I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
October 28, 2016 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Bikepedia contains detailed bicycle specifications dating back to 1993, for all your bicycle building and selecting purposes. The site also has a broader catalog of related gear, and a stolen bike registry. But if you want a ton of information about bikes, which parts to pick and how to maintain them, Sheldon Brown's (memorial*) website is still a key resource, and it's being updated all the time.

* Sheldon Brown was an American bicycle mechanic, technical expert and author who passed away in 2008 (previously, twice). His website lives on, maintained and updated by the good folks at Harris Cyclery.
posted by filthy light thief (15 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
SheldonBrown.com has been referenced a number of times in the past on MetaFilter posts, but it's been a while:
- Bicycle Built for Two... or more! (December 2, 2010)
- what is a randonneur? why, french for badass, of course (October 9, 2007, "Paris-Brest-Paris 2007 on Fixed Gear")
- Breezecab - A Bicycle Taxi, Motown Style! (May 19, 2007, "The Soul of a Pedicab Driver")
- There's no "free lunch" in bicycle maintenance (April 1, 2007, "The ShelBroCo Bicycle Chain Cleaning System")
- Begone, pesky and fragile derailleur! (July 18, 2005, "Shimano Nexus")
- HardSeatForHardAsses (August 8, 2004, Real MAN ® Saddle, made of solid granite)
- Another tiresome post (July 29, 2003, "Tire Sizing Systems")
- Fixed Gear! (April 7, 2003, "Fixed Gear Bicycles for the Road" and "Fixed Gear Conversions")
- They see me co-opt'n They hatin' (May 25, 2008, "Singlespeed Bicycle Conversions")

If you're more of a one-wheeler, check out The Unicyclopedia, a WikiBooks resource. It's harder to find a single resource for tricycles, but Sheldon Brown shared some of his experiences with his Greenspeed GT3 Recumbent Tricycle, which he started using due to MS, which he also wrote about in The Bright Side of MS.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 AM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

The goal of VeloBase.com is to provide a comprehensive database of vintage cycling knowledge for reference during everything from restorations to general maintenance to researching the cycling history through the equipment of the time. All of the content on the site was added by its members, truly making it the cycling community's database.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:27 AM on October 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the link, BrotherCaine! That's another great resource, especially for older bicycles.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on October 28, 2016

I love Sheldon Brown's website, and I bought one of my bikes from Harris (after he died, unfortunately) - they're good people there!

Of course, none of my modern bikes are in Bikepedia and my vintage bikes aren't in VeloBase - do I win some sort of hipster award for obscurity?
posted by backseatpilot at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

[pours one out for Sheldon]
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:39 AM on October 28, 2016 [6 favorites]

if anyone wants to build a wheel then (1) it's really not that hard and (2) your bible is roger musson's book (which makes everything absolutely clear).

i've built 3 wheels in the last few months and ridden one (the first) pretty hard with absolutely no problems.

also, if you're more interested in how wheels actually work, jobst's book is the bible (from another internet cycling legend).
posted by andrewcooke at 12:52 PM on October 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

I was looking for a 1993 Kona Explosif. They had an entry, but no photo. *sniff*
posted by My Dad at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2016

also, harriett fell (sheldon's wife) seems pretty cool. there's a famous (well, in internet cycling terms) photo of her on a bmx (iirc a birthday present; you can see it on her home page) that is treasured by us, sigh, older cyclists. looks like she also built a frame once...
posted by andrewcooke at 3:03 PM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sheldon Brown's website is a pure, good thing. I am so happy it exists.
posted by scose at 5:28 PM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tailwinds for Mr. Brown. He is fondly remembered.
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:22 AM on October 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Everything I know about bicycle maintenance I learned from Sheldon. RIP, sir.

i've built 3 wheels in the last few months and ridden one (the first) pretty hard with absolutely no problems.

I've built 2 from nothing but the directions on Sheldon's site. It's surprisingly easy. I rode one on a 1000km brevet earlier this year among other rides and have yet to have to true it.
posted by bradbane at 12:58 PM on October 29, 2016

Back in '05 I shopped for the parts and built a fixie based largely on Sheldon Brown's webpages. This is the first I heard of his passing. Without a doubt, the site is a treasure. And plug those handle bars. Plugs are cheap, and gett'n "apple cored" sounds like it sucks.

posted by xtian at 5:15 PM on October 29, 2016

None of my bikes is in BikePedia, but there's no day that can't be made better by poking at Sheldon Brown's website. Hey, here's some nearly comprehensible info about my internal-gear hub! Maybe by the time it needs maintenance, I'll understand what to do with it.
posted by asperity at 8:14 AM on October 31, 2016

Oh yeah, the geared hub info on Sheldon Brown's website is great. Between what's there and what's linked from there, I had no trouble buying tools and rebuilding my Alfine hub. There are also some videos on Youtube of rebuilds that should fill in any remaining blanks.
posted by indubitable at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

That's an a cool resource with a questionable interface.
posted by uberchet at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2016

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