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What has improved in cycling?

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What has improved in cycling?

Old 12-11-20, 09:51 AM
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What has improved in cycling?

Just a fun post for a Friday and don't flame me for talking about the difference between C&V bikes and new bikes but wanted to post the things I am thankful for in new bike technology:
  • Soft, padded grip tape - how did we ride back in the day with slippery, shiny non absorbent bar tape?
  • Brifters - gotta admit, they are way more convenient than using down tube shifters.

What are your you thankful for with new bike technology?
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Old 12-11-20, 10:01 AM
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I shall not flog this horse.

But I am grateful for the proliferation in the last thirty years of small bakeries along my usual cycling routes.

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Old 12-11-20, 10:13 AM
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Drive train improvements. Benefited both Index and friction shifting.
GPS - if you are into that thang!
The internet to find bike stuff and people!
Bikes don't stand alone. They are two tired.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:27 AM
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Brakes, brakes, and brakes.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:31 AM
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Coming from a person that has raced and ridden a bike for 47yrs. The answer is like : Everything, from equipment, to clothing, training methods, nutrition, the lot.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:46 AM
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GPS bike computers, wireless power meters, cell phones (camera, music, weather alerts, and texting your whereabouts to your SO, and in one tiny form factor), wireless earbuds, USB rechargeable bar and tail LED lights, and small portable USB battery packs and 3 different USB cord types (mini, micro, and USB-C) to recharge it all on the 6+ hour long distance stuff.

So...technically nothing to do with the "bike" at all, but I wouldn't/couldn't ride without it all. How did cyclists get along without all this stuff 15+ years ago, those were very dark times indeed (both literally and figuratively).

Last edited by Riveting; 12-11-20 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:50 AM
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The only improvement that is really obvious to me on a daily basis is LED lights.
I have cheap rechargeables on every bike and bag. Even the bikes with dynamos.
eventually Ill probably even retrofit my old dynamo lights with LED bulbs.
Tires seem nicer too. At least there is more variety.
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Old 12-11-20, 10:58 AM
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Spd pedals / shoes and the iPhone are the greatest advancements to the bicycle in the last 30 years.
Been back and forth with the latest and greatest gear. By choice almost all my bikes have shiny tape and down tube sifters.
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Old 12-11-20, 11:39 AM
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I heartily second spd pedals + MTB shoes one can walk around in, and maybe puncture resistant belted tires
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Old 12-11-20, 11:40 AM
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#1 by far: lighting
#2: brake pads, specifically KoolStop
#3: helmets
#4: glueless patches that actually work
#5: low-compression, low-friction cable housings
#6: freehub/cassettes, at least for high cog counts
#7: (going back to the last 1960s): slant planograph rear derailleur geometry
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
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Old 12-11-20, 11:52 AM
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I'll just add master links for derailleur chains.
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Old 12-11-20, 12:10 PM
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SPD system
Thru axles
disk brakes
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Old 12-11-20, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
The internet to find bike stuff and people!
This x1000

If it wasn't for the internet and particularly BF, my bikes would probably be nearly unrideable.
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

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Old 12-11-20, 12:57 PM
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New handlebar shapes are nice even though I haven't used them much yet.

Clipless pedals, yup. SPD may be Shimano's best invention in my view.

Tires!Some feel new brakes are better, but since I have big and strong hands, they don't make much difference to me. I can always squeeze harder when I need to. For others, the new brakes are a very big improvement, and bringing good braking to others is truly a gain.

Speaking of handlebar tape, I recently put on Brooks Cambium rubber tape. It got bad reviews but I think it's fantastic, and it promises to be durable and reusable.

How much of an improvement are the new saddles? For me, barely at all, as I still ride leather saddles. I do like my Cambium C17 but it's hardly a revolution.

And use them or not, aluminum and carbon fiber and titanium frames do offer some advantages that were previously unavailable.

More gears in the drivetrain is another improvement that doesn't bring a benefit to everyone but to many. You can maintain your cadence or your power output or your speed or any combination. Or you can change them at will. If you use this right, you can increase your average speed.

Electronics improves at a faster rate than anything else, but all these computers are helpful but don't seem revolutionary to me. But the improvements in lighting are enormous. How about those super bright lights for trail riding. You can turn night into day. That opens up a kind of cycling that was just not available before we had the lights. But back to the computers, maybe they are a revolution for some, because you can compare your times, tally your miles, and learn what others are doing. So maybe they are a big deal.
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When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:06 PM
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I agree with some of the things already mentioned: SPDs; brifters; brakes; clinchers. All better than pedals/cleats/straps, shifters, brakes/brake levers and clinchers BITD. Also, +1 on Bike Forums (especially C&V) and the fun and information it has given us.

But let's not forget eBay and CraigsList. For all the problems and headaches they have birthed, they have expended by orders of magnitude the ability to track down, buy or sell used bike stuff. Four of my five current rider frames and at least two frames currently in mothballs were eBay deals purchases or, in one case, trading an eBay purchase for it. I can't begin to list how many parts came from eBay. These marketplaces revolutionized things, at least for C&V folks.

As usual, my opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it.
"I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney
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Old 12-11-20, 01:09 PM
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One word: lycra.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:20 PM
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If I look at my regularly-used C&V bikes, what I tend to always do is to use modern chain with either Uniglide or Suntour freewheels.
The modern chain arrived as a seemingly two-step progression, first with the bushingless, narrow Sedisport chain, followed by the more-advanced, more-flexible UG Narrow chain (whose dimensions prevail to this day). These chains are lighter, and their flexibility reduces friction, allows greater cross-chain angle and operates quietly on clean, scant lubrication while lasting many thousands of miles.
The improved shifting over traditional drivetrain parts is a blessing.

Then there are the clipless pedals I always use, the plastic-lined cable paths, the better tires, and better bar tape and saddle options.

Though I tend to dislike very narrow handlebars, the old frames, forks, and most components work great imo, with a very wide range of frameset flex characteristics, sizing and geometry.
(I'm a lighter rider, so never have concerns of excess frame flex)
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Old 12-11-20, 01:22 PM
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I'm also in the camp that believes lighting is clearly the most significant improvement.

My helmet would probably provide better protection that the leather one I wore in the 70s, but hopefully I won't find out.

Otherwise, I don't avail myself of much of the modern tech. I've tried modern shifters, I prefer the feel of downtube.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:45 PM
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Really good, light and supple tires in wider sizes.
Increased focus on room to run those tires.
Small, powerful lights with great run times, and they dont require a water bottle cage for the battery pack.
Access to @gugies skills with a torch. Youll probably get a bunch of great stories as a bonus.
Great friendships, both in-person and virtual, thanks to BF C&V. Missing lots of the former connections this year. Certainly hope that changes in 2021.
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Old 12-11-20, 01:52 PM
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Everything is better
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Old 12-11-20, 01:58 PM
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From bottom up:

tires, tubes. rims, spokes, hubs, cranksets, bottom brackets., freewheels/freehubs, tubing, cables, seatposts, seats, handlebars, handlebar tape, bike computers, clothing, shoes, helmets, air.

n.b. : not a complete list
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Old 12-11-20, 02:17 PM
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Nitrogen-filled tyres
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Old 12-11-20, 03:22 PM
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Ditto on internet and Bike Forums. Would never have met any of these people:


Come for the bikes, stay for the people.
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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Old 12-11-20, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
One word: lycra.
That's what Maynard Hershon, longtime Velonews contributor (fondly remembered by many for his "Off The Back" column), said when Grant Pedersen asked him the "biggest improvement in cycling?" question. Grant tried to get him to recant, offering to send him a pair of Kucharik Smartwool shorts, sure that he'd change his mind. Hershon replied, "I love you, Grant. Please don't send me any wool shorts."
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Old 12-11-20, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
Access to @gugies skills with a torch. Youll probably have to suffer through a bunch of old stories as punishment.
If someone tells you that you have enough bicycles and you don't need any more, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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