Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Foolproof


When Coca-Cola elected to roll out New Coke and then backpedaled like a messenger in traffic only to introduce Coke Classic, one of the great crimes of pop culture was committed. How could anyone mess with so simple, so perfect an item as Coca-Cola? If you doubt the severity of the crime, drop by a kosher deli and get an imported Coke with actual sugar in it. The pleasure centers of your brain will be bathed in the soothing kiss of pure sugar. You will smile. You might even hum a jingle.

Coke Classic proves that some things shouldn’t be messed with, either by the producer looking to make a faster buck or by competitors looking for hunk of market share. There’s more to be said for consumer service than gets said, unfortunately.

The inexorable march of progress catches ideas both great and awful in its maw. As it happens the bike industry has been particularly susceptible to the awful idea. From indexed steering systems intended to help you carve the perfect arc to automatic shifting systems guaranteed to keep you at a cadence of 85 rpm, lots of bad products get made for bicycles each year.

It’s hard to imagine that so innocuous an item as a rim strip would give anyone cause to think twice about how to insulate a tube from a rim, but once you’ve experienced more than one faulty rim strip in the same ride, you’ll find yourself out for blood with the vengeance of a clean cyclist accused of doping.

I’ve had rim strips melt in a hot car and cause double flats. I’ve had the new polyester ones slide and expose spoke holes, giving me a succession of flats. I’ve had the butyl ones break and expose nipples, causing shockingly sudden flats.

Each of these incidents could have been avoided had one precaution been taken: Spend the extra money on Velox rim stips. Able to withstand pressures that a would render a blow dryer lethal, the seemingly ineffectual adhesive on the back of the rim strip secures the stip in place sufficiently. I’ve never experienced a rim tape-related flat when using Velox rim strips. And at this point I’m frustrated enough with the others that I’ve thrown them all out.

I’m all for making things better as innovation remakes our world. However, products that don’t offer any noticeable improvement shouldn’t see the store shelf. Any reasonable person might surmise that a superior rim strip could be produced; cut the weight and improve the adhesive’s stickiness and you’d have a home run, right? But in an era of constant innovation, surprisingly, no one has managed it. Stunning when you consider Velox has been around longer than the folding clincher. A lot longer.

If someone actually invents a rim strip that improves on the Velox, I’m all ears, but until then, I’ll pay retail—no team or club discount, no industry bro deal, just straight retail; it matters that much.

Call it my insurance policy.

24 comments:

bikesgonewild said...

...old school velox...
...foolproof...truer words were never spoken...

...90% of the time, "new & improved" means 98% of the people will wish they'd just left it alone...

Colin Griffiths said...

Only last week I struggled to remove some 25 year old Velox tape from a rim, "Well" I thought, "I now know why I only use Velox!"

Ben said...

I am with you 100%!

eforendo said...

We only sell Velox in the shop,because it works so good. But I have been trying out VeloPlugs in my personal wheels for a year or so with great success.
http://www.velocityusa.com/default.asp?contentID=555

blackmountaincycles said...

Agreed on improving the adhesive. For some reason, it just doesn't seem as sticky as it once was. However, a few minutes in the sun and the adhesive is activated, so to speak.

The other thing that's important to note is choosing the proper width. Sometimes, rims need the narrow strip.

akatsuki said...

I like the plugs thus far... I don't think I'll go back to tape any time soon.

Tarik Saleh said...

Yep, I agree they have been skimping on the sticky lately, but once you get it on there, it is foolproof. I posted a similar pic of my rim strapping arsenal last month: fonder

STC Captain said...

Its like having a helmet on - its a no brainer. There is nothing better, and i agree, there may never be a worthy alternative.

C said...

I always find it amusing when I see Velox being applied to Zipp wheels or other big buck geek/poser wheels. Something odd about seeing a tried and true, never gonna be replaced product being used side by side with some bleeding edge part that likely won't be around for more than a season or two before being "improved" upon by the maker and dismissed as "obsolete" by the consumer.

crank said...

The velox we've been getting in the shop lately has very bad adhesive. Almost makes me want to switch to a one piece ala Mavic/Spec.

Cinghiale said...

I've had Velox tape shift when a bit of moisture got into the rim, causing rim hole flats.
The plugs look like a pretty good idea.

Dennis said...

Don't you know the whole New Coke thing was a conspiracy? Check it out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke#Conspiracy_theories

Dennis said...

my link was chopped, try
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
and click conspiracy theories

Newmaforma said...

Part of why I love the Northern Classics so much is the repeated success of tried and true 32 hole spoke wheels that work vs each years new re-invented wheel that fails for the poor PRO who has to ride it.

Anonymous said...

The Continental one-piece rims strips also work great and I have used other similar rim strips for years without any problems. The Velox tape can be too thick for some rim/tire combinations.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

There will never be a better rimstrip than Velox! You can quote me on that. Eddy Merckx himself would personally approve of Velox... I bet he would, anyway.

Jim said...

Vive la Velox!

Marla...O.A.F. with altitude said...

Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

I've had Velox tape dimple into the spoke holes, then little circles of abrasion appear on my tubes, but not noticed until they cause a flat.

Hunter said...

Nice post, I'm a big fan/long time reader of your blog..

trying to get some readership so if you like mine I'd be honored for a link.

http://dailyhammertime.blogspot.com/

The King said...

Agreed, Well Said.

Anonymous said...

Similar stuff, a little lighter, and seems to work as well as the "gold standard" Velox.

http://www.zefal.com/AAA/page.php?nom=produits&sousFamille=2007entretienFonddeJante&langue=an

Lisa Caterbone said...

When I first started riding, I had flat, after flat, after flat. I finally decided after evaluating the rims, that it must have had something to do with the cheap plastic rim tape that came with the bike. So, I went to the local bike store and picked up Velox at the suggestion of my friend Brian. Best $7.50 I ever spent! Now, whenever I get new wheels...the first thing that goes on them is Velox.

James said...

Right on! I so agree with this. Rim strips are something that most riders don't think about...until there is a problem.

I had my front wheel in my car all day for an after work time trial a couple weeks ago. When I got to the race, the tire was flat so I bummed a spare tube and set out to fix it yeah, I was really un prepared). It turns out that I had a cheap as hell plastic rim strip on that wheel which had contracted from the heat in my car. Practically every spoke hole in the rim was exposed or partially exposed. I ended up having to put masking tape inside the rim in order to ride in the time trial. I was lucky that the tape job worked for 10 miles, but you can bet that the next day I bought a pair of Velox strips for that wheel. I knew better, but I won’t make that mistake again.