Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Punk's Not Fred

I was perusing the Twitters when I came across this on Bill Strickland's feed:


This is the professional casual upper garment of Those In The No. You have spread your peanut butter with the wrench, you remember the chamfer measurement of a proprietary square taper, or have even considered spending a fairly hefty sum on a fairly hefty cork puller, and you know.


Sorry, no it's not.

Sure, it's impossible to define punk.  It's an elusive concept.  If anything it's like porn in that you know it when you see it.  Furthermore, punks are like Jews in that if you pick two at random it's highly unlikely they'll believe in any of the same things.  (Some have long beards, others wear Mets yarmulkes, and still others seem just like regular people until Passover rolls around and suddenly they won't eat bread.)  And most crucially, just as only the true messiah denies his divinity, no actual punk would proclaim to be punk, nor wear a t-shirt describing anything as punk.

It is for all the reasons above that it's 100% safe to say that Campagnolo is in no way punk.  I mean come on.  For one thing, let's go back to that copy:

This is the professional casual upper garment of Those In The No. You have spread your peanut butter with the wrench, you remember the chamfer measurement of a proprietary square taper, or have even considered spending a fairly hefty sum on a fairly hefty cork puller, and you know.

Now I'm no punk, but I tried damn hard to be one when I was a teenager (unfortunately for me trying damn hard is just not punk), and I can assure you that I never say anyone spreading peanut butter with a Campy wrench at a Nausea show on the Lower East Side.  I mean sure, I was merely a suburban interloper, and maybe the actual punks were holed up in a squat with a peanut butter wrench, a sleeve of rice cakes, and a jar of Skippy peanut butter, but I tend to doubt it.

(Skippy is punk as fuck.)

And let's consider Campagnolo.  Granted, I'm no old-timer, and I don't have the Campy street cred described in the aforementioned copy, but I have been the owner of a full Campy group.  It was the Record 10 speed one, when they first introduced the crabon:


In fact I had it on that exact bike, which I bought entirely because it came with that group, and which I got a good deal on because even at the time it was ugly as shit and nobody wanted it, plus Festina was tainted by scandal unlike the pure riders of USPS.  The frame cracked in short order (Specialized replaced it with an Allez frame painted to look like an S-Works which I'm still angry about), but the Campagnolo stuff lived on, though eventually I sold it because I decided to go back to Shimano again.  (A decision, the designers of the shirt would have it, that is emphatically not punk--which, obviously, makes it totally punk.)

Anyway, thinking back to why I coveted that group in the first place, it certainly wasn't because it seemed "punk."  Indeed, it was quite the opposite.  That iteration of the Record group was positively decadent at the time.  It had ten speeds.  The levers were crabon.  And for some reason, so was part of the rear derailleur, an innovation that offered no tangible performance benefit but added hundreds of dollars to the price over the otherwise identical Chorus group.  Wanting this stuff was avarice on my part, plain and simple.  There was nothing to it beyond a bad case of expensive bike part lust.  And it was especially pathetic since at that age and in that income bracket and sucking the way I did at bike racing I had absolutely no business being on a bike that dear.  Really, the whole enterprise was about as punk as living in your parents' basement so you can afford the payments on a BMW.

Oh, I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Campy's still punk, you just didn't understand it."  Maybe, but that still doesn't address Campy's much-touted "Italian-ness"--which is definitely not punk.  I mean sure, Italy had punk bands and stuff (I even have an Italian punk record in my painstakingly curated adolescent record collection), but there's really nothing punk about Italy.  You need shitty weather and wild income disparity to be punk.  There's nothing punk about male chauvinism, or proximity to the Mediterranean, or mouth-watering cuisine, or the design aesthetic that produced this:


Though wrecking one in an act of rebellion against your parents certainly qualifies.

Anyway, if you disagree go ahead and order the t-shirt, but if you agree you might want to consider my alternate design:


Come on, how punk is that?

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think rebelling against your parents is punk. Rebelling against "the man" or capitalism or something is punk but mom and dad? No.

Donald Strong said...

Maybe I should spend more on my bike?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 10:40am,

But Cameron's parents, who we never see in the film, clearly represented soulless capitalism!

--Wildcat Etc.

SK said...

I once knew a girl named Campee. She was punk.

Dooth said...

Tullio is a punk rocker
Tuuuulllllio is a punk rocker
Tullio is
A punk rocker
Nowwwww

N/A said...

Suntour qualifies as what, then? 'Cause that's the shirt I need to buy. Mildly bland alternative rock?


I would go so far as to say that Campy is anti-punk. It's mall-walker with velcro shoes. Yeah, yeah, it works good, looks good, blah blah blah. It's coasting on the memories of a bygone era, bought by old guys that wear white socks and black shoes, or young guys buying cred.
(I don't dislike Campy, I just couldn't afford it back when it was cool. I was green with envy, and so forth. Now, I just don't want to buy all new tools.)

Anonymous said...

Does that mean shimano acera is grindcore? Because that's what it sounds like when I'm shifting gears! Hey ohhhh!

N/A said...

Also, a professional writer that put "no" instead of "know"? For fuck's sake. I understand that there's character limits on the tweeters, but have some dignity, man. I re-word my nuggets of wisdom if I have to brush up against a character limit.



Wait... is "Those In The No" a thing? Like, some pithy over-wrought attempt to be cool, or whatever? Definitely not Punk.

Anonymous said...

You know, Campy's 10 speed system that allowed you to dump the entire cassette with a push of your thumb or go 4 cogs the other way was the pinnacle of road bike shifting designs. It was easy to shift from anywhere on the bar, simple in design, had just the right feel (not to hard, not to easy), easy to set up and robust; I never had any mechanical problems with it at all. WHY DIDN'T IT STOP THERE?

Phildefer said...

and SRAM is the Nickelback of gruppos.

ringcycles said...

"Eben is a punk rocker, Eben is a punk rocker, Eben is...."

JLRB said...

First of all, why is Bill Strickland opining about punk?

Second, even though I have no idea what is or was or will be punk, I am pretty sure nothing about bike brands is punk



Anonymous said...

Is it just me or do the wings on the Campy logo look like they're flipping the bird?

N/A said...

Skippy is a tool of the bourgeoisie, man.

dnk said...

Maybe spreading jam with a wrench on your wonderbread ain't punk.

But ---- MAKING peanut butter with a wrench?

Like using your wrench as mortar to go to town on the contents of a can of Mr. Peanut peanuts?

That's pretty punk.

Jay Vogt said...

"Campy is Punk"

Strangely it works in reverse though.

Jay Vogt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Morley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Duncan Watson said...

ISO 451 wheels are punk

STG said...

I put Campagnolo on a Diamondback mixed with Shimano MTB parts and I think that qualifies as punk.

Anonymous said...

The toilet at my favorite boozer is punk as fuck. It doesn't work and gets pissed all over daily. Me on the other hand, I get my pay direct deposit. Not punk.

Anonymous said...

Suntour...a band that did not sell out, lost it's recording contract, faded away playing little bars and opening for other acts.

SRAM...corporate rock.

Benelux...Pete Best

Simplex...

Huret...

Sturmey-Archer...Accordion music

Fourhourerection said...

Wouldn’t be Punk if they weren’t.

dancesonpedals said...

It's all about the yearning. An ugly frame purchased for a crabon gruppo.

The desire to have the all-around bike that was the be-all and end-all, until a renovo with electronic shifting booted the pine mountain away.

It's hard out there for a fred.

DE said...

Punk might be picking up an old Trek on C-list and, no, not converting it to single speed, but riding it as one b/c all the other gears don't work. You meched it yourself and you meched it ugly, but you're getting by because you have to.

Unknown said...

Quite frankly, as a guy who owns Campagnolo cambio corsa to Super Record 11, I'm embarrassed for the person who owns that shirt. And the sad part is, as a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s listening to punk, I'm the exact demographic that guy wants to buy into that crap.

Mr. snob is correct. Shimano is normcore. So blaaaaaaaaaaand.

wle said...

what was punk, was ***SHIMANO SAINT***... the all-white groupset ... 1995 or so?

Eat the Campy Buyers said...

Fichtel & Sachs is PUNK!

Torpedo coaster, Duomatic kickback, Dreigang!

Anonymous said...

Punk is wearing the D-ring from a Record downtube shifter through your eyelid. Conoscienti No if it's real.

Schisthead said...

Was it supposed to say "Punk is campy"?

Because that at least kind of makes sense.

ken e. said...

so much magic here. maybe the head angle on colango's super mexico is punk?(it flipped me off one time...)
with the gold capped anniversary gruppo? (which for the record, i did not get.)


METZ

Bill Strickland said...

Don't blame me — Lester Bangs made it up. I think he was referencing the Venetian Bronze Corkscrew

1904 Cadardi said...

Campy is not punk. It has never been punk. If anything Campagnolo is like classical music. Sometimes classic brash and disruptive and changes everything like The Firebird by Stravinksy or the quick release. Sometimes refined and polished like Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaugn Williams, like Ergo Power levers. Sometimes it's just stupid like Delta brakes or Phillip Glass.

But not punk.

Doesn't mean it isn't nice. I just finished rebuilding a 1983 Trek 970 with full Campagnolo Super Record and I really wish I could have afforded that kind of classical music back then.

HDEB said...

"no actual punk would proclaim to be punk" so true!

BamaPhred said...

Waiting on the peanut butter Freds to comment

herzogone said...

Just saw that shirt on AHTBM recently. It was apparently designed by Stevil's pal Snakehawk (Drunkcyclist/Superissimo). I took it to be tongue-in-cheek. The "In the No" slogan was also clearly deliberate.

https://allhailtheblackmarket.com/2018/05/just-happy-to-be-here/#more-66454

In other news, I read way too many cycling blogs...

Anonymous said...

you could sell so many of those normcore shirts if you got shimano's blessing...

leroy said...

Wait, is this why my dog and his friends shout "Norm" when I walk into the living room on karaoke night?

I thought it was a Cheers reference.

Anonymous said...

Talking about Italy and not one reference at Cipo?!?!?

Anonymous said...

I would say EX. Ag Schneiderman qualifies as a punk.

S. Molnar said...

The square taper is not proprietary, it's ISO. I'm not buying the shirt.

Unknown said...

Unofficial survey says if you grew up with creamy peanut butter, you enjoy chunky as an adult, and similarly, if you grew up with chunky, you like creamy as an adult. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

I love that it's Altus, too. I mean actually Altus is more punk than Campy. Why? Because it's CHEAP. Campy can't be punk for the simple reason that it's not cheap. Punk is unemployed English kids being "on the dole" and "doing fuck all" and "sodding off" and "eating chips on the lorry before going in the lift to the tube" and such.

Steve Barner said...

I bought my first Campy bike in 1972, before most people were alive. I definitely couldn't afford it, but that didn't stop me. Nuovo Record stuff didn't work well, but it was better than the competition and, like a steel IBM keyboard, built to last long after it was totally obsolete, which was about five years before it was manufactured.

I thought the bronze corkscrew looked like something from Service Merchandise (but you probably don't remember them, either). I still have the silver one, and it really is as good as claimed, though I stopped driking wine decades ago. I've always regretted not buying the nutcracker, but $40 was a lot of scratch back then.

When Campy is setup perfectly, it works fine, but so does everything else. I rode a bike with a 20 year-old Campy triple group over a snow-covered mountain pass on a 150-mile ride last Sunday (Smugglers' Notch is still closed for the winter, in case you wondered). I can't say I thought about anything but the road--the bike pretty much disappeared.

There would have to be no words left before I would put the word "punk" in the same sentence as "Campy," except maybe this one.

Irwin said...

NORM CORE

BikeSnobNYC said...

Steve Barner,

I used to ogle the BB guns at Service Merchandise on Rockaway Turnpike.

--Wildcat Etc.

Skidmark said...

One Street Components’ thumb-shifter is punk. See here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/604592896/bike-shift-lever-for-anybody-by-anybody

der blaue Reiter said...

This is a great post, thanks Snob! Biting commentary and the shimano/normcore shirt made me laugh. Like herzogone i saw this on AHTBM and as much as i enjoy that blog, i was still not really buying it; there's an accompanying video.
i think riding can be punk, but stuff is never punk, much to the chagrin of marketers everywhere! ...sigh, i wish.

nater said...

Punk rock in terms of bicycles means this:

You are a person who thinks that the ultimate 'gravel bike' is taking a basket-case 1980's road bike for free... rebuilding it with Sunrace MTB 2x8 drivetrain, swept back chrome levers with streamers. mismatching used Tektro levers, plastic BMX platform pedals, and the fattest tires that will fit in the frame.

Then the ultimate fun ride is to go around San Francisco with a 'Make America Great' again red baseball cap on backwards, with knock-off reflective aviator sun glasses, t-shirt advertising your love for some popular lower-class processed meat product, black leather driving gloves and blue jean cut-offs. While wearing cheap headphones and used $10 pawn shop ipod.

Why?

Because your goal in life is to piss off as many corporate consumer whores wearing their 500 dollar exercise outfits that declare their sycophantic obsession and self-worth based on 'Ultimate Brand Experience' while riding 2000 dollar bicycles they can barely keep functional or moving in a straight line.

Anonymous said...

Is it ok to wear bib shorts while being punk, punk?

nater said...

> Is it ok to wear bib shorts while being punk, punk?

It's only ok if it's not ok.

Arizona hillbilly said...

Punk is being the girl in your prison "Relationship". Always was,always will be...

mhandsco said...

Campagnolo is a decision, not a default. Weathering the chides of people who have got your number because of the gruppo you ride is punk as fcuk.

Al said...

I got a Campy triple front crank on my 11 year old Indy Fab commuter bike and I'm running a mix of old Chorus and old Record for the rest of my components. I'm old, I smoke weed and live month to month on my gubment check. I been left hooked and right hooked by motorist in their freedom machines and the Campy is still working. The voices in my head tell me that the motorist are trying to kill me but they never mention whether I'm punk or not.

Anonymous said...

That's right! And racing with Suntour components in 2018 with everyone thinking you are either dumb, cheap, poor,or a masochist is punk!

Rev Les Crowley said...

Simplex. Now THAT'S punk. "Huret" is also an acceptable answer.

Chazu said...

I pulled a human child in a WeeHoo with my Gunnar Crosshairs on the Virginia Creeper Trail on this day (the 9th), which also happens to be my birthday.

The White Top trailhead to the town of Damascus is all downhill. Drop the fam off in Damascus and then ride back to White Top to get the car. Quads. Burning. Stay near the trail (no cellular service!) and ride to your heart's content while the family does whatever they do when you're out riding. Bring a respectable headlight and ride the trail at night.