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Greatest single advancement in cycling technology?(32 posts)

Greatest single advancement in cycling technology?peloton
Sep 6, 2001 7:50 PM
Okay- I have asked this many times before to many people. What is the single greatest invention that has affected the technology of cycling? Is it the quick release designed by Tullio Campagnolo? Index shifting from Shimano? Lycra shorts with synthetic chamois? A space age material used in frames or comonents? Advances in training techniques? What is the most significant advancment we have seen? What is the one thing you couldn't live without on the bike?
the wheelnm
Sep 6, 2001 7:56 PM
the spoked (wire) wheel....Bruno
Sep 6, 2001 8:31 PM
I believe this advancement made the bicycle. Without this type of wheel the bicycle would never have worked. The bicycle needs large wheels to be stable. Other types of wheels would be too heavy.
metallurgical advances (nm)zzz
Sep 6, 2001 8:11 PM
The derailleurMe Dot Org
Sep 6, 2001 8:12 PM
Kind of hard to have meaningful index shifting without it.
Derailleurs are for people over 40 ;)Stampertje
Sep 7, 2001 3:01 AM
I would nominate "the chain"... we've come a long way from the Penny Farthings or even older walking bikes.
Speak for yourself!Humma Hah
Sep 7, 2001 6:42 AM
At 48, I still singlespeed. I'll let you guys know when I get too old to do it.

The roller chain is definitely important, as it made the safety bike practical (see my post below). Some nice shaft drive designs were tried, but were not a significant improvement, and made repairs and gearing changes difficult.
I'm saving the 1 sp. freewheel for my old ageclub
Sep 7, 2001 12:29 PM
I'm 48 in a month, and my 4 1-speeders are all fixed, freewheels are for old-timers. Ha.
Well, I'm 56 and I'm building an SS this weekend.Retro
Sep 7, 2001 7:56 AM
Humma made me feel so bad I bought all the parts and I'm converting an old Trek tourer into a one-speeder when I get home tonight. Tomorrow I plan to go out and tear up some knee ligaments...
High pressure wire-bead tires circa 1973MrCelloBoy
Sep 6, 2001 8:22 PM
Before that only sew-ups let you go really fast.
Forging processspookyload
Sep 6, 2001 9:38 PM
Name a part on your bike that doesn't have a forged part.
How about extrusion...Bruno S
Sep 6, 2001 10:21 PM
All tubes (even those that are not round) and rims are made with the extrusion process. Without this process you could not have the frame, handle bar, seatpost, and rims.
Pneumatic tyreJofa
Sep 6, 2001 10:39 PM
It was designed for a bike first I believe.

wrong!!Rusty McNasty
Sep 7, 2001 5:30 AM
Dunlop sold pneumatic tires for horse-drawn carriages before bikes had them. They were popular in the 1880's on luxury carriages in London and Paris. Of course, they were tubulars....
Right!!!Cliff Oates
Sep 7, 2001 5:51 AM
Check the link here:, which took me most of 30 seconds to find.

Do your part for civility and check your facts before you get all excited about some perceived error.
Restoration buffs: 27" tubulars for saleclub
Sep 7, 2001 12:22 PM
Durango Cyclery has some 27" Continental tubular tires they would dearly like to sell. 970 area code, too lazy to look up the number, ask for Rick or Russ. Tell 'em The Scorcher sent ya.
the saddleTri-State Cycler
Sep 7, 2001 1:11 AM
How many of us would still ride without one? Hmmmm? :)
no saddle...jaybird
Sep 7, 2001 6:46 AM
thum of us prefer it without a thaddle... wink wink...

sorry, I had to say it... I think I need to vomit now...
re: Greatest single advancement in cycling technology?Proboscis
Sep 7, 2001 3:23 AM
I will agree with metalurgical advances. Especially aluminum. It seems that this is what started the ball rolling for titanium and carbon fiber. What I am getting at, is the continued trend for lighter componentry.
re: Greatest single advancement in cycling technology?jaybird
Sep 7, 2001 4:05 AM
the internet?Jack S
Sep 7, 2001 4:24 AM
Litespeed Bikespmf1
Sep 7, 2001 6:05 AM
Nah, just joking ... Its gotta be the double diamond frame design.
The double-diamond safety bike ...Humma Hah
Sep 7, 2001 6:40 AM
... two wheels of equal size, with a crank where it belongs, on a diamond truss frame. This configuration has endured for about 120 years now, a design whose elegance and function defy improvement.
Oh God ... I think like Humma ....pmf1
Sep 7, 2001 7:01 AM
Next I'll be trading in my Colnago for a 30 year old cruiser.
Unlikely ...Humma Hah
Sep 7, 2001 7:09 AM
... as your Colnago's frame design is almost identical to those ancient bikes, whereas my cruiser is a new-fangled design, dating to the 1950's.

My next bike will almost undoubtedly be more like those pre-1900 double diamonds. I'll get more like you.

But, if you DO get a cruiser, I'll bet it makes you smile!
Brooks saddles!mr_spin
Sep 7, 2001 6:51 AM
Ha ha. Just kidding.

The good ones have been taken already, so put me down for STI levers. Downtube shifters are so 1970s.
Different way to look at it!Len J
Sep 7, 2001 7:03 AM
Greatest, Old advancement(s):

Diamond Frame
Spoked Wheel

Greatest, New Advancement(s):

Clipless Pedals
Material Manipulation technologies (allowing material performance (one mat'l to another) to get closer & closer.
Good roads.MB1
Sep 7, 2001 7:22 AM
Bicyclists in the 19th century started the "Good Roads" movement.

Then there was this nasty invention, the auto-mobile. Things have been going backwards ever since. Now cyclists enjoy riding off road partially due to the automobile that good roads made possible.
Ignaz Schwinn's 26x2.125 cruiser bikesclub
Sep 7, 2001 12:18 PM
they supplied the hardware for the first clunkers, which led to the mountain bikes, and now we aren't limited to just pounding the same old boring pavement, now we can ride bikes in God's country. Other than the guy who said "safety bikes" is right. You don't need multiple gears, or a freewheel, let alone indexing or clipless pedals or titanium or carbon fiber or any of that, just a safe, reliable bicycle that won't pitch you onto your head from 8 feet up like a high wheeler ordinary, which became extinct with safety bikes.
To prove the point, I built up a tribute bike to the 1895 Durango Wheel Club, maybe you've seen the famous picture of the club with their safety bikes at Baker's Bridge on the Animas River, it's been in all the rags. All those bikes have double diamond steel frames, leather saddles, big fat 28" rubber with fixed gears, and scorcher handlebars. So does mine and the concept works as well now as it did in 1895.
Microbrew beer....tirider
Sep 7, 2001 4:32 PM
... it makes me ride faster knowing I'll be stopping for one afterwards.
Sep 7, 2001 6:06 PM
Nothing like see a fit cycle chick in tight lycra. My brain turns to mush.

Sep 8, 2001 7:10 AM
I agree. I've always wondered why an otherwise outgoing, articulate person can forget to speak English when an attractive girl on a bike shows up. uuuhhh....uuummm....aaahhhh...I mean...