there's one thing carbon fibre has in its favour these days and that's smoothness of form. whether this is as a result of an attempt to improve aerodynamics on behalf of the velocity challenged, or whether it's more to do with aesthetics, i'm not enough of an engineer to discern. in fact, if you promise not to tell anyone, i really have no idea what finite element analysis means, though i cannot deny it always sounds really impressive when i let it drop into conversation. obviously this is not done when there are real engineers present.
in fact, i'm very much of the 'what was wrong with round tubes in the first place?' school of thought. none of us are really fast enough to warrant flat topped top tubes, massive, yet geometrically shaped down tubes and rear stays that appear to be salsa dancing in their spare time. still bearing in mind my complete lack of engineering knowledge, i've yet to see a passenger aircraft featuring any of the above, and they seem to manage quite well in the 'going fast' stakes. but then we return to the smoothness stakes.
every year of cyclocross season and the grand tours, our monthly cycle magazines and websites offer up at least one feature about the team mechanics and the lengths they go to have that carbon machinery cleaned and polished to within a nano fibre of its life. it's not just the camera angle that makes those frames positively glow with vitality. and as componentry develops along with those nano fibres, it has become progressively less finicky to get the sponges and pressure washers into the fast disappearing nooks and crannies that once featured on lugged steel frames, mudguards, kickstands and cycle racks.
the very accoutrements, you might point out, that arrive as part and parcel of that taurus corinto reviewed only a day or two ago.
i truly have no idea whether the cycle magazines clean and polish their review samples prior to returning. in fact, if i am to believe many of the sales departments pertaining to the uk's cycle distributors, just having the bikes returned in the first place is enough of a challenge on its own. however, i would be mortified if the guys and girls at the other end were to open the slightly the worse for wear cardboard box and find a mess on two wheels. therefore, prior to wrapping the bars and tubes in miles of bubble wrap, the taurus was manhandled onto the workstand in order to be revitalised with a bit of soap and water.
it's at this point that simple aesthetics and aerodynamic carbon fibre become conspicuous by their absence. for in truth, the roadster does indeed possess a veritable collection of obscure nooks and crannies, many of which are rather hard to access. and here's where green oil's new eco sponge 3 comes in rather handy. its exterior promises nothing exceptional, being formed from recycled cotton rice sacks. this provides a soft, tough, yet manageably tactile surface to remove even hardened grit from a once shiny frame. the interior is made from plant material direct from the philippines, making the whole enchilada compostible and biodegradeable. and if we are nothing else as cyclists, we do endeavour to be kind to the planet.
throwing the compact and bijou sponge into a bucket of warm soapy water will slowly increase its size and soften its texture from the crinkly pack that dropped out the envelope. due to a convenient narrow rectangular shape as opposed to the more squarish format enjoyed by sponges for washing the car, it was a darned sight easier to slide the eco sponge through the rear wheel spokes to gain access to the inner face of the chainguard. similarly, it fitted easily between the rear brake rod and the luxuriously painted frame. the ideal way to help not only a less than soap-friendly bicycle but farmers of the philippines who are still recovering from the recent typhoons.
had the carbon also needed cleaning, the eco sponge is safe for use on such structures.
green oil offer a range of cleaning products for the very purposes i have described, but every now and again, a bucket of soapy water works every bit as well. mind you, i did employ the services of a bona-fide frame polish. for a mere £3.99, it's very hard to find any satisfactory reason not to place an order this very minute.
tuesday 11 february 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................