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Shimano Ultegra Di2 6800 rim brakes obsolescence?

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Shimano Ultegra Di2 6800 rim brakes obsolescence?

Old 08-19-22, 09:48 AM
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Jimmy Legs
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Shimano Ultegra Di2 6800 rim brakes obsolescence?

OK, so I've decided to keep my gravel bike a gravel bike, take my Domane AL 2 to leave at our cabin. So now I'm looking at a used 2017 Domane SLR 7 with rim brakes for my daily riding at our home. It has the Ultegra Di2 6800 group (11 sp) with rim brakes. I actually like rim brakes but I'm concerned about obsolescence. I was told by the local Trek store that Shimano no longer makes electronic rim brake groupsets and that they couldn't replace parts in the future. However, the sales people here are notorious for trying to talk novices into thinking they need a $5k bike so I'm not sure what to believe. If I had to in the future, with rim brake di2 having become obsolete, could I change to mechanical shifting? Or would I be buying a bike with an expiration date on it? Because I don't think you can upgrade from rim brakes to disc since disc brakes have frames specifically designed for disc brake loads, correct?

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-22, 10:17 AM
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What are you worried about replacing? You'll be able to get brake pads, wheels, etc. Sourcing replacement levers or derailleurs could get tricky down the line, but I'm not familiar with the life expectancy of these items. But yes, you could always go mechanical, with either an older groupset or with a lower-tier groupset.

If the bike does what you want it to do (for the foreseeable future) and the value is right, go for it.
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Old 08-19-22, 11:19 AM
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I just bought a Dura-Ace di2 rim brake kit for imminent build. Possibly one of the last such kits available. Bonus is that it is 11-speed, so I don't have to pay $100 for a 12-speed replacement chain or $200 for a cassette.


Definitely stay with what you have, instead of 'upgrading'. For reference, yesterday I was riding on an elite-level disc-brake road bike. It had the UCI approved sticker and all of the fancy giblets and it was expensive. However, it was a disappointing ride, dead, unresponsive and overall heavy (>18 pounds). The disc wheels were particularly heavy, as is necessary of disc wheels + rotors.


Yes, disc brake framesets have to be bulked up relative to rim brake framesets, particularly the fork. On rim brake forks, braking forces get passed from the ground circumferentially through the rims and to the brakes on the crown race. The crown race is already a reinforced area on the fork. In contrast, on disc forks, the forces get passed to the fork ends, and from there through the fork to the frame. So the fork has to be bulked up and will be heavier - hence the dead stiff ride feeling. To compensate, you could ride a fatter tire, but of course these tires are heavier and less aero.


There is absolutely no way I could hang onto my weekend ride pals on the disc brake bike. If I were willing to spend $2k on carbon disc wheels, and go down from 32 back down to 25mm tires, maybe I would not get dropped on the hills and the corners. But my older bikes are still competitive.
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Old 08-19-22, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I just bought a Dura-Ace di2 rim brake kit for imminent build. Possibly one of the last such kits available. Bonus is that it is 11-speed, so I don't have to pay $100 for a 12-speed replacement chain or $200 for a cassette.


Definitely stay with what you have, instead of 'upgrading'. For reference, yesterday I was riding on an elite-level disc-brake road bike. It had the UCI approved sticker and all of the fancy giblets and it was expensive. However, it was a disappointing ride, dead, unresponsive and overall heavy (>18 pounds). The disc wheels were particularly heavy, as is necessary of disc wheels + rotors.


Yes, disc brake framesets have to be bulked up relative to rim brake framesets, particularly the fork. On rim brake forks, braking forces get passed from the ground circumferentially through the rims and to the brakes on the crown race. The crown race is already a reinforced area on the fork. In contrast, on disc forks, the forces get passed to the fork ends, and from there through the fork to the frame. So the fork has to be bulked up and will be heavier - hence the dead stiff ride feeling. To compensate, you could ride a fatter tire, but of course these tires are heavier and less aero.


There is absolutely no way I could hang onto my weekend ride pals on the disc brake bike. If I were willing to spend $2k on carbon disc wheels, and go down from 32 back down to 25mm tires, maybe I would not get dropped on the hills and the corners. But my older bikes are still competitive.
Lol. What a load of unmitigated poppycock.
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Old 08-19-22, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Legs View Post
OK, so I've decided to keep my gravel bike a gravel bike, take my Domane AL 2 to leave at our cabin. So now I'm looking at a used 2017 Domane SLR 7 with rim brakes for my daily riding at our home. It has the Ultegra Di2 6800 group (11 sp) with rim brakes. I actually like rim brakes but I'm concerned about obsolescence. I was told by the local Trek store that Shimano no longer makes electronic rim brake groupsets and that they couldn't replace parts in the future. However, the sales people here are notorious for trying to talk novices into thinking they need a $5k bike so I'm not sure what to believe. If I had to in the future, with rim brake di2 having become obsolete, could I change to mechanical shifting? Or would I be buying a bike with an expiration date on it? Because I don't think you can upgrade from rim brakes to disc since disc brakes have frames specifically designed for disc brake loads, correct?

Thanks!
It's technically correct that you might not be able to get replacement "brifters" that are Di2/mechanical braking, in the event yours fail. But they will probably be fine. The absolute worst-case scenerio is someday you or a subsequent owner would have to replace the drivetrain with mechanical versions. But I think it is well worth the gamble that you will never have to do that. Make certain the shifters/brakes are working well (assuming "looking at" means considering purchase).

Then buy a Di2 disc brake bike from one of that shop's competitors, and bring it in for a handlebar tape change.
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Old 08-19-22, 02:09 PM
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WhyFi, things like levers and derailleurs is what I was worried about. If I could go back to mechanical, I would be ok just didn't know if the cables could be routed and what other issues there might. Thanks for your response.

Dave, an 18 pound bike would be light to me! I think my Domane AL 2 is around 21 lbs and it feels light to me since my first bike is a gravel bike around 27 lbs. I'm not looking to race, but I enjoy a spirited ride.
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Old 08-19-22, 02:22 PM
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If you need to replace either or both derailleurs tomorrow, you can do so with any 11 speed Dura Ace, Ultegra or GRX.

I just finished building a bike for my wife with vintage 2014 Di2 shifters/hydraulics* and put the latest Ultegra front and rear derailleurs on. Everything works perfectly after a firmware update. (It might have worked out of the box, but I didn't try.)

* I actually bought a back-up set of vintage 2014 Di2 shifters for my bike when they were on sale for $199, but after they sat in a box for two years, I decided to use them in the build for my wife's bike. They work fine. So do my old ones from 2014 that get daily abuse.
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Old 08-19-22, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Legs View Post
WhyFi, things like levers and derailleurs is what I was worried about. If I could go back to mechanical, I would be ok just didn't know if the cables could be routed and what other issues there might. Thanks for your response.
There are a handful of bikes that have Di2-only routing, but a 2017 Domane isn't one of them.
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Old 08-19-22, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Lol. What a load of unmitigated poppycock.
You're a bit more kind than I would've been.
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Old 08-19-22, 03:11 PM
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Well, in my humble opinion, the new 12 speed Ultegra shifts a lot quicker than the last generation. Plus, you don't need the wifi adapter thingy to make it connect via Bluetooth to the Shimano app... The shifts are also noticeably quieter (less servo sound). If you have the funds, then I'd say go for it. If you're looking to save money, the old version isn't too shabby...
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Old 08-19-22, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Legs View Post
Dave, an 18 pound bike would be light to me! I think my Domane AL 2 is around 21 lbs and it feels light to me since my first bike is a gravel bike around 27 lbs. I'm not looking to race, but I enjoy a spirited ride.
You do want a <18 pound bike; trust me. The folks that poo-poo light gear are the ones that haven't ridden it.

For a new 18-pound road bike with discs, be prepared to drop $3k. In contrast, a used 5 year old 18-pound carbon road bike will come in at less than $1k, and will be superior in every respect to the new bike, except if you really need discs, such as if you're riding a bike loaded with camping gear in the Alps in a downpour with arthritic hands. But apart from that, discs are heavy, fussy, expensive and unnecessary.

Caution: when buying used, assume the entire drivetrain is egregiously worn out, requiring a new chain, cassette and rings. Factor this in your negotiations.
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Old 08-20-22, 11:15 AM
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Light gear is definitely more fun, but it isnít necessarily faster. Stoplight drag races, my 18lbs Cannondale will likely beat out my 19.4lbs Lynskey, but in steady state cruising, the deeper dish on the Lynskeyís wheels means she holds speed much better than the shallow-rimmed Cannondale.

As for shifters and derailleurs going obsolete - thereís always eBay. Iím considering eventually refreshing my 2004 Bianchi, and was surprised that I could still find (claimed) New Old Stock Ultegra 6500 9-speed components, nearly 20 yrs after they went out of production. So if youíre willing to pay and willing to look, itíll likely still be around.

Or you could try buying bikes off of Team Ineos. Theyíre famous for sticking with rim brakes and Di2, arenít they?
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Old 08-20-22, 05:33 PM
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Lots of good info in the above posts, and a lot of fun stuff to read as well. The planned obsolescence of mechanical brakes by Shimano is just the way it goes. From what I have seen in the service department of the shop I worked in for a million years there is little to go wrong with the stuff outside of physical damage to a component. My guess is that in 20 years the mechanical rim brake levers will be gone, within 10 years the supply will be low anyway. Can't stop progress.

The derailleur mechanisms are very cross compatible thus I have no worries about them for the next 20. With all that said, I only run rim brake bikes as hydro brakes are too much hassle for me to deal with if I ain't getting paid for it.
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Old 08-20-22, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
You do want a <18 pound bike; trust me.
We all want a 0 pound bike, most of us just have priorities that are more important to us than a difference of much of a pound of bike weight.
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Old 08-21-22, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Yes, disc brake framesets have to be bulked up relative to rim brake framesets, particularly the fork. On rim brake forks, braking forces get passed from the ground circumferentially through the rims and to the brakes on the crown race. The crown race is already a reinforced area on the fork. In contrast, on disc forks, the forces get passed to the fork ends, and from there through the fork to the frame. So the fork has to be bulked up and will be heavier - hence the dead stiff ride feeling. To compensate, you could ride a fatter tire, but of course these tires are heavier and less aero.


There is absolutely no way I could hang onto my weekend ride pals on the disc brake bike. If I were willing to spend $2k on carbon disc wheels, and go down from 32 back down to 25mm tires, maybe I would not get dropped on the hills and the corners. But my older bikes are still competitive.
Canyon Aeroad frame weights- CFR 915g, CF SLX 990g, CF SL 996g
https://www.bikeradar.com/news/2021-...ed_slideshow=1

Canyon Ultimate CFR frame weight- 685g and fork weight- 270g.
Canyon Ultimate CF SLX frame weight- 820g and fork weight- 320g. Canyon Ultimate CF SL frame weight- 980g and fork weight 395g.
https://cyclingtips.com/2021/01/2021...d-bike-review/

Canyon Endurace CF SLX frame weight- 820 g
https://www.canyon.com/en-us/road-bi...ikes/endurace/
Canyon Endurace CF SL frame weight - 920g
Canyon Endurace CF frame weight- 1020g​​​​​​​https://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/10...-7-etap-review


Frame weights between 685g and 1020g, depending on price level.
Disc forks between 270g and 395g, depending on price level.

Yes, disc brake design adds weight to areas of a frame for strength and stability.
No, the weight isnt nearly as dramatic or excessive as you claim.

I would love to see what your actual frame and fork weights are since an average of disc frame weights(aero, endurance, and general) above is 900g and fork weight is 325g and that sure doesn't seem excessively heavy.
If you think a couple hundred grams are what keeps you from being dropped during an entire group ride, you are really placing too much emphasis on the arrow.
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Old 08-21-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Yes, disc brake framesets have to be bulked up relative to rim brake framesets, particularly the fork.
Carbon fiber forks, which have become pretty standard on most modern frames of any material (at least when we’re talking about really good bikes—this doesn’t apply to dept. store bike shaped objects) are already strong enough along the axis that matters for braking forces. I have a steel road bike frame with carbon fork and rim brakes. Like most similar designs, its fork legs have a somewhat aero shape—they’re bulked up, so to speak. And the fork is still lighter than a steel one that’s not bulked up and is less aero. Because of the shape, it has plenty of strength in the longitudinal direction, even though the rim brakes don’t stress it much there. The same legs could be used for a disc brake fork. What you would not want to do is take a fork with thin, non-aero legs and bolt a disc brake onto it. My point is that you really don’t give up anything in this area when switching to a disc brake design, if you’re going with strong (and light) modern components anyway.

More to the OPs question, I think people worry way too much about getting a future-proof bike. Most of the parts that are likely to wear out will still be available for a long time. If you ride upwards of 10,000 miles per year, you might burn through some of the critical components before the date arrives when replacements are no longer made and NOS stuff is exhausted. But in that case, you can be happy that you truly got your money’s worth out of the bike. I believe it’s far more common, statistically, for a bike to have need of repairs through weathering (as it sits in a garage) as opposed to wear resulting from use. To me me, it’s sad to see that kind of thing happen. I’d like to wear my bikes out through hard, honest use. I can probably never ride enough to do so, but if I could, and I then find that replacement parts are nonexistent, I’ll gladly buy an entire new bike.

Put another way, I dare you to go ahead try wearing out a quality new bike, with any type of brakes and shifters. Use it hard, just don’t abuse it. You will wear out before it does. Brake pads of every type, tires and tubes, chains, cables, bar wrap, i.e. consumables, will be available for decades. You could conceivably wear out a cassette and/or chainrings and then find the type you need is no longer made. But in that case there will be an alternate available—you might have to replace the whole crank or hub.

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Old 08-21-22, 01:10 PM
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Dave Mayer , your complaint or concern about disc brake frames needing to be beefed up and therefore potentially heavier is akin to griping that fuel injected engines require more fuel pressure, which usually means an electric pump in the tank. Sure, these pumps are more expensive and harder to replace than the good ol’ engine mounted mechanical pumps that suffice for a carburetor. But it’s a pointless argument, because the fuel injection is superior, and there are other benefits to the associated changes necessitated by it. Don’t get me wrong, I like rim brakes (and I like old carbureted engines). With that said, I see it as an invalid argument to claim that you have to give up something good (like a lightweight non-bulked up fork) when switching to modern components like disc brakes.
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Old 08-23-22, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Dave Mayer , your complaint or concern about disc brake frames needing to be beefed up and therefore potentially heavier is akin to griping that fuel injected engines require more fuel pressure, which usually means an electric pump in the tank. Sure, these pumps are more expensive and harder to replace than the good olí engine mounted mechanical pumps that suffice for a carburetor. But itís a pointless argument, because the fuel injection is superior, and there are other benefits to the associated changes necessitated by it. Donít get me wrong, I like rim brakes (and I like old carbureted engines). With that said, I see it as an invalid argument to claim that you have to give up something good (like a lightweight non-bulked up fork) when switching to modern components like disc brakes.
OK, solid advice when I want to install a fuel-injection system on my road bike. After all, fuel injection is better than an old carbureted systems. By extension therefore, performance road bikes should have mechanical suspension, at a minimum a suspension fork. And a bar-actuated dropper seatpost. After all, these features allow greater utility while travelling over rough and steep terrain. You never know when smooth tarmac will drop away steeply into head-sized cobbles.

Back to Realityville: due to the braking forces involved, discs require bulking up the bike frame, fork and wheels. This is simply unavoidable; all things being equal (strength, stiffness and longevity) you CAN make a rim brake bike lighter; discs roughly add 2 pounds of extra ballast. Today I spend suffering on soul-crushing climbs interspersed with warp-speed descents. No relief in between. The basic Tektro dual-pivot brakes were fine.
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Old 08-23-22, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
OK, solid advice when I want to install a fuel-injection system on my road bike. After all, fuel injection is better than an old carbureted systems. By extension therefore, performance road bikes should have mechanical suspension, at a minimum a suspension fork. And a bar-actuated dropper seatpost. After all, these features allow greater utility while travelling over rough and steep terrain. You never know when smooth tarmac will drop away steeply into head-sized cobbles.
You're trying to stretch my analogy too far. (Or maybe you don't understand how analogies work? Of course I'm not suggesting you put fuel injection on your bike. Don't be obtuse.) Obviously, all bikes do not benefit from all modern advances in component design, just as all cars do not need 4wd, 9-speed dual clutch transmissions, 700 horsepower, etc. But everything has gone to fuel injection, in spite of its drawbacks. There is a niche aftermarket of carburetors for older cars, and there will probably always be the same for bicycle rim brakes. I was trying to illustrate that "with disc brakes your frame, fork, and wheels have to be heavier" is kind of an empty argument. On new bikes, the fork will probably be bulked up anyway, for aerodynamic, aesthetic, and durability reasons (and if made from carbon fiber will still be lighter as well). You can still get a lightweight bike if that's what you want. Most bikes now come with disc brakes because, even though they're heavier, the benefits will probably outweigh this drawback for most riders.

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Old 08-23-22, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
On new bikes, the fork will probably be bulked up anyway, for aerodynamic, aesthetic, and durability reasons (and if made from carbon fiber will still be lighter as well).
This is true; new carbon frames are reinforced for disc mounts and the extra braking forces. But since the extra braking power of discs is not worth the weight penalty (or the cost and maintenance hassles), I won't be buying these. Thank goodness for direct purchases from Asia, where you can still source a 800g frame for $500. Components and wheels: add $500 worth of early-adopter cast-offs and you can put together a 16 pound bike for $1k.
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Old 08-23-22, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
This is true; new carbon frames are reinforced for disc mounts and the extra braking forces. But since the extra braking power of discs is not worth the weight penalty (or the cost and maintenance hassles), I won't be buying these. Thank goodness for direct purchases from Asia, where you can still source a 800g frame for $500. Components and wheels: add $500 worth of early-adopter cast-offs and you can put together a 16 pound bike for $1k.
We can agree on these points. I'm with you and others who bemoan the demise of high end rim brake systems. I'm definitely not an early adopter with these things. But I've been thinking about the disc brake situation for several years, and have come to be "okay" with it.

My point above was that we have to be precise in our arguments for or against something. It's possible to make an argument that is completely valid but still unsound.

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Old 08-25-22, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
You do want a <18 pound bike; trust me. The folks that poo-poo light gear are the ones that haven't ridden it. .
I have a sub 16 pound Emonda and my just slightly over 18 pound Domane SLR7. I do not notice major differences in my rides due to the bike weight when I ride. However, if I was worried about the 2 lbs, I would eliminate the Ice Cream from my diet as it would be easier and cheaper, but I like ice cream, so ...
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Old 08-26-22, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
In contrast, a used 5 year old 18-pound carbon road bike will come in at less than $1k, and will be superior in every respect to the new bike....
Oh goodness The crap is deep here. Someone get me a shovel.
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Old 08-26-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
This is true; new carbon frames are reinforced for disc mounts and the extra braking forces. But since the extra braking power of discs is not worth the weight penalty (or the cost and maintenance hassles), I won't be buying these. Thank goodness for direct purchases from Asia, where you can still source a 800g frame for $500. Components and wheels: add $500 worth of early-adopter cast-offs and you can put together a 16 pound bike for $1k.
So you can build a cheap, mediocre bike by sourcing a lightweight frame directly from an Asian factory that may look fine, but probably has unknown ride quality, stiffness, aerodynamics and structural quality. The Chinese frames that are actually showing to be of good quality (Winspace, Seka) are trading more in the $1,500-1,800 range, not $500.

Please elaborate on exactly what components you are getting for $500 to build out your 16 pound bike. That seems unlikely unless you are getting very used components.

Also, there are current modern aero disc brake bikes that come in at just over 15 lbs, and more in the 16 lb range you're talking about, so where exactly is this weight penalty you are talking about?
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Old 08-26-22, 11:35 AM
  #25  
Dave Mayer
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Wow.... so many people bent out of shape when being faced with the cold reality that the bike industry went to road discs for commercial reasons.. Discs involve a significant cost (profit) upgrade, and also bind even somewhat competent riders to their shop for maintenance. Most riders can change a set of rim brake pads, but bleeding hydraulics? Nope. So its all good: the manufacturers and retailers win, plus it causes a wholesale changeout of the bike fleet, which is needed every few years to spawn new buzz and sales. Adding one more cog to the cassette every 7 years just wasn't enough to cause whole generations of bikes to become 'obsolete', but discs would serve to wipe out everything that came before. Win!


Keep in mind that most new road riders come from a MTB background, so they expect expensive, heavy and irrelevant features on road bikes, such as fat tires, suspension, dropper posts and discs. First rule of marketing: do not try and change your buyers first desires and perceptions - sell them what they want. Or think they want, even if it is misguided.


Bike builds: I build up several high-end bikes per year, based on rim-brake frames and wheels. Great times right now, especially due to cast-offs from sponsored teams and Walter Mitty riders. Yes, you can procure and then revive a UCI (team) level bike for $1k. High-end 10-speed wheels sell for nothing. Best value: 10-speed gear such as the amazing SRAM Red and Campy Chorus and Record gruppos. Or Dura-Ace 7800, the best of all the Shimano systems for shifting, or before Shimano inexplicably stuck the shifter cables under the bar wrap.


So 16-pound road bike for $1k. At that weight, a new bike with discs will cost you 5 x that much.
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