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Modern bicycle components/systems

Old 12-26-20, 11:13 AM
  #1  
_ForceD_
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Modern bicycle components/systems

Iíve come to the opinion that some of the technical Ďadvancesí of certain bicycle components and systems may not necessarily be intended for us mere mortal bicyclists. They seem to need more ďsupportĒ than the traditional counterparts they replace, which weíre not able to provided. Iím talking about components like disc brakes (cable and hydraulic), tubeless tires, and wireless/electronic shifting. Now to be fair...Iíve only used these systems and donít own any of them. And Iím sure that when all of these components are working as designed that theyíre superior to the traditional systems/components they replaced. I donít have anything against them if you choose to use them. Maybe you have the resources and expertise to support them. And if you do choose to use any of them...thatís fine. More power to ya. Iím sure there are many who use these advanced components and have not had any trouble with them. My opinion is pretty much based on what Iíve read in cycling publications, here in the BFs, and witnessed personally. But to me itís seems that there are more issues...mostly mechanical problems...with those systems. It seems they need more technical and financial support than the traditional systems they replaced. For example, there are more complaints about disc brakes and tubeless tires than you see for their traditional counterparts. I think these new components are better suited to the likes of a professional team with financial resources and trained mechanical experts available.

Dan
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Old 12-26-20, 11:32 AM
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All of our bikes are using standard, "old" technology. But I have found that there is always a learning curve with any new tech., and new tech isn't always perfect when it first comes out, but eventually all the nagging little imperfections generally get worked out in the long run. And some are just more mechanically inclined than some. A neighbor of mine had a bike which wasn't shifting well. It was an older LeMond ("old tech"). He showed me what he was thinking of doing, before I showed him what he should be doing. Guess if I ever buy a newer bike, I'll have to learn more about the new tech, but it would be an opportunity, not a challenge, as I enjoy tinkering. Diff strokes for diff folks.
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Old 12-26-20, 11:44 AM
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Once we started moving the chain from one cog to another to change the gear ratio (while the bicycle was in motion!), we stepped onto a slippery slope.
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Old 12-26-20, 11:49 AM
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And another thing: You kids get off my lawn.
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Old 12-26-20, 12:08 PM
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Same problem going from coaster brake to hand brake?
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Old 12-26-20, 12:19 PM
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I know this thread is going to spiral off, but before it does...

There was a time when your car engine was a little off, you could open the hood, pop off the distributor cap, file square and set the points, and rotate the distributor where it was just right.

Today you pop the hood to a sheet of plastic.

Do I want to go back? For everyday driving when I want to get somewhere... no way. For a hobby to tinker... yep.

I think it comes down to how you look at a bike. If it is a tool, you ride what is most efficient. If it is a pastime and something to tinker with, you ride what is easiest to tinker.

John
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Old 12-26-20, 01:04 PM
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I think the OP is actually just plain wrong on some of this. I don't mean that I have a philosophical argument, but rather that he is just plain wrong, at least about some of it.

For example: aside from the fact that my disc brakes rarely need any kind of maintenance, when they do need maintenance it is generally easier than maintaining rim brakes. For example, replacing disc brake pads is five minutes, tops, per caliper, and involves no fiddling -- just pull out a cotter pin, undo one screw, pull out the pads, shove in a new set and replace the screw and cotter pin; it takes me longer than that with rim brakes, since there is inevitably a lot of fiddling with the toe-in and alignment of the pads.

Some of the other examples seem just a matter of inexperience rather than empirical fact. My two tubeless-tired bikes have (so far) given me a total of 12,000 flat-free miles; the time spent in my garage, setting them up while drinking a beer or two, is well worth the time saved on the side of the road fixing punctures.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:16 PM
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I'm not aware that Di2 has proven any more problematic than cables. Plus, if you forget to charge your battery you get home in the small ring and all cogs. With a broken cable you are usually stuck with just one gear in the back. That said, I don't have any Di2 bikes. The bike is one of the few things I own that I can understand how it works. For some reason I've never been able to grasp electricity.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Once we started moving the chain from one cog to another to change the gear ratio (while the bicycle was in motion!), we stepped onto a slippery slope.
but it sure is a nice slope
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Old 12-26-20, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'm not aware that Di2 has proven any more problematic than cables. Plus, if you forget to charge your battery you get home in the small ring and all cogs. With a broken cable you are usually stuck with just one gear in the back. That said, I don't have any Di2 bikes. The bike is one of the few things I own that I can understand how it works. For some reason I've never been able to grasp electricity.
In the last couple years, I have twice ridden home in a single gear -- well, two gears, actually, as I could still shift the FD -- after the RD cable broke.

My Di2 battery lasts about 1,000 miles on a charge. Only a doofus would run out of charge during a ride.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:36 PM
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I disagree with some of your assumptions.

Mech discs are no more complicated than rim brakes, and every bit as easy to work on. Hydros are actually LESS maintenance, unless something goes particularly awry. But even factoring in a bleed kit and some fluid, in the end it probably comes out no more than what folks spend on quality brake cables/housing over the course of 5 or so years.

Tubeless on MTBs is pretty simple these daysand no more finicky than tubes, and you fix a lot fewer flats. There is a reason very few people run tubes these days for that.

Skinny tubeless road tires are a different story.

Electronic shifting is not my cup of tea, but all reports indicate it is incredibly reliable and requires less futzing with.
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Old 12-26-20, 03:58 PM
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" in the end it probably comes out no more than what folks spend on quality brake cables/housing over the course of 5 or so years."

Wow, that is quite a statement. Have been using the same cables and housing on my commuter bike for at least 10 years. My wife's bike has had the same cables and housing for 20 years. When I raced never once did a need to replace cables and housing arise in the 20 years I was active. Heck, even the Campy 11 speed on my daily rider has brake housing recycled from an old road bike that was at least 12 years old. What I can tell you without question hydro brakes have been very good to the bike shop I work in. SRAM especially as they have more issues than others. Mechanical disc brakes need to be kept free of salt as they tend to corrode more quickly than a cheap ol' caliper or canti brake, and the internal corrosion stops them from working.

I like disc brakes because they are good for the bottom line. Admittedly I ran disc brakes for 3 years and ditched them. Rim brakes are much easier to deal with, however everyone is different and others may have more tolerance for the disc brake dance than I do.
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Old 12-26-20, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
" in the end it probably comes out no more than what folks spend on quality brake cables/housing over the course of 5 or so years."

Wow, that is quite a statement. Have been using the same cables and housing on my commuter bike for at least 10 years. My wife's bike has had the same cables and housing for 20 years. When I raced never once did a need to replace cables and housing arise in the 20 years I was active. Heck, even the Campy 11 speed on my daily rider has brake housing recycled from an old road bike that was at least 12 years old. What I can tell you without question hydro brakes have been very good to the bike shop I work in. SRAM especially as they have more issues than others. Mechanical disc brakes need to be kept free of salt as they tend to corrode more quickly than a cheap ol' caliper or canti brake, and the internal corrosion stops them from working.

I like disc brakes because they are good for the bottom line. Admittedly I ran disc brakes for 3 years and ditched them. Rim brakes are much easier to deal with, however everyone is different and others may have more tolerance for the disc brake dance than I do.
Quite a statement? Not really. Its been my experience. I guess it is not everyone, though, and as you point out, YMMV. But I was responding to the the assertion that mech disc is, as a matter of fact, more expense and trouble.

One set of Jagwire Pro cables and housing (which is what I use on my MTB and road/gravel bikes and replace about every 3-4 years) costs more than a bottle of Shimano mineral oil that will last me about 2 decades. I am only 1/3 of the way through the bottle I bought 7 years ago.

If you are talking commuting in salt, my rim brake cables on my commuter are toast in a year or two when i do that. Granted I don’t splurge for the Compression-less on that, but I am still spending way more on cables than I ever would on fluid.

I am a little surprised that someone working in a shop would find mech disc a challenge. They are stupid easy, IMO. But again, YMMV.

Last edited by Kapusta; 12-27-20 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 12-26-20, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I know this thread is going to spiral off, but before it does...

There was a time when your car engine was a little off, you could open the hood, pop off the distributor cap, file square and set the points, and rotate the distributor where it was just right.
Today you pop the hood to a sheet of plastic.
Do I want to go back? For everyday driving when I want to get somewhere... no way. For a hobby to tinker... yep.
I think it comes down to how you look at a bike. If it is a tool, you ride what is most efficient. If it is a pastime and something to tinker with, you ride what is easiest to tinker.
John
I had a good time learning how to change fuel injection systems to convert a car from non-turbo to turbo and keep things looking factory, now that the original fuel map software has been cracked I'd just make changes there and it would go quicker. Crack a book, watch videos and ask questions. Tinkering doesn't have to stop with the simple things, even a 3 piece head isn't that hard when you take your time.

Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I think the OP is actually just plain wrong on some of this. I don't mean that I have a philosophical argument, but rather that he is just plain wrong, at least about some of it.

For example: aside from the fact that my disc brakes rarely need any kind of maintenance, when they do need maintenance it is generally easier than maintaining rim brakes. For example, replacing disc brake pads is five minutes, tops, per caliper, and involves no fiddling -- just pull out a cotter pin, undo one screw, pull out the pads, shove in a new set and replace the screw and cotter pin; it takes me longer than that with rim brakes, since there is inevitably a lot of fiddling with the toe-in and alignment of the pads.

Some of the other examples seem just a matter of inexperience rather than empirical fact. My two tubeless-tired bikes have (so far) given me a total of 12,000 flat-free miles; the time spent in my garage, setting them up while drinking a beer or two, is well worth the time saved on the side of the road fixing punctures.
You forgot to spread the pistons, then remove pads. I'm reminded by this that the brakes on my mtb haven't been touched in 4 years which is impressive pad life since I'm over half way through my second set of tires. Personally, I've yet to see the advantage to tubeless but I hate the level of difficulty the standard has added to tire changes, but its still a basic process that can be done in the garage or driveway, so you're right on the OP is wrong. Even did my campy discs in the driveway so I could keep an eye on the kids, none of its complicated unless you want it to be.

Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
" in the end it probably comes out no more than what folks spend on quality brake cables/housing over the course of 5 or so years."

Wow, that is quite a statement. Have been using the same cables and housing on my commuter bike for at least 10 years. My wife's bike has had the same cables and housing for 20 years. When I raced never once did a need to replace cables and housing arise in the 20 years I was active. Heck, even the Campy 11 speed on my daily rider has brake housing recycled from an old road bike that was at least 12 years old.
That's heading for the chintzy side of frugal. I've noticed that it can be hard to tell that braking and shifting has been degrading over time till new cables and housing are used. I probably do so every 5 or so years but 20 is a bit long.
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Old 12-26-20, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Iíve come to the opinion that some of the technical Ďadvancesí of certain bicycle components and systems may not necessarily be intended for us mere mortal bicyclists. They seem to need more ďsupportĒ than the traditional counterparts they replace, which weíre not able to provided. Iím talking about components like disc brakes (cable and hydraulic), tubeless tires, and wireless/electronic shifting. Now to be fair...Iíve only used these systems and donít own any of them. And Iím sure that when all of these components are working as designed that theyíre superior to the traditional systems/components they replaced. I donít have anything against them if you choose to use them. Maybe you have the resources and expertise to support them. And if you do choose to use any of them...thatís fine. More power to ya. Iím sure there are many who use these advanced components and have not had any trouble with them. My opinion is pretty much based on what Iíve read in cycling publications, here in the BFs, and witnessed personally. But to me itís seems that there are more issues...mostly mechanical problems...with those systems. It seems they need more technical and financial support than the traditional systems they replaced. For example, there are more complaints about disc brakes and tubeless tires than you see for their traditional counterparts. I think these new components are better suited to the likes of a professional team with financial resources and trained mechanical experts available.

Dan

Thanks for your editorial Dan.

I suppose you prefer cars from the 80s and medicine from the last century as well?
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Old 12-27-20, 08:24 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
In the last couple years, I have twice ridden home in a single gear
Only twice ??...I've been stuck in a single gear for 12 years.
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Old 12-27-20, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Toadmeister View Post
Thanks for your editorial Dan.

I suppose you prefer cars from the 80s and medicine from the last century as well?
Youíre welcome. Actually cars in the 80s were much easier to work on...but I do drive a modern car...and not a car that needs support crew and is intended for the race track.

Dan
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Old 12-27-20, 09:04 AM
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To paraphrase: I don't own any of these things and have never attempted to do any maintenance or repair on any of them but I read on the internet they are unreliable and maintenance is difficult therefore they must be for rich people or racers.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Only twice ??...I've been stuck in a single gear for 12 years.
Okay, you got me.

I, too, often intentionally ride in a single gear - on a different bike.
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Old 12-27-20, 11:10 AM
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If this is going to turn into a automobile analogy, I think it is more like comparing cars from the 1950's to cars from the 1930s.

Other than fixing the servo motors and computer coding involved in electronic shifting (more on that below*), there is almost nothing involved on modern bikes that an average home mechanic can't do. Anyone who actually worked on their own bikes 25 years ago can still do so today. Tools and techniques are different in some cases, but I don't think it is any harder.

*The one exception I can think if is electronic shifting. But all accounts I read indicate that it works pretty well and requires less futzing than mech shifting (not that I find mech shifting a hassle). And it is also more expensive. But it is also pretty easily avoidable, and (at least for now) not pushing out mechanical options at the higher levels.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
If this is going to turn into a automobile analogy, I think it is more like comparing cars from the 1950's to cars from the 1930s.

Other than fixing the servo motors and computer coding involved in electronic shifting (more on that below*), there is almost nothing involved on modern bikes that an average home mechanic can't do. Anyone who actually worked on their own bikes 25 years ago can still do so today. Tools and techniques are different in some cases, but I don't think it is any harder.

*The one exception I can think if is electronic shifting. But all accounts I read indicate that it works pretty well and requires less futzing than mech shifting (not that I find mech shifting a hassle). And it is also more expensive. But it is also pretty easily avoidable, and (at least for now) not pushing out mechanical options at the higher levels.
I've had precisely one issue with my Di2 bike in 6500 miles, and it was my own fault. I have the Junction A box that fits in the handlebar end, and hence a wire runs under the tape from one side to the other - runs across in front of the stem. When installing a chunky mount for a new computer, I inadvertently jostled the wire loose, and the bike stopped shifting mid-ride. Rode home SS, and figured it out later. Lesson learned.

In the same time that I have owned that Di2 bike, I've had two RD cables break on other bikes while riding. And yes, I do maintain my bikes -- but Shimano 11sp is notorious for shredding RD cables inside the shifter; I'm just lucky that the shifters weren't ruined, as that does happen.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:48 PM
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First, I’m a big tech geek, probably a bigger geek than most folks on bike forums.

But I think bicycle technology probably peaked 5-10 years ago, especially for road bikes. And now there is just technology for technology sake to sell you stuff, not to improve the experience of the cyclist. Does anyone really enjoy bleeding their brakes on their road bike? I hated it when I had a MTB. Unless you ride a lot in the wet it doesn’t really make a big difference, if it did make a giant and noticeable difference we wouldn’t argue about it so much. Tubeless is great until you’re 50 miles from home with a hole that won’t seal. Are aero frames and wind tunnel tested CF wheels with minimal yaw in a cross wind making a massive difference in your riding? You can shift electronically, wirelessly, and even hydrologicly but was anything really wrong with cable shifting? Has any of this new technology, other than e-bikes, made a difference for your commuting bike?

The main thing that has happened in the last ten years is increased bicycle complexity without increasing the riding experience at the same rate. Let’s talk about the tragic state of BB standards (and this is a 6 years old so probably there are more now), has the ‘advance’ of BB technology really benefited you or only the cycling industry? I think a similar thing this happening to axel standards and you’ll soon have a dozen different axels too. Does everyone really think this is a great technological leap for riders? There is a balance between complexity and user experience and my opinion is that bicycles have tipped over that point.

Guess I’m living in the 80s If I think this is just dumb:
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Old 12-27-20, 01:11 PM
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No doubt I am a cheapskate. Frugal, very frugal. Was raised that way, and have stuck with it because it does not bother me. Working at low wages in a bike shop also gives credence to frugality and simply put frugality is a necessity. I work in a shop and can buy things at near dealer cost, I can also buy things at near dealer cost on the internet, but that does not entice me to change cables and housing when it really is not needed. To my way of thinking that is wasteful, and when it comes down to it, environmentally irresponsible as it produces needless waste. As we all agree, to each their own.
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Old 12-27-20, 03:07 PM
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the cost has surpassed the benefit in most modern changes. Most small bicycle parts could be 3D printed at home, & that should be something the OEMs watch out for. Home Joe 3D prints a brifter for $20 or buy from the retailer that might be a knock-off for over $100?
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Old 12-27-20, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
To paraphrase: I don't own any of these things and have never attempted to do any maintenance or repair on any of them but I read on the internet they are unreliable and maintenance is difficult therefore they must be for rich people or racers.
That's odd. I thought they were for feeble-minded riders that are incapable of resisting the latest advertising campaigns of the bicycle industry.
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