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By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews Technical Editor
Right from the gun, I gotta apologize because I missed last week’s column. I swear; it was the damn 2004 VeloNews Buyer’s Guide that made me (not) do it.
You see, it falls upon my (and Lennard Zinn’s) shoulders to put this puppy out every year and, since last year’s edition was something of a success, the beast has gotten even bigger this time around. Of course, that means more pages to fill; more bikes and components to write about; more (hopefully) insightful features to generate.
So getting back to last week’s excuse, I found myself with VeloNews photo editor Galen Nathanson sequestered away in our photo studio (okay, I admit it: Our “studio” is the uncluttered portion of the tech’ room, but it serves its purpose) for the better part of two days shooting a veritable bike shop’s worth of gear… 87 products and a collection of bikes that would make anyone drool.
As it turns out, styling and shooting product takes a lot longer than one might expect. Not one to complain about fingering the latest and greatest components and bicycles, I will nonetheless point out that being a photo assistant was the main reason behind my MIA tech column.
While “trapped” in our superheated studio – feeling much like some extended stay in a sweat lodge – a number of Buyer’s Guide-related revelations crossed my mind. Seeing as how I now have the enviable task of writing clever musings about each of these products (and with a copy-hungry editor looking over my shoulder), I’ll keep my list short:
Andrew’s Top 10 Buyer’s Guide Revelations Carbon road bikes are a dime-a-dozen in 2004. Beginning to see many identical off-the-shelf Asian-made frames with only differing brand names and paint schemes-and very different prices. Be aware.
Shooting pictures of bib shorts without a model filling them is as effective as snapping a photo of washed-up giant squid on the beach – no matter how you position them, both end up being completely unrecognizable blobs.
I challenge you to find a pair of high-end road shoes without a carbon sole. White is the “new black”…or was it red?
’04 Dura-Ace builds up more easily than any bicycle component group ever available (no “track components are easier” letters, please).
I’m still amazed that Campagnolo still chooses to use a square taper bottom bracket interface in 2004. “Hey Italy, the ’80s just called…it wants its technology back.”
If one more manufacturer calls insisting they “belong” in the BG because of their advertising dollars/commitment to racing/winning a stage/amazing paint schemes, I’m personally going to strangle the guy on the other end of the phone…or respond to their spineless e-mail with a strategically placed worm.
As if the Madone isn’t already a cool enough bike, Trek’s Project One custom painting option makes any Trek/Klein/Fisher/LeMond even cooler-just make sure to pick your colors very carefully…
Even when Nathanson almost burned down Walker Ferguson’s garage during a photo shoot (when a light box overheated and burst into flames) Ferguson still remained cool as a cucumber.
Nathanson figures we saved almost $800 on film and developing thanks to shooting all of our Buyers Guide digitally. It would probably suck to have sunk all your savings into FotoMat 1-Hour developing huts, eh?
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest…