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Bike trends have officially entered the ugly era

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Bike trends have officially entered the ugly era

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Old 07-10-18, 06:29 PM
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The lack of 'beauty' in modern road bikes seems attributable to the CF materials, not a lack of design ethos. In order to build safe, 15 lb bikes that meet strict performance specs, manufacturers all have to build these rather fugly, rounded, webbed pasta noodle designs. If they could make an equally safe, fast, light frame that looks like it was built in the 70s-80s, they would.

Much of the ugliness is the excessive branding our culture seems to willingly embrace. Crap, I remember cutting the Levi tag off my jeans.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
I find this kind of thinking pretty odd. I'm a vintage guy but having worked as a mechanic in a shop selling new bikes and parts and having built quite a few, both stock and custom, my experience has been that the sheer majority of modern components are well-made, reliable, and interchangeable. Especially when talking the big guys, Shimano, SRAM, etc... Do you have any examples to back up your conclusion?

The only thing I can think of that you might be referring to is indexing systems not working with each other. But that has existed since the 80s. Or long pull vs short pull brakes. Early 90s.
You know those spacers that come with Shimano 10 speed cassettes? Those were because there was on Dura Ace wheel that would only work without them.

Shimano now has brakes that won't work with previous road levers properly.

Tiagra 10 speed is incompatible with parts from previous 10 speed groups.

Shimano 11 speed requires new hubs, instead of building the cassettes the way they did with the 10 speed - an overhang.

Campy 5 chainrings with one offset bolt.

Shimano shifters that don't work with other brands of housing (7900).

BBRight

Licensing Octalink cranks to other crank companies, but not the BBs.

Proprietary aluminum spokes.

Front derailleurs that come with compact groups that won't reach low enough from a braze on.

Bike companies that recommend tires their bikes can't fit.

Proprietary fork steerer sizes that aren't supported.

Proprietary derailleur hangers that aren't supported.



Imagine being unable to ride your 6 year old $5000 frame because the delicate derailleur hanger is no longer available.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:49 PM
  #78  
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My 13.5 lb bike is a tool for the job of keeping pace with guys much younger than me. Not my favorite to ride, but it is a good bit faster than my classic rides (which I do enjoy). As for looks, it reminds me of a SR-71 whereas my older bikes seem more P-51ish...
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Old 07-10-18, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
The lack of 'beauty' in modern road bikes seems attributable to the CF materials, not a lack of design ethos. In order to build safe, 15 lb bikes that meet strict performance specs, manufacturers all have to build these rather fugly, rounded, webbed pasta noodle designs. If they could make an equally safe, fast, light frame that looks like it was built in the 70s-80s, they would.

Much of the ugliness is the excessive branding our culture seems to willingly embrace. Crap, I remember cutting the Levi tag off my jeans.
Colnago still makes lugged frames, but now they are carbon fiber, with old school type tube look.

While the 12 corporate logos on my Culprit may be a bit excessive, (Ok they are excessive), I would no more think of removing them any more than I would remove the lovely brass head badge or the quaint porcelain enameled logo on my Legnano. They are all part of the overall concept and integrity of the design. Future collectors will appreciate having them there. A friend with the same model Culprit I ride, sanded the logos off, leaving rough sandpaper scratches on the bare carbon fiber. Dumb, really, but no branding.

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Old 07-10-18, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
My 13.5 lb bike is a tool for the job of keeping pace with guys much younger than me. Not my favorite to ride, but it is a good bit faster than my classic rides (which I do enjoy). As for looks, it reminds me of a SR-71 whereas my older bikes seem more P-51ish...
I understand this and agree, every few years I buy a wizzbang carbon bike and sell it in a year as it just did not work it's way into my weekly rotation. I do however love better being able to keep up with the kids.
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Old 07-10-18, 10:48 PM
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Just so surprising to see supposed C&V enthusiasts who sing the praises of the new. At the LBS the other day ran into the former product manager for that big bike company -- you know the one from Chicago? I think they made vintage bikes or something. The mere mention of Shimano in his presence was not a good idea. Because his old employer provided a lot of support for the bikes they sold and support for riders and shops and the community. Shimano never did any of that. Shimano made it hard for a manufacturer to do any of that. Can't stock parts if the manufacturer doesn't have them. Kontact's examples above don't even scratch the surface and it was like that from the beginning. It was never different. And the former PM is still riding his bike. His old bike. And still remembers old acquaintances, even distant acquaintances, and treats everyone right.

If you do fast group rides and take pulls at 50kph and 55kph and need 65kph to stay in the front group in the sprint you are riding a new bike. If I were still able to do that I'd be on a new bike too. Wouldn't make sense to risk an old and irreplaceable bike. Although an old bike could do it, because they did it when they were new. And if you are a small step faster than that you get your bikes given to you.

If fast group ride means you get together with some friends and ride 100k in three hours or so there is not even one advantage to a new bike. How many ride faster than that anyway? If you aren't spending extended amounts of time above 45kph a vintage bike does everything as well or better than the new stuff. How is anyone convinced you can't ride a bike unless it is new? The new bikes are aero, which makes a difference when going very fast. The pedals are perceived as convenient. Shifting can be done without thinking, which may or may not be an advantage. If you must, you can put the new pedals on the old bike. The rest only matters to racers.

Creaking press fit BBs. Press fit BBs at all. Center drilled rims. Infinitely non-interchangeable hubs and rims and spokes. Spokes that never exist as service parts. Cassettes that scream like banshees. Paying money to be 'fitted'.

You can have it in any color you like, so long as it is matte black.
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Old 07-11-18, 12:15 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I hear what you're saying, but I don't find anything wrong with black paint. @RiddleOfSteel 's flat black/white decals/chrome lugged Paramount looks great to me. I tried to find pics from his original post, maybe they're blocked here at work?

I really don't like black anodized parts. It's a personal thing from working at an LBS. Every time we'd have a bike with lots of black anodizing on it there would invariably be a scratch on it. We had various anodization pens to cover them up and hoped no one would notice.
Back with the old system, I had FB host my images and then poof, they were gone, including all the Paramount ones. I've been meaning to update them under this new system, but will happily provide a satin/matte black vintage bicycle of utmost repute:

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Old 07-11-18, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
While the 12 corporate logos on my Culprit may be a bit excessive, (Ok they are excessive), I would no more think of removing them any more than I would remove the lovely brass head badge or the quaint porcelain enameled logo on my Legnano.
Hey, no problem. I quite like the look of your bike, it's understated stealth when compared to many other garish nightmares on the market. I'm still glad I no longer have to embrace the new look of modern tech in order to stay in the pack.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:01 AM
  #84  
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Colnago still builds lugged steel frames. They use the same old build methods they have always used.


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Old 07-11-18, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I hear what you're saying, but I don't find anything wrong with black paint. @RiddleOfSteel 's flat black/white decals/chrome lugged Paramount looks great to me. I tried to find pics from his original post, maybe they're blocked here at work?

I really don't like black anodized parts. It's a personal thing from working at an LBS. Every time we'd have a bike with lots of black anodizing on it there would invariably be a scratch on it. We had various anodization pens to cover them up and hoped no one would notice.
I can give on some black paint. The black spokes... I cannot budge. Black rims... OK if it's some coating that strengthens the rims.
I love stainless spokes, silver. Black Anodizing is ...stupid. Favorite bike is white. I think white and silver spokes are safer anyway.... cars can see it better.
When did all this blackout start happening? 1990?
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Old 07-11-18, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I can give on some black paint. The black spokes... I cannot budge. Black rims... OK if it's some coating that strengthens the rims.
I love stainless spokes, silver. Black Anodizing is ...stupid. Favorite bike is white. I think white and silver spokes are safer anyway.... cars can see it better.
When did all this blackout start happening? 1990?
Black anodized parts go in and out of style. Right now it's on an upswing. I was working in an LBS in the early 80's when there was a rash of it. That was probably the first go-around, I don't recall seeing it much if at all before then.

It's just a fashion. Since there's no accounting for taste, I wouldn't call it stupid, but the "all scratches on aluminum parts are silver colored" means it looks scratched up long before an unanodized or cosmetic anodized rim will look bad.

BTW, black anodizing is just a hard anodization with a dye. Anodization is just aluminum oxide (ceramic), which is stiffer than the base aluminum alloy material, however, the thickness is infinitismal relative to the bulk aluminum alloy underneath it (when we're talking about bicycle rims). It doesn't make it stronger.

Not that it matters, but Jobst Brandt wrote something on this. He's got a good argument that hard anodization of rims make them potentially weaker.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:44 AM
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"Black anodization pens"???.......
Uhmmmmm......, we call those "Sharpies" at our house.......
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Old 07-11-18, 10:48 AM
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What I mean by stupid....Black anodized stem with scratches needs the Sharpie...... silver anodized or bare... just polish it out.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
"Black anodization pens"???.......
Uhmmmmm......, we call those "Sharpies" at our house.......
Yep, I was waiting for someone to catch that!

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Old 07-11-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
What I mean by stupid....Black anodized stem with scratches needs the Sharpie...... silver anodized or bare... just polish it out.
Yep.
High maintenance.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:57 AM
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While most colored anodizing comes from dies, "hard anodizing" is naturally dark gray and much thicker/harder than the regular stuff. The Mavic rims in the '80s that were a dark brown/grey weren't dyed that color. The surface hardness of hard anodizing is similar to hardened steel and even acts as a insulator helping prevent galvanic corrosion.

I personally don't mind using rims with anodized brake tracks - they look worn, but you get more life out of them from having to wear through the anodized layer.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
What I mean by stupid....Black anodized stem with scratches needs the Sharpie...... silver anodized or bare... just polish it out.
In my experience, it is much harder to actually scratch hard anodized stuff, and silver anodized stuff is a different color silver than what you get when you try to polish out the scuff. To my eyes, the silver is more likely to look bad from the same amount of wear.

But you can strip all the anodizing off down to bare metal and it looks similar to the silver anodized part - just never quite the same.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:36 AM
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I'm not into road bikes and I actually like the general design of a lot of modern city bikes. What bothers me is the lack of design of parts, like there's just been an engineer calculating strength and material cost, and didn't bother with the aesthetics at all. Or at least they didn't bother to make clear design choices, like let's make this rectangular, or make this rounded, no, they do something in between which is almost always ugly. It's not just bikes though, since the eighties it seems designers in general were forced to compromise.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:40 AM
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IME at about 200 watts you can easily pick up a half mph (probably more) on a modern bike with aero (50mm) wheels and a shaped downtube. 200 watts is probably just shy of a 3 hour metric century on a modern bike for my body. You donít need to ride 25mph plus to get tangible aero benefits and to me a half mph is tangible.

Ride whatever you like (as I usually do) but for me my vintage stuff is for riding on the relaxed side of things. As for looks it is like trying to compare a P51 to an SR71. Both are cool but different.
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Old 07-11-18, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
IME at about 200 watts you can easily pick up a half mph (probably more) on a modern bike with aero (50mm) wheels and a shaped downtube. 200 watts is probably just shy of a 3 hour metric century on a modern bike for my body. You donít need to ride 25mph plus to get tangible aero benefits and to me a half mph is tangible.

Ride whatever you like (as I usually do) but for me my vintage stuff is for riding on the relaxed side of things. As for looks it is like trying to compare a P51 to an SR71. Both are cool but different.
Yeah, I think that's a pretty reasonable approach.
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Old 07-11-18, 02:14 PM
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After stripping and polishing many anodized components, I noticed that anodizing hardness/strength is different from component to component, with some really easy to take off and others seemingly as hard as diamonds..... You can also see that just from how well component finish survives through the years, like how a lot of Campy higher model stuff really retain their finish quality, even after a lot of years of hard use, while anodizing on other brand components like...Uhmmm..... Roval aero rim black anodizing that seem to scratch off just when you breath on them......
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Old 07-11-18, 02:27 PM
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I'm 70 years old. I am building a "96 Cannondale SC600. It's going to be all Campy carbon/black. I'm starting to warm up to carbon fiber but I refuse to use a 4 arm crank.

I also have stashed enough Columbus tubed Italian frames and polished Campagnolo bits to see me through.

When I die, bury me with my Colnago Masterlite with red Decor paint and polished Campy Record..

I will rest in peace.

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Old 07-11-18, 03:47 PM
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One of the trends that I find off-putting (AKA ugly) is sloped or curved or slope and curved top tubes. They're a trend like fins on a car. Different yet dumb. Curved tubes merely add to the cost of the frame without adding any benefit. Plus they negate the possibility of installing a frame pump or using a carrier that depends on having a straight and level top tube. Please spare me the "Oh, haven't you heard of CO2?" question. Yes, I've been carrying CO2 flat repair solutions since the day they were invented but I also have learned that while cylinders can be depleted, a proper pump never is. And, yeah, stop asking to use my pump to spare your cylinders. You're all big boys now.
A diamond frame, one that actually looks like a diamond, has classic appeal that never gets old and sings pure function which is the essence of a bicycle. Adding art (unless it's a silver brazed, hand-filed lug) by bending tubes for no good reason and soon enough you it's no longer an efficient machine but some odd set of pipes connected to bike parts.
And whoever said that seat stays can't meet the seat tube where the top tube is? The bigger and more integrated the triangle lines, the stronger and stiffer the frame. That's a structural tenet. Why bother with finding stiffer material when you're throwing away perfectly good engineering? And what's with the skinny, non-existent top tube thing going on? Just another design gimmick that costs money and doesn't do anything.
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Old 07-11-18, 06:00 PM
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Remember, by tomorrow's standards, my Spanish-built '04 Orca is a vintage bike, ...someday it'll be an antique.

[/QUOTE]

By tomorrow's standards, todays carbon fiber bikes and components will certainly become vintage and then antique. Sort of like a lot of things do.

I personally don't care for modern bike designs compared to 20+ years ago. Maybe it's because I became serious about bicycles in 1980 and am stuck in that frame of mind. Delicately sized round tubes in the classic double diamond, lugged frame.

What really bothers me about current bikes and components is the carbon fiber. When carbon fiber as a bike frame material was still in it's infancy and being debated as a better choice than steel or aluminum, I read everything I could about it in bike magazines and figured I'd eventually get one. Then one day I went into a bike shop and they had a section of a CF bottom bracket cut out on display. I was stunned. It was only plastic. It made me think of those big wheel plastic tricycles the little kids used to have and I was immediately turned off of CF. It seemed sacrilegious to me. I like my bikes to clink with a metallic sound when I flick the frame with my finger, and to wear shiny components.

Bicycling is supposed to be good for the environment, and riding a bike, instead of something fossil fueled, certainly is. As it is healthier for the human body also.

BUT, think about this. All of those carbon fiber bicycle frames, wheels, components, and accessories are going to be sitting in landfills and garbage dumps for generations to come. And that's on us. Now. In this present moment. I can take an old metal frame or wheel or component to the local metal recycling center and keep my stuff from suffocating our home planet, and get a few bucks as well. I can't do that with carbon fiber. And that's tragic in my opinion. For that reason, I won't buy anything bike related made out of CF. I know there are a lot of other things made out of CF so I'm not just blaming the cycling industry, but I avoid it at all costs no matter what benefits it may have.

I have a fantasy that the entire bicycle industry will take the lead on CF recycling.....Pro racing teams (think how much CF equipment they go through in a year!), bike manufacturers, bike shops. Working together to set up the collection of CF bikes that would otherwise end up in a garbage dump, and get them to CF recycling centers. Set up their own CF recycling centers since CF is the new steel and aluminum, and not going away any time soon.

I wrote to Leonard Zinn a few years ago about CF recycling and he used my letter in his internet column on Earth Day. At the time he said there weren't any CF recycling centers, but 2 people replied that they knew of one. At this point in time, if any, they are extremely few and far between and not as accessible as metal recycling is in many communities. We need to change that.

Yes, Carbon Fiber bikes will become vintage and then antique, whether they're in someone's garage or attic, or not rotting away in a dump or landfill.

Apologies if my rant seems off topic, but I thought it to be relevant.
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Old 07-11-18, 06:26 PM
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I'm not a supposed C&V "enthusiast" since all of my old bikes have become C and/or V by attrition having been built when new by me for a specific purpose a while ago and have remained in service since.
All that have survived were raced when new and like all race bikes should be considered disposable due to the nature of competition. If one is not willing to toss a machine and one's self down the pavement at considerable speed with certain inevitable consequences it would be best to not pin on a number, line up and have at it. Keeping some survivors may be sentimental or frugal since a fixed gear conversion, a town bike and a winter/wet bike are all useful they remain in service in different roles today. I don't still ride them because they are old but despite it.

Having said all that by replacing machines over several generations of design I now have an obsolescent CF Merckx that simply does everything that a road bike is required to do better than any machine that I've owned with no lack of reliability or excessive maintenance. Is it "pretty"? It's pretty fast and helps to get me up and over the most challenging local terrain at pace that quite frankly I wouldn't care to tackle again on my '74 International restored to period race spec.

As always, suit yourself.

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