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What is the future for roadbike design and material?(20 posts)

What is the future for roadbike design and material?cyclinseth
Dec 31, 2001 7:55 AM
Seems to me that manufacturers are pushing the limit with what the current materials can do. And the designs are getting pretty crazy, especially with time-trial/triathalon bikes.

How much farther can trends (I hate to use that word) go with current material? What's going to be the next evolution? Any engineers or industry people outhere?
Dec 31, 2001 8:37 AM
I think we'll continue to see variety, rather than "trends." I think aluminum and carbon will dominate racing. New alloys of aluminum will likely make it even lighter, and it will continue to win the weight weenie wars.

The UCI reins in new designs, even to some extent in the time trial bikes. This has trickle down restraining effect on a big segment of the industry.

I think we'll see more gears. That's inevitable. I think it's not far fetched to expect an entire bike made of carbon and ti, except where aluminum is even lighter and works, i.e., no steel.

Within 10 years I'd bet we'll see a 1 pound frame, even if it might be a little scary. Entire bikes under 13 pounds could be fairly normal.

The one place I'd like to see technology develop the most is tires. We need a 150 gram, 2,000 mile, sticky, 130 psi tire that won't flat. I'd pay lots for that.

Because cyclists are so diverse, though, I think we'll have lots and lots of variety from which to choose. That's a good thing.

varietyDavid Feldman
Dec 31, 2001 8:46 AM
I hope variety is a key word here; race bikes and race bike replicas are getting too uncomfortable, high maintainance, and single purpose for many non-racing road riders who don't want a 30 lb. touring pack mule. I do hope that many bike company CEO's get a tiny speck of Grant Petersen brain tissue transplanted into them and that there are many brands on the market in a few years that feature 32c+fender clearance, 43cm chainstays, extended head tubes rising from level top tubes, and other practical features. The marketing-driven, race replica frauds are not for every cyclist.
Dec 31, 2001 9:21 AM
not sure those kinds of bikes you mention will ever be produced by big companies, but the fringe will continue to grow. Look at the popularity of cross bikes and also the whole singlespeed scene. Who cares what the big companies do, anyway? You can spec whatever you want from a small custom builder and have a great bike for $2000 or so--less than many of these middle of the road production race bikes. Or build a Surley Crosscheck (which can be ordered through any LBS--a nice concept) up yourself for about $800. There are tons of choices these days for everyone.
The 'Fringe' vs. corporate bicycles,TJeanloz
Dec 31, 2001 9:35 AM
People on the fringe like to think they invented every cool trend. Cyclocross bikes, while popularized on the American fringe, have been a staple of big euro builders for years. Bianchi, Colnago, Pinnarello have offered 'cross rides since the birth of the sport. On the single speed front, I daresay Bianchi started the trend with the B.U.S.S. (or whatever it was called when the introduced it). And you can be sure that even if the big companies don't lead, they will follow the trends- look at Trek's introductions of triathlon and 'cross bikes, or Specialized offering 'urban' bikes (like the P3)...Surly is, in fact, a QBP product- and QBP is one of the biggest companies in the industry.
The 'Fringe' vs. corporate bicycles,gtx
Dec 31, 2001 10:11 AM
Surley got started independantly of QBP (then they sold or whatever), and Bianchi didn't start the SS craze--that's funny. Yeah, cross bikes have been around forever--I think everyone knows that.
Independent Fabrications Club Racer. (nm)ohio
Dec 31, 2001 10:26 AM
I want one.
hey, I want one, too!gtx
Dec 31, 2001 10:33 AM
problem is, what color? oh yeah, and money. :(
I'm getting oneBernie
Dec 31, 2001 5:10 PM
bug exo-skeletonishmael
Dec 31, 2001 9:14 AM
im making the first one as we speak...
my $0.02SamDC
Dec 31, 2001 9:25 AM
I think the greatest "innovations" will be in new alloys of current materials (Ti, AL, steel)... particularly titanium and aluminum. I personally feel that titanium has the greatest potential. Also, as technology progresses, expect a decrease in prices of frames (especially titanium ones).

If you really want to stay up-to-date on avant-garde materials, keep an eye on the aerospace industry. That's were a great deal of materials research occurs and where other facets of industry draw from (e.g., automotive, biomedical, etc.).
re: What is the future for roadbike design and material?tr
Dec 31, 2001 9:46 AM
I think you will see more and more carbon in the groupo and the prices will come down eventually. When you look at the weight of the frame from a percentage of total weight it is not a huge number, the weight of the other parts need to be worked on more than they are. I think in some of the classics you will continue to see guys ride steel on the cobbles and aluminum on the smooth stuff along with carbon. I think eventually ti frames will be thought of as steel used to be, the norm and nothing special. The ti frames will come down in price and not be inflated and carbon frames will continue to be the most expensive. More gears will come, but in my humble opinion they will not be necessary. I would like to see SRM systems come down in price of course because i would like to have one. Durable tires will come, but if so at a very high price because they want people to buy tire after tire. Speaking as aero engineer, i don't think there is anything real earth shattering on the very near horizon. It really depends on whether or not any of the cycling industry companies decides to get real serious with R & D or if they just want to win people over with hype and fads.
Refined mass-production.ohio
Dec 31, 2001 10:37 AM
Speaking as a MechE, and an entrepreneur in the process of creating a new bicycle and bicycle market (not road, or even American or Euro market related...), I think the biggest steps you'll see in the coming years are a refining and expanding of composite technology as well as newer and more refined/consistent manufacturing techniques for composites.

There will be some minor advances in metals, but the be honest the aerospace/defense industry is what fuels these advances (bike market is just too small), and those industries are shrinking. And they will have little effect on bicycle design, unless someone perfects metal monocoque/stamped and/or multi-void designs (and lots of people are working on them). The real advances will come as manufacturers gain experience with composites and develop new techniques to create new shapes and forms. Hard to predict what will result until the new processes are actually thought up. Trust me when I say there's plenty in the works.

In terms of usage, and what the buyer market will look like, that's outside of my expertise, but I would predict more emphasis on comfort with some possibly unique geometries resulting as the market becomes more comfortable with unorthodox composite design.

That is, however, only my 2 cents.
In one word..... CARBON. ......... nmCT1
Dec 31, 2001 2:30 PM
This could be suspicion or just my wishful thinking.Leisure
Jan 1, 2002 2:20 AM
I'm thinking that the lighter and lighter frames will become more and more for fringe buyers, while more people will be looking for advances that improve rider enjoyment, be it composite manufacturing refinement or whatever. I look at some of the megalight bikes out there; some are serious, responsibly designed innovations, while others just claim to be and will end up seriously disappointing their buyers. That may bring a lot of enthusiasm for the select few shrewd racers and conoisseurs, but the mainstream will be less and less interested. Look at mountainbiking; the entire industry had been waning recently while companies kept pushing racer-oriented stuff that broke too often and was no fun to use, either by being twitchy, harsh, whathaveyou. The advent of full-suspension and weight-ignorant freeriding have brought back enthusiasm for the sport by prioritizing on fun-factor and dependability.
Roadriding probably won't see anything nearly as extreme, but we could see more companies moving to quasi-softtails where the materials/geometry of the rear triangle allows for more compliant rides. That much I think is inevitable, and is one thing advances with composites may allow very soon.
On the more speculative side, I think the way full-suspension has been coming together in mountainbiking, 1" softtail commuter/roadbikes will become easier and easier to design without serious drawbacks, which is something I do hope to see eventually. Actually some companies are already doing this, but they are mostly high-end megabuck types like Seven and Serotta. I also like the idea of eventually being able to ride a Marzocchi-built 1" headshock.
just my opinion but......CT1
Jan 1, 2002 2:08 PM
The idea of a softail road bike just seems silly and irrelevant to me. Road bikes beg for efficiency and ST’s just don't have it. Even for commuter types this would be a real turn off. Bigger tires and/or lower pressures will produce better “rideability”. FWIW, my Al TCR feels purty good even compared with my full carbon bike. If Giant can make a comfie Al frame then game over on this issue.

On the other hand, softie mtb's are purty nice. I've got em all, Ti HT, full suspension, and softail. My ST is (was…. Since I’m primarily a roadie now) my favorite ride.

ride on
dang fonts in previous post..... this post is OKCT1
Jan 1, 2002 2:11 PM
The idea of a softail road bike just seems silly and irrelevant to me. Road bikes beg for efficiency and ST's just don't have it. Even for commuter types this would be a real turn off. Bigger tires and/or lower pressures will produce better "rideability". FWIW, my Al TCR feels purty good even compared with my full carbon bike. If Giant can make a comfie Al frame then game over on this issue.

On the other hand, softie mtb's are purty nice. I've got em all, Ti HT, full suspension, and softail. My ST is (was since I'm primarily a roadie now) my favorite ride.

ride on
I see where you're coming from, but...Leisure
Jan 2, 2002 1:51 AM
that's what makes you a connoissour. When you feel your form is finely honed (and your arse finely broken in;-)) on a hardtail, messing everything up with suspension IS counterproductive. I figger that's why a lot of professional mtb-racers have waited so long to jump on the FS-bandwagon. That and all the hyped-yet-stupid FS-designs different companies have tried to push. I didn't exactly rail uphills on my first suspension bike (I wasn't that good back then anyway); it took a while to learn to spin in circles, never stand up, and assorted other little details that were specific compromises of the suspension-type I had.
But, more recently it looks like a lot of designs are finally coming through on all the promises FS was supposed to offer. And they're managing to do it without weighing a ton; there are a decent number of 3-4"-travel XC frames that weigh basically the same as a steel hardtail. Given that a soft-tail is much simpler, and that a shock for road purposes won't need the same overbuilding as in mountain riding, it seems perfectly feasible to build a softail frame with less than a half-pound weight penalty versus a hardtail of the same material.
Actually, a soft-tail may not even need a shock per se, especially as more companies get better at utilizing carbon fiber. Even now I bet a carbon frame could be designed with the right seatstay bends to allow a half inch of travel. Some of my interest is admittedly intellectual, but you have to figure eventually companies will be in such good positions it will be hard not to fiddle with the idea. I'm excited to see what happens.
re: What is the future for roadbike design and material?josh_putnam
Jan 2, 2002 1:43 AM
Almost nothing truly new has come out in the last decade in road bicycle design. Most of what was touted as new was recycled from the past century of road bike marketing, from straight bladed forks to disc and low-spoke-count wheels to unconventional frame geometries.

I predict this trend will continue, with bicycle marketers introducing "NEW and IMPROVED" designs as often as needed to avoid stagnant sales.

Meanwhile, worldwide, the vast majority of bicycles will change as little in the next decade as they did in the previous one.
re: What is the future for roadbike design and material?David Feldman
Jan 2, 2002 9:06 AM
A wish--not a prediction--that when money gets tight, bike manufacturers will KEEP their tech support folks and engineers and CAN the marketing and advertising schlongs.