Friday, June 15, 2012

Color me not...

A recent Guitar Ted post got me thinking about color and bikes.  In the post, he mentions that his "boss at my first bike shop gig said something to the effect that, "Cycling is a colorful sport. Your kit and your gear should reflect that."  I don't recall my old boss at the bike shop in the '80s - early '90s saying anything like that or saying anything to the contrary.  However, I believe I got some of my thoughts on bike style from him and it is clear that my personal bike style is reflected through my love of black and white photography.  

You see, I personally don't like any color splashes on my bike.  To me, the parts must be black or silver.  Bar tape is one exception, but only when it works with something else on the bike, like say a color in the decal.  The frame is also an exception.  I've got frames that are red, blue, orange, lavender...heck, I've got four frames that are orange or have orange in them.  I'm not against color.  However, every one of those frames is built up with black and silver parts.  Bar tape on all is black. 

How did I make it through the time period of the '90s unscathed by the anodize phase?  During this time period I was also in product development and deeply involved in the spec process of bikes.  I've spec'd many a bike with blue or purple anodized parts.  I thought they looked really great dressed up in colors.  I just didn't want to duplicate those on my personal bikes.  To me, the bike is elegant and the simplicity of black or silver parts shows that the bike is meant to be ridden and not really talked about.  I'm not one to stand out in a crowd by having flash on my bike. 

I realize that this all makes me pretty boring.  Heck, I'd also be okay with a daily uniform too.  One trend in current bikes that seems to go against all my monotone theme is all the cable housing colors coming out on new bikes.  Cable housings and tires that match the frame colors.  It's just too much.  And I see owners with their new colorful bikes who stop by my shop on a weekend ride who have just shredded one of their red or blue or white or... tires, busted a derailleur cable and have fouled the housing.  They need replacements to get home.  I carry only black tires and either black or gray cable housings.  It is not uncommon for someone with a shredded rear tire to also replace the front tire because they want the tire color to match.  I'm completely okay with that, but at the same time, think "really?"  

In the end, go with what you like.  Your choice works for you and because it works for you, it works for me too.  

shop 002
Whole lot of boring here.  

(What's playing:  Billie Holliday Comes Love)


Chris said...

gotta agree with you for the most part... of course, my favorite bike color is orange... but I agree on the black tires and black or gray cables... bar tape can be fun though...

Hal said...

It's very easy to find the color of a bike's components detracting from it's overall appearance. I think the mostly silver and black Cunningham and Potts bikes you feature to be among the most handsome. Sometimes the old chrome Paramount, Singer and Herse bikes used colored tape and cable housing, but that's about the most color I'd want on those bikes.

cadencemichael said...

Gios blue. Oh how I still love Gios blue.

The current trend in bikes that goes against my aesthetic convictions is flat or matte frame finishes. I like matte or luster finishes on my photographs, but I want my bike frames to shine.

Guitar Ted said...

Well, to each their own, for sure. I have to say that a tastefully understated scheme is super cool too. Business-like, to the point.

But- you know, I had a Sunset Linear fade Klein Attitude, so never mind me!

To your point about the modern colorways and cable housing/tires- I agree wholeheartedly. That's just going a bit too far. Matching things up when they need replacing is a major concern.