I think I may have a problem. Can I please get your expert opinion?
Sunday morning I raced the local criterium (poorly). As I was packing up a club member called out to me that someone had left a pair of gloves in the next parking area up. I promptly forgot. Later that afternoon I realised that I hadn't collected the gloves for lost and found. I was also still fuming about my disappointing race outcome.
So in an act of self flagellation I decided to ride the 42x18 fixie for the 30 mile round trip to pick up the gloves. When I got there I discovered that they had been collected already.
When I got home and surveyed the damage I cried. A rough tough trackie crying like a baby at the demise of a rear hub. Then I slowly turned the wheel and realised I'd killed a Suntour Superbe Pro 32 hole low flange road hub, a collector’s item, which caused the sobbing to deepen.
I undertook some therapeutic activity that mournful Sunday evening, lovingly dismantling the wheel and setting aside the battered remains of a hub to which I owed so much, with which I share so many memories – June 2008 would have been our 22nd anniversary. I then rebuilt the wheel with a similarly configured Campagnolo Record (c. 1985) hub that I had been using as a chain keeper (which was an ongoing source of dismay for my LBS owner).
Last night at the velodrome I showed the corpse to a clubmate who is a precision fitter. He said he could repair it. I told him I didn’t want to ride a Frankenstein hub and he calmed me with words of confidence in his ability to make an “invisible” repair.
A trackie and a foundry worker share a brokeback moment.
I wait panting for the return of my beloved hub. The bike just doesn’t seem right somehow, Campag is nice, but it’s not the same. And that attitude permeates every ounce of my being. I have Suntour Superbe saved in my eBay profile as a favourite search.
Here's where I think my problem lies. Not that I rode 45 kilometres recovery in the afternoon after a hard race. Not that I rode a hilly route on a fixie for that recovery ride. Not that I launched with vigour from a red light near home and stripped the thread on the hub. Not even when I made the call of shame. The problem is that I love Suntour Superbe Pro to the exclusion of all others. I know I’m living in the ‘80s. I know that technology has moved a long way in 20 years. I know I’m worshipping a dead brand. I know my friends think I’m weird. But I love my Suntour.
Please help me
Crikey, Mike. That's a rippah! No need to dangle the baby over the crocs about it though...
Just kidding. You've got a serious problem there. Let's look at that in detail. First you say:
Sunday morning I raced the local criterium (poorly).What a load of shit. You want me to believe you're a racer? A racer never races poorly... instead a racer has "poor form," "a stubborn chest cold that just won't go away," "a mechanical," "bum luck," or "got beat by f***in sandbaggers who oughtta be racing pro." You *never* race poorly, you understand that?
Second, you state:
So in an act of self flagellation I decided to ride the 42x18 fixie for the 30 mile round trip to pick up the gloves.I have a couple bones to pick with that. First off, a true roadie doesn't go back to pick up a mate's lost gloves. Any true roadie realizes that a mate's piece of lost kit is an excuse for that guy to UPGRADE! As you know, UPGRADING! is what we do if we don't race well. This explains why rockstar pro cyclists train on ratty assed Surly Crosschecks that are all rusted out and have Shimano Alivio components on them, while fat turds like you and me squeeze into lycra and hop on our carbon fiber WunderBikes, or in your case appropriately blinged Vintage Steel. Anyhow, if you go retrieve those gloves, you deny your friend the chance to pick up a pair of $60 Assos Summer Gloves, or at a minimum you take away his chance to browse the Assos catalogue, a worthy enterprise in and of itself. What the hell kind of friend are you anyhow, Mike? Would you deny him the opportunity to check out Assos uniquely designed bibs for women, which I hear are quite comfortable, and which everybody should know about? If so, you're a right bastard, Mike.
Mmmmm... Bibs & Assos
Third, you show a disturbing lack of appreciation for modern kit. Upgrading from a nearly 30 year-old Suntour hub, to a 25 year-old Campy hub... what's up with that? Here you are presented with a chance for a significant upgrade - you know, heat treating for bearings now involves more than leaving them out in the warm Italian sun over the lunch hour - yet you go back to the old gear. It's like Charlize Theron calls you and asks you to come on over and bring some tea and a case of 4X, but you pass it up because you currently have booty call options with Angela Lansbury and Dame Edna Everage. I'm sure they both have their qualities, but cripes, Mike, what's wrong with you? Ever heard of Zipp? Phil Wood? Chris King? DT? Shymahno?
Dame Edna: Old, Campy
Next, you're going to your mate to get an "invisible fix" on your hub. Do you have any idea how unnecessary and stupid this is? First of all, if you want to get an invisible fix, go to any large bike shop franchise, and ask them to fix it. They'll charge you $80, and you won't be able to detect where they've done their work. The fix will be *perfectly* invisible, plus when the thing blows apart on you at the track and you have to have a leg amputated, the odds are good they'll have some minimal amount of insurance, or you'll at least be able to get your lawyers to seize the blingy bikes on their showroom floor. When the lawyers are done taking their share of the floorplan, you'll be left with a functioning fixed hub off a Specialized Langster, and possibly a lightly used set of leather toe straps - not a lot of spoils for you but enough to replace the existing damaged hub. In contrast, if it goes pear shaped and you sue your buddy, what are you going to be able to collect from him? I mean the guy can't even keep track of his gloves, you think he's got insurance to cover his shady bike repair moonlighting?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it's time for you to move on from Suntour Superbe components. You just can't buy 'em anymore, and face it, the technology isn't exactly state-of-the-art. You need to upgrade, and modernize pal. But given your condition, I'm not sure we're going to be able to bring you into the 21st Century all at once. One trip around the block on a SRAM Red equipped Pinarello, and I think you'd slip the surly bonds of earth quicker and more blissfully than Anna Nicole Smith's penultimate husband. What you need, is not a total upgrade and modernization, but a partial one.
What then could be better than a Mavic Zap shifter coupled to a Ringle Super8 eight speed hub? If you want, we could even throw in a Mavic MA40 rim, for the best technology that Interbike 1992 has to offer. On the one hand, you'll have the convenience of intermittently functioning battery-dependent electronic shifting, just like the new Dura Ace E that Shimano is preparing to inflict on us, but you'll also have the classic Old School Appeal of a nice looking component from a revered company, but which you can never quite get to work right because at its heart it's a poorly made and ill-conceived piece of shit. And while the eight speed Ringle is meant to be used with a stack of 8 cogs, Sheldon Brown's website offers some tips for how you can convert freehubs into fixed hubs with a brazing torch and a bit of nerve. That, and a hacksaw to shorten the 130mm hub so it fits into your 120mm frame, and you'll be on the road in no time. At the same time you should probably consider upgrading from the old school black wool shorts and two color jersey, perhaps to a nice set of acid-washed jeans pattern Carrera bib shorts and a Mapei jersey, just to update your look as much as you can possibly tolerate at this time.
Not a Bug... It's a Feature!
So there you go, Big Mike. I know I'm being a little bit tough on you, but you're clearly in need of help, and I wanted to do what I could to show you a path out of your current woes. I sincerely hope that this helps you out. Feel free to write me any time if you need any more assistance.