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  1. #1
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Long rant: We are all slaves to advertising

    In my search for a new road bike, the fact that Aerodynamics and weight are used as convenient excuses for the bicycle industry to convince us that we need to pay ridiculous prices for, insignificant, drop-in-the-bucket decreases in weight and drag has became glaringly obvious. The way that otherwise reasonable middle-class people who have mouths to feed and bills to pay will reach so deep into their pockets for an additional thousand dollars to get a wheel set that weighs a fraction of a pound less and has an extra 30 mm of rim depth while at the same time being far less durable, making stopping more difficult and generally increasing the chances that the rider will end up in an emergency room says a lot about the power of advertising.

    So much effort and money is spent tucking cables into frames because they block so much wind, and shaving every last gram at the expense of silly things like durability, comfort and proper fit. It’s almost as if they have forgotten that there is going to be a large mammal perched atop that bike and if he can’t feel his legs at the end of the race, he isn’t going to give a **** about the aerodynamics of a brake cable.

    The professionals work in wind tunnels with trainers, nutritionists, bike fitters and coaches and have already addressed the issues that matter most, like riding position and fitness, and they don’t have any more weight on their bodies than is necessary for creating the power needed for the kind of riding they do. Fabian Cancellara gets his bikes for free and he has already built the best engine he possibly can, so milking what little aero benefits he can out of some zip disk wheels makes sense for him, but the amateur who uses the same bike for time trails, road races in the wind, crits and hill climbs doesn’t need them. When the super-light and fragile derailleur on Cadel Evans’ climbing bike breaks, he tosses it in a bush and grabs a new one off the team car. When a cat-3’s derailleur breaks, his race is over. We don’t benefit from the same things the pros do. Why are we so fixated on trying to ride the same bikes?

    In mountain biking where professional racing is less publicized, they still manage to give us an artificial sense of need. My first Mountain bike had a 7 x 3 setup, and even then I had replaced the big ring with a bash guard. The idea that my bike needed more gearing options never crossed my mind. Nonetheless, the people at Shimano were kind enough to solve the problem that never existed, for a price of course, and we now we have 3x10 drive trains to take to the local races where plenty of single speeders will be happy to kick our asses.

    Ever see a decent 29er suspension fork with v-brake bosses? Of course not, you need disk brakes for more braking power to stop those bigger wheels right? Wrong, when you are functionally using the rim as your rotor, an increase in rim diameter means an increase braking power as with larger diameter disk rotor. Since the increase in distance between the fulcrum (hub) and the ground is the same as the increase in distance from the hub to the rim, V-brakes work exactly as well on a 29er as they do on a 26 inch rim. So why don’t they make 29er suspension forks that work with V-brakes? Probably because the same people who make the suspension forks also want to sell you disc brakes.
    Cat-3 Fred

  2. #2
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    Want to lose grams? Take them off the heaviest thing on the bike...it's engine.
    "There are many causes worth dying for. There are none worth killing for." Albert Camus

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    You don't don't have to listen..... I ride a 33 year old bike,it still works.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  4. #4
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    Hey! That was a very good "rant"! ...It's not only thought-provoking, but quite true!

    Loved it! It brings a refreshing air to the Bike Forums...

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 11-01-11 at 02:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    You don't don't have to listen..... I ride a 33 year old bike,it still works.
    right, but I do have to run disc brakes if I want a suspension fork on my 29er.
    Cat-3 Fred

  6. #6
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Somebody call a Waaaaambulance. Time is marching on and I don't like it.

  7. #7
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    Good rant. I think advertising works so well because it's so easy to do/think what someone else says we should. It's not just restricted to buying decisions - you see it at work ("this is the way we've always done it!"), on the news (extreme religious/political goings-on), on the internet ("why, sure, I'll definitely send this Nigerian price my bank account number"). But +1 to Booger1, no one can stop you from educating yourself and forming your own conclusions.

    After examining all the available options I've determined that it will be much more cost-effective to get a lighter version of that part that's just on top of the saddle - I could easily stand to lose 15lb there, and keep my $2000 for my retirement fund or something.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
    In my search for a new road bike, the fact that Aerodynamics and weight are used as convenient excuses for the bicycle industry to convince us that we need to pay ridiculous prices for, insignificant, drop-in-the-bucket decreases in weight and drag has became glaringly obvious. Why are we so fixated on trying to ride the same bikes?
    Because an Indy car or a NASCAR or a Funny Car costs too much? Even a Tesla costs too much. I can have almost the same bike setup as the pros at a fraction the cost of a Corvette, with more hours of fun and less fuel other than energy nutrition. I can get Rob Curtis to make me a nice wheelset with Enve rims, Alchemy hubs, Sapim CX-ray spokes, DT Swiss nipples and it just might cost less than some pre made wheels.

    Besides I can ride solo, or with the A Group or ride behind Mr Beanz on the SART.
    Last edited by Garfield Cat; 11-01-11 at 02:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Nice rant, but what's your point?

    None of this is new news, or bicycling specific. Business exist to take your money, and they work very hard at it by dreaming up goods and/or services and trying to convince you you either need or want them enough to part with the dough. This is the engine of progress.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Nice rant, but what's your point?

    None of this is new news, or bicycling specific. Business exist to take your money, and they work very hard at it by dreaming up goods and/or services and trying to convince you you either need or want them enough to part with the dough. This is the engine of progress.

    Here's my point: If business creating new products is the engine of progress, consumers are the drivers steering it in a given direction based on what we chose to buy. If we made our decisions based what would actually benefit our riding experience rather than on what Lance Armstrong is riding or what manufactures tell us we want, maybe demand wold force practical innovations that would better suit our needs.
    Cat-3 Fred

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    Its because buying a 2k+ bike and new wheelset to cut weight is easier than losing it yourself. I could save a few lbs if I had bought a carbon fiber bike or I can train my ass of lose a few pounds off of me and it be free. Hmmmm

  12. #12
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    I've never seen the point of shaving of fractions of grams from a bike, cramming n+1 sprockets onto the rear wheel etc. There's a point where the benefits of all these 'developments' are lost in the practical disadvantages. I use sensible wheels with a decent amount of spokes (I take 32 as a minimum for a realistic wheel) and ride a clunky, heavy 3-speed, which got me some strange looks on a recent charity ride. It didn't stop me sailing past people on far more expensive and fragile racing bikes though- 'aero' wheels and cable routing didn't help there. My other bike has a 5-speed freewheel, fairly generic derailleur etc, and guess what: it works just great. There's an odd situation with cycling that's somewhat like car manufacturers trying to sell everyone a formula 1 racing car.
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

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    I didn't bother reading most of your rant, because as soon as I saw you talking about skinny tires, I knew I was excluded.

    Here's my deal:
    1. I ride MTB, fat tires, cuz that's what I like. It's also rugged enough for my size.
    2. I ride full suspension, because I have a bad back and a hardtail beats me up, even with a suspension post.
    3. I'm looking at a Santa Cruz frame for my next one, because I like them.
    4. The only Shimano I will use is XTR cables, and front derailleurs. Maybe a crank......if I can find another Octalink.
    5. I don't really care what anyone else thinks about it; I'm the one riding it, you don't like it, don't ride with me.

    Now I'm done. C-YA.

  14. #14
    Senior Member hokie cycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
    Here's my point: If business creating new products is the engine of progress, consumers are the drivers steering it in a given direction based on what we chose to buy. If we made our decisions based what would actually benefit our riding experience rather than on what Lance Armstrong is riding or what manufactures tell us we want, maybe demand wold force practical innovations that would better suit our needs.
    Today's high priced innovations developed for the pros are tomorrow's standard equipment. Remember when cruise control and air conditioning were expensive options on a car? Today they're standard. Carbon fiber frames were cutting edge and for racers only and now they are available on mid level bikes. Today's mid level bikes are better than bikes that one the TdF 30 years ago.

    Do you have a problem with consumer demand determining what products businesses develop? What practical innovations are you talking about? Lighter frames, better wheels and components seem like a good idea to me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    No I am not a slave to advertaising. I don't give a **** about modern advertising and marketing , I can think for myself.. I ride a heavy SS/FG steel frames with high spoke count wheels...To hell with carbon fibre .. to hell with low spoke count wheels!!.. Just two days ago I pulled an old vintage road bike from a dumpster. I am repainting it and then converting it to a brakeless fixie. I know I know according to all the cycling experts out there I am doing it wrong.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    A lot of good point- no bad ones that I can see. In the U.S., most of us buy bikes for fun. The manufacturers are just giving us what we want- or what we think we want. I'll vote for more durable components and accept the weight penalty. Often the weight differential between two competing piece is about equal to a pair of sunglasses or a few Power bars.

    Technology has improved. My personal opinion is 3 x 8 is good for mountain and touring, 2 x 8,9 or 10 for road. Love V-brakes. Have my first set of discs on my rigid MTB. Like the set-and-forget factor.

    The three bikes I ride most are a Nashbar framed rigid MTB, a 30 year old Univega touring bike, and a 47 year old Schwinn Varsity converted to a 26" rimmed single speed coaster braked cruiser. I'm in the position that if I wanted to, I could get any bike I want, included a custom framed bike with the highest end components that are only available to astronauts.

    It would be stupid to fork out the bucks. Love my three riders.

    My buddy isgoing through hard times. He sold his higher-end road bike, had his FS MTB stolen. We found a GT Outpost from the 80's by the trash. Swapped out the busted 6 speed rear rim for a dumpster-sourced 7 speed item. A front shifter from one of my old bikes and two used tires from my pile completed the project. Total outlay: $8.00. It's a fun bike to ride. A lot more fun than than pouring over magazines looking at bikes we can't afford.
    Last edited by Flying Merkel; 11-01-11 at 07:13 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Somebody simply needs to look up Luddite. If a product is presented as an improvement and it doesn’t work people simply don’t buy it. Think Edsel or Subaru Baja. What other people need as opposed to what the Luddite believes they need are two different things. I was researching custom wheels or a custom hand built wheel set. I was willing to suffer through the explanation of why I needed more spokes and a wheel that was as heavy as the stock one I had replaced years ago. But I stopped the discussion when the Builder suggested a touring bike would last me longer that a road bike. I am sure it would have pasted me longer because I wouldn’t have wanted to ride the beast on any long hills.

    It wasn’t that 32-34-36 spokes and a steel touring bike was a bad bike it was because it wasn’t something I wanted. And that is the point; the manufacturers have to offer us what we want rather than what they think we want. If the industry doesn’t want to go the way of the record player manufacturers they have to advertise the things the “riders” are asking for. If a few or rather a minority of the riders simply can’t understand why so many have moved on from what they believe works to something better for them all that is left is to blame advertising for “fooling” the majority.
    The only thing missing from this rant was a walk down memory lane and talking about the good old days when all we had was 45 pound single speed bikes or maybe a 3 speed. Some of us don’t remember those days as good.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokie cycler View Post
    Do you have a problem with consumer demand determining what products businesses develop? What practical innovations are you talking about? Lighter frames, better wheels and components seem like a good idea to me.

    What I have a problem with is the way manufacturers have made so many of us into unknowing shills as we regurgitate information acquired from sources like cycling magazine (where even the articles are advertisements) as though they were facts. One example of a hypothetical practical innovation might be automated manufacturing processes that would allow for made-to-order custom frame sizing without the cost of having to pay for a week of labor time by a skilled fabricator. One example of a past innovation that I think truly was practical is the brifter; a move in the direction of simplification by consolidating the two functions into a single device. I also think being able to shift without taking the hands off of the brakes is quite an improvement and has probably prevented quite a good number of crashes. Lighter components are swell, but only where we aren’t making sacrifices in durability and added complication that are more detrimental than the weight savings are beneficial. The lost dependability is much more disruptive to a rider that doesn’t have a team car following with a mechanic to make on-the-fly adjustments and replacement bikes if need be.
    Cat-3 Fred

  19. #19
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    We aren't ALL slaves. I can build a nice durable wheel for $70 and could care less about the weight or upgrading if it is durable. My bikes are of good quality but nothing expensive.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    If the industry doesn’t want to go the way of the record player manufacturers they have to advertise the things the “riders” are asking for. If a few or rather a minority of the riders simply can’t understand why so many have moved on from what they believe works to something better for them all that is left is to blame advertising for “fooling” the majority.
    But take low/high spoke count wheels, for example. We are pushed more and more towards wheels with barely enough spokes to stay together, with at lot less durability to compensate, all because it's apparently more aerodynamic. The numbers involved are pretty much insignificant to anyone other than a racer, but apparently that's what everybody 'wants'. These wheels are not really better, and for practical maintenance purposes are worse. Same with fragile derailleurs that weigh a few grams less than another. They're priced higher and weigh less, so they must be better? Funny, I've never had a cheap derailleur fail to shift yet.

    Racers need these tiny improvements in performance because it matters, and the 'engine' is already as tuned as it can get. The average rider, on the other hand, won't see a significant improvement except from maybe a placebo effect. Improving fitness and losing weight (the rider's) has far more of an effect.

    I remember reading a response to a post a while ago about the weight difference/ performance benefits of various components, which went something like 'You'll gain more performance by taking a healthy dump before you go riding.'

    Let no one accuse me of being a luddite, though. There are true innovations which make the cyclist's life easier, brifters being one of them. Downtube shifters are all well and good, but arranging the shifters on the handlebar seems a better option. There's no point in adding expense and complexity if it doesn't bring about results though.
    Last edited by Monster Pete; 11-02-11 at 04:23 AM.
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

  21. #21
    Senior Member hokie cycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
    What I have a problem with is the way manufacturers have made so many of us into unknowing shills as we regurgitate information acquired from sources like cycling magazine (where even the articles are advertisements) as though they were facts. One example of a hypothetical practical innovation might be automated manufacturing processes that would allow for made-to-order custom frame sizing without the cost of having to pay for a week of labor time by a skilled fabricator. One example of a past innovation that I think truly was practical is the brifter; a move in the direction of simplification by consolidating the two functions into a single device. I also think being able to shift without taking the hands off of the brakes is quite an improvement and has probably prevented quite a good number of crashes. Lighter components are swell, but only where we aren’t making sacrifices in durability and added complication that are more detrimental than the weight savings are beneficial. The lost dependability is much more disruptive to a rider that doesn’t have a team car following with a mechanic to make on-the-fly adjustments and replacement bikes if need be.
    So you like some improvements but not others. As an educated consumer, you can make the decision on what to buy and no one has a *** to your head. This is the free market system,

  22. #22
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    It's Just A "Long Rant" Rant...

    The OP has some very good points, I think. Within any given population, there are going to be more followers than leaders. That's just a statistical fact. Followers are more susceptible to suggestion and guidance than leaders. Since most leaders aren't naturally endowed with genius, there are times when they too feel influenced by suggestion.

    I say, that education is key. The more highly informed a population, the more people will be inclined to make independent decisions. The more independent decision-making that members of a population make, the more they acquire leadership skills. A more educated and highly informed population will produce the best leaders, and will be less vulnerable to marketing techniques and "con games".
    However, as a population existing during modern times, it's imperative that we all know just exactly what we're up against. We're at the mercy of the highly educated. People go to centers of education for the expressed and singular purpose, of focusing their studies upon various methods of attracting consumers to a particular commodity. Those methods are discussed in the bulk of most marketing courses. Those students are all required to take psychology for a reason. Advertising is an integral part of modern marketing schemes. Advertisers have a way of increasing your thirst, when you're not thirsty. Where there once was no desire, there will now be insatiable yearning. The power of suggestion reigns supreme, and we humans fall victim to masterful designs in advertising by the droves. It's all just a small portion of a marketing scheme.

    Sometimes, what the people want and demand, is exactly what the people have been told to want and demand. If you study a watch or a time-piece long enough, you'll eventually learn exactly what makes it tick. Psychology is the medium in which human behavior is studied. It has now become a tool used to attract consumers and increase the wealth of business.

    Nobody needs to put a *** to your head when they exercise adequate control of your personal desires and choices.

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 11-02-11 at 10:49 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    The OP has some very good points, I think. Within any given population, they're going to be more followers than leaders. That's just a statistical fact. Followers are more susceptible to suggestion and guidance than leaders. Since most leaders aren't naturally endowed with genius, they're times when they too feel influenced by suggestion.

    I say, that education is key. Nobody needs to put a *** to your head when they exercise adequate control of your personal desires and choices.

    - Slim
    Education and the desire for truth. Or as philosophers say, the love of truth. When people are informed, their next step is to have critical thinking abilities. In the olden days, you go to college to learn to think. Nowadays, you go to college to "get ahead".

  24. #24
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
    Here's my point: If business creating new products is the engine of progress, consumers are the drivers steering it in a given direction based on what we chose to buy. If we made our decisions based what would actually benefit our riding experience rather than on what Lance Armstrong is riding or what manufactures tell us we want, maybe demand wold force practical innovations that would better suit our needs.
    It's kind of a democratic process. Everybody decides what's important and what they want and gets to vote with their money. What you see in advertising and products is a result of this voting. Don't blame the industry, blame the consumers.

  25. #25
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    The OP has some very good points, I think. Within any given population, they're going to be more followers than leaders.
    There is not a person on this forum that is not a follower……..Period!

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