I came across this picture of Maurice Garin, the first Tour de France, and winner in 1903. His bike is what got my attention. It looks to be a fixed gear no brake bike, just like fixie bikes of today. Not much change in almost 110 years. Compare the bike Garin rode in the tdf with the one Eddy Merckx rode seventy years later in 1973. I see very little difference, both fixed gear no brakes. Why anyone would want to come down the side of a mountain with no brakes is beyond me. I seen a picture of a 1903 bike with brakes, so it was not that they had not been invented yet and they certainly had high quality brakes by 1973, when Merckx rode.
I don’t really have a point here, just wanted to share some thoughts. If I had a point it would be that be that if you have a good design to start with it is hard to improve much on it.
maurice-garin (1) by Tomas Poblete, on Flickr
Mautice Garin 1903
Joop Zoetemelk en Eddy Merckx schudden elkaar de hand/ Joop Zoetemelk en Eddy Merckx shaking hands by Nationaal Archief, on Flickr
Eddy Mercky 1973