I’ve tried to keep my blog focused on cycling, and in the spirt of that I’m combing two separate topics that kind of go together. First the Keurig Ripoff
My wife has recently become very interested in the Keurig coffee system, she drinks a cup of coffee every morning and our coffee machine has been acting up. The problem is the filter folding over and allowing coffee grinds to come through. She became interested in the Keurig system primarily because of the wide variety of different coffee flavors available and the fact that since I rarely drink coffee she only needed to make one cup.
I’ve noticed these Keurig systems are popular, in fact based on how many I delivered to peoples houses last year it was a popular Christmas gift. I started looking at them and couldn’t’ believe it. A machine that costs way more then a coffee machine and yet can only produce one cup of coffee at a time, then here’s the kicker, those little flavored coffee cups cost between 50 cents and a dollar. Come on this has to be a joke, why would anyone want this thing. I’ll tell you why, it’s cool, its new, its improved. When I showed my wife a small traditional 12 dollar coffee pot at Wal-Mart that brewed a tiny little pot of coffee she wasn’t interested.
Industry is always looking for new ways to part us from our money; you can make coffee the old way for about 6 cents a cup or you can buy a 75 dollar machine so you can make it for 60 cents per cup? I’m lucky because Shauna is smart. She struggled for awhile with the desire for a Keurig system but couldn’t get over the price. I suggested a reusable coffee filter and that she buy small bags of flavored coffee and make half pots. The metal mesh coffee filter was two dollars and is very easy to clean. Since she started using it there have been no grinds in her coffee. Seems to have worked.
Now on to the bike part of the post. I got my mountain bike down yesterday for a ride. The crank was completely seized up. This seems to happen about every 2 or 3 months. Yes I ride in mud, yes I cross creeks, but no I don’t ride my bike underwater. I’ve decided the Shimano hollowtech II bottom bracket design is a horrible design for mountain bikes. At least mountain bikes that are ridden in wet conditions. Me and Luke used to joke all the time about driving over to Carbondale and buying the 18 dollar Shimano Bottom Bracket every 3 months, but really its not that funny.
I was able to oil and free up my bottom bracket but it was a bit crunchy; I might have lost a watt or two, but I started thinking, how many times did I replace old style internal bottom brackets ? The answer, not that often. I might have replaced 2 or 3 internal bottom brackets over ten years, and I’ve replaced probably 1o outboard bottom brackets in that time. The old school Cannondale that I built up a while back has a square tapered bottom bracket and it seems to work great.
The outboard bottom bracket moves the bearings outside the frame so they can be bigger and closer to the outside of the spindle. This is better, and on a road bike I’d agree, though I don’t really think its that big of a deal. On a mountain bike the bottom bracket is constantly exposed to dust, dirt and water. The water and grim leaches through the seals and contaminates the bearings, when the water dries you’ve got a seized or nearly seized bottom bracket.
Now honestly I’m behind the times, the new designs move the bearings back inside a larger bottom bracket shell like the press fit and BB-30 systems. I have no experience with them, maybe they’re better. What I’ve seen from a few people who have them isn’t promising.
The hollowtech II crank on the Bandersnatch broke awhile back, as soon as I get around to it I’m replacing it with my old hollowtech I internal bottom bracket and Shimano Octalink crank.
So progressive new technologies march on and continue to fix things that weren’t even broken, and get us to spend money on new stuff we don’t need.