Chikashi Miyamoto

philosopher by training, gentleman by accident, pervert by nature, glutton by choice

Curating a Wardrobe

What does that mean? (That is, assuming that it actually means something.)

 

Besting the Best Grease

Campagnolo’s grease has been regarded by many as the best bicycle grease for a rather long time. Its reputation is well deserved although actually getting hold of one has been a bit tricky at times. However, I think there’s been a paradigm shift.

I previously wrote about NixFrixShun’s chain lube. Excellent stuff. Josh at NFS has been busy cooking up new products, one of them being the Race Grease. I bought a pot of Race Grease last summer and so far used it to pack 4 hubs from 3 different eras and 2 different construction types.

They all spin like never before. Noticeably better than Campagnolo grease.

Like the Campag grease, the NFS Race Grease is made with lithium soap. However, it’s red instead of white, if that’s of any significance to you. (I actually prefer white simply because it is easier to tell the degree of contamination accumulated through use.) You can read more product details here, but the important bit is about the product over-delivering. Besting the best grease probably qualifies as over-delivering.

The Race Grease is the best out there, AND it’s easy to obtain. Josh has since introduced a free worldwide shipping policy with a $30 order. Get the Race Grease and one of the chain lubes, and just plug in “nfs30” at checkout for free shipping. Simple.

Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

A Nest for Your Fabergé Eggs

Despite many dedicated fans, there are many reasons to laugh at or about Assos.

The hideous, puerile graphics. I honestly don’t think there is such a thing as a cool cycling kit in the same way that there is no such thing as a cool golf kit. (The test being whether any sane, self-respecting non-practitioner would want to be spotted wearing any of the stuff in public. Cyclists and golfers are like fetishist groups that meet up at conventions dressed up as furry animals and romp amongst fellow fetishists whilst praising each other’s outfits, something others simply cannot appreciate.) However, there is no need to make matters worse with unrestrained use of ghastly designs: they are fine on comic-book superheros but not on mere mortals unless attending a fancy dress party.

The ridiculous, supremely geeky product names. Whatever they are smoking, it can’t be good.

The tag line ‘Sponsor Yourself’ that leaves you feeling cold and empty or thinking, in contemporary vernacular, WTF?

(Hopefully, the above will slowly change for the better after the new majority owner-manager has had a chance to implement bits of his strategy.)

When they launched in late 2013 the kuKuPenthouse, a new men’s bib shorts pad design with a ‘nest’ in the front for your lunch box, I laughed. I just had to. I know that I wasn’t alone.

img_4966

After wearing a pair of their T.Cento_S7 bib shorts with a kuKuPenthouse pad for long rides, including a 198km ride last weekend, I am no longer laughing.

The proprietary pad, which is made by CyTech exclusively for Assos, is simply amazing. Not only does the nest make a noticeable difference, the whole pad is better than anything else I’ve tried, including a range-topping off-the-peg pad from Elastic Interface (CyTech). Actually, everything about the Cento is outstanding, and the aesthetically criminal graphics are consigned to the rear of the bib, safely hidden from public view by one’s jersey. They are the most comfortable bib shorts I’ve ever worn. By a large margin.

By the way, when I was chatting with a shop floor staff at a London bike shop recently, he told me that Assos make their own pads. (Admittedly, it is possible that I completely misunderstood him since I was having a very difficult time understanding his heavy Scotch accent. It was in the morning, so I was still sober.) Assuming that I understood him correctly and if anyone else holds the same belief, his statement is incorrect. (I wasn’t going to argue with him since I wasn’t certain I did and would understand him.) CyTech was incorporated because Assos commissioned them to make synthetic chamois pads for Assos shorts many moons ago. The De Marchi family firm still supply Assos their pads. Regardless, the Scotsman got me thinking about Assos, and a couple of weeks later I picked up a pair locally. (Yes, the sale should have gone to him, but I’m not in London very frequently…)

If I were to pick nits, then it would be the silicone gripper bits on the hems. I am not sensitive to silicone, but some people are. Also, there are other gripper constructions that eliminate the need for little strips of silicone, so I think it’s a bit quaint to be still using those little strips. However, they don’t bother my skin, so it’s not an issue for me. Also, to be fair, plenty of other brands who claim technical and technological blah-di-blah use silicone strips on their so-called ‘most advanced’ bib shorts, so Assos are certainly not the only sinners.

The hem length is a matter of personal preference, so those who prefer longer hems may not find the Cento to their liking. For me, the length is almost exactly the way I like it.

Also, as Assos say, the fabric is of a more forgiving type, so those who prefer a high level of compression may find Cento to be a bit lacking. For me, the compression level is perfect, not too tight, not too forgiving.

Like I said, I’m not laughing any more. The Assos T.Cento_S7 bib shorts are, as Jane Austen once said, the dog’s bollocks.

Business Drivel, part 16

We’ve seen many key personnel changes at fashion labels, namely, in the creative director role. There have been many ‘departures’ and replacements, as well as the creative director role effectively being eliminated altogether in rare cases. In other words, the fashion industry has been keeping headhunters quite busy.

A principal of a niche headhunting firm was interviewed by a US broadsheet about the recent turnover in creative directors and said: ‘There is a hunger and a desire within our industry to be relevant, always to the next generation and the next generation… If I were to point to any trends, it would be to achieve that relevance without losing the DNA.’

Was that a damning assessment of how the fashion industry has been operating and hiring in the past? Achieving relevance without losing the DNA is a new trend?

Or, was that a damning assessment of consumers, previously having bought piles of stuff that’s not relevant to them?

Or, was that a case of verbal diarrhoea?

Do I Know You?

The Incredibles

image via Disney.com

 

You’re bound to know at least a few people that you are accustomed to seeing in a very specific context but only in that context. Until one fine day you see them outside of that context.

Your reaction can range from a mild surprise at seeing that person ‘out of context’ and doing a little double-take, to actually struggling to recognise that person at all.

Do I know you? You look somewhat familiar, but I can’t quite place you…

One fine day, you see a cycling buddy out of his Lycra and wearing civvies, and you mumble under your breath, ‘So that’s what you look like in normal clothes…’

It can be a little unsettling when you first see a normal person out of his usual civvies and in Lycra instead.

But you get used to it soon enough.

No?

A Spanish Habit

If your name is William and you get mentioned in a non-anglophone media channel, it is likely that they will refer to you as William. I realise this sounds so obvious that it is not even worth a thought. They might brutally murder the pronunciation, but it will still be written out as William or a phonetic transliteration, such as ウィリアム in Japanese.

Except in Spain.

I was flipping through some Spanish gossip magazines and kept seeing familiar faces being captioned with alien names.

His name is not Guillermo. It’s William.

Carlos? But that’s Charles.

Juan? Pedro?

I realised that they take the liberty of hispanicising foreigners’ names.

I’m sure this is not news to most people, but it was to me. I had to chortle.

I don’t think they can hispanicise mine, however.

Killing Me with Charm, or Just Inattentive?

Castelli Pocket Liner Jacket

In a post about riding in the rain, I touched on rain jackets.

The photo I took of my Castelli Pocket Liner in the late afternoon sun is a flattering shot, cf., above.

However, what I said about the jacket and the fabric supplier eVent was not at all flattering.

Therefore, the last thing I expected was for Castelli and eVent to fave my tweet about the blog or for eVent to even retweet my said tweet. My guess is that they saw the photos but didn’t bother reading the text. But who knows…

I’m not sure if I ought to be amused or bemused.

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