are we being conned ?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by el Ingles, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    Is it just me but does anybody else out there feel that the lastest fetish for carbon is getting beyond a joke ? Every time somebody makes an old piece from carbon the price rockets , now this was bad enough when carbon forks were introduced and they are better than the alternatives but look what´s happening now .....
    Now carbon / composites are good materials but do we need brake levers , handlebars , seat pins , cranks etc ( I´ll come back to wheels later ) made from this material ? We all fall off at times , sometimes our fault , a veces no , so how do we get home with broken levers ,bars etc . If it´s metal it bends and you can , with difficulty, get home ; if carbon it breaks and your stuck . Now a fork that´s hit hard enough to break carbon will render steel or ali unridable, the same with wheels , a choice of taco or kibble but seat pins that crack if not fitted with a torque wrench , I mean it´s getting silly and everytime the price doubles at the very least with little advantage except it´s black ( and now that´s common they are developing WHITE carbon !!! ).
    Can we please call a halt while we decide what our priorities are , because if the industry is not careful it could kill the goose the way the overdevelopment of moutain bikes resulted in bikes that people could no longer afford to buy , and an industry in chapter 11 .

    ps has anybody noticed how difficult it´s getting to buy a non-anatomic handlebar ? if they are made it´s only in the most expensive model ( Ritchey , Deda ) ???????????????
     
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  2. Babbar

    Babbar New Member

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    A simple solution is if you don't want a carbon thingie, don't buy it.

    It's called the free market for a reason.
     
  3. treebound

    treebound New Member

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    I play with motorcycles in addition to bicycles, as well as liking to mess about in boats a bit when I can. CarbonFiber use is everywhere. And like the other guy said, buy it if you want, don't if you don't. Simple enough.

    And I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that I still don't trust c/f forks enough to buy some. Had a chance on a good deal on a demo-frame Look frameset and passed on that too. To me, steel is good, aluminum is brittle, and c/f is fragile, but anything can break so ride what you like.

    The egg timer is running so I got to log off now before the work web watchers whack me with their net stick. It's probably made out of c/f too. ;) :cool:
     
  4. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    The problem is that it´s starting to get difficult to but stuff that´s not composite based , or so high tech that the average mechanic can´t do the job with out investing a fortune in tools , how many bought the Campy chain tool to find , some months later that the chain design had changed and it was now junk ?
     
  5. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    heh,

    I wonder if when aluminum was introduced in the aircraft industry they were all screaming enough with aluminum already canvas and hardwood is fine!!! :)

    Hanging your devils' crown on Carbon Fiber is counter productive, because innovations in material such as c/f will lead to more advanced materials that maybe you'll be a bit more amenable to in the future :)

    Why squash any materials endeavor that strives for lighter, stronger, stiffer?

    The more people are consumed by innovation, the more people will innovate.

    Now the whole argument about how much is enough is purely philosophical much like the person's sig that says "For a list of all hte ways technology has made your life better press 3", but who can argue the point that when you're huffing up that 12% grade your bike weighs 6 pounds less than one 15 years ago, and is stiffer...

    Feanor
     
  6. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    The bicycle industry has to keep coming out with new ideas to make money. It does not really need to be better but it needs to seem to be better.
    Look at all of the people that upgraded from 9 to 10 speeds now. You can get 9 speed gear on ebay cheep. Was there really any benefit?
    People think they need better so they buy it. a lot of that is people have far more disposable income now and the industry knows how to exploit it.
     
  7. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    Seems to me my current bicycle is easier to shift, has brakes that work better, is lighter and stiffer than what I had at the same price 20 years ago. Clipless pedals are a great improvement over leaning over to tighten straps. My wheels are much lighter and stonger than the ones on my old bikes.

    I got one of the first mainstream mountain bikes before suspensions became popular. I found I could ride on grasss and gravel where a road bike could not go. It had it's place. My current road bike is suitable for pavement and packed dirt, but I would not attempt to ride on gravel or in soft dirt.

    There are so many mechanical details that I think are improved on modern bikes. As far as materials are concerned carbon fiber has advanantages. As manufacturers become more experienced with it the prices go down. The quest is to make it, as was already said, lighter, stiffer and stronger. Materials will always change in that quest.

    What is the rant really about?
     
  8. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    But if you upgraded your components from last years models to this years would there really be much difference? Or even 5 years ago?
    I think there is a lot of hype out there concerning bikes and components. My maybe 10 year old Italian steel racing frame is only 1 mound heavier then most new frames. It is a great bike.
     
  9. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    I know what you mean. My bike is equipment with Shimano 8spd STI. It still works great, even after 25 000km. I believe that 9 or even 10 gears are a waste. I climbed huge mountains in BC with a 39 tooth front and 8spd rear. But being forced to upgrade 9spd because 8spd parts are hard to locate. How fair is this?????

    Memph
     
  10. flea77

    flea77 New Member

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    I agree to some extent, but every industry is the same way. Is there really any difference between last years and this years model of cars, computers, clothing, cookware, tools, etc etc?

    Every year small changes are made to most items, over time they provide substantial improvement. But in almost no industry is there a night and day change from one year model to the next. Such is life.

    Allan
     
  11. rollers

    rollers New Member

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    Companies offering cycling gear have to compete with other cycling companies to be sure. If they don't make their products better each year they'll lose out to competitors who certainly will. If people like you and me didn't line up to buy carbon-based products they would not be trying to sell them.

    Don't believe me? Would you order up a seatpost make of the finest Poplar and Maple laminate? ;)

    These companies also have to compete with themselves. Why would anyone want to buy this year's product if it was exactly the same as last year's? Every year they must strive to offer some new design feature that'll improve our cycling experience in some way or another. Even if it's only an incremental change, it can be sold as new an improved. We get to decide for ourselves whether the promise of an enhanced experience (faster, lighter, more comfortable... whatever) is worth the investment.

    As to the question of where it all ends, well, who can say? At what point does it make sense to buy lighter components if your bike is already lighter than rules allow, or if it doesn't make an appreciable difference in your TT this year, or worse, if it compromises your margin of safety? I'd submit that it will end where the consumer - that's you and me - decides his money is better spent on something else.

    When we decide that enough is enough and vote with our wallets then companies will direct their innovation towards some other thing we'll pay for. Forums like this do a lot to educate the consumer about which products to vote for and which to avoid. Likewise I'm sure they do a lot to tip off companies to our buying intentions.

    It all seems pretty simple when you think about it. Reading back on what I've written here I can't find anything that's new or original, but maybe it needs to be written anyway. I hope this hasn't been a total waste of your time.
     
  12. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    not all products have to come out new and improved every year. woodworking tools seldom change. but they sell every year.
    if a company just makes new items to keep sales going I think our new items will suffer in the long run. to bring out something new that si a real improvement thats great.
    consumers that think they always need the newest have their own problems too.
     
  13. flea77

    flea77 New Member

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    Maybe woodworking tools do not change as often or dramatically as some others but they do indeed change. Rechargable saws/drills charge faster and have more torque. Radial Arm Saws now have laser guides. Hand tools are getting comfort grips and using more exotic metals.

    I agree that some people seem to be too obsessed with the latest releases of these products but then again I dont think I should judge as I sit here looking at the latest bike porn :)

    Allan
     
  14. Blimp

    Blimp New Member

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    We are among the most gullible of consumers us cyclists. Leaving aside the campag/shimino debate, both manufacturers ask (and get) stupidly high prices from us, and we continue to accept the situation. Making bike parts isn't rocket science (although most advertising suggests it is) and it should be possible to mass produce very high quality components quite cheaply.

    If you look at the technology involved in other mass produced products (eg. car engines), we should be paying a small fraction of what we now are.

    Bring on some competition...
     
  15. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    Is 10spd really needed over 8spd? Now that they have 10spd out, they have to use thinner chains. In order to keep the chain as strong as the thicker 8spd chains. Have to use better suppose more expensive material. Then they stop making the less expensive 8spd STI. This leave the customer no choice but no upgrade.

    What is road bikes going the way of MTB. Why is a triple chainring ever needed? If you are that pathic, get off and walk.......

    Memph
     
  16. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    What? Those naughty cycle manufacturers trying to tempt cyclists into buying equipment they don't 'need', by putting out 10 speed systems, sleek looking carbon frames, ultra light titanium components, razor thin aero wheels... why, I'm shocked! It's terrible!

    It's called marketing, and is the reason car models change so frequently, as do hemlines (up! I say), and just about any product that has an element of style to it.

    Is the carbon beam framed, aero wheeled, 10 speeded cycle I ride today that much better than the Reynolds framed/Campy SR equipped bike I had 20 years ago? Not really, but it sure looks cool. If you're going to spend a few hours on a machine, it might as well be a neat looking machine.
     
  17. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    anything with emotion attached too it gets marked up and marketed hard. remember the cooler your bike looks the more change it will be a theft magnet.
     
  18. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    How would someone steal an expensive racing bike? While you were shopping? If case, then you are stupid for using it to get groceries and deserve it. Or maybe they'll knock you off bike as you are riding. Then again if it is a carbon frame, it would probably snap on wipe-out. I never leave my bike anywhere to get stolen....

    Memph
     
  19. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    I use my bike for transporation. so it has to be locked up when I go into some place. I don't leave it for hours though. but whats the use of having a bike if you have to leave it home because you ahve to worry about it getting stolen?
     
  20. flea77

    flea77 New Member

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    First off it is "pathetic" not "pathic". Next, I dont appreciate you calling me pathetic. I use all three rings as I just started riding six months ago after eighteen years as a couch potatoe. And I am sure there are pros out there who think you are pathetic for your gear selection.

    I say anyone who rides any kind of bike, regardless of gears, is taking a step in the right direction and should be appluaded for their efforts.

    Allan
     
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