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30 Years Ago: June 1990 in Bicycling magazine

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30 Years Ago: June 1990 in Bicycling magazine

Old 06-21-20, 09:32 AM
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30 Years Ago: June 1990 in Bicycling magazine

Articles included are:
"Are Road Bikes Dead?"
"Really Low Gears" (Berto)
Innovation: KESTREL 200 EMS
"The Effects of Drafting"
Off the Back: "Techies Unite"

Road test and equipment review articles will be posted in future threads.

As usual, let me know if you'd like to see something else listed in the ToC and I'll do my best to send you a pdf.
Just send me a PM that includes your email address.

Happy Father's Day!




















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Old 06-21-20, 10:15 AM
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Man from 1980 to 1990 the focus sure changed. I loved the camping and commuting in the earlier ones. Thanks again as always.
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Old 06-21-20, 10:25 AM
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Interesting prediction that Hybrids would take over. Those bikes never really took off, I think, because they were mostly just low end mountain bikes with 700c wheels. If you were serious, you got a proper road bike or mtb.
Then they sort of evolved two ways: 29'ers and Gravel/Adventure bikes.
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Old 06-21-20, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Man from 1980 to 1990 the focus sure changed. I loved the camping and commuting in the earlier ones. Thanks again as always.
You're so right, 52t!
It's clear the focus of this magazine's content has changed over the years, and that evolution (devolution?) really stands out when leaping between decades each month.
I've been tempted many times to analyze the content of each magazine for article type (racing, touring, camping, recreational, equipment, human interest, etc), % marketing content, page number, and so on.
But I probably won't until I catch up with all road tests, equipment/product reviews, and frame building articles from C&V years (i.e. 30 years and older).
My plan is to work Tours and Touring into the mix soon.
And, of course, you're always welcome to request an article!
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Old 06-21-20, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Interesting prediction that Hybrids would take over. Those bikes never really took off, I think, because they were mostly just low end mountain bikes with 700c wheels. If you were serious, you got a proper road bike or mtb.
Then they sort of evolved two ways: 29'ers and Gravel/Adventure bikes.
If a School of Bikes family tree hasn't been created yet, I think somebody in C&V could do a GREAT job at drawing one!
I'm chuckling now just thinking of the possibilities.

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Old 06-21-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
You're so right, 52t!
It's clear the focus of this magazine's content has changed over the years, and that evolution (devolution?) really stands out when leaping between decades each month.
I've been tempted many times to analyze the content of each magazine for article type (racing, touring, camping, recreational, equipment, human interest, etc), % marketing content, page number, and so on.
But I probably won't until I catch up with all road tests, equipment/product reviews, and frame building articles from C&V years (i.e. 30 years and older).
My plan is to work Tours and Touring into the mix soon.
And, of course, you're always welcome to request an article!
To me it seems that they became much larger merchandise marketers as time went on. Also the magazine essentially sees bikes as a sport oriented tool instead of transportation and a way to see the world. I prefer the latter but I dont buy much new stuff so I guess they arent marketing to me.
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Old 06-21-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Man from 1980 to 1990 the focus sure changed. I loved the camping and commuting in the earlier ones. Thanks again as always.
Somewhere around 1980 Rodale Press (?) bought BICYCLING! magazine and after that, it was never the same. They took the articles into heavy-duty marketing of the latest and greatest technological marvel. Their emphasis turned towards nutrition and nutritional supplements rather than simply bicycling.

Shortly thereafter, maybe a few years later, I dropped my subscription. I had quit reading it and was paying for something I no longer enjoyed.

This issue is a decent example of everything that went wrong with BICYCLING! magazine. Compare it to the recently posted back issue featuring an article about a mother took the neighborhood kids on a bike ride.

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Old 06-21-20, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Interesting prediction that Hybrids would take over. Those bikes never really took off, I think, because they were mostly just low end mountain bikes with 700c wheels. If you were serious, you got a proper road bike or mtb.
Then they sort of evolved two ways: 29'ers and Gravel/Adventure bikes.
Hybrids were successful for a while here in Europe. I have a very nice Koga-Miyata CityLiner hybrid from that era that I built up for touring, but I quickly grew tired of the high seating position.
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Old 06-21-20, 04:39 PM
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Definitely good stuff. Interesting predictions they had back then.
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Old 06-21-20, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Somewhere around 1980 Rodale Press (?) bought BICYCLING! magazine and after that, it was never the same. They took the articles into heavy-duty marketing of the latest and greatest technological marvel. Their emphasis turned towards nutrition and nutritional supplements rather than simply bicycling.

Shortly thereafter, maybe a few years later, I dropped my subscription. I had quit reading it and was paying for something I no longer enjoyed.

This issue is a decent example of everything that went wrong with BICYCLING! magazine. Compare it to the recently posted back issue featuring an article about a mother took the neighborhood kids on a bike ride.
Somewhere between 1980 and 1990 is when I stopped reading Bicycling magazine. Rodale Press was/is a business whose purpose was to generate profit for their company and not necessarily to entertain and inform experienced cyclists. Their emphasis changed to articles designed to attract readers new to cycling. The cover of this issue did not inspire me to read beyond the titles.

The editors of Bicycling magazine decided to start another magazine that was not based on writing articles based on boosting advertising revenue. Bob Rodale even wished them well but said their approach to making a successful magazine wouldn't work. Their child Bicycle Guide magazine was fabulous for awhile but eventually the editors were lured away to other jobs and their replacements either couldn't keep up the standards or, like Rodale thought, weren't able to keep the magazine profitable and it folded.
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Old 06-21-20, 06:47 PM
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Hybrids certainly did become popular. I see em all over the place around me and in other states.
I would say that prediction came true.
Especially true since many seem to view gravel bikes as a form of hybrid bikes.
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Old 06-22-20, 10:47 PM
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There was at least one anthology of past BICYCLING! articles published as paperback books. I know, because I borrowed one from my local public library and read it. It was my first contact with BICYCLING! magazine and, to be honest, it was my introduction to the greatness that is bicycling.

I have been riding ever since I got my first bike at about 13 years of age. I will ride until I die.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:20 AM
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I was to buy my first hybrid, used, three years later. I was getting back into cycling after a ten year lay-off, when I lived in a place where a road bike wouldn't go.
Thanks for posting
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Old 06-23-20, 07:42 AM
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Made me smile, the “retrogrouch” movement in the tech column.

when SIS arrived I called it sissy shifting.
now when the integrated shift / brake levers arrived one had to admit that for Racing there was a distinct advantage.

the writing is not terrific but the topics were reasonable.

makes me want to dig up my old issues of
Bike Tech. ( was too cheap to buy them new, A starving student, did find a lot on eBay 12 years ago)
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Old 06-23-20, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
There was at least one anthology of past BICYCLING! articles published as paperback books. I know, because I borrowed one from my local public library and read it. It was my first contact with BICYCLING! magazine and, to be honest, it was my introduction to the greatness that is bicycling.

I have been riding ever since I got my first bike at about 13 years of age. I will ride until I die.
when I was saving for my first road bike, it was go to the periodical shelves at the local library and read up.
while I was there once an older guy was bummed I had the latest copy in hand, he called it Buycycling. I laughed, gave it to him as I was close enough to being done.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Interesting prediction that Hybrids would take over. Those bikes never really took off, I think, because they were mostly just low end mountain bikes with 700c wheels. If you were serious, you got a proper road bike or mtb.
I respectfully disagree. I believe quite a few of them got sold, including the only bike I've ever bought new, a '92 Schwinn Crosscut. Still have it, and still going strong. Far from a low-end mountain bike... it's been reliable, efficient, and adaptable to a variety of uses.

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Old 06-23-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce View Post
Interesting prediction that Hybrids would take over. Those bikes never really took off, I think, because they were mostly just low end mountain bikes with 700c wheels. If you were serious, you got a proper road bike or mtb.
Then they sort of evolved two ways: 29'ers and Gravel/Adventure bikes.
And here I thought from casual observation that that prediction was spot on. By me it seems the majority of people who ride are on hybrids.
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Old 06-23-20, 09:35 PM
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Hybrids were awesome, still are, but I wish that mine were lighter. The peak for hybrids might have been when I bought my first one (Specialized CrossRoads) the day after Christmas, 1991, upon my return to SoCal.

Fred Zahradnik took a friendly dig at Grant, LOL. But I find that friction shifting gets better as time goes by and the rider develops the shifting skills. Comparing that to SIS, where the original tune-up sours (and hopefully the rider doesn't quit riding in disgust of the noisy, recalcitrant shifting).

This blast from the past makes me want to take my 7s-era Kestrel out for a long ride!

Oh, and road bikes declared "dead", would have been but for LANCE.

I still remember feeling strongly that Rodale was the enemy of cycling, or at least of Bicycling, soon after they took over.

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