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What defines a bicycle?(9 posts)

What defines a bicycle?Spoke Wrench
Jul 18, 2003 7:51 AM
If there were no rules to define a bicycle except that it be human powered and maybe some safety considerations, how do you think that would affect the Tour? Would riders have a variety of bicycles to choose from for each stage? Would they have flat road, uphill and downhill bicycles? Maybe even a special bicycle just for finishing the flat stages? What do you think?
Faired HPV's would win everything, except the climbs (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 18, 2003 8:42 AM
unless they pass out from the heat inside (nm)DougSloan
Jul 18, 2003 8:57 AM
re: What defines a bicycle?Bluesref
Jul 18, 2003 8:51 AM
"Would they have flat road, uphill and downhill bicycles? Maybe even a special bicycle just for finishing the flat stages?"

You mean kinda like a one bike for the time trial, one for climbing (with different gearing) another for flat to rolling terrian. Wait some teams might be doing that now.
Recumbents are NOT bicycles ...Humma Hah
Jul 18, 2003 10:40 AM
... at least for racing purposes. UCI? I forget the specifics ... supposedly the story goes that someone decades ago showed up at a race on an early 'bent, and proceeded to lay waste to the field. The response was to declare "That is NOT a bicycle."
Some recumbents ARE tricycles ...nmbicyclerepairman
Jul 18, 2003 10:55 AM
Some Recumbents are faster than bicycles ...cyclist of all trades
Jul 18, 2003 3:07 PM
just not on long climbs. even unfaired they are simply more aerodynamic. to bad they have such a stigma attatched. you would think that the goal of most roadies is to go as fast possible as comfortable as possible. the painful truth is that a recumbent such as the one at this website www.reynoldsweldlabs.com are unbelievably fast and extremely fun to ride.
... but he said...Akirasho
Jul 19, 2003 2:24 AM
If there were no rules to define a bicycle except...

True, that an early attempt at introduction of recumbents into pro cycling events was squashed by the UCI when an "inferior" rider aboard said was vanquishing all comers on regular uprights on the velodromes... by the conditions set forth in the original post... a recumbent or HVP could be considered a "bicycle".

I doubt however, that you'd see the average le Tour rider astride a 'bent or HPV for flat stages... and here's why.

While no one type of bicycle does everything well... and it can be relatively successfully argued that on certain courses, an HPV has an overall advantage... the truth is that most HPV/'bent riders have trained and developed their muscle groups to optimize their performance on these vehicles. It takes a bit of time to get your recumbent legs (you use your muscle groups in slightly, yet noticably different ways)... even a strong and "superior" rider could be a bit humbled on their first outing on a 'bent (you'd have to quell the urge to stand). In the current scheme of things... I just couldn't see the average pro investing enough training time and effort to make those occasional 'bent excursions worthwhile. (personally, I think a certain roadie prejudice that it's unsafe to mix uprights and 'bents on the open road is based on sketchy data... since, by UCI rules... they don't mix! (you have no statistics that would state how safe or unsafe the mix would be with true adepts riding each type in a single event... most folks would base their opinion on how they either see 'bents, how they see 'bent riders... or bad experiences they may have had with less adept 'bent riders... indeed, this year's Tour de Fall makes you go hmmmmmmmmm))

It's interesting to note that while the UCI seems poised to level the playing field by removing any attempts to secure a podium position based largely or solely on technology, according to a recent issue of VeloNews, Gary Fisher's camp has successfully argued the acceptance of 29" (ostensibly, 700c diameter MTB wheel) wheel/frame for UCI sanctioned events!

Most major makers still tow the line... either adhereing to safe market protocols or making relatively minor changes (internal headsets) over time... but there's still enough DIY/SOPWMTOS to make the original question valid to a point. There were/are a ton of folks out there, patents in hand, just waiting to become the next big thing... if only there were no "rules".

Be the bike.
Now we're getting into it.Spoke Wrench
Jul 19, 2003 7:46 AM
I think that a fully-faired recumbent would be a no-brainer for the prologue.

The early, flat stages, I'm not so sure. How would the use of recombents affect peleton tactics? What about sprint finishes? I suspect the use of recumbents would absolutely ruin this portion of the race.

I'd think that the team time trial might get very interesting indeed and essentially be decided by whichever team has the best technology (provided they don't crash).

I'd except the least amount of change on the climbing stages, but I wouldn't be surprised to see riders changing to a recumbent bicycle for the descent.