Another request for a recommendation!

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Alex Veitch, Jun 4, 2003.

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  1. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:

    >> Exluding full sus and the very worst cheapo examples, even with knobbly tyres, a typical modern
    >> inexpensive MTB rides nicely on the roads, in my experience.
    >
    > It depends how you define "nice".

    I define it as making a grin appear on the rider's face and making them say "ooh, that's nice!". I
    found my brother's bog standard MTB rode much nicer (more comfortable and quicker, smoother) than my
    Raleigh Royal tourer. This experience helped encourage me to upgrade the old tourer - but it still
    doesn't seem to ride as "nice". (I've got to do some more tweaking!).

    >> Racks and mudguards can be fitted to MTB's to make them practical.
    >
    > As with tyres, "can be" is moot when "aren't" is what happens in practice AFAICT. I'm on about
    > what actually happens judging by the majority of bikes I see, not what can happen.

    Fair point - although job is easy and /some/ people do fit them. Manuf's and bike shops certainly
    should fit more racks & guards before the bikes are even put in the show room and sell them as
    "standard".

    >> I'm sure a great many people (in towns at least) aren't concerned about looking sporty as such
    >> and don't buy bikes just to make themselves look better. That's not to say the *image* of certain
    >> types of bikes does put them off - but the general image is "bad" partly becasue it's well known
    >> that the bikes are genuinely inferior in some ways (as detailed in my previous post) and they
    >> don't want to be seen on a naff bike, rather than actively wanting to look sporty.
    >
    > The sort of bike Mads is suggesting is, as I detailed in my reply to that previous post, very far
    > from being "inferior" for typical urban use. I'd say that avoiding a bad image where it's
    > unjustified and buying into a good one that's irrelevant are effectively the same, and basically
    > daft at that.

    The bikes are genuinely inferior in /some/ ways for typical urban use. People are not totally daft.

    ~PB
     


  2. Tenex

    Tenex Guest

    Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > Follow my wife's theory. It's the colour that's the most important aspect of any bike. ;-)

    Face it, she's not unique.

    The General Theory of Economic Utility and Viability according to Women boils down to: "... can I
    get it in another colour? That doesn't match with my shoes/handbag/hair colour ...". ;-)
     
  3. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:

    > People seem to be getting better at shifting because derailleur gears work better and
    > easier nowdays

    They certainly do, but just as with any manual gear system a basic understanding of *why* and *when*
    to change really underpins their use and without that it doesn't matter how easy it is. The
    commonest comment I've had from colleagues who've got MTBs after years of no bikes is that they just
    can't work out the gears...

    > but yes, auto bicycle gears have been invented and might become popular one day!

    I tried the 4 speed auto on a R&M Equinox. It worked pretty well, though I preferred my own
    selections. But seeing the number of people either impersonating jet turbines at mach 5 on gentle
    ground or continental drift on hills I think they'd benefit an awful lot of occasional riders.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]undee.ac.uk
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  4. Mads Hilberg

    Mads Hilberg Guest

    > Language confusion here I think.
    >
    > What you are calling a "hybrid" would be called a "town bike" in the UK.

    Fair enough.

    To Alex Veitch, the original poster: I think you should get a town bike. :)

    Mads
     
  5. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:

    >> Prices dropped low for "cheap racers" in the 70's and 80's but sales fell through the floor -
    >> partly because they were crap bikes. MTB's boomed because they are good bikes.
    >
    > The original MTBs cost Real Money and as a result were good bikes. Whatever its faults a crap MTB
    > is till a lot more utilitarian than a crap racer. Crap MTBs, IMHO, are not good bikes, which is
    > why so many are bought and so few in comparison are regularly used.

    I comparision with the old "racers"? Millions of them were hardly every used and are still in sheds
    to this day. Ordinary cheap MTBs seem to get more use, I think.

    I do agree that the lastest development of extremely cheap full suspension bikes (sold for normal
    use) is bad. But the majority of MTB's I see on the roads (and being in London, I see thousands) are
    still rigids - although sus forks are becoming more and more common (and I know it's hard to avoid
    buying them, but it is still possible). My opinion on the use of MTB's for normal road use may
    change in future!

    >> Changing the sprocket would help but vitually no-one does that.
    >
    > This is the same argument that I used for lack of racks and sensible tyres on MTBs, of course,

    Indeed, but it's easier for the average person to fit mudguards, racks and tyres (and some do).

    > and the gears jumping because the adjuster is a bit out on the indexing. Takes two minutes to fix
    > but even reasonably frequent cycle users rarely seem to know how to do it.

    The situation is not that bad now, improving all the time. MTB gears are now so good that they often
    stay working for yonks with no cable adjustment.

    ~PB
     
  6. Mads Hilberg

    Mads Hilberg Guest

    > For stuff where serious suspension use is an issue, quite possibly. If you're just taking the
    > sting out the cobbles then probably <bof>. I've never bothered fiddling the fork settings on the
    > Streetmachine, works fine, I could be riding somewhere rather nice rather than round and round the
    > block kidding myself I can tell a lot of difference...

    Are you saying I shouldn't have ordered the Meks AC upgrade for my new StreetMachine? ;-)

    Mads
     
  7. "Alex Veitch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello
    >
    > I've been reading the recent threads on bike recommendations with interest - as I also
    > need advice!
    >
    > I want to start cycling but I am effectively a beginner, not having cycled for some years. Ideally
    > I would like to cycle to work (1 1/2 miles) and about town, some light trails, perhaps getting out
    > into the Peak District, and eventually perhaps some touring.
    >

    It sounds to me like you want a multi-purpose bike and for that, and especially bearing in mind the
    area you are living in, I certainly wouldn't recommend a 'town bike' with hub gears that some seem
    to have suggested (unless it's a rohloff which costs more than your whole budget for a bike). I've
    ridden some of those hills with a loaded bike and believe me I used all of my 27 gears. I never
    thought I'd find a use for all the lower ones, but I did. I have my doubts whether hub gears are
    even particularly useful in town anyway - getting the wheel off to repair the almost inevitable
    punctures will be a pain compared to simply releasing a QR skewer and dropping the wheel out. And as
    for the upright riding position - unless you intend never doing more than pootling about, you may
    find that's too limiting as well, once you start wanting to get your head down and speed up.

    But, any one of three different types of bike might meet your need - MTB, Tourer, or flat-barred
    road bikes. Some seem to think MTB's don't make good road bikes because they come with knobbly
    tyres, but that's silly - just put some narrow road tyres on. They won't make a racer but you'll
    have a sturdy bike for dealing with potholes in town, with a good range of gearing for all those
    hills, adequate clearance for mudguards (and btw you can put full length mudguards on some
    suspension forks if you are so inclined), a riding position that isn't as extreme as a drop bar
    racer, something that you can confidently go off-road with etc. etc. In fact, that was my choice for
    a commuter bike intended for occasional light off-road and on road touring use. I also think that
    these bikes are probably where the best value for money is probably to be found at the moment,
    simply because that's where the mass market is. But, if you are sure most of your mileage will be
    on-road, then a tourer or flat-barred road bike might be your best choice. But, don't fret too much
    about which kind of bike. Just go to a good LBS, look around, go for a test ride and take whichever
    takes your fancy.

    Lastly, I would say spend as much as you can afford. Generally you do get what you pay for. If you
    can afford £400, spend it: don't buy a £400 bike knocked down to £200, buy a £600 bike knocked down
    to £400. Or, if you intend all-weather, all-year cycling, then spend £300 on the bike (do look for
    discounts of course) and spend the other £100 on locks, lights and a rack. (My first bike cost £400,
    I spent nothing on a lock using an old one. My next bike.. two days later.. cost £500 and usually
    has about £120 worth of locks securing it when parked.) Other things to think about - panniers and
    cycle specific clothing - waterproofs (some prefer just to get wet but I generally don't),
    reflective clothing - can all add to the budget - or can be bought later.

    HTH

    Rich
     
  8. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:

    > It sounds to me like you want a multi-purpose bike and for that, and especially bearing in mind
    > the area you are living in, I certainly wouldn't recommend a 'town bike' with hub gears that some
    > seem to have suggested (unless it's a rohloff which costs more than your whole budget for a bike).
    > I've ridden some of those hills with a loaded bike and believe me I used all of my 27 gears.

    *very* unlikely, and if you have then I'd seriously look at how you use gears. I don't doubt you've
    used 1st and 27th, but do you really use, say, 10th at all? And if so, why, since it'll be more or
    less the same as something on the middle ring which won't wear the chain or sprocket so much and
    will be more efficient too? Range is more important for big loads up hills than spacing.

    > I did. I have my doubts whether hub gears are even particularly useful in town anyway - getting
    > the wheel off to repair the almost inevitable punctures will be a pain compared to simply
    > releasing a QR skewer and dropping the wheel out.

    That is a fair point, but doesn't actually relate to whether the gears will be useful in town. I
    don't get sufficient punctures for it to be an issue though, and the extra faff is rather less than
    the extra time I spend cleaning multiple cogs on my derailleur system. In stop/start traffic it's
    nice to have something you can change while standing at a light

    > But, any one of three different types of bike might meet your need - MTB, Tourer, or flat-barred
    > road bikes.

    Or something like Orbit's version of a town bike would also work well: see
    http://www.orbit-cycles.co.uk/orion3.shtml In this case out of the OP's budget, but I'm meaning
    *type* of bike.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  9. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Tenex wrote:

    > Face it, she's not unique.
    >
    > The General Theory of Economic Utility and Viability according to Women boils down to: "... can I
    > get it in another colour? That doesn't match with my shoes/handbag/hair colour ...". ;-)

    Car salesmen are probably exemplary here. Recently a (female) friend of mine, needing a car after
    several years without, goes to look for a 5 door hatchback. She is pointed at a 3 door one. "But it
    doesn't have 5 doors". "But it does have metallic paint at no extra cost!"... (she didn't buy it)

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  10. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Mads Hilberg wrote:

    > Are you saying I shouldn't have ordered the Meks AC upgrade for my new StreetMachine? ;-)

    Nothing of the sort. From the bentrideronline review and word from Kinetics, the Meks is altogether
    better than the Ballistic: fit it, use it, end of story. But spending time fiddling with the preload
    every time the road surface changes is probably going to be a waste of your time...

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  11. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:

    > I define it as making a grin appear on the rider's face and making them say "ooh, that's nice!". I
    > found my brother's bog standard MTB rode much nicer (more comfortable and quicker, smoother) than
    > my Raleigh Royal tourer. This experience helped encourage me to upgrade the old tourer - but it
    > still doesn't seem to ride as "nice". (I've got to do some more tweaking!).

    I think this says more about your old tourer! I have found MTBs conform more to John Franklin's
    description in Cyclecraft, which is along the lines of "Sluggish and poor for manoeuvring in
    traffic". Neither of which aspects put a grin on my face, and nor does knowing the bike will be a
    target for thieves above any other flavour when it comes to park it.

    > Fair point - although job is easy and /some/ people do fit them. Manuf's and bike shops certainly
    > should fit more racks & guards before the bikes are even put in the show room and sell them as
    > "standard".

    They should IMHO, but they don't, because they're both "uncool"... Also the case that people don't
    really grok racks in many cases. Most of the bikes that pass me with racks on have nothing on the
    racks, and a rider wearing a rucksack. I had a rack on my bike when I was a kid but I always used a
    shoulder bag (rack was a useful support for the Sunday paper round though). I never did like it, and
    ultimately was pleased when I bent it and had an excuse to take it off (it was more like a proper
    racer then!).

    > The bikes are genuinely inferior in /some/ ways for typical urban use. People are not
    > totally daft.

    What ways? If they're genuinely inferior why are they so popular and common in places with urban
    utility bike culture? Or do you *really* think citizens of the UK actually far more enlightened than
    the rest of the world when it comes to bike choices for general use?

    My comments on people buying into perceptions of cool are based not only what I see, but exactly
    what I was like as a kid (and after), and everyone I knew then too. We had to have "racers" despite
    comedy mudguards being pointless and despite the fact they were primarily used to hack round the
    local woods and never in anything but top gear. And now you "have to have" a MTB, which though ideal
    for pratting about with your friends is not great general transport (after all, you'll want a car
    for that once you're old enough to drive, won't you?). That's what people are like! Though I still
    think a tourer is a very good "do almost everything" choice if you've only got one bike, when one
    was my only bike I kidded myself that since it was a "serious" bike designed to do serious things it
    was also much better for zapping around town than anything else. Hindsight suggests I was
    rationalising rather than thinking very clearly.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  12. Alex Veitch

    Alex Veitch Guest

    On Wed, 4 Jun 2003 18:28:29 +0200, "Mads Hilberg" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> Language confusion here I think.
    >>
    >> What you are calling a "hybrid" would be called a "town bike" in the UK.
    >
    >Fair enough.
    >
    >To Alex Veitch, the original poster: I think you should get a town bike. :)

    Well, a brief follow up. Yesterday I was recommended someone who could bring the Galaxy back to
    life, and its currently being attended to. This means that I could get a (probably low-end) MTB for
    the off-road things that I'd like to do occasionally.

    It does raise another question. The Galaxy has friction gear shifters on the down tube. I never got
    on with these because I've never been able to judge the about of movement whilst not crashing. (I
    know I should have been able to pick it up over time.) I'd therefore like to change the gear
    shifters for something that does the thinking for me (don't know what you call them, but the click
    stop shifts with a visual indicator are ideal for my general level of incompetance).

    First question: can I just upgrade the levers? Second question: can I upgrade the levers for a bar
    end shift / combined brake shifter? What are the pros and cons of each - and if I do this, am I
    going to have to change the rest of the gear equipment?

    Thanks

    Alex

    --
    Alex Veitch
     
  13. Unfortunately we all have to make compromises in life and a bike that is somewhere around the
    MTB/hybrid (UK definition) mark is going to meet many people's aspirations for something that you
    can use in most common situations (day tours, commuting, shopping etc.) and is available at a
    reasonable price.

    Why aren't 'sensible' bikes with dynamos, racks, skirt guards, hub gears etc. more common in the UK
    when they're so popular abroad? Perhaps it's something to do with legislation (compulsory dynamos in
    Germany until recently?), the disintegration of the UK cycle industry (Sturmey Archer hub gears?) or
    the need of the cycle business to make money. It makes money out of Peter Clinch because he has
    three bikes simultaneously. It makes money out of other people because it persuades them that they
    need to replace their bikes on a regular basis and provides a constantly changing and developing and
    varied range of fashionable products to allow them to do so. People consume things and consume bikes
    in the same way as everything else.
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  14. Alex Veitch

    Alex Veitch Guest

    On Wed, 4 Jun 2003 23:16:56 +0100, "Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Alex Veitch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> Hello
    >>
    >> I've been reading the recent threads on bike recommendations with interest - as I also need
    >> advice!
    >>
    >> I want to start cycling but I am effectively a beginner, not having cycled for some years.
    >> Ideally I would like to cycle to work (1 1/2 miles) and about town, some light trails, perhaps
    >> getting out into the Peak District, and eventually perhaps some touring.
    >>
    >
    >It sounds to me like you want a multi-purpose bike and for that, and especially bearing in mind the
    >area you are living in, I certainly wouldn't recommend a 'town bike' with hub gears that some seem
    >to have suggested (unless it's a rohloff which costs more than your whole budget for a bike). I've
    >ridden some of those hills with a loaded bike and believe me I used all of my 27 gears.

    <snip>

    Thanks everyone for the advice. The good news (in separate post) is that my Galaxy can be restored,
    but a specialist rather than one of the shops. This means I can use this for the moment, but I think
    I shall also get a MTB as I'd like to go and play at the weekends.

    So (opening another can of worms) - recommendations for a started MTB? I could spend up to £400, I
    think, although being moderately sensible about my finances I would much rather spend about £250,
    and leave the rest to get a new lock, helmet, etc.

    I won't be doing anything too extreme - starting out I know there are a few routes with some gentle
    introductions to off road, after which I can see how it goes.

    I've been recommended the Claud Butler Rock or Cape Wrath (with an interesting suggestion by one
    local shop yesterday that the reason a rival had the Rock for £80 less was that the gears had, in
    some way, been down-graded. The first shop simply claims its a special offer. Of course.

    But there are also other bikes out there. I guess that in many ways, with the price point that I
    have in mind, they may be similar - but even so, info on good or bad models would be welcome.

    Thanks again,

    Alex
    --
    Alex Veitch
     
  15. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Alex Veitch wrote:

    > It does raise another question. The Galaxy has friction gear shifters on the down tube. I never
    > got on with these because I've never been able to judge the about of movement whilst not crashing.

    Move the lever until the gear changes, and doesn't generate chain rattle any more. As long as your
    hearing's okay it's no problem!

    > should have been able to pick it up over time.) I'd therefore like to change the gear shifters for
    > something that does the thinking for me (don't know what you call them, but the click stop shifts
    > with a visual indicator are ideal for my general level of incompetance).

    Indexed gearing.

    > First question: can I just upgrade the levers? Second question: can I upgrade the levers for a bar
    > end shift / combined brake shifter? What are the pros and cons of each - and if I do this, am I
    > going to have to change the rest of the gear equipment?

    I'm not 101% sure if you'll have to change the rear mech, though I'd think it quite likely. Though
    bar end shifters will work in "friction mode" and being nicer in most peoples' eyes than downtube
    ones that may still be worthwhile. It's quite common not to bother with indexing on the front mech
    for road machinery (or cheaper offroad): you don't shift there nearly as much as at the back in most
    cases and many find it just isn't worth it.

    Something like STI (integrated with the brakes) will cost quite a bit more. It is nice, but you can
    probably spend money more usefully elsewhere. With bar ends, if the indexing gets a bit out
    (reasonably likely with cables bedding in over time) then you just switch to friction mode until you
    have the time to adjust it properly (an easy enough job in terms of difficulty, but it usually takes
    riding around the block and up and down hills for 10 minutes between quarter turns of the adjustment
    screw IME, not great if you're in a hurry!), and you can't do that with STI. I haven't seen an STI
    set with visual indicator (doesn't mean they don't exist) while with a bar end lever you just look
    at where it is for a good idea. To be sure with either, just look down at whichever cog you're on.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  16. In message <[email protected]>, Alex Veitch <[email protected]> writes
    >But there are also other bikes out there. I guess that in many ways, with the price point that I
    >have in mind, they may be similar - but even so, info on good or bad models would be welcome.

    Take a look at 2003 hardtails under product reviews on www.mtbreview.com. Prices are USD and may be
    a bit different here but there's a good body of opinion. Pay more attention to bikes rated by
    several users. Specifications may change a bit too but that's easily checked.
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  17. "Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Richard Goodman wrote:
    >
    > > I've ridden some of those hills with a loaded bike and believe me I used
    all
    > > of my 27 gears.
    >
    > *very* unlikely, and if you have then I'd seriously look at how you use gears. I don't doubt
    > you've used 1st and 27th, but do you really use, say, 10th at all? And if so, why, since it'll be
    > more or less the same

    Ok, I admit I didn't. Of course, the middle can all be a bit of a fudge at times - you can do middle
    chainring/high gears and get something very similar to large chainring/middle gears (in those cases
    I'll normally just stay on whichever chainring I'm on because that takes longer to shift over) - and
    some combinations don't go - bib/big and small/small etc, so the true number of useable ratios is
    less than the max number of permutations. Let me rephrase it: "I used all the useable combinations"
    - more ratios than you'll normally find in a hub gear.

    Rich

    > Range is more important for big loads up hills than spacing.
    >
    Agreed

    > > - getting the wheel off to repair the almost inevitable punctures will be a pain compared to
    > > simply releasing a QR skewer and dropping the wheel out.
    >
    > I don't get sufficient punctures for it to be an issue though, and the extra faff is rather less
    > than the extra time I spend cleaning multiple cogs on my derailleur system. In stop/start traffic
    > it's nice to have something you can change while standing at a
    light
    >

    Depends on where you're riding maybe and how long you allow yourself to get to work. For me during
    the week every minute counts. At weekends when I do my maintenance I'm at leisure and can spend as
    long as I like.

    Rich
     
  18. Alex Veitch

    Alex Veitch Guest

    On Thu, 05 Jun 2003 10:36:08 +0100, Peter Clinch
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Move the lever until the gear changes, and doesn't generate chain rattle any more. As long as your
    >hearing's okay it's no problem!

    Well, I did say to start with that I hadn't ridden for ages - perhaps I just remember myself being
    worse than I was!

    >I'm not 101% sure if you'll have to change the rear mech, though I'd think it quite likely. Though
    >bar end shifters will work in "friction mode" and being nicer in most peoples' eyes than downtube
    >ones that may still be worthwhile. It's quite common not to bother with indexing on the front mech
    >for road machinery (or cheaper offroad): you don't shift there nearly as much as at the back in
    >most cases and many find it just isn't worth it.

    I think I'll see if I can get bar end shifters that can work with the rest of the mechanicals, if
    not I'll practice. I looked at the price of the STI units and I don't think its worth it. A google
    of this groiup also reveals some opinion against that set up on a tourer.

    Cheers

    Alex
    --
    Alex Veitch
     
  19. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Alex Veitch wrote:

    > So (opening another can of worms) - recommendations for a started MTB? I could spend up to =A3400,
    > I think, although being moderately sensible=

    > about my finances I would much rather spend about =A3250, and leave the=

    > rest to get a new lock, helmet, etc.

    You can't go too far wrong with the Usual Suspects like Specialized,=20 Giant, Trek etc. etc. as
    long as you avoid gimmicky stuff at the bottom=20 end. Given the competitiveness of the market
    you'll get a good value=20 machine where you get what it says on the tin. As with more utilitarian =

    machinery less features generally translates to what you do get using=20 higher spec kit, so a full
    suspension bike at this price level will very =

    probably be outperformed (and outlasted) by something lighter and=20 simpler. Something like a
    Specialized Hardrock should do the business=20 (though by no means your only choice).

    Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
    Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  20. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > Why aren't 'sensible' bikes with dynamos, racks, skirt guards, hub gears etc. more common in the
    > UK when they're so popular abroad? Perhaps it's something to do with legislation (compulsory
    > dynamos in Germany until recently?), the disintegration of the UK cycle industry (Sturmey Archer
    > hub gears?) or the need of the cycle business to make money.

    Do you think that bike shops in the Netherlands don't make money, then? Does Denmark have a noted
    international producer of hub gears? Were dynamos compulsory in Belgium? Do you really think that
    the reason UK buyers tend to get different cycles to their continental cousins is because we're more
    enlightened about cycles?

    As I've already suggested, I think the reason that utility bikes aren't more readily available in a
    greater range of choices is because there is no longer any general culture of utility cycling in the
    UK. Cycles are, by and large, not perceived as basically useful transport, and basically useful
    transport is not something that occurs to people as possibly enjoyable in its own right. I think it
    is also the case that many people assume that to quite an extent a bike is a bike is a bike unless
    it's a racer or something odd.

    > money out of Peter Clinch because he has three bikes simultaneously. It makes money out of other
    > people because it persuades them that they need to replace their bikes on a regular basis and
    > provides a constantly changing and developing and varied range of fashionable products to allow
    > them to do so. People consume things and consume bikes in the same way as everything else.

    In general I think not. Bikes may well be replaced by keen MTBers on a regular basis but a lot of
    bikes are owned fairly long term, whether or not they're regularly used. A friend is about to
    replace his Brompton with another Brompton, not because they've changed but he's worn the current
    one out to the point where it isn't worth rebuilding it. My original tourer was my only bike for 8
    years, and I've still got it as a spare. I have no plans to replace any of my cycles until they're
    basically worn out. I own several cycles for different specialist purposes because I can and I find
    it makes a difference. Many people could do the same, but I think it's probably the case that the
    limited cycling culture of the UK means that people think of bikes as something you have either 1
    or none of.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
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