Some years ago now, I was given a Turnbull & Asser shirt, made in England, "By Appointment to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales". It would now be at least 10 years old, yet still it outshines any near new shirt in my possession—when I iron it, anyway. In the limited observation of tis humble dilettante, the shirt features all-but indiscernible reinforcements, extra little stitches, fussings over and all manner of finely tailored finessery, wherever one stops to examine it. A symphony of threads.
To my mind, a Royal Warrant is the highest form of endorsement, by virtue of it being something money, or even discounts, can never buy. Rather, one must win either the Queen, her husband or son, as a regular customer, and keep them for 5 years, before earning the right just to apply.
Now it would be tempting, dear rusted on reader, to capitalize on the growing popularity of our little cycling blog here, by registering a domain then selling advertising space to various makers of bikes. No. That will never happen. If I have any ambition at all, it is to host a T.V. show (imagine Top Gear, for bikes), or to perhaps write a scholarly book about Cyclespace. Earning drinking money, and/or validation, from commercial interests does not fit either vision. I would rather the freedom to speak my mind, and leave your mind free of concerns that I don’t.
Introducing Behooving Moving’s esteemed Warrant Holders, all faithful servants of our dearest lord cycling:
Campagnolo. Although I have only been using this brand for 2 years, already it is serving me well. The STI levers can be taken apart and serviced by replacing tiny springs and washers etc.. Compare that to Shimano STI levers that cannot be pulled down, that you will be told are as obsolescent as your I-mac when you try to replace them, that feel like plastic when changing, etc.. When I was first into racing, the pro teams only used Campagnolo. Had Michelangelo known of them, Campagnolo’s Delta brake calipers would now be a common architectural detail of some kind. He would have copied them into scrolls, or kneeling windows, or put some in David’s left hand. Unless you would be collecting them as art though, I would dissuade my readers from paying for top of the range gear. Mid range stuff lets you go just as fast, yet for one third of the money!
Although the Michelangelo connection hardly needs pointing out!
Mavic. My first serious racing bike was far from new when I bought it in 1992. It had Mavic wheels. The bike now belongs to a friend of mine who rides it occasionally. The rims are in perfect working order, after almost 30 years on the road. Never a buckle! The 10 year old Mavic Helium wheels on my Saeco Cannondale: never a problem! I now have Mavic Ksyrium wheels on my Lynskey, and expect just more of the same. Where a top of the range groupset won’t help you go faster, expensive wheels will. So this is where you can get your gear fix, gear boys. Carbon spokes, tires integrated with rims, titanium skewers as standard: dose up, spend up and speed up.
Click for a larger view of all three wheelsets mentioned above.
Brooks of England.
Okay, to hell with the Windsors and their 5 year rule. After 5 months with some Brooks gear, I am convinced. I’ve had enough time on four upright bikes with four separate saddles to say, assuredly, that they are comfortable. Where other saddles take jean seams and lacerate groins, a gentleman’s callosities rest in the hammock of a Brooks saddle’s rear portion, while presenting the old Bishop’s Bridge with a narrow rung of smooth leather on which his thighs may smoothly glide. I have their frivolous trouser strap, fine Devon pannier, saddle slung tool case, tire levers and titanium coated spoke spanner, and now have my eye on a messenger bag, for which I have no use other than posing. I forgot to mention the grip tape, merino jersey and titanium rail racing saddle, all of which I so desperately want. I know kids are starving in Japan, but is wanting so wrong?
To be continued with entries for warrant holders Continental, Santini, Time, and Reynolds