Function vrs. Fashion in cycling equipment

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by msrw, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. msrw

    msrw New Member

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    For the past few years, scores of new innovations have been introduced to the market for high performance road bicycles. Some of these have been significant improvements over what was previously available. Others don't improve function at all, but nevertheless remain popular. What's your take on the most significant recent product improvement and the largest product fad that doesn't improve performance at all?

    I think indexed shifting built into the brake levers is probably the most significant product improvement over the past few years.

    I think carbon fiber components (not including frames since carbon fiber is a great frame material) are probably the biggest product fad.
     
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  2. isdsms

    isdsms New Member

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    Largest improvement- lighter and aero wheels

    Fad- somewhat carbon... however carbon is very useful for some purposes

    Carbon looks cool, sounds cool, and feels cool, and carbon will always be a material you'll see. You have to admit that the campy stuff with carbon is an awesome look.

    Talking about look, theres another carbon producer.

    My take on carbon is that there really is no huge benefit, other than as a fork material , but it keeps the industry moving and gives a feel that some people enjoy.

    My two cents,
    isdsms
     
  3. msrw

    msrw New Member

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    I know what you mean. I have Ergo Record on my Litespeed. Looks great. I like it. But definitely does NOT outperform last year's Chorus, which was carbon-less.

    I think carbon forks can't be included in the carbon components as fashion rather than fuction thing. Their performance is superior.
     
  4. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    I'll be the first to say that alot of the carbon items are pure fashion (And I ride a Carbon Frame and love it) but, as with the frame, in the right application, its a wonderful material.

    There does seem to be quite flood of marketing of things CF, and when I see carbon fibre chainstay protectors, I have to scratch my head...

    So I have to say that carbon fiber, to me, has to be both a trivial fashion statement in many applications, and a significant engineering step forward in others...

    I'll have to agree with isdsms on the wheels point as a significant improvement in past years...
     
  5. Jaguar27

    Jaguar27 New Member

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    I have 6061 Aluminum forks on my Bike (a Felt) and was wondering what the advantages would be in upgrading to Carbon...if they're significant then I'll deffinately do it....Thanks in advance....
     
  6. Tech72

    Tech72 New Member

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    My winter training bike, an Eddy Merckx Corsa frame built of Columbus SL originally came with a steel fork. It was later upgraded with a Kinesis 6061 aluminum fork and now has an Edge carbon fiber fork made by GT. As such, I have had experience with three forks made of three different materials on the same frame and components.

    The Kinesis fork is the lightest of the three (although current high-end carbon forks are lighter). The best riding is the carbon, it is noticeably stiffer than the aluminum while lighter than the steel. The carbon is also the best (coolest) looking. Comfort wise, I also like the carbon, the jolt is less when riding on rough road surfaces. If I was to rate the three forks, carbon is best, steel second and aluminum third.

    Go for it, upgrade to the carbon fork. You're be glad you did. Besides, mid-range carbon forks (alloy steerer) are now very affortable, you can buy one for $150-250 US (ie. Profile BRC, Kestrel EMS Pro, Reynolds Ouzo Comp, Easton EC-70, just to name a few).
     
  7. Jaguar27

    Jaguar27 New Member

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    Tech72, thanks very much for taking the time to write such an informative response, looks like it's a worthwhile upgrade...I think I'll go for it...
     
  8. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

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    Too true , Carbon is great for forks but with an aluminium steerer , as for bars , levers , cranks and seat pins -- ¿ have you ever ridden home after a fall with a bent bar or lever ?
    Yes , a bent bar is junk but so is a busted carbon bar and you can´t ride it home .
    Now for racers with a team car , spare bike etc fine , but for us ?

    And can you believe they´re trying to sell us WHITE carbon now !!! :confused:
     
  9. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Hey, what the hell is white carbon fiber anyways? Does anyone actually know? As an element, isn't carbon about as naturally black as it gets? I'm assuming the difference is 99% aesthetic in terms of the way the material behaves, but that begs the question...

    Where does that color come from?
     
  10. BaCardi

    BaCardi New Member

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    yeah, it is naturally black, but they basically dye the fibers white to get that look. Maybe, we'll see other colors of carbon fiber soon.
     
  11. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Hmmm... I guess I knew in the back of my head it had to be something that simple.

    That's still a little peculiar, though, because it would have to be a white paint rather than a dye (you can't stain a black material white), and painting the unbonded fibers seems needlessly burdensome to the process, especially where gram shaving is concerned... a lot of technology and extra work for a non-functional style boost.

    Are there any resources out there where one could read something about the procedure?
     
  12. Jaguar27

    Jaguar27 New Member

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    Deffinately, in fact they're already out there...

    I'm in the high-end Auto Performance Biz and have to pretty much keep up to date with what is going on in the Aftermarket side of the business, colored Carbon fiber has been available for quite a while for Dash, Gear knob and Body Parts...Red, Blue, Yellow etc...

    If you type "colored carbon fiber" into Google you'll see a lot of examples...

    So I think it's pretty safe to predict that someone will introduce a Carbon Frame or Forks in various colors pretty soon....
     
  13. WishIhadthelegs

    WishIhadthelegs New Member

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    Indexed "brifter" shifting is the biggest improvement. Carbon fiber bars, seatposts, stems, cranks etc. are the biggest joke on the average cyclist. I think they look cool, but they are more expensive, don't weight significantly less than their aluminium counterparts, and have a what I perceive to be a safety issue (Campy Carbon seatposts in particular)
     
  14. RalleighOke

    RalleighOke New Member

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    I think another great product improvement...although not limited to cycling only, is the Heart Rate Monitor.

    Better exercise and fitness control.
     
  15. shokhead1

    shokhead1 New Member

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    Carbon fiber brake calipers,i gota have'em even if i dont need them.
     
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