The boys at Velominati have a list of rules as long my arm about how to accessorize a bike and you, for cycling. In the end, the rules are so restrictive, you end up looking good but there’s no individuality, with the possible exception of your socks – as long as they’re no less than, but between, 3 inches and 5 inches above your ankle. You end up looking like everyone else, which can turn off a certain type of freedom-loving cyclist.
The question is, how far can we go, how far can we push the rules of taste before we look like a mish-mash of hippie ridiculousness? Or worse, like we don’t care at all?!
First, I am not about to tell anyone what they cannot do. If your idea of fashionable cycling is looking like a circus clown (no offense intended toward circus clowns, Jim Hazard was a very good friend of mine) on a bike, it’s all good. Do what makes you happy!
On the other hand, if you want to look good on that steed, there are certain do’s and don’ts that should be dealt with carefully – go ahead and feel free to push the limits, just make sure and take lots of pictures of you and your bike – eventually, if you’ve made a mistake, you’ll see it. I was recently mildly berated because I don’t have my handlebars wrapped all the way to the bar tops:
As often as I ride on the bar tops, I need them wrapped about as much as I need a hit in the head. Besides, the awesomeness of the handlebar cannot be argued. There’s more to the bike than just the handlebar though…
Let’s start with the chain rings. Mine are original equipment while the crank is an upgrade. If money were no object, and it is with me, I’d have black S-Works chain rings on there to keep everything black. The stem, an FSA carbon wrapped aluminum piece of awesomeness actually had a purpose. It’s a long story, why I went with a stem that’s got white on it (I used to have red and white logo stickers on my wheels, the whole thing worked really well) but it’s little enough that everything still works.
On the other hand, look at the bottle cages. I actually took a page off of my wife’s bike for the one red and one black cage:
Typically, not something that should work, but next to the big, red “Specialized”, it does. Two red cages don’t work the same:
Of course, there’s the red pedals and computer to bring everything together (the red bar-end caps came with the bike). While the pedals are a bit of an unnecessary touch, I needed a set of pedals anyway (one for the rain bike and one for the good bike) and the shop actually had the red ones in stock so I went with it. I’m glad I did. In any event, that’s just the Venge. Next, we have my newly, expertly painted Trek:
For the 5200 I went all black. I tried out a red and black cage at the shop but it just didn’t work with all of that black. For this bike, I absolutely had to stick with black – and I think it’s inarguable that it works.
For our tandem, we ran into an interesting conundrum:
Notice, all black with white lettering. Originally my wife wanted black cages to match the saddles, bars, bar tape and I agreed. The bike wasn’t done at the shop so we were up there picking out the accessories (black computer, bar tape, etc.) and when we got to the cages, we set the black ones up there just to see what it would look like and they absolutely didn’t pull everything together – they looked out of place entirely. We set the white up there and that was much better (I’ve also since properly synched the cranks, the front was one tooth off from the back in this photo).
Of course, there are other possibilities. You’ve got bar tape, saddle color and even painting the bike to go a completely different direction with it. My Trek,
Used to look like this:
Back in those days I was trying to rock the Red, White and Blue. Looking back, I don’t think it worked all that great because the red was wrong, but I gave it a go and the bike certainly was different.
The point is to make your bike your own, an extension of your individualistic personality, while still keeping it cool. When we’re talking about road bikes you’re going to drop anywhere from a thousand, up to ten grand for a bike… Why would you want it to look like every other bike like yours our there?
On the other hand, keep it classy. Let’s not get too silly. 😎
Sometimes a bike can be styled and unconventional at the same time. Here’s a link to my recent fat bike build. I found a set of orange fat tires that were a manufacturer’s limited run prototype and built the rest of the customization around them. Orange grips, pedals and bottle cages were relatively easy to find. I got massively lucky and stumbled across a pair of Camelbak bottles that had a lighter shade of the same orange color and highlights that matched the blue of the frame. I even managed to find orange caps for the valve stems!
As far as clothing goes, since I am a pretty big guy and not all that fast (16-17 mph average speed in hilly New England), I don’t wear “pro team” gear. Trying to have some speed rub off by wearing team clothes may work for some people but it seems pretentious (or worse) for someone at my level. Instead, my goal is to dress in interesting jerseys that nobody else will have. I’ve got a jersey from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album, a Grateful Dead one, one with a big NASA logo, and one with iconic children’s book character Curious George, among many others. I also pick up interesting vintage used jerseys on eBay.
Here’s the finished bike: https://www.instagram.com/p/BFkmUXtCkJ4
Just for comparison, here’s the original 100% stock fat bike as I picked it up at the shop last fall: https://www.instagram.com/p/9bQzhgikI_
I think fat bikes get a little more leeway than road bikes, and your fat bike is badass. I don’t get into the pro team gear either. Most of my stuff is pro cut, so it’s tight, but I won’t wear a pro kit unless I earn it.
Cool bike, man.
Have you tried switching the bottle cages, so the red cage is against the black and the black cage is against the red? Looks good as is but I’m trying to see if contrasting the colors would up the style points.
As for accessorizing, I took my all red helmet and with some auto body tape put a couple of subtle stripes on it to match my black/white/green bike. I’ve been meaning to write a post.
Oh and name decals, I always put my name on the bike. 🙂
I did try red in the back… it looked off, more like a mistake in judgement. Definitely write one up on the dome cover, I’m interested to see that! For the name decal, the ’13 Venge came with a new type of paint job with a flat finish so the name decals can’t be clear-coated as they normally would be. I’ve been meaning to mention something to the shop owner to see if anything can be done but just haven’t gotten around to it. I may have to get on it now that you mentioned it.
I could see that about the cages, was hard to picture in my mind, either it would be looking good or a colossal mistake. Let me find the place that I got my name decals from, I think they had matte options for frames like yours.
I looked through my links and veloink.com has decals with a matte black and matte transparent backgrounds.
I got mine from velostickers.com but it doesn’t look they offer any matte finishes.