It may be obvious by now that the rabid rate of Dirty literature has slowly been grinding to a 5 minutes post climax trickle. You’ll also be as disgusted as I am to understand why… To set the scene, I am cowering ashamed and disgusted as I type this scene setting opener.
Yes, for the second time since we fought through the Dirty birth canal and into a care free existence in July 2013, I have done the unthinkable, again, and gotten a… JOB. And unfortunately when I type that here the only ‘blow’ associated with that is a ‘Blow-out’. Let’s slide down the slippery slope together on what I’ve found and the rant its subsequently created. I’ll just grab my coffee.
Part 1 – There’s no steak here Cypher
To start with, the various tentacles were reattached to me and I was put back into the matrix, forced to file into a giant building which acts as a glass and concrete whore house where we exchange our freedom and dreams for massive injections of cash. I lined up with the legions of similarly attired drones who have all had the functionality for the corners of their mouths to reach upwards removed. Bemused, I just kept wondering where the steak was… Or if it even really existed?
I was then bombarded with PowerPoint, meetings, workshops and people talking at my face in fluent acronym/cunt speak until little parts of my inner child started to die of cuntery. But I noticed one overriding and obvious theme from all of this:
Or more to the point – Self imposed complexity. I think the best line I have ever heard about complexity is that smart people make complex things simple (you can do the inverse maths there pretty easily). But why the fuck would complexity be embraced by the corporate drone armies? Indeed, given the people at the epicentre of this, perhaps its best to call it cuntplexity?
At the heart of cuntplexity is one key element of course… The root of all evil. No, not marketing… No, not plus sized bikes… But money. This is multi faceted, but generally if its ‘complex’ then you need more consultants (money), more people (money and power #growmyempire), more attention (anal tongue darts to senior execs) and its also a chance to show people how smart you’re convinced you are. Fuck yes, pile on complexity and not only will the money follow, but you’ll look awesome and more importantly, indispensable at the same time!!
The other awesome thing about cuntplexity is that you can hide! Yes, the more cuntplexity the better the hiding spot… Yes, you know the one. Armed with epic PowerPoint templates, highly complex Excel spreadsheets where most of the formulas are wrong but no one has checked and Word docs so long that even Lawyers want to avoid them, the proponents of cuntplexity are highly skilled in making sure everyone knows that they are so important that the organisation can’t function without them. This smokescreen is critical to cover up that no one really knows what’s going on… Yes, not unlike the Dyad Shock on a Jekyll.
Er… Thanks, but what the fuck does this have to do with cycling I hear you moan. Well, as I’m doggy paddling towards, its actually sort of another industry/standards rant. But not as we know it Jim. Yes, it goes without saying that we all have a spew about standards and change from time to time, but it feels recently that shit is just getting plain out of control.
The more I look at it, Cuntplexity is being utilised in our awesome sport to create a sea of change, confusion and training us into a constant cycle of upgrades so that we spew cash forth into the waiting arms of some of the marketing companies pretending to be in the bicycle business. That’s quite an accusation son! Can you back it up? Scooby Fucking Doo, let’s have a crack.
Part 2 – “Change is the new normal”
Be extremely weary whenever you hear that term, as its 100% cuntspeak for any one, or all, of the following realities:
- We’re too fucked to plan ahead properly, so shit will just randomly happen – Deal with it
- We’re incentivised on a half by half basis, so given our bonus is the most important thing we’ll react accordingly
- We’ve worked out that if shit keeps changing all the time and we can condition people to constant change then we can make mad cash YO!
Hold that thought on the last bullet, as we take a ranting dive into what’s been going down on both sides of the aisle in our beloved sport:
Road bike product managers are the absolute rookies when it comes to changing shit to fuck up customers, obsoleting your shit and then harvesting early adopters like they’re lemming farmers. Seriously, they’re either lazy or just as uncreative as fuck… Until recently.
It started pretty much with 58 different Bottom Bracket standards being rolled out in a 4 month period, which was an awesome move. Fucking with BB’s is mint as it fingers cranks if you want to switch frames and means a new power meter ideally. BB30A anyone?
But the road bike side of the industry ledger realised that it was actually easier to convince Roadies that they needed not just a road bike, potentially now with discs etc, but in fact they needed MANY road related bikes. Yes, why tweak parts or geometry when you can just spurt whole new categories out the tip of your engorged industry member.
Pretty quickly the cycling websites who feed off paid promotions (Ads pretending to be actual independent news stories, but super aren’t as fuck) and free trips to exotic locations in Europe to ‘test’ (ride them on quiet roads to coffee and then strip clubs) were reminding the content hungry skinny lycra hordes that unless they got involved in these gems, then they were clearly not cyclists or just super shit humans – Each coming with their own subliminal marketing message:
- Gravel grinding – “If you don’t get amongst this then you hate adventure, having a life worth living and holy fuck I need to unfollow you on the Gram ASAP“
- Aero Bikes – “You can’t possibly win a race until you have one of these… Unless that race has hills or less than billiard table smooth roads“
- TT bikes – “Basically you’re not a real cyclist until you can TT like a GC contender, and yes, double deep dish it up please“
- Endurance bikes – Actually… Nothing to really say here other than this is a cunt of a category, if you can ride a road bike 200km’s, why the fuck do we need another genre? Or a bike with an elastomer rammed up its ass? Oh yeah… $$$$$$$$
- CX bikes – “Bro, you’re not jumping on this fad? You’re gonna come out of winter so fat and out of condition, we’re going to chain gang rape you in Spring. Let’s run around and get muddy!”
So now as a roadie, you had to have your race bike, your training bike and 5 bikes from the above list in order to be complete… Wait, plus with a Rapha outfit to compliment each please. Please note, they’ll all need to be updated once the coming disc brake and axle standards war is waged in the next few years.
Oh yes, discs is going to be the Trojan horse for road bikes here and just strap yourself in roadies as you have 4 new standards and systems thrown at your coffee sipping grills for the next 5 years as things “Shake themselves out” in this space. The other thing being shaken? Your wallet… Not to mention watching the re-sale price of those $4,000 carbon wheels plummet faster than Tinkoff’s personal wealth.
And yes – This applies to both, but as soon as you start to fuck with wheels and hubs, shit is getting real for your wallet… A lot of us can spend as much on a frame as we do on a set of wheels, so as such portability is critical for most people. Those days are over motherfuckers… As the Dirt crowd know only too well…
Praise be to innovation! This is the promised land if ever there was one! Yes, while the Road bike side of the office is sipping artisanal spring water and maybe having a weak cup of tea, the Dirty side of the company is doing tequila shots and lines of coke off the back of the hot intern as they swim through the sweet cash being churned up by the seemingly never ending supply of new shit… I can’t even do it justice with a massive bullet point list that no one has the attention span to read:
- Boost front and Boost rear – No, nothing to do with a MILF and a couple of handymen
- Metric sized shocks – No, not an April fools joke after all… And no one knows what the fuck a quarter pounder is any more as a result
- 12 speed drive trains – Yes, you just got 11 speed and now you’re an instant hobo again. Loser
- A war on rear cassettes – I have lost count here, are we running 50-10 now? Rear D’s are looking longer than my ass hair
- Rims as wide as fuck – Insert your own Rimming joke here
- Matching new wide as fuck normal tires (work that out)
- Plus size cuntbaggery – I’m taking 27.5+, 29+ and for FUCKS sake, now even 26+ is apparently a thing? Stop this shit, immediately, its just embarrassing. Its essentially the industry putting a Mark Wahlberg pic on their Tinder profile: They think its cool and everyone will get it, but we just smile and think they’re a cunt
- Aggressive 29ers are so hot right now… Again
- Some weird new head set change I don’t quite get, but can easily be installed upside down I’m told
- Electronic shifting – Ok, I’m a little DiCurious, but say no to insulation taping of cables, woeful
- Apparently trail bikes are going through a re-birth? #justgetfucked
- I won’t say eBikes as they’re not actually mountain bikes – End of discussion cunts. #iammotorized
So as you can see, faster than we can click refresh on Pinkbke for new content, our faces are being fucked with more new stuff, fads, innovation and just change for the sake of change. We are now conditioned that every day is a new product day, or a change to a standard or some sort of improvement that means we should in theory fuck off what we have looking at us from across the room. Some days I love it, some times its exhausting.
And don’t think the Dirt legions are free from the category creation caper either. From the people that brought us ‘Over Mountain’, and the ‘Slate’, our “buddies” at Dorel have managed to hit another home run of cuntery by designing a new ‘category’ that no one needed. In the same breath they have declared XC ‘dead’, Cannondale have dropped on us like a steaming turd an all new acronym (that’s a fancy word for cunt speak) of XXC, which I can only assume stands for Xtra Xtra cunty…
One suspects this will be to either try and make XC sexy again, which is a bit like wrapping a Ford Mondeo in tinfoil and claiming its going to make the voyage to Mars to commence colonising, or its a fucking tired old way to launch a new bike with probably, yawn, variable travel and the usual flogged out bearings. Can’t wait!
Part 3 – Time for the Champagne problems
This change of pace, new categories that aren’t really categories and ‘standards’ BS has had a very different result on me than I think the industry intended. I was supposed to read all the shit on line and then BUY IT immediately, as fuck knows I love showering my lame earned money on carbon and polished aluminium, but its all had a very different effect:
Absolute purchasing paralysis
That’s right, as new shit has churned out faster, I have kept waiting to jump on a bus going past. Problem is, there are now so many smashing past so fast, I’ve elected to stand on the side of the road like a gypsy offering a sloppy BJ to whoever will give me a set of Chris King hubs in whatever this weeks standard is.
Cue the Annie soundtrack and violins, but I haven’t purchased a new bike in any form since September 2014, which whilst fits nicely into my “Spend less on shit and more on adventures”
wanking tagline, it still does feel quite weird. And I’m not the only one struggling here, even seasoned and hardened PROcurement officers are having to pause for thought and look hard at the numbers:
But recently I have awoken from this slumber with a new bike stiffy, thanks to the Santa Cruz Hightower, Stigmata and now the new Tallboy 3 and worked out when I started to look at the options that holy fuck, I was standing in the middle of the bike upgrade Kill Box, like your run of the mill rebel scum…
Yes, I am one of the prime suspects the industry has been trying to wipe out: The Frame Upgrader! Like scavenging dogs we roam the badlands, only shooting our cash load when we see a frame we really want, smug in the knowledge we can transfer our old shit over and keep rolling with a tight new chassis.
But on the horizon a kill squad has been gathering to hunt us down and wipe us out… Most wanted pictures were placed in engineer cubicles and marketing ‘break out rooms’ all over the world. How dare we try a cheeky frame upgrade when we clearly needed a whole new build which consists of only 34% of parts we would really want to use.
This isn’t about hating the industry per se, as I am the first one to recognise that bikes are absolutely awesome right now, I mean, the stuff they can do and how they perform is fucking insane. I doubt that EWS would have been possible with Mountain bikes of 10 years ago, the creation of these types of events has come about in part thanks to awesome advances in bike technology and quality.
But, a little bit of authenticity and thinking ahead wouldn’t go amiss either. I know as consumers we have been well trained to now crave content, instant gratification via CRC, seasonal Fox kit lines, annual paint and spec changes and a never ending string of bike launches. But we also need to be saved from ourselves at the same time.
Yes, keep making advances bike companies, shit is getting radder all the time – But don’t keep obsoleting shit that works ok every 12 months, its not a big ask to think ahead and stabilise some of these platforms (that’s cuntspeak for: “I want my expensive wheels to be used on my next bike”). Here’s a thought, perhaps some planning ahead? Collaboration on big issues and standards so that you don’t turn us wanton consumers into Guinea Pigs with ADHD. If Boost hubs are really an interim step, then I suspect people are going to actually lose their minds.
If the merry go round keeps speeding up, you might find more of us just standing on the sidelines like fat kids with short arms watching it blur past us…
Now I’ve ranted myself flaccidly into the ground and the weekend is here, its time to forget all this weirdness, unleash a cliche and get back to what counts: The riding.