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Digital Gee 01-10-07 01:39 PM

Your nominations, please!
It's hard to argue that cycling hasn't changed dramatically since way back when we were playing vinyl records, actually dialing our telephones, and changing channels on the TV by getting up and walking over to the TV.

What would you nominate as the best innovation(s) in bicycling in the past ten years or so?

One of my nominations would be the proliferation of all the different kinds of bikes -- road, cyclo, mountain, hybrid, comfort, cruiser, and even the subcategories within each of these. Mind boggling!

SaiKaiTai 01-10-07 01:41 PM

Gosh, I don't know if it's in the last 10 years but it's new to me... I'd have to go with index shifting and disc brakes. Disk brakes! On a bike! Imagine...

jppe 01-10-07 01:48 PM

At first I thought it might be Carbon or Titanium but I'd have to say Brifters. Makes the riding experience so much more fun and safer.

jm01 01-10-07 01:52 PM

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stapfam 01-10-07 02:05 PM

I have to say lighter weight materials and Taiwan. Bikes are a lot lighter than they used to be and have not lost any strength and Taiwan has bought the cost of cycling down to a level that does not Frighten off newcomers.

geraldatwork 01-10-07 02:08 PM

I came back to cycling about a year and a half ago after practically not riding for over 15 years so I think I have a good perspective. I would say index shifting on the brakes or brifters as some call them. My old Raleigh which I still ride not only has down tube shifting but it is friction so the improvement is amazing. Since I am from the old steel days I would say new bike materials, even including aluminum which makes bikes so much lighter.

madli 01-10-07 02:29 PM

The 50 (plus) Bike Forum (of course!)

GalliGruppo 01-10-07 02:38 PM

Brifters. I wish I had them back in my racing days.


BluesDawg 01-10-07 02:45 PM

I don't know of much I consider all that useful from the past 10 years. Going back further I would nominate the Suntour friction bar end shifters. Far superior to indexing and those godawful brifters imho.
Cheap, reliable cartridge bottom brackets were a good development.

Internet shopping for bike parts and accessories is a nice thing.

howsteepisit 01-10-07 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by Digital Gee

What would you nominate as the best innovation(s) in bicycling in the past ten years or so?

One of my nominations would be the proliferation of all the different kinds of bikes -- road, cyclo, mountain, hybrid, comfort, cruiser, and even the subcategories within each of these. Mind boggling!

You know DG, with the notable exception of mountain bikes, all of those bikes were available in the early 70's. I think the greatest innovation for bikes in the last 10 years or so is...way better tires. Flats used to be commonplace, cut sidewalls and blowouts only slightly less so. Now, many people go thousands on miles without a flat, and tires actually wear out! (I exclude the old Michelin 50's which I used to wear out in about 500 miles) Tires are now lightweight, hold high pressures, and ride about as good as sew-ups used to!

Speedo 01-10-07 02:57 PM

Well, if it's only in the last ten years or so, it's probably brifters.

But if you go back to the early eighties then it has to be lycra. I got married because of it!

Blackberry 01-10-07 02:57 PM

Brifters? Pfft. Rochelle Gilmore

Artkansas 01-10-07 03:01 PM

All my bikes are too old. Have there been any changes in the past 10 years?

If anything, I'd have to say that lighting seems to improved a lot since the days of the leg-light.

Tom Bombadil 01-10-07 03:12 PM

A biggie for women are the much better women specific designed bikes. Not just the old step-through frames but bikes whose geometry was designed from the ground up to be a better fit for a woman. Don't know how long ago this started, but it has sure picked up steam in recent years.

I also like that there are more options now in picking and adjusting a bike to meet one's needs. Adjustable stems, much broader saddle selection, more frame sizes, more tire sizes, more frame styles, etc.

Funny thing for me would be that I would nominate brifters as the improvement that did the least for me, as I don't ride drop bar road bikes.

p8rider 01-10-07 03:36 PM

I have to say brifters. Not only is the shifting so smooth, but the brakes work with two fingers and stop you quickly.
On my 1983 Peugeot, the brake handle and suicide levers are beautiful, but you must grasp them with all of your might to get the Weiman calipers to close on the rim.
It is just so effortless now.

NOS88 01-10-07 03:55 PM

I'd vote for wheels. I've had four sets of what I'd call modern wheels with between 12 and 20 spokes per wheels. Thousands of miles on all of them, and haven't had to repair or even true any of 'em... even when I was a Clydesdale. Today's wheels are pretty incredible.

Trsnrtr 01-10-07 04:03 PM

C'mon guys, brifters (I hate that freaking word) are older than 10 years.

Having said that, materials have been greatly improved for everything from components, frames, wheels, tires, etc. The worst thing? Prices have been greatly raised also for components, frames, wheels, tires, etc. :D

cyclintom 01-10-07 05:23 PM

After careful consideration I'd have to say that reliable clincher tires are by far the best innovation. It used to be that unless you sprung for a Continental Gran Prix you couldn't get any mileage or flat resistance from a clincher and some would simply blow off the rims when you were riding along. That's fun let me tell you. Now there are dozens of good tires on the market and while most of them don't wear anywhere near as good as the Gran Prix (3,000 mile if you rotated them) they all are as flat resistant and have as good traction in most conditions.

I bought the second set of DuraAce STI shifters that were in northern California so I've been using them for a long time. I really don't see the point in them unless you're racing. Bar end shifting is just as good, lighter and cheaper. There's been ONE time that I wished that I didn't have to move my hands off of the brake levers to work the bar end. And old style brake levers are a whole lot more comfortable to me and you can grab them more securely when you're jamming up a hill in the wrong gear (and don't tell me about STI shifting because everyone does that regardless of their shifting system.)

I'm still riding a Selle San Marco Regal Saddle and probably will until I die. I've used others and some are OK but the Regal is reliable.

Frame material hasn't improved cycling, it has made it different. You can climb a tiny bit better because of the smoother ride of carbon and it's lighter weight. Aluminum is even lighter but there's a reliability problem with superlight aluminum frames. Steel is STILL the best choice for a bike frame you intend to keep and ride forever.

You could say that wheels have improved because no one sits around after a ride truing a wheel anymore. But the fact is that "good" rims now are heavier, maybe a great deal heavier, than they were 15 yeas ago. 390 gram clincher rims were common then. Now it's more like 450 grams. And the rims are deeper and hence stiffer so that they remain straight when spoked properly a whole lot longer.

After good clincher tires a close second has got to be Freehubs. Back when you were riding 7-speeds the axle's on anything below the level of Campy would break at pretty short intervals. The quick release held everything together but the wheel would wobble around under power and was a pain in the butt. Feehubs put a third bearing much closer to the right hand dropout. Broken axles almost disappeared.

Derailleurs have gotten a lot more reliable. Before a new Campy, Huret or Shimano DuraAce would shift very good for a while. They it would shift OK for a while longer and then all but the Campy would get so much play in the joints that it would be almost impossible to guess at the shift lever position for any specific gear. Today even the lowest catagory stuff can shift better than those old Campy Record and Super Record derailleurs.

I like the padded handlebar tape a lot better than the celuloid ribbons that were used in the 70's. And seat posts generally work well without slipping all the time. And most framebuilders use the same size seat posts now instead of every 0.2 mm from 25 mm to 32 mm.

There have been some noticible changes in cycling in the last 10 years but the real things we needed - better tires, freehubs which added a bearing to the rear wheel and reliable derailleurs have really been the stuff that was needed.

howsteepisit 01-10-07 06:28 PM

Great thoughts, cyclingtom!

Red Baron 01-10-07 06:53 PM


Dogbait 01-10-07 10:44 PM

eBay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without eBay, we could not find decent shifters!

:D :D :D

big john 01-10-07 10:58 PM

More than 10 years, but clipless pedals are one thing that would be hard to give up. I remember numb feet, especially in the cold, with toe straps.

Bud Bent 01-10-07 11:10 PM

All the new recumbents, of course.

BluesDawg 01-10-07 11:14 PM

Brifters are great...
...for me to poop on!

big john 01-10-07 11:19 PM

I have the Ultegra 10speed triple on my new bike and those things sure shift great. Fingertip touch, really. I have bar-ends on one bike, down tube shifters on another, and those new brifters are sweet.

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