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Are Cyclists too Stodgy?

Old 09-28-18, 06:57 AM
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JonathanGennick 
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Are Cyclists too Stodgy?

Are cyclists too stodgy and unwilling to recognize that other riders might prefer a different set of tradeoffs when it comes to bike design and features? The recent thread on shaft drive bicycles has me wondering about that. Bring up any interesting tech like shaft drive, belt drive, solid tires, gearboxes, what have you, and typically the result is a litany of reasons why the tech is no good, won't work, has been tried before, etc. Is it the extreme race-oriented focus that's prevalent in the States? Are we unable to recognize that casual riders, commuters, and other non-racers might hold to a different set of priorities?
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Old 09-28-18, 07:02 AM
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Well, speaking for myself, yes.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:20 AM
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I think we don't accept change until it is proven to work for us. The shaft drive is a great idea, just not proven to be practical for the masses yet.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:28 AM
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the market and demand will decide if these innovations go forward or not, but in general, cyclist do seem to be set in their (our) ways

a question is, are these new things truly advancements?

people usually embrace innovation rapidly, so maybe they don't see these things as that
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Old 09-28-18, 07:29 AM
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Is this even a question? Consider any new technology introduced into cycling, and for every 1 guy that adopts it, there are 10 that will yell, "THIS IS A SOLUTION LOOKING FOR A PROBLEM!!"

There are guys still resistant to clipless pedals. Guys that won't ride anything but friction shifters, and only on the downtube!! Mention 1X or disc brakes and brace yourself for the curmudgeonly ranting. Oh, don't forget tubeless tires.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
a question is, are these new things truly advancements?
Sometimes I see tech like shaft drive as an advancement for specific audiences and specific use cases. I've seen how casual riders "care" for their chains, and something like shaft drive might be an advancement in the sense of not needing to be cared for and cleaned as often as one would a chain.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:41 AM
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I'm too stodgy. I still want bikes with V-brakes! However, because disc has taken over so much of the market, I am forced to buy dirty, lice & maggot infested used bikes on Craig's List that are covered with someone else's bodily fluids.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:42 AM
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Old 09-28-18, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Are cyclists too stodgy and unwilling to recognize that other riders might prefer a different set of tradeoffs when it comes to bike design and features?
Absolutely not! I can't help it if others refuse to recognize that the design and features I prefer are actually the best for everyone.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:44 AM
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"Advances" like shaft drives and airless tires are not new; examples both can be found on bikes from more than a century ago, and fresh attempts to revive them come up every couple decades since. But practical issues (internal friction losses with shaft drives; high rolling resistance with airless tires) have always relegated them to specialty applications. It is possible that advances in materials and design analysis could bring performance to match those of chain drives and pneumatic tires, but I don't think that has been convincingly demonstrated yet.
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Old 09-28-18, 07:50 AM
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Think of how advanced bicycles would be today if cyclists would have adopted Biopace chainrings en masse. It would have been the equivalent of the flying cars we were promised back in the 1950s.
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Old 09-28-18, 08:26 AM
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I clicked on the thread because someone used the word stodgy. You just don't see quality Old English like that anymore.

As to change. I'm somewhat resistant to it if wearing cycling shorts as I don't have any pockets.
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Old 09-28-18, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Absolutely not! I can't help it if others refuse to recognize that the design and features I prefer are actually the best for everyone.
the proper response!
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Old 09-28-18, 08:44 AM
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When something that was tried and discarded before (like shaft drive for bicycles) is reintroduced, I think the onus is on the people reintroducing it to demonstrate why it's better than the alternatives. I haven't seen that for shaft drive, at least for general use.
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Old 09-28-18, 09:04 AM
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Cyclists spend dozens, hundreds, thousands of hours riding their bikes as they have them configured. They climb hills painfully, and earn every mile with sweat. Some of them spend some time before and after rides further tweaking their setups to take care of little annoyances that crop up during a multi-hour ride -- a few misshifts, a little extra weight, a rattle in the head tube, and so on. It's no wonder that they form strong opinions -- they're deeply invested in their own cycling experience.
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Old 09-28-18, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Are cyclists too stodgy and unwilling to recognize that other riders might prefer a different set of tradeoffs when it comes to bike design and features? The recent thread on shaft drive bicycles has me wondering about that. Bring up any interesting tech like shaft drive, belt drive, solid tires, gearboxes, what have you, and typically the result is a litany of reasons why the tech is no good, won't work, has been tried before, etc. Is it the extreme race-oriented focus that's prevalent in the States? Are we unable to recognize that casual riders, commuters, and other non-racers might hold to a different set of priorities?
The "interesting tech" design features you mention are even less likely to be adapted by the cyclists in the rest of the world where cycling is a more common mode of transportation, and "enthusiasts" are an even tinier segment of the bicycling population than found in the U.S.

Take a look around and see how many cyclists in NL, India, Japan or almost anywhere else outside of North America even consider using "interesting tech" like drop bars or derailleur equipped bikes for their daily travels.
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Old 09-28-18, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Is it the extreme race-oriented focus that's prevalent in the States? Are we unable to recognize that casual riders, commuters, and other non-racers might hold to a different set of priorities?
In other words, are American bicyclists racerist?

I think the racing-oriented perception is really pretty much confined to the chattering classes of cyclists and salespeople, the latter because it's clearly the high-margin segment of the market, the former because I think riding racers and being something of a fanatic are pretty compatible.

But, I suspect that the vast majority of bikes actually being ridden in this country are flat bars of one sort of another, and definitely not racing bikes of the road and mountain varieties. Another great example of this is an article I saw about the supposed revival of aluminum frames, as if they haven't dominated much of the market for the past couple decades.

With all that being said, I think racers are by far most likely to be the early adopters and boosters of new, untried technologies like electronic shifting because they're always looking for an edge, and I can see how shaft drive would be a clear case where it's unlikely to have much appeal to them, at least for a while. As it stands now, shaft drive would be more appealing to commuters and utility cyclers, or very casual riders, none of the groups that are likely to be passionate about bikes, and who would be way more concerned about practical things like "how the hell am I going to get replacement parts" to want to jump on a new technology.
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Old 09-28-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
"Advances" like shaft drives and airless tires are not new; examples both can be found on bikes from more than a century ago, and fresh attempts to revive them come up every couple decades since. But practical issues (internal friction losses with shaft drives; high rolling resistance with airless tires) have always relegated them to specialty applications. It is possible that advances in materials and design analysis could bring performance to match those of chain drives and pneumatic tires, but I don't think that has been convincingly demonstrated yet.
Of course....it needs noted that the latest attempt at shaft drive....isn't even fully functional yet. They have yet to make it shift, or at least demonstrate it shifting.
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Old 09-28-18, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
The recent thread on shaft drive bicycles has me wondering about that....

Bring up any interesting tech like shaft drive, belt drive, solid tires, gearboxes, what have you, and typically the result is a litany of reasons why the tech is no good, won't work, has been tried before, etc.
One thing an inventor working on bikes can be sure of, everything has been tried before. I'm not really sure that alternate, less efficient tech will ever take over. Shaft drive bikes have been problematic, and probably will always be problematic. Belt drive is okay, but less efficient than a chain. A chain in a chain case solves many of the same problems. Asking why people won't use a good IGH and a chain case might be a better question. Although IGH's aren't without problems and are heavy and expensive.

If I were to show up with a heavier, less efficient solution that doesn't solve a problem people are worried about then I would expect to be summarily dismissed. That's not stodginess.

Don't get me started on non-cyclists inventing saddles.
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Old 09-28-18, 10:14 AM
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the bicycle itself is pretty bullet proof
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Old 09-28-18, 10:20 AM
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Yeah, I think that we are, just not any worse than any other sector of the population.

Shaft drive may be and interesting case in point. Up till now, it's big problem for human powered bicycles has been the power loss from 2 sets of bevel gears. Some time in the future, somebody might be able to figure a way around that. The problem won't be resolved by somebody who rejects shaft drive out of hand. It will have be somebody who has an open mind.

I didn't used to think that pure electric cars would be practical, definitely not in the northern states because batteries were so much less efficient in cold weather. And yet - here we are.
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Old 09-28-18, 10:25 AM
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Not for me, but if you want to ride solid tires,

knock yourself out. Not exactly new tech 'tho....
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Old 09-28-18, 10:33 AM
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Rather than describe us as "stodgy," it might be better to recognize that most of us are at the 'enthusiast' level - those who ride regularly, with or without a club. New tech might offer lots of advantages for some groups, but not for others. Shaft drive is a tough sell. It will cost more than traditional systems, which will automatically exclude the group it's most likely to appeal to: the occasional rider. Commuters would benefit too; but that is a small subset of our population. The same thing applies to other technologies and demographics within our group. Disc brakes are another good example. Discs have trade-offs. While a lot of people here may like them, there are many others for whom discs just don't push any of their 'needs' buttons and they only see the drawbacks. That's not being a technogrouch, that's just a rational evaluation of their personal needs.
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Old 09-28-18, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Rock71 View Post
I think we don't accept change until it is proven to work for us. The shaft drive is a great idea, just not proven to be practical for the masses yet.
It's actually quite practical for the masses. The problem is you have to get it past BF types. Dutch bikes, cruisers, hybrids, even probably BMX bikes could go shaft with no issues. It's the tiny population of racers, wannabe racers, sport riders and bike geeks that are the problem. (I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to estimate how many bikes are stored, abandoned or otherwise not ridden because of chain/derailleur issue. Many of those bikes would do well with shaft drives.

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Old 09-28-18, 11:40 AM
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I'm actually stodgy towards "old" tech. Tubed tires suck (vs tubeless); mechanical friction DR's suck (vs indexed Di2); leather saddles suck (vs cushy with coutouts); mechanical rim brakes suck (vs hydro disc); etc...
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