New Bikes - faro issues

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Rob Block » 01/11/12 09:44 AM

So, I just picked up a new boxof 12 packs of Bicycles from my local BJ's warehouse club (think Costco). I've heard it rumored that these bulk packs sold at warehouse clubs did not have the same level of quality control, but I'd never really had a problem with them in the past. But the new decks I've opened are almost impossible to faro shuffle. The edges seem very rough cut. Anyone else seen this issue? Is there any truth to the various quality levels of US playing card bicycle decks depending upon where they are sold? Any changes recently at US in their manufacturing process?

Rob
Rob Block
 
Posts: 28
Joined: 08/17/10 09:58 AM

Postby Bob Cunningham » 01/11/12 10:23 AM

About two years ago I stop switched over to Richard Turners "Gold Seal" bicycle cards. They are made from the same stock as Bee cards and cut to make your faros easier. I used to struggle with my faro shuffles, but now have no problem knocking out perfect faros. They are more expensive, but you will feal the difference they first time you shuffle a deck. You can order from here: http://waltonmagic.com/card-shop/
User avatar
Bob Cunningham
 
Posts: 337
Joined: 05/25/08 04:11 PM
Location: Texas

Postby DrDanny » 01/11/12 11:27 AM

Rob Block asked: "Is there any truth to the various quality levels of US playing card bicycle decks depending upon where they are sold?"

There's plenty of truth (and some hype, naturally) w/r/to USPC quality of late. I gave up on the CostCo 12-packs long ago, since as you say they are consistently inconsistent and hard to handle. But besides price, they have one advantage: every deck is features a one-way back since the backs are printed off-center.

Turner's decks are indeed better, as are nearly all the vanity decks sold by D&D, Theory11, CARC, et al. It's a damn shame to have to spend so much to get usable tools, but there it is.
Still cheaper than a stack of soft Barbers or a nice set of cups. :D
DrDanny
 
Posts: 293
Joined: 01/22/08 01:00 PM
Location: Sunnyvale CA

Postby erdnasephile » 01/11/12 12:18 PM

1+ on the Gold Seal--use them for shows and they handle well right out of the box. For a routine that needs multiple faros (e.g., Unshuffled), I think they are the way to go.

As far as off the shelf Bikes, I've had to break them in as long as I can remember before they faro correctly (and some never do). I have to admit: I still practice with the Costco stuff just to stay in trim for when I'm just handed a deck to do something.

Does anyone like the Mandolin decks? They also are supposed to have the "professional cut", but I don't care for them as much.
User avatar
erdnasephile
 
Posts: 2056
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM

Postby Ivanovich » 01/11/12 02:30 PM

I tend to be hard enough on cards that I'll need a new deck every night at the magic bar - or every other night if I really want to stretch it. Cards are signed, torn, creased, crimped, or given away. And the general environment of a bar (wet surfaces, dirty floors) mean that the deck gets into a state where doing sleight of hand can become difficult and ratty enough looking that as a spectator I'd not want to touch it to select a card. If I'm working a renn faire, I'll go through 3 decks/day given the high humidity and general dust, sand, etc. that comes with performing for 8-9 hours outside.

As such, I NEED those Costco cards to survive. ;-) Cards alone can become prohibitively expensive when you're going through 150 decks/year. I enjoy using regular rider back Bikes because, in addition to being better quality than much of what is out there, they are instantly recognizable by the audience so I don't have to spend time showing them the deck to prove it is ordinary. When you bring out deck of specialty bikes or another brand (aside from Bee) you're going to get looks as if it is a gimmicked deck if not outright questions.

So I continued to buy from Costco. As has been pointed out, the quality is hit or miss. As soon as I open a deck I work 16 faros. If the deck doesn't handle properly after that, I set it off to the side for "other" uses. I used to find that I'd have 1-2 decks out of the Costco box where that was the case. Over the years it has become 4-5.

Lately I've been buying them from Menard's (in the checkout lane)for $1.97/deck. I've NEVER had a problem with these decks. They all faro fine right out of the box. The added bonus is I can get the back color that I need rather than having to take a 50/50 split.

So I wonder if it might be an "aging" issue with the bikes. Might older decks get jobbed to Costco whike "fresher" decks go elsewhere? Just another thought.

Chris
Ivanovich
 
Posts: 41
Joined: 08/10/10 04:28 PM
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Postby erdnasephile » 01/11/12 02:39 PM

Ivanovich wrote:...As such, I NEED those Costco cards to survive. ;-) Cards alone can become prohibitively expensive when you're going through 150 decks/year. I enjoy using regular rider back Bikes because, in addition to being better quality than much of what is out there, they are instantly recognizable by the audience so I don't have to spend time showing them the deck to prove it is ordinary. When you bring out deck of specialty bikes or another brand (aside from Bee) you're going to get looks as if it is a gimmicked deck if not outright questions...


This issue has been chewed over on these boards before, so I won't raise the zombie. :)

I will say though, if this issue matters, it is the one advantage of the Gold Seal--they look exactly like regular bikes and handle better. (Unfortunately, they are $1.00 more than the standard bikes).

I stick with Bikes because I have too much money invested in matching gaffs.
User avatar
erdnasephile
 
Posts: 2056
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM

Postby Ivanovich » 01/11/12 04:03 PM

erdnasephile wrote:
Ivanovich wrote:When you bring out deck of specialty bikes or another brand (aside from Bee) you're going to get looks as if it is a gimmicked deck if not outright questions...


This issue has been chewed over on these boards before, so I won't raise the zombie. :)


Never my intention to stir up the muck. Just the opinion of a guy who works 125-150 days of shows a year, multiple shows a day. Your mileage may vary. In fact, I'm certain that it will. After all, unless you're just copying someone else, we're all different performers with different styles and requirements of our shows. :-)

Oh, and I've tried those gold seal bikes. Very nice!
Ivanovich
 
Posts: 41
Joined: 08/10/10 04:28 PM
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Postby Tom Gilbert » 01/11/12 04:12 PM

One thing worth trying would be Steven Youell's prep of a new deck.
Tom Gilbert
 
Posts: 413
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: NH

Postby Bob Cunningham » 01/11/12 05:17 PM

Tom Gilbert wrote:One thing worth trying would be Steven Youell's prep of a new deck.


I agree that prepping a new deck can really help. However, from my experience, it is not just the cut of the cards. It is also that they are made from the ticker "Bee" stock. These two things combined makes a huge difference when trying to do consistent faros.

If you can afford to pay about 50% more for your cards then it is a pleasure to be able to do perfect faros right out of the box.
User avatar
Bob Cunningham
 
Posts: 337
Joined: 05/25/08 04:11 PM
Location: Texas

Postby Mark Collier » 01/11/12 06:18 PM

Like Ivanovich, I am also very hard on cards. During walkaround, I keep the deck in my pocket uncased so I can transition quickly into card magic. Perform card under the drink one time and you no longer have a new deck. For this reason, I buy a lot of cards at Costco.

I also perform 'Unshuffled' regularly. Steven Youell's preparation definitely helps but not always. Sometimes the cards are so bad that nothing will help. I usually will run through a cycle of 8 faros before deciding if the deck is suitable for 'Unshuffled'. Several times, I've had the deck practically explode in my hands. I start a faro and have 10 or more cards split at least partially.

I occasionally buy a premium deck to use for 'Unshuffled' and I've never had a problem but usually I can get a regular deck of bikes to work just fine w/o any special prep.

Anyone else ever try a faro and get a bunch of split cards? I've had it happen in performance. It can really derail the desired effect.
Mark Collier
 
Posts: 375
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Santa Barbara, Ca

Postby Chas Nigh » 01/11/12 08:28 PM

Recently I purchased a block of jumbo index Bikes at Costco and not very happy with them. Found them too soft with hardly any snap. In fact most cards from Costco I have found seem too soft.
User avatar
Chas Nigh
 
Posts: 110
Joined: 03/24/08 10:45 PM
Location: California

Postby Pete Biro » 01/12/12 03:49 AM

You get what you pay for.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Edward Pungot » 01/12/12 04:33 AM

I'm curious if any of you out there have played with these. I'm tempted to buy one of each and see for myself if there is any potential here. Anyone willing to share their findings?

http://newyorkmagicproject.com/products/newera.htm

http://www.bicyclecards.com/products/playing-card/bicycle-prestige-standard-index
User avatar
Edward Pungot
 
Posts: 415
Joined: 05/18/11 01:55 AM

Postby Rob Block » 01/12/12 08:52 AM

Edward Pungot wrote:I'm curious if any of you out there have played with these. I'm tempted to buy one of each and see for myself if there is any potential here. Anyone willing to share their findings?

http://newyorkmagicproject.com/products/newera.htm

http://www.bicyclecards.com/products/playing-card/bicycle-prestige-standard-index



I picked up a deck of the Bicycle prestige cards a while ago. I can't remember where, I think I saw them in a local store. I have them in front of me right now. The flexibility is great. The best part of that video that you linked is the springing. Other than that, I'm not too keen on them. The feel is very different from standard bikes. If you have learned all your sleights and handling with standard bikes/be stock, they will feel awkward. The surface texture is different, so they slide against each other differently than you may be used to. The plastic stock makes it a bit more difficult for any crimp or bridge work. They are also fairly indestructible - forget any torn card effects. That said, they do faro fairly well, though not really any better than a "good" deck of standard bikes. The plastic stock would make them especially appropriate for those messy bar/restaurant gigs or outdoor sandy/wet conditions. They do have a non-standard back design that looks a bit old-fashioned. This may be a plus for you, depending upon your character, venue, etc.

Just my 2-cents.

Rob
Rob Block
 
Posts: 28
Joined: 08/17/10 09:58 AM

Postby Simone M » 01/14/12 04:05 PM

There are some great advices in The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley Vol.2 about preparing a brand new deck for faro work. Bikes are alright, but beside the cut I still think they are too soft, which makes them loose shape very soon (especially if you cascade them) and makes rocking the cards back in case of little mistakes really hard. Thicker cards allow you more control on the weave. Also, depending on the way they are cut, you might try and change the orientation of the weave: some decks weave more easily from the face, some others from the top.


I'm sure no one will agree with this, but the best easily available cards for faro work I found nowdays are Aviator Bridge - they pratically weave themself, perfectly, right out of the box, and keep their shape for a lot.
Simone M
 
Posts: 33
Joined: 02/07/11 02:13 PM
Location: Italy

Postby Smurf » 01/14/12 11:22 PM

Unfortunately, from my experience Aviatior Bridge is almost extinct in the United States. You might be able to find some old stock somewhere, but that's about it.
Smurf
 
Posts: 396
Joined: 05/31/10 11:23 AM

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/15/12 02:12 AM

You can find Bicycle bridge size cards.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20652
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Steven Keyl » 02/06/12 01:20 PM

In my experience the biggest difference in Bikes besides the off-center inking is that the cut is not consistent. Some Costco 12-packs will be standard cut, others traditional cut, so you never really know what you're going to get until you open the box.

As I faro top down the Turner Gold Seal decks are useless to me. The big advantage of those cards lies in the fact they are ALWAYS cut traditional. For bottom-up faro'ers they are perfect.

As for me, I'll have to keep hoping to get lucky with my cheapo Costco Bikes. Fortunately, I get standard cut cards about 90% of the time which is about as good as I can hope for.
Steven Keyl - Magic Book Report
Steven Keyl
 
Posts: 39
Joined: 01/10/11 04:33 PM

Postby AlessandroPangia » 02/09/12 06:32 AM

Right now though, it seems like quality control is getting better at Erlanger, so in a few years it might go back to Cincinnati quality. For Faro shuffles I have to agree, it seems like the dozen pack they sell sometimes they don't Faro good. That's why I invested in Gold Seal Bicycle, the stock and finish is just great, they last long too. It is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. You might try checking ebay, since there you can find Standard decks for a reasonable price and they have the normal quality of non Costco Bikes.
AlessandroPangia
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02/08/12 06:02 AM
Location: Italy

Postby Richard Green » 03/16/12 10:07 PM

Regarding the new bikes, there's just too much "wrong" with them for my taste: smaller pips and indices, quality issues, thinner paper...they're just crap for performing as they don't fit with any gaffs.

That said, I too have been reverting back to Tally-Ho's now that they seem to be more available. Just one word of warning: whatever you use, buy enough to last a while...just in case.
User avatar
Richard Green
 
Posts: 99
Joined: 05/05/08 03:17 PM
Location: TN

Postby erdnasephile » 03/16/12 10:38 PM

Just to add to the discussion:

Jason England wrote a comprehensive article on the USPCC in MAGIC a little while back.

In the article, he states that the Bike Rider Backs at Costco are identical to the Bikes you can purchase separately.

Second, the "small pips" on the Rider Backs were a temporary change. Acording to company officials, as they run out, the regular sized pips will appear again (in fact, they are already in the Costco 12 packs at my local store)

I would second the vote for Turner's Gold Seal Bikes--I really like them.
User avatar
erdnasephile
 
Posts: 2056
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM

Postby Richard Green » 03/16/12 11:06 PM

I'm going by Sam's tomorrow, I'll have to pick up a new case.
User avatar
Richard Green
 
Posts: 99
Joined: 05/05/08 03:17 PM
Location: TN

Postby erdnasephile » 03/17/12 11:08 AM

Richard:

Be sure to pop open a sample box if you can--I imagine that old stock gets used up at different rate at each warehouse.

(The regular-sized pips were back at my local store some time ago, however so I think the odds are with you.)

Good luck!
User avatar
erdnasephile
 
Posts: 2056
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM


Return to Close-Up Magic