all powerful Dave Vance have something to offer and I'll do my best to relay my lessons on to you all.

It is with a heavy heart that I must leave my home in the cafe to the far off land of the Shockspital, but I'm sure my girl back home will be waiting when I return.

Kind Regards,

Aaron Smith