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Question from a retrogrouch to the tech guys(11 posts)

Question from a retrogrouch to the tech guysDjudd!USN=Djudd
Sep 4, 2001 4:30 PM
In a thread yesterday "Tri-state cycler" talked about old school rides and quite a few answered in the positive. I was wondering from the more high-tech riders out there, does anyone ever feel there is a point of diminishing returns on the more technical innovations? I am a confirmed retrogrouch but I conceed there are new innovations I like (I recently bought a carbon fork, I love it!!). Some however, seem a little over the top and even unnecessary. Do any of the more technology-friendly riders feel the same or is this just an old dog barking about a new chain? By the way what's up with the new assigned screen name "Djudd" is just fine
Mixed bagKerry Irons
Sep 4, 2001 4:51 PM
Several "innovations" are simply fads, that have come and gone before. Some will stay this time because they are better executed, others will fade. For example, right now threadless headsets are the rage, and with a carbon steerer tube fork, you can actually save some weight. When there were only steel steerer tubes, weight savings were minimal and you lost significant vertical adjustment. Now, if the lighter forks prove reliable with the modified stems (that don't cut into the carbon steerer tubes), this may actually stick. Before, it smelled more like a fad. Each of these innovations needs some time to sort out. High performance clinchers took a full decade to get to the point where they were competitive with sew-ups, because rim technology and tire technology both had to evolve to make them work. Integrated computer/shifters seem (to me) like a loser, because it's likely that one will fail long before the other, either forcing you to buy something you don't need or be riding around with a pair of computers (one that works and one that is integrated with your shifters). Each case needs evaluation by itself, and time to prove out before declaring it a success or failure.
I'm no tech guy but...........DINOSAUR
Sep 4, 2001 5:35 PM
I'm sort of an new age- zen-retro guy. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be riding an al bike. IMHO a lot of it has to do with marketing. See a big full page ad in VeloNews on some bike and you start seeing a lot of questions pop up on forums such as this with inquiries. Also what we ride is a trickle down from the peloton. I think the weight factor is being carried to the extreme in some cases. I really wonder if the shift to cycling is veering to what we are riding as opposed to how we ride.

Yeah I've got a carbon fork, but without it my Klein would beat the heck out of me.

I'm surprised that some stuff actually worked, integrated brake levers/shifters for instance. It's nice though as you can keep both hands on your bars when you are shifting.

Clipless pedals are nice also, easy to use, but expensive.

On the other hand, the old stuff was virtually bullet proof and easy to work on and afordable.

Click on "preferences" and you can change your log on name..
re: Question from a retrogrouch to the tech guysDaveG
Sep 4, 2001 5:52 PM
I'm certainly not a "tech guy" as I have two steel bikes. In general, the marketplace seems to sort these things out. Gimmicks like Biopace fade away while integrated brake/shifters (once considered a fad) have stood the test of time. Whether current trends like frames with integrated headsets will pass the test is anyone's guess (although I hope that one fails). Any purchase which truly enhances your enjoyment of cycling is probably a good thing, although I suspect we are often prodded along by well-conceived marketing schemes. Everyone has different ideas about what's an improvement or a necessity when it come's to biking.
re: Question from a retrogrouch to the tech guysbadabill
Sep 4, 2001 6:05 PM
I am now a re-retro ;-) after tring AL and carbon I am back to steel. It still amazes me what riders will spend to save a pound or two. After being pounded for a year on a light AL bike ( the carbon was not even that light)I decided to opt for comfort over weight savings. My current ride weighs in at 19 lbs. I think most of the true tech inovations are great. STI, Cartridge BB, ramped and pinned chain rings come to mind. IMHO if you cant pedal a 20lb bike up a hill a 17lb bike is not going to make that big a difference.
Sep 4, 2001 6:52 PM
I did not use clipless pedals till about four years ago. Did not use STI or Ergo till last year. Now have both but still enjoy riding the old stuff. One of my favorite ads showed a pair of cutoffs with tennis shoes vs slick shorts and carbon shoes. I long for those days and sometimes ride with them just because. Things I see no reason, for me. Integrated headsets, carbon rear triangles, all carbon forks. I don't race so I am biased. I have been passed by everything and have passed everything. I did not say I have passed everyone. :) When I can keep my ego in check it's just about the wind in my face. Can't say wind in my hair anymore since I started using helmets! LOL
I think that a lot depends on how you use your bike.nee Spoke Wrench
Sep 5, 2001 5:36 AM
Two hour criteriums look to me like an entirely different thing than cross-state rides, like RAGBRAI.

In one case, you don't want to give up a technical advantage, but your equipment only has to last a limited time. Even if your equipment fails in a crit, you're not too far from your car and you have a whole week to get your bike ready for the next race.

Now if you ruin a pressed in cartridge bearing on your Spinergy wheel during a cross country tour, that's another story. Generally speaking, towns with less than 100,000 population don't have bike shops at all, much less one that can do that kind of repair.

I have two road bikes. One is an 00 Klein QR with an aluminum frame, Ultegra STI's and Rolf wheels. The other is a Bridgestone RB2 with a steel lugged frame, bar end shifters and conventional wheels. Which bike is better depends entirely on the ride.
my solution to over-the-top techismclub
Sep 5, 2001 5:39 AM
every time the component makers add another rear cog, I retrieve another road frame from the trash pile and build up another fixed gear.
re: Question from a retrogrouch to the tech guysscottfree
Sep 5, 2001 5:46 AM
Interesting that someone posted that brake/shift levers were great because you could shift from the tops. Remember stem shifters? Stem shifters were CRITICIZED because they kept people on the tops.
retro vs. techDog
Sep 5, 2001 6:40 AM
In my garage right now I have a steel 1980 Bianchi, 6 speed freewheel, downtube shifters, plain-'ole wire spoke wheels (with a Brooks saddle on order!!!); a C-40 with Campy 10 and carbon wheels, carbon handlebars, carbon seatpost, carbon saddle, carbon pedals...; an aluminum Bianchi EV2, extremely light; and a Bianchi Milano with a Nexus 7 speed hub.

For pure enjoyment, I like riding either the 1980 Bianchi or the Milano. The simplicity is nice. The chain is absolutely silent on the old one when properly adjusted on the fly. Plus, it's rock solid, but 20 pounds (very light back then).

The tech stuff does make it possible to go faster, but not necessarily more enjoyable. Those are not necessarily compatible goals. If riding for enjoyment, who cares if you get up a hill in 45 minutes compared to 48? It's the competition that requires new and improved technology. Yes, you can go faster with lighter, more aero, more gears, easier shifting, etc.

Then again, a Formula One car is faster than a Honda Accord. But which one would you rather drive cross country? (I know, I know, you race freaks would pick the F1 car - but you'd hate it after about 2 hours).

Retro just feels good. Racing is something else, though.

Bike zen in defenso of techno.mk_42
Sep 5, 2001 12:49 PM
I'm sort of a techno guy.
I don't race.
I don't have a techno bike.
I do think that weight wise we're in the deminishing returns area.
But I can relate...I have a lot of things that are on the gadgety if not on the connesioury (sp?) side. And I get a lot of "do you need that" or "is it really that much better." It's not really, in most cases, but better to me enought to buy it.
I feel that in the case of bikes it's not about just lighter or faster. I would like it if my bike was lighter...not because I race but because I do think I would like it livelier.

That said I really dig the simplicity of the bike. And even from that angle techno is sometimes good. Techno STIs are very elegant. And wireless computers (if you must have one) are too. And an Ultegra/DA crank and chainring is more elegant, and sleek than a lower end or older part and they are lighter and work better to boot. So gadgets don't always have to detract from the bike. Many can (and do) bring you closer to bike zen.