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Grimy Handshake: Standard Issues

Evolution is as Natural as Resistance to Change

"Hey there, how're you doing today sir? I noticed you checking out this new MegaHella 2500 Quad Cab Desert Edition here. It's a beauty of a truck, isn't it? Direct injection, twin turbo, 8-speed tranny, best-in-class ground clearance – a real off-road machine with a luxury interior. Safest family wagon out there this side of an armored personnel carrier. And it gets the best fuel mileage ever recorded for a truck this size. Want me to grab the keys, take it for a spin?"

"Well, it's tempting, but it looks like it's got 18-inch wheels. Are those 18-inch wheels?"

"Uh, yeah, I think so. Yep, those are them. BFG All-Terrain KO2 tires, 18-inch alloy rims. Top of the line stuff."

"Dang, that's a shame. Looks like the hubs are six-bolt hubs too. Total deal killer for me. See, I have these five-bolt 15-inch wheels on my old truck, and the tires are still pretty good, and I am pretty sure that replacement tires for the 18s cost a lot more. To say nothing of the fact that being that much larger, they probably hit the gas mileage by at least 2 mpg. I just really like the way my old 15s roll. Why doesn't this truck come with 15-inch wheels?"

"Sir, that's probably a decision that MegaHella considered when designing the truck. Eighteen-inch wheels are everywhere these days. There are plenty of tire and wheel options out there to support them, and heck, they are still way less expensive than 20-inch hardware. You really oughtta give this a spin."

"Naw, I may have to hold off. Unless you can order one of these for me with five-bolt axles so I can put my 16s on it."

"I wish I could, sir. Really, I do. You know what you like, and I respect that. But, see, even if I could order the truck with that spindly old axle and hubs, this baby has 12-inch brake rotors with four-piston calipers all the way around, so I don't really think a 15-inch rim would fit around those."

"TWELVE INCH ROTORS?! Damn! What were they thinking? It'll be a total pain in the ass retrofitting my old 10-inch rotors onto this. And I have a whole extra set of them that I got on closeout when the shop down the road from me upgraded their parts inventory for some reason. This TOTALLY sucks! It's like the whole auto industry is conspiring to keep me buying new crap. Hell, my truck is barely even 20 years old. Why are you trying to force this change down my throat? I'm outta here."

"Good afternoon sir, and welcome to Kitchenopolis. Anything particular I can help you find today?"

"Yeah, I am looking for a new saucepan. My old one works fine, but that coating on it, the tip … tap … tep … ummm …"

"Teflon?"

"Yeah, that. It's all gone. Not sure where, but my eggs are sticking to whatever the pan is made out of now, so, I guess it's time."

"It most definitely is time, sir. Come over here and let's take a look at some options."

"Wow, they sure are expensive."

"Well, sir, some are. But there's a wide range of pricing. You can start as low as $20 here for this basic unit, and go all the way up into the hundreds for these All-Clad offerings. They have a much more robust coating, bonded three-layer construction and really good heat insulation from pan to handle. The coatings on these are worth the extra price since they last several lifespans longer than most other non-stick cookware. But, as you observed, that quality comes at a premium price."

"Does that price include the lid?"

"It does."

"Can I get it for less without a lid? Oh, and it has to be 10.5-inch diameter at the pan lip."

"I think we can find something that size, sir. But this pan sells as a package with the lid. Why wouldn't you want the lid?"

"Well, it seems like a needless expense. See, I used to play Ultimate Frisbee in college, and so I have this whole pile of 175 gram Discrafts. I use them as plates and pan lids, but that means I need to stick with 10.5-inch or smaller."

"Don't they melt from heat?"

"All the time! And there are no handles, so when one starts melting on the pan and then down onto the stovetop it can get pretty sketchy, but it's worked out okay so far."

A few weeks ago, a friend shot me this text message: "Why is your industry trying to ruin my riding? In what reality will I ever need Boost spacing?" A year before that he was asking the same question about 27.5-inch wheels. A few years prior it had been about 15-millimeter axles. Before that 29-inch wheels. Tapered steerers. Disc brakes. He has a point, but at the same time, not really. He still loves riding his 26-inch-wheeled bike, with its V-brakes and an ossified elastomer fork still dutifully holding the front of the bike up. And he is very attached to the purported durability and interchangeability of every single worn-out component on his 20-year-old steed. But whenever he rides a new bike he is, justifiably, blown away. He gets super excited about buying something made this decade, then immediately laments that he won't be able to fix the new stuff if he walks into a bike shop in Nepal, where he has never been. And he reflexively backpedals away from change, even though he will probably ride whatever he buys for the next 20 years before he decides to upgrade again. After rides, he loads his bike into the back of his falling- apart, quarter-million-mile, old Chevy Silverado and drives home to eat dinner off a Discraft flying disc. He has more money in the bank than I will ever make, but he is suspicious of change. And I suspect that his resistance to change, for the sake of resisting change, is something that deep down doesn't bring him much joy.

These bikes, they're just tools. Toys. There's no conspiracy here, things just have a habit of evolving. And that is good. Don't be afraid of change. And don't cook with worn-out Teflon.