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Old 02-09-03, 08:27 PM   #1
Cadillac
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Survey of best bike features

In your opinion, what are the five best improvement in bicycles? These are in alphabetical order, so choose the number beside the item. If you want a feature not on the list, choose 99 and write it out.
1. 100-120 psi tires vs 75 psi tires
2. 10 speed vs 3-speed internal
3. 15-18 speed vs 10 speed
4. 23/25x700 tires vs 1.75 x 27" tires
5. aero-bars vs standard bars
6. alloy cranks vs steel cranks
7. alloy rims vs steel rims
8. allen screws vs phillips screws
9. aluminum frame vs chro-moly frame
10. anatomic saddles vs plastic generic saddles
11. bar-end shifters vs down-tube shifters
12. battery-powered lights vs tire-generator lights
13. bike computers vs pocket watch
14. cageless bearings vs caged bearings
15. cantilever brakes vs other types
16. carbon forks vs steel forks
17. cassette freehub vs freewheel
18. center-pull brakes vs other types
19. chrome-moly frame vs old steel frame
20. chro-moly frame vs aluminum frame
21. clipless pedals vs clips & straps
22. clips & straps vs platform
23. color variety vs 3 basic colors
24. cotterless cranks vs cotter cranks
25. derailleur system vs internal 3-speed
26. disc brakes vs rim brakes
27. disc wheels vs wire wheels
28. down-tube shifters vs stem shifters
29. down-turn handlebars vs horizontal handlebars
30. drum brakes vs rim brakes
31. dual pivot brakes vs other types
32. electronic bike computers vs tire driven speedos
33. exotic frame materials vs other frame material
34. friction shifting vs index shifting
35. gel-saddles or covers vs leather saddles
36. hub-powered lights vs battery-powered lights
37. index shifting vs friction shifting
38. integrated brake-shifters vs other shifters
39. leather saddles vs plastic generic saddles
40. modern bike geometry vs old style geometry
41. modern seatposts vs hollow steel posts
42. no safety brakes vs safety brakes (these were at 90 degrees from the regular brakes)
43. presta valve vs shraeder valve
44. quick release skewers vs bolts and nuts
45. side-pull brakes vs other types
46. shock absorbers vs no shock absorbers
47. shraeder valve vs presta valve
48. spinergy spoke wheels vs wire 3-cross wheels
49. thin chains vs thicker chains
50. tire driven speedos vs odometer clickers
51. water bottle braze-on vs strap-on cages
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Old 02-09-03, 08:31 PM   #2
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23. for sure.
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Old 02-09-03, 09:48 PM   #3
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2. 10 speed vs 3-speed internal
22. clips & straps vs platform
44. quick release skewers vs bolts and nuts
46. shock absorbers vs no shock absorbers
15. cantilever brakes vs other types

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Old 02-09-03, 10:34 PM   #4
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I'd say most of those are improvements, but I've seen too many Spinergy wheels with bad cassette bodies so I disagree with 48.
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Old 02-10-03, 04:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cadillac
23. color variety vs 3 basic colors
Quote:
Originally posted by urban_assault
23. for sure.
Quote:
Originally posted by Henry Ford
Any color you want, as long as its black!
Thank you for posting this thread, Cadillac.
It reminds me that we have much to be happy about.
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Old 02-10-03, 04:59 AM   #6
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I can't believe nobody said 25. The derailler versus the internal 3 speed. You'd be walking up the hills otherwise. Or maybe we'd all just be stronger?
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Old 02-10-03, 06:54 AM   #7
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2 then 1 and 4

What's the difference between 2 and 25?

I like a lot of the other stuff, but these seem critical.

Joe

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Old 02-10-03, 06:55 AM   #8
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Somebody obviously has too much time on their hands......
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Old 02-10-03, 08:15 AM   #9
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1,7,9,21,25 ad 99-lite frame vs heavy frame,or number 9 i guess.
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Old 02-10-03, 09:51 AM   #10
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Hub gears get a bum rap from some people. In their day, it was 3 hub gears or 3 derailleur gears.
Modern Rohloff hub gears have up to 14 separate gears, which is more than some 3x8speed systems.
For riding around flattish towns, 3speed systems are still very useful.
The biggest improvement I can think of is Kevlar banded tyre vs one without.
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Old 02-10-03, 01:29 PM   #11
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The tire one is a good one.
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Old 02-11-03, 02:28 AM   #12
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My picks 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 24, 26, 44, 46, 51 and 99. Opticube LED lights vs halogen.
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Old 02-11-03, 08:54 AM   #13
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I say Yes to all of the prime numbered questions, no to the rest.

BTW, no questions about eyelets/braze-ons?
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Old 02-11-03, 09:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I say Yes to all of the prime numbered questions, no to the rest.

BTW, no questions about eyelets/braze-ons?
Aren't 43 and 47 both prime?
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Old 02-12-03, 12:02 PM   #15
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2, 8, 18, 26, 39, and 44.

I'm old enough to remember the changes caused by some of these items hitting the mass market. There's quite an evolution that has taken place through time. Center-pull brakes were a huge impact when they came out. Reliable stopping power!!
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Old 02-12-03, 06:44 PM   #16
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I wouldn't say that #9 is an improvement

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Old 02-15-03, 03:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by lotek
I wouldn't say that #9 is an improvement
9 isn't a prime number, either
You're right, though. The aluminum frame is not a major step in the evolution of the bicycle. It's more likely to be an evolutionary cul de sac, although I admit to having an aluminum frame bike which I like it quite a bit.

The original question was: "what are the five best improvement in bicycles?", and there's no way I'd put the aluminum frame on my list.
Quote:
Originally posted by LET
I'm old enough to remember the changes caused by some of these items hitting the mass market. There's quite an evolution that has taken place through time.
I'm old enough to remember all of them. When I started riding, bicycles with gears were virtually unkown, as were bicycle with narrow tires. So that's where I'd start my list...

#1 Narrow tires - even more important than gears. The first narrow tire bike I had was a single speed bicycle with a coaster brake. Going from the balloon tire bikes I was familiar with to a narrow tire bike was the biggest single improvement in bicycle performance I have ever experienced. All the changes that have occured since are minor in comparison.

#2 Gears - The first gears I ever had on a bicycle involved the 3-speed hub. It was quite an improvement, but if I had to choose between a bike with balloon tires and gears, or a narrow tire bike without gears, I'd take the bike without gears any day.
Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelW
Hub gears get a bum rap from some people. In their day, it was 3 hub gears or 3 derailleur gears.
In it's day, the 3-speed hub was a major improvement. The 10-speed was a big thing when it came along but, in reality, only a minor improvement over the bikes with 3-speed hubs.

Quote:
Originally posted by LET
Center-pull brakes were a huge impact when they came out. Reliable stopping power!!
Oh, indeed! So that has to be...
#3 Center-pull brakes
In the early days of hand brakes the simple truth was that they didn't work. Coaster brakes were much more reliable. Even though they worked on the rear wheels, and the physics wasn't entirely correct, coaster brakes were reliable and predictable. About all that was predictable about the early hand brakes was that they weren't worth diddly.

So..., to continue in the braking theme:
#4 Aluminum rims - Good Googily moogily! After years of experimentation, hand brakes actually worked!!! Center-pull brakes plus aluminum rims = hand brakes that would actually stop a bicycle. Now that was an improvement.

To this point I've used 4 of my "top 5" improvements and none of them have involved derailleurs, index shifting, shock absorbers, color choices or cyclo-computers. #5 won't involve shock absorbers, because they're too specialized. And #5 won't involve color choices (I still like black or white) or cyclo-computers, because the first is just window dressing, and the second is just a gadget. So that means #5 will involve derailleur shiftng in some way. But what way?

Truthfully, none of the improvements in derailleur shifting, taken alone, was particularly significant but, taken together, they are very significant. So that's

#5 Improvements in derailleur shifting (this includes index shifting, narrow chains, more gears and greater reliability) But, even taken together, these improvements are considerably less important than improvements #1 thru #4.

All in all, today's bikes are a lot better than the bikes I started with. And they're still a fantastic value.

Last edited by JRA; 02-15-03 at 03:17 AM.
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