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Disc brakes

Old 07-02-17, 05:35 AM
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Disc brakes

Just saw a close up of one bike in the TdF and was surprised to see it had disc brakes. I wasn't aware they were legal (again). Interestingly, just watching the telecast, I haven't seem any other bikes with them - I'm not suggesting he's the only one, just that they don't seem to be common.
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Old 07-02-17, 05:54 AM
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One of the cannondale TT bikes had them yesterday. Kittels bike has them today
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Old 07-02-17, 06:12 AM
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Funny. If they were so good, you'd expect a wholesale rush to using them, especially as the manufacturers are putting them on everything, thus forcing us to buy them.

Yes, I'm clutching at my retrogrouchery
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Old 07-02-17, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Funny. If they were so good, you'd expect a wholesale rush to using them, especially as the manufacturers are putting them on everything, thus forcing us to buy them.

Yes, I'm clutching at my retrogrouchery
You're talking about a peloton that refuses to use fenders.

Roadies are funny.
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Old 07-02-17, 06:20 AM
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Looking at the race at the moment, I'd love mudguards. Hell, I'd even listen to the bloke next to me telling me how good his disc brakes are. I swear I saw one bloke in the peleton with a snorkel
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Old 07-03-17, 09:28 AM
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Fenders are not allowed. If they were you would see full coverage front fenders (like a rear fender) on TT bikes for their aerodynamic gain.
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Old 07-03-17, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MKahrl View Post
Fenders are not allowed. If they were you would see full coverage front fenders (like a rear fender) on TT bikes for their aerodynamic gain.
Know a few ex-EU-pro racers...they look at fenders as blasphemy. Given the choice of being mostly clean and a bit damp and enjoying a rec ride with fenders....or being sopping wet with farm-"mud" road spray and kvetching about how awful the conditions are.

...they'll freely choose to kvetch and moan and be covered in farm-"mud".
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Old 07-04-17, 06:24 AM
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I've never used disc brakes before, but I've heard that they can really help with braking in wet conditions, so I'm considering getting them on my next bike, which I'm currently in the market for.

I don't know what the big controversy is around disc brakes in the tour, but I did hear one guy say it's all about braking times in the peloton, i.e. guys with discs can brake faster than guys with traditional brakes, which can cause accidents. Sounds a little iffy to me.
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Old 07-04-17, 09:47 AM
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Kittel won stage 2 on this. First TDF stage win on a disc bike.

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Old 07-04-17, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I've never used disc brakes before, but I've heard that they can really help with braking in wet conditions, so I'm considering getting them on my next bike, which I'm currently in the market for.
Disc brakes offer a lot more consistent braking across the weather range than rim brakes.
One can argue that "rim brakes are good enough" until the cows come home, But for this discs are flat out better.

Fully enclosed brakes, like drum and roller brakes are the ultimate in weather independency, but come with other characteristics.

Discs - particularly hydraulics - tend to offer more braking for a given level of hand effort.
I like that.
While there's certainly an element of skill in this, I do stop faster with discs than with rim brakes. Clenching hard reduces my modulation ability.
One can again argue that "rim brakes are good enough", which begs the question what the discussion sounded like when cars got brake servos and power steering.
disc brakes saving on rim wear is true, But rarely important.
Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I don't know what the big controversy is around disc brakes in the tour...
Mostly conservatism I suspect. And that there's maybe not much gain in a race scenario.
They do make wheel changes a tad slower. Maybe adds a further 3 seconds to make up for if you flat. Not "good", But it'd take a real special situation for it to be critical.
There's supposed to be a bit of extra aero drag too.
I don't think weight is an issue on the pro circuit. Its been possible to build bikes below UCI requirements for ages. They can probably make a DB bike that's barely legal quite easily.

Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
...I did hear one guy say it's all about braking times in the peloton, i.e. guys with discs can brake faster than guys with traditional brakes, which can cause accidents. Sounds a little iffy to me.
Well, it depends.
On speed, rider spacing, the reason for braking and how hard you're braking.
If the whole peloton could see what the first riders see, then hard braking with (very) uneven brake performance could indeed be a Bad Thing.
Riders with poorer brakes would pile into riders with better brakes.

However, that's rarely how it works.
Only the first rows of riders brake for what they see on the road, the rest brake b/c the rider ahead of them brakes.
And for that, in a tight peloton, at race speed - its human reaction time that's the limiting factor.
brake performance doesn't matter if you've piled up before you've even started braking.

I suspect brake performance being more of an issue during descents. That tends to stretch the pack out more, giving more time to react.

Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
...I'm considering getting them on my next bike, which I'm currently in the market for.
If you can, look for bikes with a thru-axle fork.
Since the industry in their infinite wisdom decided to put the caliper on the rear of the fork, braking creates a force that will try to eject the wheel.
It's manageable with good quality q/r and good handling, but thru-axle is safer.
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Old 07-04-17, 11:58 AM
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Likely Marcel Kittel on stage 2. Flat sprinter stage, so perfect for discs. The discs will be packed away as soon as soon as the climbing starts.
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Old 07-04-17, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Likely Marcel Kittel on stage 2. Flat sprinter stage, so perfect for discs. The discs will be packed away as soon as soon as the climbing starts.
Perhaps they'll get unpacked at the summit before they come down. That would actually be a good idea lol
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Old 07-04-17, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Perhaps they'll get unpacked at the summit before they come down. That would actually be a good idea lol
Ha: yes. Except the riders around you would be jocking for position to stay away from you in order to avoid being part of a mass pile-up. Or being sliced and diced. Like the Greek chariot in the epic scene in he movie: Ben-Hur.

Even better would be for the disc-equipped riders to get a quick bike swap in the final 10k of each stage. That way, they can enjoy the insurmountable benefits of a rim-brake equipped bike for the first 200k of the stage, and yet satisfy the promotional/marketing obligations of their component sponsors at the finish line...
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Old 07-04-17, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Just saw a close up of one bike in the TdF and was surprised to see it had disc brakes. I wasn't aware they were legal (again). Interestingly, just watching the telecast, I haven't seem any other bikes with them - I'm not suggesting he's the only one, just that they don't seem to be common.
I do not believe for a second that the pros are using disc bikes because discs are safer, better and going to help them win.

I truly believe, not an ounce of doubt, the brands are forcing pros to ride disc because they know, it's the only way to get gullible consumers to buy new road bikes with disc.

Seem evident to me, the brands have become stagnant with road bikes. You can't make them that much lighter any more, the carbon layers are only .1-.2 mm thick now. And even they could, what difference is a 500 gram frame going to do for a consumer that a 600 gram frame won't? Especially when the average cyclist is a fatty, there are far more significant weight problems aside from the frame. Stiffer won't do anything since consumers don't have the strength to overcome stiffness of carbon bikes from five years ago, nevermind current. No amount of gimmicks are going to make rough roads comfortable.

The only gimmick left is, disc brakes. Seems to me, that's the one gimmick you can market to anyone, no matter how fat, slow, skinny, or fast you are. Disc brakes are safer. Clearly that's why cyclists crash, and get his by cars, it's the rim brake's fault. The excuse disc brakes are better in the rain is moronic to me too. Why are cyclists riding so fast in the rain that rim brakes are failing? I think there is more to be concerned about than disc brakes if you are riding that fast in the rain. Last I checked regardless of what brakes you have, roads are slippery in the rain.

Also I see thousands of cyclists who commute in the rain on OLD steel bikes with rim brakes that have half the stopping power of my dual pivot Shimano rim brakes. And I don't see them crashing, they are stopping fine. But I guess that's because they aren't elite racers who are trying to KOM in the rain.

Last edited by zymphad; 07-04-17 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 07-04-17, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
I do not believe for a second that the pros are using disc bikes because discs are safer, better and going to help them win.

I truly believe, not an ounce of doubt, the brands are forcing pros to ride disc because they know, it's the only way to get gullible consumers to buy new road bikes with disc.

Seem evident to me, the brands have become stagnant with road bikes. You can't make them that much lighter any more, the carbon layers are only .1-.2 mm thick now. Stiffer won't do anything since consumers don't have the strength to overcome stiffness of carbon bikes from five years ago, nevermind current. No amount of gimmicks are going to make rough roads comfortable.

The only gimmick left is, disc brakes. But that's me. The excuse disc brakes are better in the rain is moronic to me. Why are cyclists riding so fast in the rain that rim brakes are failing? I think there is more to be concerned about than disc brakes if you are riding that fast in the rain. Last I checked regardless of what brakes you have, roads are slippery in the rain.
Cynicism's good. I personally think the next 'improvement' will be electrically operated disk brakes
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Old 07-04-17, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Cynicism's good. I personally think the next 'improvement' will be electrically operated disk brakes
And I'm sure someone from SRAM is reading this and writing an email quickly to their R&D, why don't we have electrically operated disc brakes yet? We need to give hydraulic disc brake owners something to upgrade to! Clearly disc brakes aren't safe going downhill 80 mph in the rain, they need electrically operated disk brakes, they are safer!

And after, why aren't the electrically operated disk brakes wireless? And why aren't the rotors carbon, the rotors are too heavy!

Last edited by zymphad; 07-04-17 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 07-04-17, 06:57 PM
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I'm laughing but I shouldn't be having seen how the industry chases 'improvement's and forces them onto buyers, many of whom rush out to buy them because bikes weren't worth riding before them.
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Old 07-04-17, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
I do not believe for a second that the pros are using disc bikes because discs are safer, better and going to help them win.

I truly believe, not an ounce of doubt, the brands are forcing pros to ride disc because they know, it's the only way to get gullible consumers to buy new road bikes with disc.
Or, not

Bike manufacturers were putting disc brakes on road and endurance bikes several years before they were allowed into races by the UCI. If they were still barred from competition, manufacturers would still offer them, and some consumers would still buy them.

In addition, top tier riders like Kittel have more than enough leverage to stick to rim brakes if they want. There is no way a top tier sprinter will use a bike that could potentially lose a sprint.


Seem evident to me, the brands have become stagnant with road bikes...
Yes, bikes are mature. That doesn't actually change anything about the argument, because it doesn't negate the technical advantages of disc; and because manufacturers were offering those bikes regardless of the UCI rules.


Seems to me, that's the one gimmick you can market to anyone, no matter how fat, slow, skinny, or fast you are. Disc brakes are safer. Clearly that's why cyclists crash, and get his by cars, it's the rim brake's fault. The excuse disc brakes are better in the rain is moronic to me too. Why are cyclists riding so fast in the rain that rim brakes are failing?
Or:

Disc brakes work better in wet and muddy conditions, and offer better modulation. They offer a superior option for carbon rims, which don't work well with rim brakes. It's also an opportunity to offer improvements like hydraulic brakes and thru-axles.

As to why cyclists are riding fast in the rain -- you do know we're talking about a professional sport here, where the fastest rider wins. Right? Amateurs also can ride at speeds and in conditions where better braking offers more control, a better experience, and a slightly safer ride.

It's not a radical change. Switching to disc won't eliminate every crash. But it will help in some situations.


Also I see thousands of cyclists who commute in the rain on OLD steel bikes with rim brakes that have half the stopping power of my dual pivot Shimano rim brakes. And I don't see them crashing, they are stopping fine. But I guess that's because they aren't elite racers who are trying to KOM in the rain.
So, that's the standard here? Commuters who stop every other block don't desperately need disc brakes, therefore no one does? Seems odd.
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Old 07-04-17, 09:05 PM
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Bacciagalupe, the argument isn't so much that disc brakes aren't better, just that they aren't necessary.

Take gear shifting. Do we really need modern brifters or electronic shifting? I use retroshifters which are basically down tube shifters mounted on the brake levers - not only are they more reliable than brifters but the ratchet shifting on the front dr is far superior to the brifter set up. The downside is that while they are essentially under your fingers at all times, they aren't quite as convenient as brifters.

The point I'm trying to make is that 'better' is a relative thing and with bikes, we're long past the point where that equals 'necessary'. Having said that, if my next new bike just happened to come with hydraulic discs, I'd be perfectly happy... until I found that bleeding issues proved they were less user friendly than cables.
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Old 07-04-17, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
I'm laughing but I shouldn't be having seen how the industry chases 'improvement's and forces them onto buyers, many of whom rush out to buy them because bikes weren't worth riding before them.
"Force?" That seems a tad extreme.

They offer options, and try to persuade people to buy them. But that is not force. If a manufacturer offers something that buyers don't want, it won't sell. Sooner or later, someone's going to offer it.

For example, Giant phased out rim brakes on their Defy line. This may seem like a coercive tactic to some, except that their competitors still offered endurance bikes with rim brakes. Even a big company like Giant can't afford to lose sales on that line for long.

We should note that you can still get lots of old parts. Freewheels, downtube shifters, quill stems, old BB's. You can even get failed parts like Biopace chainrings. There are a lot of people riding older bikes, happily, in total disregard of the marketing.
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Old 07-04-17, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Bacciagalupe, the argument isn't so much that disc brakes aren't better, just that they aren't necessary.

Take gear shifting. Do we really need modern brifters or electronic shifting? I use retroshifters which are basically down tube shifters mounted on the brake levers - not only are they more reliable than brifters but the ratchet shifting on the front dr is far superior to the brifter set up.
No one "needs" smartphones either. Good luck convincing people to give them up.

Having used downtube, bar-end and STI shifters: "Need" is extreme. However, brifters are a huge improvement over earlier options.

There is no way I'd choose DT shifters today.

Not everyone needs electronic shifters. However, they are beneficial in some situations, and show no sign of replacing mechanical any time soon. Adding the new option did not remove an old one.

In terms of reliability, good quality brifters are just as reliable as DT or bar-end. The only situation I might opt for bar-end these days is touring, where you could get stuck in the middle of nowhere, have issues with indexing, and benefit from friction shifting. And I'm on the verge of selling my touring bike with bar end shifters, so....


The point I'm trying to make is that 'better' is a relative thing and with bikes, we're long past the point where that equals 'necessary'. Having said that, if my next new bike just happened to come with hydraulic discs, I'd be perfectly happy... until I found that bleeding issues proved they were less user friendly than cables.
The subjectivity of the "necessity" standard doesn't change the fact that many changes do offer tangible and measurable improvements; and that some people will want, and even benefit, from those improvements.

And as your own choices indicate, nothing is compelling you to give up perfectly good working gear that suits your needs.
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Old 07-05-17, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Bacciagalupe, the argument isn't so much that disc brakes aren't better, just that they aren't necessary.

Take gear shifting. Do we really need modern brifters or electronic shifting? I use retroshifters which are basically down tube shifters mounted on the brake levers - not only are they more reliable than brifters but the ratchet shifting on the front dr is far superior to the brifter set up. The downside is that while they are essentially under your fingers at all times, they aren't quite as convenient as brifters.

The point I'm trying to make is that 'better' is a relative thing and with bikes, we're long past the point where that equals 'necessary'. Having said that, if my next new bike just happened to come with hydraulic discs, I'd be perfectly happy... until I found that bleeding issues proved they were less user friendly than cables.
That seems like a silly argument to me. Multiple gears aren't necessary, perhaps you should get rid of your shifters altogether. If something is better, why would you not want/use it or at least have the option to do so?
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Old 07-06-17, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
That seems like a silly argument to me. Multiple gears aren't necessary, perhaps you should get rid of your shifters altogether. If something is better, why would you not want/use it or at least have the option to do so?
Funny you should say that, my favourite bike is fixed gear
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Old 07-06-17, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
I do not believe for a second that the pros are using disc bikes because discs are safer, better and going to help them win.

I'll agree with that. During actual race conditions, I'm struggling to see much advantage to discs.
OTOH, I don't see any huge disadvantage either.


Keep in mind that the overwhelming bulk of miles are not ridden under race conditions.
Not even under "organized training ride" conditions.


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Seem evident to me, the brands have become stagnant with road bikes.

I'd say "the market" rather than the brands.
But sure, not many ride their bikes until they need to be replaced for technical reasons.
Bikes are mainly replaced b/c the rider wants a new one.
And what better way to trigger that urge than to convince the rider he's missing out on something unless he gets a new bike?


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
...
I truly believe, not an ounce of doubt, the brands are forcing pros to ride disc because they know, it's the only way to get gullible consumers to buy new road bikes with disc.

Not so sure about that.


DBs started being (widely) used on MTBs, where the advantages were the greatest.


Of course some of these DB MTBs saw some road use.
And people thought, "hey, this was nice".


Manufacturers saw a niche, and soon started offering DB bikes purpose-built for road use, to replace the repurposed MTBs.
So DB bikes swept into the hybrids and the commuters.
Drop bar setups of various qualities started appearing.


Eventually you got people wanting high-end drop bar road bikes, but with discs.


A shorter time to good braking in the wet is a good thing.
Needing less hand force for the same amount of braking is nice.


Saying you're "gullible" b/c you want a drop bar road bike with discs is at best a HUGE simplification.


If people are "gullible" for wanting that, then who's to judge what new things that are acceptable?
If I replace my Ni-Cd Halogen light for a NiMh LED, is that too being "gullible"?


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Disc brakes are safer.
The brake alone is probably a toss-up. Particulary as we're seeing more and more low-end disc brakes.
Under some conditions - which might or might not apply to a particular rider - they do have some performance advantages. In some situations, those CAN have safety benefits.


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Clearly that's why cyclists crash, and get his by cars, it's the rim brake's fault.
Have you actually heard someone claim that, or are you merely ranting?


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
The excuse disc brakes are better in the rain is moronic to me too. Why are cyclists riding so fast in the rain that rim brakes are failing?

Speed isn't really the issue. Braking distance vs distance to appearing obstacles is.
Most of my mileage is commuting, from the suburbs into the city.
In the rain, it'll take at least two turns of the wheels for the pads to wipe the rims dry enough to give decent braking.
It doesn't take much of a situation to make the distance that takes fairly important.
With brakes that start to work faster, I can stop faster. Or brake lighter and stop in the same distance as with brake lag.


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
.. Last I checked regardless of what brakes you have, roads are slippery in the rain.

So?


Are you saying we shouldn't improve what we can, b/c there are other conditions we can't improve?


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
Also I see thousands of cyclists who commute in the rain on OLD steel bikes with rim brakes that have half the stopping power of my dual pivot Shimano rim brakes.

So?
I see people riding single-speeds, people not knowing how to use the gears, people with saddles too low, people with ridiculously heavy bikes, people riding underinflated tires, people riding wobbly wheels, people riding in woefully inadequate clothing. They too seem to get where they're going w/o disastrous results.


There's no more reason for me to accept that than there is for me to stay with rim brakes when I know there's stuff around that I enjoy using more.


There are rims with ceramic coated brake tracks. These have better wet braking than aluminium too. Are they also gimmicks for gullible people?


How about hydraulic rim brakes?


Originally Posted by zymphad View Post
I guess that's because they aren't elite racers who are trying to KOM in the rain. .

I'm not an elite racer. Have no such ambitions. As long as I'm about as fast as my riding buddies - who aren't elite racers either - I'm perfectly happy.
I've never tried for a KOM. Might very rarely try for a PB.
But I like fast-onset braking in the rain, and brakes that bite at light hand effort.
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Old 07-06-17, 07:08 AM
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OBoile
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Funny you should say that, my favourite bike is fixed gear
But it's not your only bike...
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