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Old 11-27-17, 12:57 AM   #51
Joe Remi
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I've had disc brakes because I believed all the hype surrounding them. They do have better performance if riding wet roads, by baking sooner, but I discovered that's the only advantage. If rim brakes are used properly their advantages outweigh those of disc brakes. So my Ti Swift now sports rim brakes again.
I had an ebike with hydraulic disc brakes, which were pretty fabulous for hauling down a fast, heavy bike without much hand pressure. But the several mechanical-cable discs I've tried showed no improvement over rim brakes, and the hydraulics aren't necessary on a non-assisted street bike. I think you're right that the Swift is fine with rim brakes.
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Old 11-27-17, 08:46 AM   #52
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I agree that most bikes for most people don't need discs to get the job done. My Brompton has rim brakes and I am still alive but I ride it slow on flat ground. I also agree that both of these British brands have no financial need to offer an improved product since both are in high demand. I hope they realize that sort of complacent thinking is also why England is no longer a player in cars or motorcycles; just cult brands mostly owned by other countries now. I was just whining because I really love the Moulton story and consider them art as well, but I have had bad feelings riding rim brakes in the rain, mud, and downhills. A $2000+ bike shouldn't make you insecure in these common situations. Today's hydraulic discs only need 1 finger to modulate which lets more of the fingers actually grab the bars and control the bike. If I had a Moulton I would want to put carbon rims on it but rim brakes on carbon becomes an expensive consumable. Anyway, I envy any Moulton. Some pics of your SST would be nice to see.

Last edited by ttakata73; 11-27-17 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 11-27-17, 05:34 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I've had disc brakes because I believed all the hype surrounding them. They do have better performance if riding wet roads, by baking sooner, but I discovered that's the only advantage. If rim brakes are used properly their advantages outweigh those of disc brakes. So my Ti Swift now sports rim brakes again.
You're pretty much correct. The big arguments for disc brakes are (1) wet weather and (2) carbon rims. Whether or not carbon rims are 'necessary' for most riders is a separate debate -- in fact it can be rather a circular argument -- given disc brakes, one rather wants high end carbon wheels in order to try to claw back some of the ca. 500g weight penalty incurred by disc brakes.

Depending on location, there's also another case to be made for disc brakes (3) long, very steep descents with moderate to heavy traffic... often compounded by poor road surfacing. I'm thinking here of arm/hand/finger fatigue. With hydraulic disc brakes, this won't ever be a problem. I'm new to the cycling game and probably just spoiled. I do realise that generations have descended mountains on heavily laden tourers with cantilever brakes and lived to tell the tale
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Old 11-27-17, 05:55 PM   #54
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Some pics of your SST would be nice to see.
Happy to oblige!
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Old 11-27-17, 06:41 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
I agree that most bikes for most people don't need discs to get the job done. My Brompton has rim brakes and I am still alive but I ride it slow on flat ground. I also agree that both of these British brands have no financial need to offer an improved product since both are in high demand. I hope they realize that sort of complacent thinking is also why England is no longer a player in cars or motorcycles; just cult brands mostly owned by other countries now.
The decline of English industrial mojo cf. (say) Germany is fascinating in itself and prompts many diverting historical and sociological musings.

However, in the case of Moulton, I'm going to supply a German analogue to show that it's possible for a much more switched on industry-leading company to paint itself into a design ethos corner from whence escape/innovation becomes problematic.

Leica Cameras. Most of the brand mystique is tied up in the manual rangefinder photojournalist/reportage camera ethos per M3, M2, M4, ... dark ages we'll just gloss over, ... M9, M240...

Somewhere between the M2 and the M4, a little company called Nikon made a thing called the Nikon F1 which blew Leica out of the water. Ever since, it's been a Zombie Corpse. Magnificent Corpse, but still...

Last I checked, there's no more Life Magazine, and photojournalism is dead when everyone has an iPhone. There are other technical issues why live view mirrorless cameras are better for most photography and why something like a Nikon D5 is better still for the paparazzi. Nobody uses Leicas to make money or because they're the best tool for the job. They might use them for aesthetic/haptic reasons, but that's something else entirely. In fact its arguable that Leica make some of the absolute best lenses in existence outside of specialised commercial/military applications. The APO 50 and AP0 90 M lenses are just stunning. But there's a whole baked-in history of design assumptions and *constraints* going back to 35mm film emulsion days which somewhat hinder these going forward in the digital era. In fact Leica has to do weird and wonderful things with its sensors and in camera processing to compensate for the fact that light rays hit the sensor at oblique angles that were perfectly OK for film emulsions but less than optimal for digital sensor photon buckets.

But the company continues to thrive as a luxury / aficionado band and I'm a qualified fan of some of their products. Would I buy their shares if available? Hell no!

Now look at Brompton. The fold defines the product. Change the fold, it's no longer a Brompton and this doesn't look like Kansas. But the fold has all kinds of downstream effects on how the rest of the bike must be constructed and component choices. Success --> stagnation. Not an easy thing to break out of. Simpler to make 'special editions' and slap Union Flags on them and sell to (e.g.) the Bangkok Demographic who polish their english at the British Council and not (shudder) AUA

Moulton Space Frames: A solution to a problem of the Pre Carbon Composite Era which no longer exists. Torsional stiffness and vertical compliance whilst minimising weight is a solved problem. Not just solved, slam dunked. Ergo Space Frame Moultons are and always will be an interesting historical footnote... maybe a lovely one to ride and appreciate for what it is (in the same way that I enjoy focussing or zone focussing a Leica M).. but that's it. Small wheels and rolling resistance? Debunked nonsense. Alex Moulton was wrong about this. Good for small packing size and for pootling about bike paths though. Suspension design? There are such things as $10K dual suspension mountain bikes designed by FEM optimisation on supercomputers. On paper Moulton suspension is primitive. In real life, it's rather better than primitive. But FFS in the 21st century online era, Moulton should not try to tout horse and buggy as being a technical tour-de-force Bugatti Veyron to the kind of demographic who can afford a Moulton. You have to point out that people drive four-in-hands as an anachronistic competitive hobby because it affords a special pleasure all of its own and best understood by going and doing it. Not reading specs.

If I were Moulton, I'd be hyping craftsmanship (to be fair, they do this), separability/packability and airline baggage handler survivability -- Achilles Heel of carbon bikes! And doing far more to encourage people to test-ride them. A bit of blurb about AM and the Mini, Swinging Sixties OK. Something about convenient size and step-through versatility yes. Forget all that nonsense about some silly Cardiff to London when the wind was blowing the right way and UCI this and that. The whole small wheels = woohoo watch out Malcolm Campbell thing is a joke. And 5 mins of googling by a prospective customer will show this.

Another way to market small wheel step-through suspension bikes is to target them at older, less physically flexible demographics. I'm all too aware that in 10-15 years this will include me. There's a lot to be said for having lower gear inches using the most commonly available chainring and cassette sizes. Why not make a virtue out of the 'fault' that it's a major pain in the posterior to go about getting 100+ gear inches on a Moulton? 25" or lower, no problem at all!

To really know why a Moulton is worth it, one has to ride one. The current marketing guff isn't very convincing... the real world experience *is*.

Very rare for a company to prosper wildly despite being 1000% constrained by a superseded technology baked into the Brand DNA. I give you Rolex as a rare example. I wonder how many others there are.

(Apologies for the very OT digressions/rants! )

Last edited by MovingViolation; 11-27-17 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11-27-17, 07:00 PM   #56
porschetoyz
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@MovingV,
I enjoyed the above post.
Thanks for taking the time to write it and the entertaining comparisons.
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Old 11-28-17, 06:48 AM   #57
ttakata73
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Wow, some serious thoughts MV. Funny world we live in now where old vehicle companies prosper on their history instead of technological advances.

I do like what R&M/Birdy does; they advance their main bike with the Gen3, but still sell the old tube frame classic at a lower price. Triumph motorcycles does the same; they advance their sportbikes like the Speed Triple but probably make more money selling their retro Bonneville models.

Great SST with classic British Racing Green and Brooks bits!
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