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Why are modern components black?

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Why are modern components black?

Old 01-31-20, 01:55 PM
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Chris Chicago
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Why are modern components black?

every crankset campy and sram sells and every shimano except the dura ace track are black. all the bikes I saw on both specialized and trek websites...black components

any insight on why is there no longer much mainstream silver ?
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Old 01-31-20, 01:59 PM
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It is much cheaper to paint parts black than to polish them. Saves a ton of money.
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Old 01-31-20, 02:00 PM
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Why are hifi components black? Why are so many cars black these days? I trace this whole "black is the new silver" thing back to Darth Vader. When he appeared, black suddenly became cool. I think it's been way overdone though. The biggest problem with black is that the second it gets dirty it looks terrible.
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Old 01-31-20, 02:12 PM
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"I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes."
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Old 01-31-20, 02:40 PM
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Mick remote viewing an LBS 50 years in the future:
"I see a line of bikes and they're all painted black,
No matter anyway, the frames are doomed to crack...."

Granted, a few of my C&V bikes have black components, and were spec'ed that way. But at least back then, there was some choice, some variety. All the more reason not to want modern kit on your old bike.
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Old 01-31-20, 02:49 PM
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There's merit in the cost concession argument. However, also consider that top end components are made of carbon fibre, which is black. Consequently, black has become the colour associated with high end components. If you want to boost the sales of lower end bicycles with aluminum or even steel components, you spec components with a black finish.
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Old 01-31-20, 02:56 PM
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Bikes are going goth, 40 years late. I dislike it.
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Old 01-31-20, 02:58 PM
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Just looked - Campagnolo Potenza is available in silver- note even then some elements are black. Not shown, but mentioned in the official site pages.

who stocks silver at a decent price? Have not looked lately- the set appears decent.
an acquaintance is planning on building up a new lugged frame and using that set.
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Old 01-31-20, 03:37 PM
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People think black looks cool just like in the 80's, and black is even more of a status symbol now because carbon fiber is black. Aluminum can be painted or anodized black more easily than carbon can be painted tacky silver, and due to the prestige of carbon, it's aluminum that wants to imitate carbon, not the other way around. There's also an increasing number of plastic parts, so those end up black by default just like a Simplex Prestige unless they're painted silver, which happens sometimes with Shimano.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:07 PM
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I agree with the additional points made that part of the reason for black is because of its association with carbon fiber. If you paint those cheap to midrange components black, they look like the might be carbon. Also, it's just fashion. However, I would argue that the component and bike companies play a big role in driving what becomes fashionable.

I'll stick by my initial explanation that cost was the original driving factor. Shimano and others started experimenting with painted components in the late 80s (roughly) primarily to save polishing costs. They were typically gray though, not black.

Going back another decade or two, there was some black going on in the 70s. We think now everything was all silver but it wasn't. Black was somewhat rare, and definitely associated with high end. The mid level was still pretty much all silver. In the high end, some of Campagnolo's competitors had some black components to make their gruppos look a little more trick. I'm talking about Dura Ace, Zeus, Galli, (some) Stronglight, et al. Certainly black rims when first available were seen as just insanely exotic. Martano blacks, Mavic SSC and even GP4's were introduced in the late 70s, but were highly unusual. The first black rims I saw - not counting old roadsters - were the Martano blacks that were originally on my '78 Masi. This is why a few years later in the 80s, bike companies started spec'ing black rims for everything. It made bikes seem to be higher end than they were. And here we are.

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Old 01-31-20, 04:11 PM
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Old 01-31-20, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
There's merit in the cost concession argument. However, also consider that top end components are made of carbon fibre, which is black. Consequently, black has become the colour associated with high end components. If you want to boost the sales of lower end bicycles with aluminum or even steel components, you spec components with a black finish.
I had hoped for a more romantic reason ...

I'm afraid you're right, though.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:14 PM
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Why are modern components black?

Another justification provided us by the c&v gods to not give a ****.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
I had hoped for a more romantic reason ...

I'm afraid you're right, though.
It does explain why all those top shelf black quill stems were so cheap compared to their polished counterparts, and why they were so undesirable during the period and everyone hated those ugly super record knuckles which looked just like simplex prestige knuckles. Or maybe black just looked cool back then. Other painted finishes are similarly cheap. Campy had some tacky silver painted components I think, Shimano has had tons of silver painted parts over the years. Early example is the champagne 105. Even their current production silver 105 has silver painted plastic. Shimano also has a rather frustrating range of grays for their lower end groups to prevent mixing and matching. It turns out silver paint looks really awful compared to black though. It's also not always just cost, sometimes the silver versions cost just as much and sometimes it's black anodization which is no cheaper.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:31 PM
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Just the Henry Ford syndrome. Any color you want.. as long as it's black.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:33 PM
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Those of us who have been through a few marketing cycles understand that these things go in waves. I hated when black anodization became a thing when I worked at a bike shop. When a black part gets scratched, it's a silver colored scratch. When a clear anodized part gets scratched, it's silver on silver.

Polished aluminum (not anodized) is real pretty until it starts oxidizing. I've pulled and repolished my grillion dollar Compass Rene Herse cranks a couple of times in the past 6 years to repolish them.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:45 PM
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It's just this Goth thing..... ya know....
Heck!, even bike socks went black.....we're done for!....
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Old 01-31-20, 04:54 PM
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When hifi was silver, nothing matched closely. Every rack was different. Then, Marantz and Pioneer had to go gold. And Denon...then Harmon Kardon...the horrors.

Then it all went black, and of course some had to go charcoal, Technics...

Silvers were not all the same, either, even on the same brands. Hell, even on the same groups.

Black is cheaper to produce, crosses brand lines easily, and goes wirh color better. So when you switch from the Universal Red, White and Black bike to the Universal Green and Black bike, stuff still matches.

Plus it's slimming.
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Old 01-31-20, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
There's merit in the cost concession argument. However, also consider that top end components are made of carbon fibre, which is black. Consequently, black has become the colour associated with high end components. If you want to boost the sales of lower end bicycles with aluminum or even steel components, you spec components with a black finish.
True today, but it seems to me that black largely replaced silver long before the advent of carbon fiber components. I actually like the look of carbon fiber components. I don't like plain old black-painted components.
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Old 01-31-20, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Those of us who have been through a few marketing cycles understand that these things go in waves. I hated when black anodization became a thing when I worked at a bike shop. When a black part gets scratched, it's a silver colored scratch. When a clear anodized part gets scratched, it's silver on silver.

Polished aluminum (not anodized) is real pretty until it starts oxidizing. I've pulled and repolished my grillion dollar Compass Rene Herse cranks a couple of times in the past 6 years to repolish them.
Seems to me the ideal finish is Rustoleum rattle can silver. Unlike polished aluminum, it's weather resistant. Unlike black if it gets scuffed, it's still silver on silver. Unlike clear anodizied aluminum, if it gets scratched, it can easily be touched up. It can be used on pitting chrome parts too.
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Old 01-31-20, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Polished aluminum (not anodized) is real pretty until it starts oxidizing. I've pulled and repolished my grillion dollar Compass Rene Herse cranks a couple of times in the past 6 years to repolish them.
My deanodized and polished parts stay shiny with one exception, the seatposts. They all cloud up after a month or two. It takes ten seconds to return the shine with my dedicated Mother's rag with just its old polishing residue on it. But it's weird the seatposts do this.

I don't ride in the rain, so maybe that's why everything else stays shiny.
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Old 01-31-20, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Those of us who have been through a few marketing cycles understand that these things go in waves. I hated when black anodization became a thing when I worked at a bike shop. When a black part gets scratched, it's a silver colored scratch. When a clear anodized part gets scratched, it's silver on silver.
Ahem! (Sharpie) Cough!
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Old 01-31-20, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I hate murdered-out bikes.
+1; I was never a fan of the whole "murdered out" thing period. In the car world, it was like the late 'teens version of Lambo doors. Like every such "trend", it's only a matter of time before it's played out.
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Old 01-31-20, 07:45 PM
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Black? Modern components are black? I am dazzled by the reflections off of my polished Stonglight 93s, TAs and Maillard 700s and hadn't noticed.
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Old 01-31-20, 08:39 PM
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The Cannondale Black Lighting was a unique and cool bike in the late 80’s
but now that everything is black ... blah
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