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  1. #1
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    Detailed component information / testing?

    Hi

    My main goal is to find a few good sources for more meaningful component information than is generally available on the web from JensonUSA and such as these retailers. Do you mechanics have a secret source of technical info on a part somewhere once you get a part number? Seems like the experienced mechanics here can guess a lot about likely components from the mfg and year. The longer term goal will need to include most "popular" higher end components from the major mfg names like SRAM and Shimano. Is somebody on the web set up to offer more information, maybe even do some testing? I have been googling without much luck. Recent googles seem to show that very little is controlled (yet) by our govt regarding imported bicycle parts (except an eagle eye for lead based pain on bikes for children?).

    << less business and more personal interest > >
    Somehow in my early forays into always fascinating Bicycledom I signed up for "Global Services" and must have checked "city bikes" and "electric" and now notices of new products are hitting my mailbox daily. In this early research I just must have gotten fascinated with the whole "Flying Pigeon Corporation" history (mao thought we should have one)/ culture / company thing and find that there are boutiques offering their original(-ish) city bike copy of some English 1930's roadster made robust enough "to carry a pig" on the web in FL, Ann Harbor MI, and CA.

    What I find so darned fascinating is that this particular company that had been rolling out basic black - 3rd world - rod activated tire brake / heavy duty / 60 pounder - poorly finished bicycles since the 40's has now put "Research" on the end of their name and are offering a range of Mountain bikes and (I think?) carbon framed road racers etc. I find this (attempt at) quick step evolution of a company from "bikes for the masses" to grappling for dollars against a world with a deep rich history of variety just hugely interesting! And yes, there is a question here - and it is this - what kind of range of (pragmatic) quality / value do their products have in the USA market?? Nobody seems to talk about these machines here(and I've been poking around alot recently) has anybody else run up against these things?.

    <...The current situation in China (for my humble understanding) is that electric bikes are starting to catch on with "the masses" in a big way and that the old utility black "FP" models have lost much of their gloss. But the workers work too hard for their money that they are likely to accept junk. Have they come up to "western world" type standards from building for our companies already or are they hitting some bumps and having maybe bigtime transition problems - are we (forbid) maybe actually selling some of our bikes there? Nah, Mao would be turning over in his grave?..>


    Michael

  2. #2
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    I think you are over thinking an item that has been evolving for 200 years and is still changing ever so slightly.

  3. #3
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    I think you are over thinking an item that has been evolving for 200 years and is still changing ever so slightly.
    dunno, haven't been accused of that very often

    From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_...itional_models
    On July 5, 1950, the first Flying Pigeon bicycle was produced. It was the brainchild of a worker named Huo Baoji. He based his classic model on the 1932 English Raleigh roadster.
    so this has been MAXimum years 50 years but really more like 10 to 20(is my guess) that this company must be pedaling some 50 models of bicycles to the world from mountain bikes to electric and everything between YET somehow except for the retro stuff I don't think the name shows up here. see their site at: http://feige.kwt.17888.com/customize...omepageid=1996

    That's one pretty huge transition
    - that I find interesting. I would think that if the old black retros are showing up in places like Ann Arbor that their other models must be showing up also?

    NOT my main question anyway, just thought that somebody here might have had something to do with them and have a comment on their "quality" / competitiveness and so on. Or maybe this is yet to come? Just find this all very fascinating at the same time that some nice manufacturers are showing up in Tenn and places making trikes at what appear to be competitive world prices.

  4. #4
    cab horn
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    jensonusa is a reliable source for component information? Is this a joke?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  5. #5
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    I have been working withr JensonUSA XML files almost since day one of working on the bicycle domain version of our project -that would be 8 months - and it is the BEST I have found, updated frequently and so on. But it is generally Sales related information, NOT technical (no coincidence). I have the John Barnett manuals and multiple others and there is a lot of information in there but not so much to do with compatibility. For example if somebody selects a frame and then selects a BB - we need to compare multiple thread params to check out if it will mate, they may or may not have this exact information but you get the idea, we need to know all the stuff that lets us determine if things belong together. Another example is that weight - this param is just not given for many parts and we want to total weight as parts are selected.

    So this is ZERO reflection on JensonUSA - rather that we are trying to figure out what sources are available to extend the technical info on many of the same parts. I won't go on about that..... if the information is not available then so be it, we might have to determine the information, work with mfgs, or just give up on using this domain for our testing. This may seem an unorthodox question because it probably is - we are trying to do something that I really don't think has been done before.

    I am meeting with several marketing types later this week to show the technical progress and demo and we want to put this on-line so folks can get some sense for it - it could be offered up as a sort of technical wikipedia thing also to support forums like this. It captures information so it can "refire itself" so to speak - its like your training a child that ain't too bright but has a heck of a great memory. What needs to get done to write one of these "scripts" has been made pretty simple and there yet another step and it will be almost like filling out a form.

    Five years ago I would not have really understood this myself, I suspect, but things have come a long way and we are working with some very bright people....imho

    As it looks we can tuck in and offer this to organize this stuff for one big corporation for example also but that was not our intention and doesn't seem to address "the greater good". I'd like to see this used to help get the quality products "out there more" that are being made in USA first. Not totally my decision, and my time to figure out where this info can come from is running out pretty fast.....

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Mao would be turning over in his grave?
    He's spinning high RPM. Had 'The Mummy' film franchise not already done China, the old Commie would make the perfect resurrected villain!

    'Flying Pigeon' is a great story about how privatization can work. While many privatized state companies just died because they were totally disconnected from the consumer, the woman that owns FPR forced that connection on the company and the rest is amazing history. There was a Wall Street Journal article on her about a year ago.



    I think for tech info about parts, you're going to have to connect directly to Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo, etc. The reason that there's no technical info on the web is that they don't release any. weightweenies, for instance, has taken 'weighty' matters into their own hand. But their info trails the market somewhat. Shimano does offer some not-all-that-realistic compatibility data on their own products, but not in digital form.

    IMO, though, you have a deeper question to answer: WHY. And once that is answered, extrapolate to define the audience. It won't be manufacturers. It will be people with existing bikes needing to replace or upgrade. For the larger manufacturers there is no aftermarket, just OEMs and customers that need replacement parts, supposedly service by their dealers (LBS). If you can show them that there is a potential direct aftermarket that is limited primarily by lack if info, maybe you can pry some data out of them.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Sutherlands is also a good source for technical info. They have A LOT of measurements and figures that illustrates how various parts work and how they work differently than other parts with different dimensions.

  8. #8
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    One of my early frustrations when getting into biking was at how little information is really out there. I've met bikeshop mechanics and salespeople who could not articulate why the parts on a $1000 model of a Rockhopper were any better than on the $500 model. And like DMF says, manufacturer sites aren't always a whole lot of help.

    Awhile back, someone began a site called thebikelab.com. The idea was to do testing and report on the results. The site never really got off the ground though.

  9. #9
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by MChristenson View Post
    For example if somebody selects a frame and then selects a BB - we need to compare multiple thread params to check out if it will mate, they may or may not have this exact information but you get the idea, we need to know all the stuff that lets us determine if things belong together.
    Those aren't compatibility problems, that's just basic info - that any week old salesperson would know. There aren't "multiple thread params", modern frames are by vast majority english with a handful italian...

    If you want to see compatibility problems looks at the at least two threads on the first page of this forum that are actual compatibility problems. Someone wanting to put shimano cogs onto a sram cassette. Someone with a 9s drivetrain wondering about mixing in 10s upgrade.

    If your XML file answers questions like that i'd be surprised, and it'd be really useful.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Those aren't compatibility problems, that's just basic info - that any week old salesperson would know. There aren't "multiple thread params", modern frames are by vast majority english with a handful italian...
    Seriously... nowadays the vast majority of bike parts are cross-compatilble unless you start working on bizarro downhill mountain bike stuff like 20mm front axles and 12mm rear axles... and 1 1/2" tapered headsets, and BB30 bottom brackets. OK, so there's some weird stuff out there, but usually the manufacturers know which "standard" they're building to and explain which "special" parts are needed to make the bike work.

    It's not like the Bad Old Days when, on any given day, a bike with Italian or French or Swiss threads might come through the door and it's up to the mechanic to figure out what to get and where to get it. As Danno said, Sutherlands is a good source of info about bike "standards", but it still takes an experienced mechanic to know what fits where without modification, what can be made to fit, and what won't work at all.

    (After seeing a Nuvinci CVT hub adapted to the rear of a two-rear-wheel recumbent trike, I try to never say "never". Anything can be made to work if you throw enough resources at it.)

    I appreciate that you're trying to do this, but it's going to be very difficult and require a ton of labor for data maintenance. You cannot simply code the XML and walk away. If you do this, someone will come up with a something that doesn't fit into your coding schema and you'll need to add something (at best) or rethink everything (at worst).

    Just so you don't think I'm speaking out of my left ear: Danno and I met nearly 20 years ago at Bike'alog, which was an early project dedicated to bicycle information aggregation. It was primarily aimed at bike dealers who had some knowledge about mechanical issues, but less about parts sources and availablility. We built huge databases of bike parts and kept them up to date. Bike'alog is still going, but they've graduated from printed catalogs to floppy disks to CD's to online delivery.

    In a later career, I did some testing on configurator software for Chrome Systems . This is pretty close to what you're asking for: given a particular "model", what "options" can be chosen based on the rules set forth by the manufacturer. This isn't an easy job: it takes people with software smarts, people with domain knowledge (there's usually a specialist for each manfacturer), and people that combine the two. All of that requires a staff of 100 or so. What you're trying to do might be manageable with 8 to 10 people. I think... but I could be off by 50% either way.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  11. #11
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    Thanks 1000X for the posts here, and particularly for the last several that are addressing the issues we have head on. Jeff Wills Nailed it. These are from folks that have wrestled with the same issues. So I'm listening very carefully. And, yes, maintenance is the major goblin hanging over this effort.

    The way things have been structured should lend itself well to low maintenance. I'm pulling a lot of tricks out of my 30+ years of programming, and the language we are using has adopted very well to the task of writing what I am thinking will be an effective set of DSLs (domain specific language/ specialty languages/one might say "bike speak"). The DSLs in turn allow short sweet indenpendent little "scripts" to be linked into the system and fired by the hundreds, perhaps someday by the thousands. Our trick is that the scripts can be generated from real practicing Bicycle Experts. My job is to set up the mechanism for this. A part of that mechanism is that I am setting up "Helpers" classes to take any heavy computations / logic / programmer stuff out of the picture. The helper classes support "reflection" so if an expert is picking from the library of helpers he can see what is available. This keeps computations and involved logic in one place to be re-used. I think there will (only) be some 20 of these helpers. One has been all about gearing, another has been for IDs/ODs, and I was looking to add one for threads when all kinds of questions about "what are the real params" came up. Of course, from my perspective setting things up, the exception must be the rule, and I am even thinking some of the helpers will have application in other domains.

    We are looking to pick a core set of parts to begin with that we can expand outward from.... I'm not going to go into technical details here but essentially the result of what is being done is that the manufacturer will need to make a choice from pre-determined picklists for each part type. Marketing stuff can be tacked on but what we need to drive things can come from these lists imo. I'm really thinking several man months will suffice to kick off these lists which can grow from new submittals.

    I happen to have some pretty good experience with web-scraping but I think I would run from this project screaming if I thought I'd have to return to that problem ridden approach again. What I learned from that has led to this approach.

    Many thanks again!

    Michael

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