Sunday, May 10, 2009

A word about Jockey shifts and Spool hubs

Look, I know that many of you may be wondering why I am pushing performance for rigid framed bikes and yet I keep posting pics of Jockey shift and spool hubbed bikes.
Aren't they mutually exclusive?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, they are in the sense that no matter what you do, you still are limiting your stopping performance with no front brake, and yes you are making it harder to ride a bike fast, and keep yourself alive if you run a Jockey shift.
Doubly so if you run both.

No, in the sense that there are TONS of attack choppers out there than meet ALL of the criteria EXCEPT for the the stopping performance.
And historically there was tons of skinny attack choppers built in the beginning that were set up like this.

And I will admit to being biased.
I ran a Jockey for 5 years on an XS650 Attack chopper, and I loved every second of it.
I love the mystique, the fun, the sensation and having to hone another entire skill set to run a jockey set up.
I also loved that most people at the time had never seen one before and it scared the hell out of them.
I loved knowing that most people could never ride my bike.

And lets be honest here: A little bit of danger is very sexy.
A LOT of danger is even sexier.
Not that I want to build a bike that is going to get me killed just for the sex appeal.
But there is something to all of that.

And I also will admit that I have a very emotional attachment to both spool hubs and Jockey shifts. I love Frisco choppers and NYC choppers. Both were very famous for running these set ups. That has been pounded into my brain for years and years. Before all the feel good "jockey shifts are really not that dangerous you can to it to sonny!" nonsense that I read in certain magazines these days, Jockey shifts were for the elite.
I knew that when I saw another Jockey shift rider (only 3 in my town) I knew that we were part of an elite chopper force that was taking our life into out hands for something that we really loved.
And I was treated differently from those guys because noone else was running a jockey.
And I also know that everyone and their dog is running a jockey shift now, and that is acutally kind of ok with me. I like to look at bikes running jockey shifts and I like the idea that more people are learning to ride that way... but I will probably not run that setup again on any of my bikes.
I just like more control and sliding. So the hand clutch is the way to go for that.
Plus, I really do want to survive to fight another day.
But I will never get tired of looking at them.
And I will always respect the guys running that set up on their attack choppers. Because I can totally understand why they do it.
All due respect to the people out there still running em.
And after all... nothing is lighter than a spool... and I can't argue with that!

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