08 July, 2009

Sometimes it's hard being an expert

I don't think I'm alone when I write that the more I know on a subject the more I despair when journalists get things wrong. What about those stories where I'm not expert? Could they be as wrong, too?

Here's a story from Popular Mechanics on Tour Tech that will be at a shop near you. The images on the second page are the disturbing ones. They show an old pic of David Zabriskie on a time trial bike with mechanical shifting. They write, "Zabriskie’s time-trial bike (at top of page) doesn’t yet have new electronic shifting, but his road bike soon will." Only his TT bike at the Tour had electronic shifting on it. He's the guy in the Captain America getup; notice the battery pack on his left chainstay. I guess this is forgivable as the story and pictures appeared in the June, 2009 print edition of the mag, though Z's certainly been playing with electronic shifting at least as far back as February.

But then, they try to pass off titanium cogs as new. They try to pass off aero water bottles as a new thing. They show a conventional Shimano Ultegra brake and caption it with "Pro bike manufacturers mount rear brakes down toward the bottom bracket to declutter the frame. Front brakes are being moved inside or behind the bike’s front fork." So far, this is only true of some time trial bikes. And they show a Zipp 808 wheelset and describe it as a "solid core rear wheel." The 808 is hollow--the only solid core is a disc, which they don't show.

I guess one right out of seven isn't bad.

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