Tuesday, January 13, 2015


It's a week of firsts here at The Cycle. In our first first from the previous post, I had to rescind a recommendation. And now, for our second first, I have to issue a correction. It seems that our Chief Unpaid Engineering Consultant, the legendary Sir Steve of the Greater Peoria Metropolitan Area (you may remember him from such posts as Steve K Provides Some Enlightenment) did a bit of peer review on my cost versus value equation and submitted the following corrected graph on behalf of his cat:

So now we have all of our values greater than zero, which is swell, though by swapping the cost and function axes from my original orientation, the quadrant numbering gets all wonky. So I will stand on the shoulders of giants (not really, Steve's about my height, but it's a metaphor, people), find another random notepad, and propose the following:

I'm going back to my original orientation, but I'm throwing out the whole "quadrant" idea and proposing instead a curve that represents the "typical" cost/function of bike stuff. As you pay more, the function goes up... to a point (beyond that, you're just paying more to impress the other dentists on your group ride). So the key (to me) is finding those outlier data points on the left side of the graph, dots above the curve, parts that work way better than those costing the same or more... like those $15 V-brakes I mentioned when I introduced the concept.

It's an insanely simple idea, one which certainly doesn't need multiple graphs, a lot of babbling, and an engineering consultation. But hey, it's cold outside, I may be nursing a non-bike-related hamstring strain, and cabin fever is just starting to rear its ugly head.

(Special thanks to Steve and his cat for providing some actual mathy-graphy know-how to this otherwise word-focused endeavor.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mini-fame! I plan to include it when I meet with my boss for my annual performance appraisal. :-)

While quadrants may not be the best tool, I think that the idea of "zones" might be useful to convey your original concept. The idea of "high cost, low function", "low cost, low function", etc., is worthwhile.

Is the next step to start nominating other components that are low cost but very functional? It's pretty subjective, if only because most people don't get to use a wide range of parts.

My own nomination?? Ummm.. maybe the Shimano M520 SPD pedal. A bit heavy, but surprisingly reliable and very low cost. I do overhaul my pedals periodically, and I'm amazed that the tiny bearings in the M520 can hold up as well as they do.

Steve in Peoria (and owner of fun sticky notes)

p.s. did I mention how much I like the new reCaptcha technology used by blogger.com? Sooo much easier than the old stuff!

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

I think if you ride SPDs, the 520 is a perfect choice. My knees prefer something floatier (either Time ATACs or Crank Brothers), but in the realm of SPD, I've been unimpressed by the cheaper non-Shimano options and never saw the point of spending more on "nicer" Shimanos that don't work any better. Approved!

Between this submission and Pal Scott's recommendation of Altus cantilevers on the previous post in this series, I may never have to come up with original content again. Yay for reader submissions! :-)