Technology, Bicycles and Marketing

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Viking55803, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. Viking55803

    Viking55803 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    7
    I just replaced my speed and cadence sending units with ones that don't use magnets. One attaches to a hub, one to the crank arm. Simple, easy to install, clean looking (no spoke magnets or straps on your chainstay.)

    It got me thinking about technology and cycling. I'm an old dude (65 y/o) who raced in the late 60's and early 70's. The equipment we used had actually not changed much for 40 or 50 years. We had no speed indicators, cadence monitors, let alone heart monitors and power meters! There was a little mechanical counter you could attach to under your front axle bolt which, along with a little peg on your spokes would count revolutions and display distance - but none of the cyclists I trained with used them.

    I won't detail the primitive state of our equipment - that's not my point. There was at that time, I believe, a higher level of standardization of bicycle parts and equipment. If this is true, it is probably because of the fact that there were fewer bike manufacturers and fewer types of bikes on the road - no mountain bikes, time trial bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes and so forth.

    Okay, there have been some real advances: clipless pedals, indexed shifting, decent clincher tires, more gears, lighter bikes, actual protective helmets! And now, the electronic revolution: cycle computers, power meters, electronic shifting.

    Personally, I have a negative gut reaction to electronic shifting. Actually, I don't even wear electronic watches - I prefer the so-called "automatic" or self-winding mechanical watch. Come the Zombie Apocalypse, I'll still know what time it is even after all the batteries go dead. But I love cycle computers. For one thing, you can turn them off and still ride the bike.

    So my question is, wouldn't it be cool if there was some standardization around the sending units required to communicate with a wireless cycle computer? If there were, bikes could come with attachment points like fender mounts and you could choose your brand of sending unit. Sure there is GPS, but in my experience and where I live, reception depends on staying out of the woods for one thing. And the wheel on a bike will always spin and give a very accurate indication of speed and distance.

    I know that there a few bikes that have something like that installed (a magnet?) but sending units from different companies attach to the bike in very different ways. Frankly, I don't even know how standards for bicycles are mediated now. I do know this is an industry driven completely, it seems, by marketing.

    That's not a bad thing as long as you we can keep our perspective. No, WAIT - cyclists are obsessive loners and totally lack perspective :)
     
    Tags:
    Damien Lee likes this.


  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    11,945
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Without a doubt...this is the best post of the month. Thumbs up.

    I started racing in 1972. Hairnet, toe clips and 10 total gears with maybe 8 useable ratios.

    Yeah, I remember the "tick...tick...tick" of the cyclometers, but I never used one. I saw them as too distracting from the experience of riding. Yeah...no cross bikes, no gravel grinder races, no riding on the dirt. There was only the speed and simplicity of the very stripped down road racing bicycle.
     
    fixednewbie likes this.
  3. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    13
    I thought there already was an industry standard for attaching electronics? Zipties. [​IMG]


    Trek's Duotrap is a good idea, but unfortunately only Trek makes the unit that fits it. I would definitely like to see something similar on all bikes or maybe a braze-on mount on chainstays for a Garmin GSC10 style speed/cadence sensor.


    What speed/cadence units do you have that don't use magnets? Are the ANT+?
     
  4. Viking55803

    Viking55803 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    7
    I didn't want to be a shill for a specific brand, but I have the new Garmin speed and cadence sensors which are inertial ANT+ sensors. My understanding is that Wahoo and perhaps several others are or will soon market similar devices. Here is a thorough review by a source I personally trust:

    http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2014/05/garmins-spd-cad-magnetless-sensors.html

    Regarding the old days racing. Yes, the hairnet "helmets" were funny, weren't they? I guess the point was to keep you scalp from being worn away on the pavement in a crash!

    I raced a lot of criteriums in those days and ran what we used to call a "straight block" - 5 gears in the cluster that were 1 tooth apart, and a 49/52 in the front. That gave a nice and quick adjustment in ratio during a fast, flat race. Not so good on the hills!

    One of the revelations in my recent (early 2013) return to road cycling was compact gearing. I run a 50/34 and Ultegra 12-30 in the back. Just last evening I was out for a quick 15 mile ride with a bunch of short hills and I used every cog and probably 16 out of 20 ratios. Very helpful for a crusty old dude like myself!
     
  5. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    11,945
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Viking, yeah the hairnets were cool looking and they offered very little impact protection. My 14-21 and 47-53 (also used a 49-52 combination) made hills a 'high torque output' experience! Like DC Rainmaker, I won't be swapping to the magnetless sensors until the ANT+/BlueTooth versions come out...or whatever comes with my next GPS computer bundle. How far away can wireless shifting be?
     
  6. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    13
    Those look nice. When my GSC10 gives up the ghost I'll definitely be picking up a set of those.
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    11,945
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Yes, the new sensors definitely look much better than the GSC10. Due to the thickness of my chain stays, the speed sensor's flag has to be 'up' on my carbon frames. Both my Garmin and Cateye sensors had to be installed in that position. It looks pretty fugly IMO.
     
  8. Viking55803

    Viking55803 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    7
    Yeah, I just switched my old GSC10 or whatever it is called to my mountain bike. I ride it about the same miles as my road bike, but didn't have a cadence sensor (which for me is quite useful) and relied on GPS for distance and speed.

    I forgot how messy the installation was. It will work, of course, but it looks tacky and easily disturbed. Honestly, I think I might have to invest in another set of these magnet-less sensors.

    Also, they work flawlessly once you figure out how to set your Garmin unit (an Edge 500) to the right ANT+ settings. There is one that reads, "speed/cadence" then there is just "speed" and "cadence" and finally there is Speed and Cadence! That's the one that will allow the unit to pair with the sensors.

    I set up Bike 2 for the old units and paired them the old way.

    The new ones seem to give more immediate readings to the computer, or maybe that's just my imagination. I did a very hilly 15 mile ride last night, and focused solely on my cadence and heart rate. My goal was to keep my cadence at my preferred/natural 90 rpm no matter what the grade or speed. I would hold a gear until the rpms started to drop slightly and then shift. I wouldn't let my cadence get above 100 and pushed the biggest gear I could maintain. I used all 10 of my rear cogs and both chainrings but it was a wonderful feeling ride. It felt like I was eating the hills!

    Wow, to be cycling like this at 65 after quadruple bypass surgery feels sort of miraculous.
     
  9. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    13
    Good for you, man. That's impressive.

    Maybe I'll do what you did and throw the GSC10 on the CX bike and buy these new sensors for the road bike.
     
  10. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    11,945
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Quad bypass?!?! You rock!
     
  11. JSWin

    JSWin Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    13
    Yes I am going to have to agree on this. I like the old style stuff too. Its true about the no wait with a bad perspective. Mostly people that lack patience are that way anyway.
     
  12. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    26
    Standardization is an inevitability, especially where technology is concerned. There may be a short period of organized chaos, with so many manufacturers popping on the scene. Each one with their own unique technology and way of doing things. Eventually, the more prominent manufacturers get together and start setting standards. This lowers the cost of development and helps in the creation of more consumer-friendly products.
     
Loading...
Loading...