Improved technology?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Chris Hansen, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Chris Hansen

    Chris Hansen Guest

    Hello,

    I've talked to several people who have talked about how
    bicycle technology has improved in the last 10-15 years. I
    realize that mountain bikes have come a long way and that
    shifters and brakes on road bikes are fancier now but it was
    also mentioned that drivetrain components and wheels and
    stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering what that means
    by being a lot better, what has changed? In terms of rolling
    resistance, is it worth upgrading wheels or tires if the
    ones you have are still in good shape? I keep wondering if
    the new stuff is really that much better?

    Thanks.
     
    Tags:


  2. On 6 Mar 2004 13:01:03 -0800, [email protected] (Chris Hansen)
    wrote:

    >Hello,
    >
    >I've talked to several people who have talked about how
    >bicycle technology has improved in the last 10-15 years. I
    >realize that mountain bikes have come a long way and that
    >shifters and brakes on road bikes are fancier now but it
    >was also mentioned that drivetrain components and wheels
    >and stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering what that
    >means by being a lot better, what has changed? In terms of
    >rolling resistance, is it worth upgrading wheels or tires
    >if the ones you have are still in good shape? I keep
    >wondering if the new stuff is really that much better?

    If you're only replacing your tyres now, after 10 years,
    then you either have bombproof tyres or dont' ride enough!

    <VBG>

    -Luigi
     
  3. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    More gears, easier and more accurate shifting. Slightly
    better brakes. This is a hell of a lot better than the older
    stuff, but it really isn't a large change.

    "Chris Hansen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello,
    >
    > I've talked to several people who have talked about how
    > bicycle technology has improved in the last 10-15 years. I
    > realize that mountain bikes have come a long way and that
    > shifters and brakes on road bikes are fancier now but it
    > was also mentioned that drivetrain components and wheels
    > and stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering what that
    > means by being a lot better, what has changed? In terms of
    > rolling resistance, is it worth upgrading wheels or tires
    > if the ones you have are still in good shape? I keep
    > wondering if the new stuff is really that much better?
    >
    > Thanks.
     
  4. >More gears, easier and more accurate shifting. Slightly
    >better brakes. This is a hell of a lot better than the
    >older stuff, but it really isn't a large change.

    How can a hell of a lot better be equal to not a large
    change?

    We both know it isn't significant.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY
    MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------ __________306.350.357.38-
    >>[email protected]__________
     
  5. Ken

    Ken Guest

    [email protected] (Chris Hansen) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:
    > road bikes are fancier now but it was also mentioned that
    > drivetrain components and wheels and stuff are a lot
    > better. I was just wondering what that means by being a
    > lot better, what has changed?

    Compared to 15 years ago, components are significantly
    lighter weight today. Back then, only high end bikes were in
    the 20 pound range. Today, some mid- range bikes are down to
    17 pounds and high end bikes are around 15 pounds. Dropping
    5 pounds from your bike will give you very noticable
    improvements in acceleration, climbing, and responsiveness.
     
  6. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Guest

    On 6 Mar 2004 13:01:03 -0800, [email protected] (Chris Hansen)
    wrote:

    >Hello,
    >
    >I've talked to several people who have talked about how
    >bicycle technology has improved in the last 10-15 years. I
    >realize that mountain bikes have come a long way and that
    >shifters and brakes on road bikes are fancier now but it
    >was also mentioned that drivetrain components and wheels
    >and stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering what that
    >means by being a lot better, what has changed? In terms of
    >rolling resistance, is it worth upgrading wheels or tires
    >if the ones you have are still in good shape? I keep
    >wondering if the new stuff is really that much better?
    >
    >Thanks.

    I think that you need to clarify what you are doing with the
    bike in the first place. Professional road racers, for
    example, will be hesitant to use new technology if it won't
    improve their performance, and probably wouldn't use
    anything that hurts their performance (yes, I bet they all
    have their price...).

    Mountain bikers have been subjected to a series of
    improvements based on new technology. It's a relatively
    young field, so having improvements in the first decade or
    more makes sense for any new technology.

    And then some of it is crossover stuff. V-brakes are
    probably a good example. They did have a purpose and
    answered a problem on rear suspension bikes. I'm not
    certain, but I can see that setting up V-brakes would be a
    touch faster than setting up cantilever brakes. In a
    factory, 5 seconds saved per operation can add up to a lot
    of money. As long as you get it so the V-brakes don't throw
    everyone over their handlebars, they were probably adapted
    to mass-marketed bikes because they saved manufacturers
    money and didn't create hazards. Much easier to have only
    one style, one operation to train for, in a factory.

    There are some concrete improvements over the years. I
    haven't used brifters to any great degree, but many
    people love them, and I can see why. V-brakes? I don't
    see the need. Yes, they are different, but not better for
    my purposes.

    And in a very simple sense, a company needs to sell goods to
    survive over the years. Selling parts for bicycles that will
    wear out and fail is downright dangerous, and expensive from
    the lawsuits. So they have to generate new sales in other
    ways. New eye candy, new (although not improved) design for
    components, new colors.... And count on people with
    disposable income and low self-confidence and immature ego
    states to keep them in business.

    If I had the latest, greatest, most efficient equipment, I
    think that I could appreciate the difference and consider
    much of it improved. When it comes to bikes, though, I am
    content with second or third generation technology. That's
    my choice. And since I do not race and do not spend time
    with people who compare and judge equipment every day or
    week, I am content to stay where I am.

    Enjoy the ride. If the equipment helps you enjoy riding in
    the manner you want to ride, then it is good. That's my
    criteria for buying new equipment- when something is
    hindering my enjoyment of riding, I will see if new (or
    used) equipment would change this.

    In the end, that is what counts- are you getting what you
    want out of what you have? If not, explore whether that is
    because of limits of the equipment or limits of you. My aim
    is to get on my bike and not give a flying f*** about the
    equipment, not notice it, not worry about it, etc. When I
    don't even think about the equipment on my bike, I have it
    set up perfectly.
     
  7. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Ken" <[email protected]> wrote

    > Compared to 15 years ago, components are significantly
    > lighter weight
    today.
    > Back then, only high end bikes were in the 20 pound range.
    > Today, some
    mid-
    > range bikes are down to 17 pounds and high end bikes are
    > around 15 pounds. Dropping 5 pounds from your bike will
    > give you very noticable improvements
    in
    > acceleration, climbing, and responsiveness.

    Is that just better, repeatable, cheaper, machining?

    Pete
     
  8. Chris Hansen

    Chris Hansen Guest

    > If you're only replacing your tyres now, after 10 years,
    > then you either have bombproof tyres or dont' ride enough!
    >

    Actually I just got the bike from an extended family member.
    They don't look that old but they look just like the tires I
    remember from my youth.
     
  9. On 6 Mar 2004 19:58:13 -0800, [email protected] (Chris Hansen)
    wrote:

    >> If you're only replacing your tyres now, after 10 years,
    >> then you either have bombproof tyres or dont' ride
    >> enough!
    >>
    >
    >Actually I just got the bike from an extended family
    >member. They don't look that old but they look just like
    >the tires I remember from my youth.

    more to the point of your original post:

    If the bicycle has been hanging on a hook for ten years and
    not ridden, you can be fairly sure the tires have rotted. No
    mechanical failure in cycling sucks nearly as hard as a
    blowout; there's no remedy for it. Punctures can be
    patched...blowouts can be booted, but only if they're small
    and well-behaved. The most frustrating thing is that these
    can be prevented by foresight....

    ...and foresight may mean a new set of tires.

    You haven't mentioned what sort of riding you intend to do
    with the bike, or described the bike all that fully--we can
    be far more helpful if you do.

    If you want to ride on the street, it's a simple matter of
    popping into your local bikeshop and buying a pair of slick
    tires. The difference will amaze you--slick tires on
    pavement deliver less rolling resistance, feel faster, and
    generally feel better. They do pretty well on hard-packed
    dirt. They're all right in gravel. They suck if you intend
    to ride mud, though.

    -Luigi
     
  10. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Chris Hansen) writes:

    > but it was also mentioned that drivetrain components and
    > wheels and stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering
    > what that means by being a lot better, what has changed?

    I wonder if they were referring to freehubs/cassettes
    deprecating the older screw-on freewheels.

    I hear freehub axles are less prone to bending or
    breaking. If that's so, I guess I could use an updated
    wheelset, myself.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
  11. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Pete" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    >> Compared to 15 years ago, components are significantly
    >> lighter weight
    > today.
    >> Back then, only high end bikes were in the 20 pound
    >> range. Today, some
    > mid-
    >> range bikes are down to 17 pounds and high end bikes are
    >> around 15 pounds. Dropping 5 pounds from your bike will
    >> give you very noticable improvements
    > in
    >> acceleration, climbing, and responsiveness.
    >
    > Is that just better, repeatable, cheaper, machining?

    There have been significant changes in materials and/or
    design of selected components that have caused large weight
    losses, e.g., wheels, saddles, forks, and frames.
     
  12. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Kenwrote:

    > There have been significant changes in materials and/or
    > design of selected components that have caused large
    > weight losses, e.g., wheels, saddles, forks, and frames.

    and wallets. Mine feels a lot lighter than before all these
    innovations.
     
  13. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Chris Hansen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > In terms of rolling resistance, is it worth upgrading
    > wheels or tires if the ones you have are still in good
    > shape? I keep wondering if the new stuff is really that
    > much better?
    >
    Tires are irrelevant, because no matter how old the bike the
    tires won't be more than a few years old, or they will have
    deteriorated too badly for use.

    I'd be very surprised if there was any real difference in
    wheel technology that would matter to anyone not doing
    serious racing. It's possible that the bike you have has low
    quality wheels, and upgrading the wheels might have some
    benefit (e.g. fewer spokes broken, if you are a big guy).
    But if you replaced the wheels with new, low quality wheels
    there's no benefit.
     
  14. Chris Hansen

    Chris Hansen Guest

    > You haven't mentioned what sort of riding you intend to do
    > with the bike, or described the bike all that fully--we
    > can be far more helpful if you do.
    >

    Oh, sorry.

    It's a Schwinn LeTour, I think about 10 or 15 years old.
    CroMoly frame, index shifting, 27 inch wheels. It looks like
    it has alloy wheels, I don't think they're original. It
    looks like it's pretty solid but needs a lot of cleaning,
    lubing, adjustment, etc.

    I plan to use it for commuting this summer and I'd like to
    take it on the MS 150 in June.
     
  15. Frkrygow

    Frkrygow Guest

    Chris Hansen wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I've talked to several people who have talked about how
    > bicycle technology has improved in the last 10-15 years. I
    > realize that mountain bikes have come a long way and that
    > shifters and brakes on road bikes are fancier now but it
    > was also mentioned that drivetrain components and wheels
    > and stuff are a lot better. I was just wondering what that
    > means by being a lot better, what has changed? In terms of
    > rolling resistance, is it worth upgrading wheels or tires
    > if the ones you have are still in good shape? I keep
    > wondering if the new stuff is really that much better?

    [... and later ...]

    "It's a Schwinn LeTour, I think about 10 or 15 years old.
    CroMoly frame, index shifting, 27 inch wheels. It looks like
    it has alloy wheels, I don't think they're original. It
    looks like it's pretty solid but needs a lot of cleaning,
    lubing, adjustment, etc.

    I plan to use it for commuting this summer and I'd like to
    take it on the MS 150 in June."

    ------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    My impression of the Schwinn Le Tour is that it was a good,
    solid bike with very reliable medium-grade equipment.
    Nothing fragile, but by the same token, nothing super-light.
    It's the kind of bike that will last pretty much forever.

    "Significant" improvements? Well, index shifting replaced
    friction shifting - but you've got that.

    Cassette rear cogs replaced freewheels. That makes it easier
    to replace worn cogs, and makes your rear axle a bit
    stronger, but it's no big thing.

    Triple cranks are more common. That's a big improvement if
    your hills are bad enough.

    Pedals became "clipless" which most people like, but you can
    add those easily. (I've never bothered.)

    Saddles have grown holes. Lots of people find those more
    comfortable, but it's a very individual thing.

    Brakes went from requiring three fingers for a panic stop,
    to allowing only one finger to throw you over the
    handlebars. I see no advantage there.

    Handlebar stems and headsets went from slow-assembly, very
    adjustable to fast-assembly, less adjustable. Here, we
    sometimes argue about whether that's an advantage.

    Shifters went from simple devices mounted on the frame (or
    handlebar ends) to unrepairably complex devices built into
    the brake levers. We argue about those, too.

    Metallurgy got better, and manufacturing techniques got
    better, so frames, handlebars, seats, all got a bit lighter.
    That's nice, but not usually significant (see below). In
    some cases, those parts became "stupid light," meaning
    you're expected to replace them just before they break, and
    you're expected to know when that will be. Either that, or
    just buy a new one when the old one's no longer fashionable,
    to be "safe." That's detrimental.

    Most other changes (like increased gear count, or arcane
    changes in chain design) are not very significant.

    Regarding weight: A lighter bike will make it a little
    easier to climb hills faster, and easier to keep up with the
    pack of racers in a sudden sprint. But in most cases, it
    won't make any significant difference in your commuting
    time, and it won't make you any more comfortable at the end
    of the MS 150.

    I'd say make sure the bike fits your properly. That's more
    important than anything. And check the wheel rims with a
    magnet, to be sure they're not steel, because steel rims
    cause terrible braking in the rain. If they're aluminum,
    they're fine.

    Replace the tires. Slicks really are better. Replace the
    brake shoes. "Cool Stop" brand is best. Give it a complete
    tune up, including truing the wheels.

    Then ride. The more you ride, the better your bike
    will perform.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [To reply, omit what's between "at" and
    "cc"]
     
  16. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Chris Hansen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > You haven't mentioned what sort of riding you intend to
    > > do with the bike, or described the bike all that fully--
    > > we can be far more helpful if you do.
    >
    > It's a Schwinn LeTour, I think about 10 or 15 years old.
    > CroMoly frame, index shifting, 27 inch wheels. It looks
    > like it has alloy wheels, I don't think they're original.
    > It looks like it's pretty solid but needs a lot of
    > cleaning, lubing, adjustment, etc.
    >
    > I plan to use it for commuting this summer and I'd like to
    > take it on the MS 150 in June.

    Frank's post has a lot of good info. You might be interested
    in my experience with a Schwinn Super LeTour, 1976, which I
    bought last year. This was a model or two up from the
    LeTour, but also older.

    It was a busy early spring, so I had the following work done
    at my LBS. I'm a regular customer, and it was still the late-
    winter doldrums, so I think I got a pretty fair deal.

    Everything rubber was replaced: tires, tubes, cable housing
    and cables, brake hoods, handlebar tape. Everything was
    overhauled (i.e. bearings in wheels, headset, bottom bracket
    cleaned, ball bearings replaced, regreased). This cost about
    $100 for parts and $100 for labor.

    The bike rides very nicely. But this was basically a bike
    that hadn't been ridden much at all in its past life.

    I also have a Schwinn Sprint from about 1979/1980. This was
    a rummage sale bike; it's rusted so I can't get one of the
    pedals off and can't get the headset apart. OTOH, it makes a
    very nice commuter bike in flat Chicago (where I've done
    centuries without changing gears). I've done RAGBRAI on this
    bike, and a 680 mile solo tour.

    If you are commuting and have to park/lock the bike outside,
    and if the bike fits, an old LeTour might be just the
    ticket. Certainly, assuming it fits, it will make a nice
    commuter bike assuming road geometry is what you want
    (rather than, say, a hybrid.). In other words, think about
    the length of your commute and the security of the place
    where you will park it; these are big considerations in the
    old bike / new bike discussion.
     
  17. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article
    <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    > >
    > > You haven't mentioned what sort of riding you intend to
    > > do with the bike, or described the bike all that fully--
    > > we can be far more helpful if you do.
    > >
    >
    > Oh, sorry.
    >
    > It's a Schwinn LeTour, I think about 10 or 15 years old.
    > CroMoly frame, index shifting, 27 inch wheels. It looks
    > like it has alloy wheels, I don't think they're original.
    > It looks like it's pretty solid but needs a lot of
    > cleaning, lubing, adjustment, etc.

    I've got a LeTour 25 years old (1979 model), which was my
    only ride until last year, and it's still going strong;
    everything original except for the tires. They have a
    reputation of being quite indestructible with even
    minimal care.

    > I plan to use it for commuting this summer and I'd like to
    > take it on the MS 150 in June.

    What's the gearing on it?

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return
    address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  18. On Sat, 06 Mar 2004 19:44:12 -0500, "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >
    >How can a hell of a lot better be equal to not a
    >large change?
    >
    >We both know it isn't significant.

    Biggest change IMO? A reliable seven speed internal hub for
    commuting, especially on folders (no chain line issues in
    folding/unfolding). Technologically speaking, I find my
    wife's Breezer 7 more pleasing than my Bike Friday Metro.
    And the internal 7's now are a bunch better than the 3-5's
    that I used to work on (damn adjustment chains and two
    billion internal spacers).

    OTOH, I could have had a Breezer and decided playing with
    the chain and the external 7 was a price worth paying for
    the Metro. Maybe it was the red color...

    Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA) Just someone on
    two wheels...
     
  19. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article
    > <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] says...
    > > >
    > > It's a Schwinn LeTour, I think about 10 or 15 years old.
    > > CroMoly frame, index shifting, 27 inch wheels. It looks
    > > like it has alloy wheels, I don't think they're
    > > original. It looks like it's pretty solid but needs a
    > > lot of cleaning, lubing, adjustment, etc.
    >
    > I've got a LeTour 25 years old (1979 model), which was my
    > only ride until last year, and it's still going strong;
    > everything original except for the tires. They have a
    > reputation of being quite indestructible with even
    > minimal care.

    Wow, all these Le Tours. I bought one ("Deluxe"!) a couple
    of years ago at a bike swap, mostly because it was a hard-to-
    find 27" frame. Mine had really never been ridden, no wear
    on the brake tracks. It even had the owner's manual!

    First thing that had to go was those funky stem shifters. Of
    the innovations over the past decades, I think indexed
    shifting is a major improvement. I don't care about what
    kind of shifters, as long as they're indexed. Changing the
    shifters then brings another decision point: stick with the
    original freewheel, or upgrade to a freehub. I'm big (235),
    and have a tendency to break rear axles, so a freehub is a
    major benefit. The old wheels on my Le Tour weren't bad
    quality, but not worth re-hub-ing. I got a better set with
    freehub'ed rear for ~$100. Wheels are probably the most
    critical component affecting reliability, I'd rather not do
    long rides in the boonies with wheels of that
    vintage/quality, anyway.

    I put 8-speed bar-end shifters, and a matching cassette,
    mostly because 8-speed is much cheaper than 9-speed these
    days. Rather than just cleaning and re-lubing the bottom
    bracket, I just threw it away & put in a modern cartridge
    one. I kept the original handlebars, stem and brake levers,
    although I removed the "turkey wing" inner extensions.
    Modern brake levers are much nicer, both because of cable
    routing and more comfortable hoods, but the old ones are
    serviceable, I sawed the turkey wing stud almost flush &
    wrapped the brake lever body with a couple of turns of split
    inner tube, followed by bar tape.

    After replacing the saddle, seatpost, pedals (clipless
    pedals are the other great innovation of the past decades)
    and rear derailer (boat anchor), the bike got considerably
    lighter. Like most of these projects, it became kind of a
    "stone soup" bike, with almost nothing left of the original
    but frame and fork. That's kind of the way it always goes.
    The new stuff is (mostly) much better than the old, and once
    you start upgrading there's no logical place to stop. Given
    the disparity between component and complete bike sales
    margins, it's generally much more cost effective to buy a
    new bike than building one from parts. That said, I'm
    pleased with the outcome. For perhaps $300, I have a bike
    that I wouldn't hesitate to take on a long ride, or a fast
    club ride, and am not too afraid of leaving locked up while
    I run errands.
     
  20. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Tom Keats) wrote:
    >
    > I hear freehub axles are less prone to bending or
    > breaking. If that's so, I guess I could use an updated
    > wheelset, myself.

    Guess what happened to me today.

    Yup.

    Fortunately I was able to scrounge a spare axle out of the
    heap of parts. I'm swapping-in the cones from the busted
    axle right now. I didn't even lose any bearing balls.

    There's another current thread titled "A humbling ride".
    Leading a crippled bike home for 30 blocks is sure an
    humbling walk. 'Specially when lots of other riders are
    blithely breezing by.

    Oh well. I stopped at a church for a rest; got chatting with
    the caretaker and he offered me his Kuwahara MTB, which he
    was just going to leave out for whomever'd take
    it. Maybe I'll take him up on it.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden.
    I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
     
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