Dear VeloNews-

It has been publicly stated numerous times by your technical editor, Lennard Zinn, that bicycle test ride reviews are too subjective to warrant print in VeloNews. Yet, I for one, am always amused at just how bizarrely subjective Mr. Zinn’s equipment reviews are! Case in point, his July 13th review of the 1998 Campagnolo Record 9-speed road group of cycling components.

First off, seasoned VeloNews readers will know that Mr. Zinn is quite lanky, and thus chooses to review the gruppo outfitted with a pair of 180mm crank arms.  By focusing, however, on this length in his article, he addresses a topic which probably concerns less than 2% of his cycling audience. Now this in itself is no crime... Mr. Zinn can’t help his stature, and we all enjoy a bit of cycling esoterica. But when he fails to recognize that Campagnolo deliberately provides a stouter crank design for those desiring extra long arms, his subjective tone (i.e. “1996 style,” and “longer bottom bracket spindle”) begins to cloud what should be observed as a clear performance advantage for anyone seeking such a specialty item.

As for his comments on Campagnolo’s Electron dust covers... Lennard’s credentials begin to fall into question. Why would anyone possibly want to put a bouncing front fork on a set of elite climbing wheels? Does one grouse at the lack of good off-road rubber for a Ducati? And Mr. Zinn’s Burley woes... Can you imagine a trailer hitch option on a new Ferrari? Lennard, I am telling you now, as a literary colleague, as a fellow cyclist, and as a friend, stop subscribing to Bicycling Magazine journalism. This mix’n’match viewpoint suggests a general miscomprehension towards such specialized racing componentry, and only degrades your authority. I’m reminded of the laughable journalistic follies of the aforementioned magazine, two years ago, when they did their “definitive” Italian road bike review. After riding the Davis Double century, their editors all complained that the four thoroughbred race machines were too uncomfortable. Each of these posing, technically-advanced writers were riding ultra-harsh, deep-section, time trial wheelsets (no doubt trying to gain free time on the 200 mile course), and yet they couldn’t put 2 + 2 together.

Criminy! Look, you’ve even got the wrong photo of a Record rear derailleur. That’s a Racing Triple you have pictured there. Yes, we all do need more non-subjective reviews in cycling. But the next time a set of Campagnolo pawls jump out across the room when you’re disassembling a freehub, remind your readers that this phenomenon is the unbridled spirit of some serious racing pawl springs. And, unlike their anemic Asian counterpart (soaked in lightweight fish oil) you can pack Campagnolo parts with some lovely, thick, subjective grease.

Sincerely- Euro Freddie, Columnist

Napa Valley Eagle Cycling Club Newsletter

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie