Monday, September 17, 2012

Trends I'd Like to See in the Bike Industry

Benjamin Cycles, Berthoud
With Interbike coming up this week, discussions regarding what trends to expect have been coming up. Last year was big for transportation cycling, but where will it go from there? To be honest, I have no idea. At the small but influential New Amsterdam show earlier this year the biggest specific trend I could spot was an increase in casual reflective gear. Hopefully Interbike will surprise us with something more substantial.

Meanwhile, instead of making predictions I thought I'd list some of the things I'd like to see myself. In no particular order...

Transportation bicycles for long distance
Most transportation-specific bicycles on the market today are designed for fairly short trips over easy terrain. But for a huge segment of the population, longer commutes over hilly terrain are more typical. Granted, cycling is not feasible for everyone. But I believe that for many, undertaking a long commute by bike is possible without sacrificing personal style and enjoyment. With that in mind, I would like to see more performance-oriented yet transportation-specific bicycle designs. While road, cyclocross and touring bikes can be adapted for long-distance commuting, it is exactly that: aftermarket adaptation. For every person who goes through the trouble, there are probably 100 who will not bother. A transportation-specific design will both validate the possibility of long distance transportation cycling, and make it easy to actually do it. 

Affordable, quality dynamo lighting packages
The options for bright LED dynamo lights and light-weight, no-drag dynamo hubs have never been better. However, that's the good stuff and it is very expensive. And the inexpensive stuff - particularly what tends to be bundled with typical city bikes - is not great. Consumers complain about the dim halogen headlights, the heavy, lackluster hubs. It would be good to have an affordable middle ground. Bike shops that specialise in fully equipped bicycles tend to agree, and some have taken to modifying stock bikes with upgrades. But to see an across-the-board improvement in quality of bundled lighting packages, the initiative must come from the manufacturers.

Decent cycling trousers
Normally I wear my everyday clothing when riding for transportation and do not feel a need for cycling-specific designs. One exception is trousers. As it stands, I ride mostly in skirts and avoid trousers, because the crotch seams on most of them - particularly jeans - cause me discomfort in the saddle on anything but the shortest rides. Considering the growing selection of cycling-specific trousers on the market, it amazes me that virtually none of them aim to address this issue (which I know others experience!), focusing instead on bells and whistles such as U-lock pockets and reflective tabs. Somehow the idea of a seam-free gusseted crotch either escapes the designers or does not seem important, but I hope to see this feature in future. 

Easy to use mini-pumps
When I talk to women about self-sufficiency on the road, a lot of it comes down to finding the equipment physically difficult to use. This is particularly true of portable bicycle pumps. A few months back I attended a "fix your flat in 5 minutes flat" clinic, and most of the women present admitted they were unable to use the mini-pump they carried with them on the bike - telling stories of roadside frustration, ripped out valves and ruined tubes. In fact there is exactly one mini pump I know of that is agreed to be fairly easy to use, but the complaint is that it's heavy; few are willing to carry it on their pared-down roadbike. It would be great to see manufacturers come up with designs that are both easy to work and lightweight; it would be a game-changer for many.

Road component groups designed for low gearing
For those who prefer low gears on their roadbikes for climbing-intensive riding, it is not easy to achieve a build that is in equal measure modern, lightweight, and perfectly functional. Road component groups tend to be optimised for racing and therefore geared on the high side. Setting up a bike with truly low gears (I am talking sub-1:1 here) usually means resorting to mixing and matching components and brands, switching out chainrings to non-native ones, installing mountain bike derailleurs, sourcing vintage parts, and so on. While I am sure some will disagree, according to my observations and personal experience it is rare that these hybrid drivetrains will function as flawlessly as dedicated component groups where everything is designed to work together. This year SRAM has begun to venture into the low gearing territory with their "WiFli technology" - lightweight road derailleurs designed to accommodate wider cassettes. I can't wait for others to follow suit.

Mainstreaming of 650B
There has been talk about the rising popularity of 650B for years, and I am looking forward to this wheel size finally becoming mainstream and unremarkable for both road-to-trail and transportation bicycles. Increasingly, cyclists are choosing bikes built for 650B wheels: Framebuilders are being asked to make more of them, DIY 650B conversions are all the rage, choices for 650B rims and tires are expanding, and some fringe manufacturers are offering dedicated 650B models. There are benefits to 650B wheels, including wider tires and no toe overlap. But there is also concern about the longevity of the trend, as well as about mainstream bike shops not stocking relevant parts - which could pose problems for those experiencing mechanical issues on long trips. I hope it is only a matter of time before affordable and mainstream manufacturers normalise 650B and put those concerns to rest. 

So that's my wish-list. I don't think anything here is especially radical or too much to hope for. Mostly I am guessing it is a matter of time, but hopefully sooner rather than later. What trends would you like to see in the bicycle industry in the years to come?

108 comments:

  1. For low gearing, Shimano is also following SRAM by updating their 105 to accommodate both 30 and 32 max cog size. With some adjustment you can expand on that range beyond manufacturers suggested limits which tend to be conservative to account for cross chaining.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "In fact there is exactly one mini pump I know of that is agreed to be fairly easy to use, but the complaint is that it's heavy..."

    Care to share the name of the pump?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Topeak Road Morph is the best "mini" pump, IMO. Though not small enough to fit in your jersey pocket, it fits nicely under your top tube. It has a securely fitting head which cleverly houses some of the hose when it is in travel mode, a gauge in the hose, a handle that flips out horizontally and a foot peg so you can use your full weight to pump your tires up into the 100psi range. It works as well as my full size floor pump. It's worth the $44.00 price tag. Have fun at Interbike.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Some of these are coming: the rise of ten-speed gearing and compact crank sets has resulted in a few low gearing options. We put together a bike with a SRAM Force drive train with a 34-50 crank and a 13-36 cassette that worked perfectly.
    650b is actually becoming increasingly common in mountain bikes. Jamis in particular has a growing selection, especially in dual-suspension bikes. While this has little to do with transportation cycling, the fact that its becoming a more normal size means tubes, tires and rims will be more readily available.
    I'll second the desire for gusseted crotch trousers. Skirts and dresses don't really suit me. Also, commuter pants that don't cost $120 and are offered in big and tall sizes too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to second the big & tall sizes for commuter clothes. For technical wool too. Ibex is the only company that makes a true xxl top and then only in one or two items. Some of us are just big. I've written them and if they get more customer response, they'll add more items.

      Also more offerings with lower gearing, I much prefer a double with 30/48, VO is the only one to offer this as stock and every other option is pretty complicated and fairly expensive.

      Delete
  5. Simply put, I'd like to see more for the poor. Those who can't afford a car but are hard working, responsible, and who contribute to the greater good. So many in my neighborhood are going to dumpsters and finding something workable in the short run but ultimately of limited use. I wonder if things like Interbike are focused on those with disposable income -- which makes sense -- but for a sea change to happen I think the industry needs to build a connection to those who are limited with their income. My son works at an organic farm which produces wonderful, high quality, food and is a believer in the CSA movement but admits, once he leaves, he will be unable to afford the product. I don't know what needs to happen but feel there must be a way for those who think simple is better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hardly poor, but raising a family on an income close to the US median puts us out of the range of the "enthusiast" level bikes usually discussed in forums like this. What happened to durable decently made non-disposable bikes that "ordinary" people could afford? The adjective "inexpensive" applied to a bike with a 4 figure price makes me boggle.

      Delete
    2. In order for the prices of both CSA and handmade goods to drop, there needs to be a dramatic, categorical change in how our economy works. As it stands, handmade products are expensive because the maker needs to earn a living wage and the cost of living in a country like the US is high. In response to Mark, this is a blog (not a forum) with a focus mostly on classic and handmade bicycles, as well as on the process of making them.

      I would say Interbike is focused on products aimed at a wide range of consumers. There are bikes in the 5 figures and bikes in the 3 figures. Watching the industry and following the trends from year to year, it is interesting to see which aspects of the handbuilt bike shows are entering mainstream production, and which technologies that a year ago were rare and expensive are becoming more affordable and accessible.

      Think of custom/handmade/high-end bicycles as analogous to the bespoke/ haute couture aspect of the fashion industry. It's the vanguard for testing out trends and technologies.

      Delete
    3. At Mark F: Go for good quality vintage bikes for your family. Great bikes and affordable.http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/181-Classic-amp-Vintage

      Delete
    4. First, I apologize for venting a bit; the post by Anonymous that triggered this struck a nerve. I follow this blog because I enjoy the fine thoughtful writing about bikes and bicycling, but sometimes it's a bit like peeking in the window at a fancy dinner party when you know you won't get past the doorman.

      @Velouria about blogs vs. forums. You're right of course, but in one sense the comment section of a respected blog IS a forum - albeit one under a benevolent dictator.

      Yes, there are good vintage bikes out there. These days I'm riding a 40 year old Schwinn Sports Tourer re-purposed into an upright with cyclo-cross tires. For the sandy roads out here I'd like to have something more like a mountain bike, but I value durability fairly highly so the mass-market aluminum frame bikes have limited appeal. "Vintage"* bikes could be a good way to go. The trick is that there is a very limited market in a rural area like north-central Minnesota, and buying a used bike on-line is not my idea of prudent. Still, worth a look at the website there.

      *I actually prefer the term "used". "Vintage" sometimes seems like an excuse to jack up the price tag, rather the way "pre-owned" is used in the car business.

      Delete
    5. @Mark.

      Hi Mark, I can afford more expensive bikes, but I adore the finding and rebuilding of classics Old steel bikes (eg with Reynolds 531 tubing) go for a song. Theyre as good (better!) than carbon fibre, can come with great gearing (compag etc) abd theyll last for ever.

      Take heart youre in the right market - soon youll be copied by the best trust me

      Trillie tillie tong tong

      Delete
    6. Thanks for your thoughts, Mark. I especially agree with the 'vintage' remark. I hate that word and am trying hard NOT to hate those who use it .... therapy is helping :)

      Seriously, I wish for products which last a long time, with standardized parts and affordable price points. Like you, my bikes are 40 years and will last another 40 years, but it's difficult to find parts for them...why??

      Delete
    7. If reading this blog is like looking in the window at a fancy dinner party, working in a bike shop is like being one of the waiters.

      But without ranting, and speaking both as a poor single parent and someone who has a lot of bicycle maintenance experience, I would really like to see more options for inexpensive, no-frills transportation bikes. Modern manufacturing would make something like this very possible, but it seems like we're stuck on the "low-end mountain bikes or $500+ commuter bikes" thing.

      Delete
  6. I wonder about the #5 on your list. Group sets such as Ultegra Triple come with a 30t chainring and a 28t sprocket. That's close to 1:1 and is already a pretty low ratio. How often would you need lower gearing than this? It would be a specialized bike for hill climbing anyway and in this case why not build it from specialized MTB-like components? Plus, I think it is not the cassette that needs to be wider, but the chainrings to be just smaller.

    I would add #7 to your list: more power-assisted bikes. Options we have now are aftermarket kits with e-motor in the front or rear wheel and a bulky battery. These are of course great for DIY installations. But I would like to see fully integrated power-assist solutions such as Specialized Turbo, yet designed for commuting and transportation. Long tail cargo bike with nicely integrated motor and batteries would also be welcomed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with Velouria on this one. Thank you!

      I'm old and fat and like to ride up mountains on roads with drop bars. I can't on 30/28 gearing. I can on 24/34, enjoying myself at 4 miles an hour. Does that mean I don't deserve to ride a road bike? I don't think so, but it does mean I can't find the narrow road cranks that I think might help alleviate some of my knee issues. I'd love to switch from bar-ends to brifters, but haven't been able to do so.

      I am the tip of an untapped market!

      Teacherlady

      Delete
    2. Teacherlady
      Try the Velo-Orange copy of the T.A. crank or get a Campy Nuovo Record crank and have Bob Freeman at Elliot Bay convert it for triple. Either way it will be quite narrow.

      Delete
    3. I like fewer gears. 8sp cassettes of high quality would be great. Cranksets that came with smaller chainrings. VO has them, but few others do. I like my gears to span from 30gi to mid 90s; outside that range I don't use it. Triple CR solution is fine, (even with 6sp FW), but the chainrings are all the wrong size, so I'm back to aftermarket purchases to "trick out" my bike to do what should be NORMAL.

      Delete
    4. There are quite a few roads within a modest day's ride that I could not do with a 30 x 26 low gear.

      Delete
  7. I would like to see more and better recumbents. I want them to become more popular and to occupy a larger part of the cycling population's activity and imagination.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just had the same thought yesterday about wanting lower gearing on my road bike. I know they have the racing gears because that's what they're built for, but, its not how I ride - I never use the smallest chain ring.

    Also, for the pumps, I have a topeak "peak dx" mini-pump that mounts under my water cage. I'm a 100-lb weakling, but I can get enough air in to get home.

    ReplyDelete
  9. LESS gears on derailleur bikes. An 8 speed cassette lasts far longer than a 10 speed one. A 5 speed cassette would last for a decade or more. For travel, longevity counts for more than the extra gears. WiFli with a 5 speed cassette is light, efficient, and cheap compared to an IGH or the nightmares of wear that are today's standard.

    And cross bikes are only compromises in the same way that Swiss Army knives are compromises - especially now that disc brakes are legal...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the purposes of commuting in everyday attire, cross bikes are compromises in that (1) They require considerable aftermarket accessorising that enthusiasts might be eager to undertake, but not the average Jo/Joanne, and (2) some prefer a lower standover which cross bikes do not provide.

      Delete
    2. But a Swiss Army knife IS a compromise.

      Badly want to agree with you on fewer gears but cannot imagine the marketing department ever approving that. The now standard 10 cog cassette would be much better without the 11 and 12 tooth cogs that only Bernard Hinault or better can push. Big lugs who imagine they're strong enough for that 11 routinely torque steer the bike right into the ground.

      Delete
    3. My LBS added fenders and a rack to the cross bike i purchased with no charge for the labor. I'm not exactly a average Jo/Joanne but neither was it 'considerable' aftermarket accessorizing. Simple and under $75 and I find it an ideal commuter. Also, doesn't compute what you said about standover....why does a cross not provide it?? Mine is lower than my road bike.

      Delete
    4. Shimano has junior 6600 casettes, they have a 13/25 14/25 and 15/25. These do not fit on 10 speed only hubs and wheels such as the 7800 (they pretty much fit all the other 10 speed Shimano compatible hubs. Campagnolo has casettes starting on 13 and 14 among their 10 speed Centaur and Veloce casettes.

      The main downside for me with more and more cogs is that the hub spacing of the right flange get worse, to the point where we'll need asymmetric rims for the rear wheels.

      Veloria the only aftermarket accessories you'd need for a cross bike would be fenders and lights.

      Delete
  10. Have since done away with regular road cranksets and now equip my road bikes with 44/32/22 chainrings with a big 23 or 25 in back. I live in a mountainous area. At 60, badly need low gears now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried to like triples, but I just don't. Maybe some day I'll give it a try again.

      Delete
    2. Velouria, can you expound upon what you "don't like" about them? I've loved having a triple on my mountain bike for decades(!) and am considering adding one to my Crosscheck, but am unclear on the perceived drawbacks other than maybe needing a new front derailleur and overall finickiness.

      Delete
    3. Can't speak for mountain bikes, as I've only ever ridden one in single speed. On roadbikes, I have found doubles more convenient as far as gear spacing and also easier to set up, less problematic. Some of my friends swear by their road triples, but personally I think I'd rather deal with slightly too-high gearing that go that route.

      Delete
    4. I've had both compact doubles and triples out here in the fairly-steep Western Mass hills. When I had time to ride a minimum of 80-to-100 miles/week, the compact double seemed like the only way to go. Now, a few years older and with less time for riding, I've gone back to the triple. I love them both, but in the end, I think the triple wins. On the nastiest hill of a long day, I've got that granny gear to rely on. And I spend 85% of the rest of my time in my middle ring, using every cog in the cassette except the tiniest. It just works. The only drawbacks are esthetic and maybe four or so extra ounces.

      Delete
    5. I think corn cob cassettes look better on a road bike, plus the added close gear ratios, thus the triple set up on mine. If compacts work as they should, one company wouldn't have come up with the Triple-izer 'granny' ring for compacts.

      Delete
  11. I like the idea of high end dynamo lighting at least being a manufacturers' option. I don't generally ride at night but I do ride in low light conditions.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd suggest advocating for tubeless tires as well- the wave is commencing, but slowly and the advantages are considerable but could be enormously improved by a wider selection of tires and related reduced costs, LBS advancement where mechanics are comfortable with the technology and people want it. Simplest ride quality improvement out there.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes, yes, yes! to absolutely everything on your list. That, and I totally agree with Anon @ 5:48.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't get the 650b thing. With my 700c hybrid (with 38's and converted to drops), there is barely any TCO and I get all the benefits of fat tires.

    At the same time, I have a MTB with North Roads bars and 559X35's. Same idea - cushy, and fast slicks.

    Both are common, with cheap commonly available tires. Both have fat tires, can have wheelsets replaced at any shop, and don't have any of the drawbacks of a weird, relatively rare size.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am talking about road geometry, not MTB or hybrids. Once you go wider than 28-32mm or so on a roadbike (or a transportation bike with road geo), there are issues with fork and chainstay clearances, and TCO is hard to avoid. I am simplifying of course, but generally speaking.

      That said, I like 700C. I am not saying everyone should switch over to 650B. Only that I'd like to see it as a normalised mainstream option.

      Delete
    2. Matthew, TCO is more of an issue with smaller framed bikes. When you have a relatively large wheel diameter (700c) and a short top tube, that leaves few parameters that can be changed to prevent TCO. 650B is sort of a compromise between the 700c and 26" mtb standard sizes.

      Delete
    3. I don't get the 650b thing either. What is the advantage of 650b over 650a (which is much easier to find)?

      Delete
    4. Aside from the TCO issue, one argument that advocates of the 584mm size make is that wide road tires with little rolling resistance are hard to come by in 559 and 622. So my wish for the new trend: produce nice tires like a Conti GP4000S or the various Grand Bois offerings in 622-40 or 559-42.

      Delete
    5. There are *great* road tires available for 650B, which aren't available in any other size (especially the Grand Bois Hetre). A 42mm wide, supple, lightweight tire is a joy in almost all riding conditions, from fast club rides to fairly gnarly gravel.

      Delete
    6. TCO is cured with longer top tubes and more fork rake. Mfrs won't do longer top tubes because the very very short part of the public screams. Bending or molding a fork to non-race dimensions is a cost that mfrs won't contemplate. It is, however, far far simpler than building bikes with new wheel sizes. Mfrs are indulging the 650B thing because in most cases it means selling one more bike to someone who already has a lot of them.

      The alleged clearance issue baffles me. I can walk down the street and show you production bicycles ad infinitum that meet all required parameters and have clearance for wide tires. I've heard this tale in bicycle shops and then walked around the sales floor pointing out the bikes that demonstrate the contrary.

      Delete
  15. You should name the mini pump that works for you. For a while I was a fan of the Quicker Pro, and considered getting the frame-mounted version, till I ripped my pump apart (I blame the weight weenies, to please them manufacturers cut corners on everything), then I decided maybe not.

    Right now I use a Lezyne, and have even used it on the road a couple of times, and I don't hate it yet. It gets really, really, really hot pumping up my big fat tires. I wonder, how much would a battery powered pump weigh? How much would it need in the way of batteries? Yes, I would propose to recharge the batteries from a dynamo hub, and maybe a small solar panel. Yes, that can work.

    On lights -- I fear it is a sort of a rathole. Shimano hubs are good enough for everyday; high-end for picky adults, midgrade ($100 wheel) for everyone else. The whole light/circuit packaging/beam-shape/features space is too large and contentious. To me, the most irritating thing is that pretty much ALL the features you could ever want could be implemented with less than (maybe much less than) $100 of electronics -- standlight, brake flasher, USB charger, standby battery (for hours of light at night while parked, or to run a bike pump). Even turn signals, if you were willing to pony up for the extra LEDs. It's all do-able with a microcontroller, a few large capacitors, a few large diodes, a switching current supply (LEDs), a switching voltage supply (USB), and a handful of cheap discrete components. Good batteries (e.g., Sanyo Eneloop, or a small pile of lithium-based batteries) might be the largest expense. I've gone as far as building (separately) a standlight and a USB charger; neither was a big deal, but in neither case did I adequately solve the packaging problem (i.e., still kinda clunky). This is one place where building it in to the bike would help; having a well-defined, mostly hidden, and vibration/strain-relieved place for all the wires would be very nice.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Re the PUMP questions: I do not actually own this pump myself, but I believe it's the Topeak Road Morph.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Gramicci pants and shorts available @ sierratradingpost.com have gusseted crotches in nylon and cotton fabrics. Around 35-60 on sale. So do Ballroom jeans. I like the Gramiccis a little better than Rivendell MUSA as they are stouter stitched and more normal looking.

    ReplyDelete
  18. For commuter bikes, I would love to see.....

    Truly integrated panniers and racks. Even the Ortlieb/Tubus integration with the QL3 attachment system requires fussy add ons. So does the Ortlieb Travel Biker suitcase. If Ortlieb were to make racks specifically for their panniers and bike cases, the racks and cases could be made to work better.

    Much better bike mirrors. Mirrors dramatically increase safety, but the best maker on the market, David Harris who made custom designs, just died. No one currently produces a well-designed, lightweight, bombproof mirror for eyeglass mounting currently.

    And higher quality Brooks saddles--the modern versions lack the longevity and consistent quality that used to define Brooks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thule is coming out with new bike racks, panniers, and bags that are designed to be integrated:

      http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/08/28/first-look-new-thule-pack-n-pedal-puts-cargo-bags-panniers-cases-on-the-bike/

      Delete
    2. Check out Bike Peddler's Take A Look mirror.

      Delete
  19. "Topeak Road Morph is the best "mini" pump"
    Agree, but the mount is very ugly.
    Get one that attaches to teh water bottle bosses and hides under your bottle. Performance Bike has 'em. The pump becomes near invisible.

    The peg to stand on makes pumping soo very much easier for folks like me with Andy Schleck style little girl arms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, here's another happy Road Morph + Performace water bottle mount user. The original mount has horrible sharp edges and more than once have I scratched and bruised myself on it. I put a couple of layers of duct tape around the pump to make it fit more securely in the mount.

      Delete
  20. Minipumps ought to have hoses I think. 4 or 5 inches would enable one to position the silly thing so that there would be no stress on the valve stem and the wrists and hands could find the position that allows the best comfort and flexibility. Show me one of those that looks even halfway well-made and I'll probably buy it.

    I also want a cycling computer with a camera that automatically senses a crash and makes a digital video recording of me ejecting from the cockpit with arms and legs flailing as the horizon rotates around the empty saddle. I would also buy one of these.

    Spindizzy




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Lezyne mini pump is a little pricey ($45) but really works. The air hose is long enough to flex but short enough to fit into the body of the pump when not in use. Easily screws onto the tube valve (either Presta or Schrader) and this pump has gotten me back on the road without making me feel like I needed to spend more time at the gym working with free weights. Easily fits into my saddle bag but also has a water bottle cage mount.

      Delete
    2. not sure if the hose is as long as you'd like, but i've read pretty good reviews of lezyne's hand pumps:

      http://www.bikeradar.com/gallery/article/lezyne-pressure-drive-m-pump-review-15758?img=1

      Delete
    3. Lezyne pumps seem to be a matter of taste. Half the cyclists I know who've had one love it, the other half can't use it.

      Delete
    4. Is the "can't use" an arm-strength issue? There are some laws of physics we have to work with here; thus my initial interest in the Quicker frame pump (use both hands to push against the frame on the ground), or proposal for a battery-powered pump, or possible someone could make a portable foot pump.

      Delete
  21. All good points. I'd love to see the return of 650A, but that's because I'm weird like that.

    As for mini-pumps, I stick to the Road Morph type, ones that have a flexible tube/nozzle and allow you to use it like a tiny floor pump. Never had great luck with anything else. A built-in pressure gauge is a plus, otherwise I don't know if I've properly inflated the tire.

    As for halogen lights on "complete" city bikes with dynohubs, the cynical side of me thinks it's a way for the manufacturer to get rid of lights that are pretty much unsellable otherwise, with the rise of LED dynolighting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lotta stuff I don't agree wit here, mostly 650b is a bike fetishist's size. Fat seven hundreds fulfill the non-bike "journo's" niche.

    Dynamo and long-distance don't compute. Great options exist now. Falls under "maintenance" and "remembering" and "attention to detail".

    Easy mini pumps? Yes, the one that is "heavy" is "easy to use" because it resembles a real floor pump. It weighs an entire pound almost, the weight or drag penalty of any number of silly things, including a helmet or lack of proper lunch. Who really considers a Topeak "heavy"? That's road sensibilities translated to transpo, a silly conflation.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 650B is rapidly becoming the norm in MTB world. Given road cycling at best is stagnant and a significant number of commuters prefer MTBs, 650B is far from a fetish.

      People have cycled around the globe - and I from Seattle to Boston - with a Schmidt dynamo hub. Cheap dynamos are an issue as V points out. That is why she hopes to see good ones at a price the less economically fortunate can afford.

      Delete
    2. @GRJ - Curious about your opinion on "great options exist now" -- I think that lights are still dubiously expensive, and the weak link in every system I've played with is usually the wiring. Sometimes it gets snagged and yanked, in one case a section was insufficiently supported around a zip-tie and the semi-floppy loose ends just wiggled and wiggled up and down until it finally wore through the insulator, then the wire. Same thing could go wrong traversing a small hole into the inside of a frame, if not vibration/strain-relieved at the hole.

      Delete
    3. “Lotta stuff I don't agree wit here, mostly 650b is a bike fetishist's size. Fat seven hundreds fulfill the non-bike "journo's" niche. ”

      A 700x45c tire is pretty huge. I have a bike that I was using 700x45c's on for a while, and it felt like I was climbing a mountain to get onto it (I'm 6'1", btw.) 650x45b, on the other hand, is basically a drop-in for a 700x23c wheel (with the notable exception of brake reach.) If you're someone who feels that you /absolutely must/ have fat tires, 650b is a better fit than 700c.

      Delete
    4. Per usual I will ignore MJ's polemical comments.

      Chase, I don't believe in outfitting every bike I ride with dynamos for the expense, weight or drag. Dedicated inexpensive dynamos with great optics...the price is coming down but asking a mfg. for cheaper? I don't think it works that way; supply/demand drives $.

      I just bought a clip on Blaze 2 -- it's friggin blinding, can be transferred from bike to bike vs. the cost of multiple dynamo setups running into the many hundreds.


      Orc, you missed the "other" size in which numerous tires have existed for decades: 26". Good for smaller geo bikes, good for dirt, good for snow...good for crit racing. We use to do fat boy crits on 26x1.

      When one goes as big as 700x45 you're basically looking at a mountain bike anyway.

      Here's my letter to the industry: "please make rim/tires available in every 1cm or less increment, because it makes an enormous difference."

      V is asking for more choices but hasn't tested a 26 road bike. Per usual if I'm industry one person's blog opinion isn't relevant, unless she's creating demand by expressing a personal opinion which is likely to change as with everything else here.

      I've asked this question before: my fat franks at 26x2.35 are a larger circumference than my 700x23. So what of size?

      If I'm industry I say go ride a 26 or 29er in carbon and tell me I need to invest in new molds for a few thousand people who ride only steel.

      Delete
    5. Chase, clip ons.

      Orc, 26", 700c or 29". All work for me. Slope the tt and your tire options explode.

      Matthew, brilliant, per usual.

      Delete
    6. @dr2chase: Same thing could go wrong traversing a small hole into the inside of a frame, if not vibration/strain-relieved at the hole.

      Not if a mfr wired a bike the way I do :)

      Delete
    7. As to the 26" option: the Bridgestone XO-1 did this years ago. I never got to try one because no Bridgestone dealer (or the company itself) was willing to sell me one back in '93 but I do remember the Bicycling magazine tests saying that the 26" wheel size worked out brilliantly on the street. Aside from Handsome cycles has anyone else explored this idea (by which I mean 26" on bikes that aren't MTB's or cruisers) since then?

      Delete
    8. nowhere, at ground zero for Bstone in Bezerkeley Cali old mtbs and xos litter the landscape. Nothing is holding them back.

      Sachs has done 26 for little people. I just saw a petite woman on 24s f/r, looked perfectly to scale and natural.

      All of us who were around when mtbs became popular and didn't want to buy a road bike for various reasons know the academic dif's btwn tire sizes is dumb, it's about the ride.

      Tire size does make a big dif in competition tho.

      Note to the assembled: aside from a few you are not racing.

      Delete
    9. @GRJ - I'm not a big fan of batteries. Either I have to remember to charge them (if they are rechargeable) or I have to remember to remove them (if they are alkaline) before they leak and ruin the electronics.

      What really sold me on the hub dynamo was kids. They're even worse than me at taking care of stuff, and I don't want them out after dark without lights.

      Delete
  23. #1 - completely agree - anything over 5 miles and it gets difficult. I ride my hybrid 7 miles each way and without the super dorky bullhorns it would be hard on my wrists.

    #3 - ah - the crotchety area... obviously you aren't old-school feminist-hipster because you'd be wearing dickies. skirts are for scottish men.

    #7 - disco balls

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'kilts' if you please ;)

      Sadly not really suited to cycling.

      Delete
  24. The trend I would prefer is to an emphasis on quality and personalization.

    From these generalities, much good would follow

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you want durable dependable roadside inflation to high pressure you get a full length pump. The realistic choices are Zefal HP and HPX and the Topeak copy of the HPX. Silca/Campagnolo is even better but only a few of us will ever know.

    If inflation to 50 or 60psi is enough a lot of pumps work. I have a collection of many types of Zefal minis from the 80s and 90s. They were cheap, ugly, totally dependable, and easy or very easy to pump. Push them past 60 and they blow up fast. Inflation to 60 is plenty for roadsters, 3speeds, most tourers, CX, 650B, and it's even "get me home" for many riders on wider road tires. I give those pumps away and find more free than I can possibly go through. Most recipients with reasonable expectations are happy.

    One of the problems with minis is the boyfriend/husband buys them and he just does not fully appreciate the difference in arm/hand strength. The easy to use pump will always have a narrow barrel that looks flimsy to the guys. The easy pump will take many many more strokes to pressure, which to the guys means it doesn't work. The mfr builds pumps for who buys them.

    How about pushing the jobbers for better inner tubes? Even the valves are getting shoddy of late. Grade Z butyl that splits instead of stretching does not make good tubes.

    ReplyDelete
  26. 650B +1! I have yet to try 650B even though I am short and perfect for 650B. There is still a lack of rim choices and they can be expensive for one who wants to do a conversion comme moi. And I have read that the wider tires can have trouble sitting on many of the rims which cause problems. One thing to watch out for is that 650B is huge in the mountain biking world so there is an explosion of rims and tires available. But mountain biking is all about disc brakes and now tubeless tires and the rims reflect that. I live in mountain biking land, and try getting a normal rim from the local bike shop. Just goes to show how a huge market like mountain biking can adopt 650b size, demand choices and get it in a short period of time. For the rest of the bike world, 650b is still seen as quant.
    As Adventure! said, I would also like to see more of 650A. It's the old 590mm size of english 3 speeds and a great size. The choices are very limited, however affordable, and I think it might be better for tall people than 650B.

    Lower gearing road bike components-yes! As it is one has to do some fiddling and you run the risk of components not working together. I haven't had a road bike in years :(, but I know I prefer road gearing to touring/mountain except for the range. I am constantly up and down big big hills, I live up a mountain side, so need granny gears. My husband has had to switch cassettes on his gorgeous vintage road bikes for the hills, but one must make sure the rear derailleur has enough 'chain wrap' for the range. Campy derailleurs are pretty good for that. My touring bike has xt and typical touring/mountain bike range which is great for hill climbing, but not so good when I need a high gear. On flats and descents I often am in the highest gears and spinning out.

    Pants-I know what you mean, and if you can sew you can figure out how to sew gussets. Or, you can try what I did and take apart the middle/crotch seam from back to zipper and resew with a single stitch, remove extra fabric, try make everything flat in the crotch area.
    It might look like 80's lady mom pants, but oh well. If that make sense to anyone please try and see if you can come up with a good design. Since I get everything from the second hand store, it's not a huge loss if I were to mess up. I also prefer skinny pants as they are best for cycling, so take pants from second hand store and slim those pants down. I hope they don't go out of fashion.

    Pumps-I let my husband handle that as I am sure I would be hopeless, cry, and make a mess of things. If I am out alone, far from a gas station and get a flat, I either hope a bus is on the way, or I walk home with the flat. Occasionally I have phoned my husband and asked for help. I did buy the cute Portland design bamboo mini pump, but my husband appropriated it and I never got to try it.

    Trends-could these bike shows please stop with the bike 'fashion' shows? Cycling is not about fashion or fawning away in snazzy clothes. It's creating yet another market of consumption.
    Yes, we all know you can wear whatever, your street clothes while biking. When I am biking in the dark, in winter in the rain, I fantasize about well designed rain wear, not silly tafetta dresses and high heels.

    I would also like to see better bikes designed for short people and women.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Some things I would buy right away if they existed,

    1. a stock modern roadbike with 42-622 tyres.

    2. a modern high-end 8 speed Shimano group set.

    3. Something that would be even better than 1, a larger wheel size than 622 for road bikes.
    Short cyclists have 650B or 26" available. But there is no wheel size for tall cyclists. 622 is too small for large bikes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I saw a bike pictured somewhere that used large unicycle wheels - might work? Looked wild, as the frame was not all that large.

      Delete
    2. Why not try 27" then? I have a set of nice vintage wheels with 32mm x 27" gatorskins.

      Delete
    3. Coker Cycle Company - 36 inch wheels. That might do it!

      Delete
    4. Biggest 'standard' size wheel is 700A. Bead seat diameter is 642mm. I've seen old French and Italian roadsters with this size. Delong's book says the size existed also for British and Swedish bikes. No idea at all where one would now find a rim or a tire.

      36" unicycle wheels have recently been built into bikes. Black Sheep did one. They roll handily over huge obstacles. It's at the level of a stunt bike but the tires are good and the bikes completely rideable.

      Delete
    5. I'm not totally sure what you mean with 27". But I'm guessing 630. I have an old bike with 609 wheels that are called 27". I also have 622 size wheels that are called 27" or 28" depending on location. I have another old bike with 635 wheels that are also called 28". Inch sizes are quite confusing.
      Anyway, they're all too similar in size to make any real difference. I want something larger.

      The unicycle wheels you're thinking about are probably 36". I've seen bicycles equiped with those. But even I think that they are too large, and the tyre choices are very limited. Something smaller would be nice, perhaps 692? That would be the same step-up in size as from a 26" (559) mtb rim to a 28" (622) road rim.

      Delete
  28. You nailed all of my wishes but I'll probably never switch to 650b wheels as narrow tires for them are hard to find locally or on the road. At my age, fat tires are just too heavy. Toe overlap is sometimes a problem in tight areas of maneuverability but 700c wheels descent great and roll great. 650b tires are 2 inches smaller in diameter, making the space between tire and bike a bit awkward looking to me. Also, I prefer longer hoses on portable pumps.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Diamond Gusset makes jeans without seams in the crotch right here in the U.S.:

    http://www.gussetclothing.com/

    Diamond Gusset jeans are primarily designed for motorcylists, and do not have the spandex type material many cyclists appear unable to ride without. I wear mine doing errands on cooler to cold weekends. They are comfortable, albeit not as much as offerings by some of the cycle specific (and much more pricey) companies such as Swrve, Outlier and Nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  30. One thing to consider in your wished-for list of trends; I don't think you've come anywhere near properly exploring the design space for what might be useful.

    Really fat (2 inch and larger), slick tires of high quality (right now, I'm thinking Schwalbe), I do not see that on your list, and I don't recall seeing a lot of reviews of bikes built like that, intended to be used for either road-trail or transport. It requires a differently-built bicycle because of the frame clearances. You've tried a lot of 650B bikes, and some somewhat-fat tires; you need to do an honest whole-hog experiment and see what you think. They're great on unpaved roads, help insulate you from the worst effects of road hazards, hold their air seemingly forever. Rolling resistance appears to be lower, too.

    One problem here is that you might not have a riding style that would fully exploit their abilities.

    ReplyDelete
  31. To diverge from the pump discussion, how much interest is there in the crotch-gusseted pants? I see one or two comments about them.

    While I'm not a fan of conspicuous consumption, I am a fan of clothing that works both on and off a bike, requiring me to buy less clothing.

    Similar to what Heather said, I repurposed some secondhand men's wool suit trousers, made them capri length, and added adjustable width leg inserts and a crotch gusset with the extra fabric.

    Is there interest in this sort of handmade and/or repurposed (to keep costs and waste down) cycling clothing?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I agree with most of your post except for wheels and pumps: there used to be plenty of 700c frames that would accomodate 40mm+ tires and 35+s with fenders -- fat enough for most commuting. And there is no problem making 700c frames for even fatter tires as the Fargo shows. I can however see the value of smaller wheels for smaller riders.

    Pumps: I've used many, many different kinds of minipumps including Lezynes and Quickers and the Road Morph and have come firmly to the conclusion that none are nearly as good as the old model Zefal HpX or the Topeak Roadie frame pumps. The Road Morphs that I owned quickly developed leaks at the hose attachment. OTOH, perhaps the new Lezyne Micro Floor Drive is a better design -- tho' the web shows up negative scuttlebutt for this one, too. Perhaps someone can re-develop and commercialize the old "gonfleur" of days gone by?

    And finally: tire savers: http://tinyurl.com/9m9ngk2 Set them up so that they barely miss skimming the top of the tire. Out here in goathead country a flat every 10 miles is not unusual in the fall harvest season; tire savers seem to double the distance at least between flats. (Better to fix flats than to ride horrible tires; Rema patches come in boxes of 100 through your LBS.)

    Gears: we want hub gears and we want them now! Bring down the price of the best 8-to-11 speed hubs.

    Dynamos: The Shimanos are good buys at a little over $100 per hub; add a Cyo and that's another $100; plus the cost of the wheel. Still, what do you expect? If bikes are toys, toy prices; but if they are real transport, wel then. Even so, I just bought a Novara Fusion for a friend for an out-the-door price including sales tax of $800: Alfine 8 and dynamo hub, disks, fenders, rack, even bell integrated into the brake levers. Not my kid of bike at all, but still a good value for a commuter.

    Don't agree that five-sprocket cogsets always wear better than those with more cogs. The quality of the metal has much to do with wear. OTOH again, no one needs 10 cogs squeezed into a rear cassette. I agree that 7 or 8 is probably the best compromise between adequate gearing and simplicity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree that 700x32-35 is a workable norm for an ordinary road bike. Thing is, we're still coming off a 30-year hangover from the days when the marketing department gave us 700x18 tires and 76 degree angles and called it a sport bike.

      There are two generations who have not seen what you and I think of as an ordinary bike. For many "vintage" mostly conjures up the darkest days of Nottingham and St. Etienne and making those work is not worth the candle.

      Delete
  33. The SRAM WiFli drive train is not new (in bike years) it was introduced in 2010 for the 2011 product year.
    If Apex,Rival,Force 34/50x11-32 isn't low enough the SRAM.XX exact actuation rear deraileur (11-36) will work with the SRAM road levers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the first (entry level) editions came out as early as 2008

      Delete
  34. +1 on better and more widely available dynamo lighting. Much respect to Peter White, but it's utterly ridiculous that the only real source for bike lighting in the entire USA is one surly guy in rural New Hampshire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are options in dynamos out there. It's just that you get what you pay for - so you can't can't have light, low drag, high quality AND cheap. Europe will always be 1000x bigger market than the US for this stuff, and they seem perfectly happy with Sanyo and low-end Shimano stuff on bikes at every price point. Not every bike over there has a SON hub.
      The reason the entire US market is served by one guy in rural NH is because the entire US market CAN BE served by one guy in rural NH!

      Delete
  35. I wish there were more of a focus on parents commuting by bike with kids age two to six. In Japan many moms and dads ride "mamachari" bikes to drop kids off at school. Bridgestone Angelino Posh (with or without e-assist) is a fine example--it has many of the cool features of a European city bike (dynamo lights, ring lock, low step over) plus the interesting geometry that is great for riding with squirmy weight in front and rear. There's nothing like this bike in the US. It makes me wonder: What comes first? The right bike or the "biking culture"?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I've been using what I call the "Charleston" method for pumping a mini pump. That's holding the pump at both ends, squating slightly, placing your knees on the outside of your hands and using your legs to help squeeze the pump. It makes me think of the "Charleston" dance step. It really makes pumping easier.

    ReplyDelete
  37. As a male of the species I agree about the pumps. The compacts are to fiddle for me with having large hands and fingers so I've gone back to old style long frame tube with a detachable hose and keep it in my pannier. Not a solution for road bikes...unless you get tube mounts on your bike like they used to have, or one that locks into the frame. As for weight saving does it really make a difference when you work it out as a percentage of you and the bike?
    Second the hub gears above and V's cycle clothing and dynamo lights.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I agree with the overall sentiment: a mass-produced, fat-tired, dynamo lighting and fenders, low-geared all-arounder with commuting stuff standard (racks, reflective tires, etc) would be swell. At least to get more folks started out. The more you ride the more, the more (most of us) feel the need to individualize our rides. My bike (a Bianchi Castro Valley) is very close to my above description, though I have had to optimize the gearing and upgrade the light (yes, via Peter White, who's service was actually not surly at all, in my experience). But.... I often wish my bike was a tad racier. I guess I need two, huh?

    ReplyDelete
  39. I would also like to see more options for long distance/hilly transportation cycling. I faced this dilemma myself. I want a light frame and a more-upright-than-a-roadbike but not Pashley-bolt-upright position, with racks, fenders, internal gears (despite the wider range/increased efficiency, I have found derailleur gears just too fussy for every day, lock-it-to-a-tree, city-type use. I don't want to spend that much time tuning my bike.).

    I disagree, though, that it is always possible to avoid "sacrificing personal style" for transportation cycling. My current commute is 3 miles each way, with two hills (from my old home it was much longer), in a warm, sunny climate. Even at this short distance, I still have to commute wearing workout clothes and change when I get to work. I'm in decent shape, but even at a very leisurely pace I still sweat way too much to commute in work clothes, especially in our current summer heat. When I arrived at work this AM, I had soaked through my t-shirt and had sweat pouring off of my face, dripping all over me. I would destroy business suits in short order if I commuted in them, and I don't think I'm alone. This is why I think cycling infrastructure (changing rooms, showers) at work would go a long way toward increasing bicycle commuting.

    ReplyDelete
  40. You can get good Shimano dynamo hubs for around € 70 and a very nice 60 lux Philips or Busch + Müller light for € 65-75. Is this too expensive?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Have you checked out Betabrand's bike to work pants? Not sure if they're what you're looking for, but I love the men's ones I have and they now have women's.

    http://www.betabrand.com/bike-to-work/gray-womens-bike-to-work-pants.html

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'd love to see ladies bikes made for tall ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'd like to see a trend reversed....Please....Less expensive, less intimidating, an less specialized!!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Totally agree regarding the long distance commuter bike and lower cost dynamo gear.

    Double +1 regarding Peter White being the only source in North America.

    -- Rolly

    ReplyDelete
  45. I am intrigued by the idea that hybrid drivetrains don't work as well as dedicated purebred ones. Such hybrid drivetrains have been the norm on dedicated tourers for a very long time and, assuming you've set them up properly (as you should do with any drive train), they function perfectly.

    My tourers drivetrains are built around a mix of XT, Ultegra, TA, Phil Wood and Rohloff (chains) with either Transfil or Gore Ride-On cables and they work a treat and require next to no maintenance.

    I think the manufacturers are missing a trick, marketing-wise, by not producing dedicated low geared drivetrains for touring roadbikes, but I do not think cyclists have missed out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd be amazed how much mixing and matching you can get away with. My own road bike has a mix of 8,9 and 10 speed shimano and SRAM drivetrain parts. Works fine.

      Delete
  46. Ditch the fashion accessory/mini pump, and get a proper long stroke small diameter frame fit pump. Do you want to pump up tires, or look like a wanna-be racer with a mini pump stuck in the back pocket of your jersey?

    I cannot understand why crank and cog mfrs won't let us have 1-tooth increments on both. With a properly set up half step, you do not need 9 speed rears and triple cranks, for 27 theoretical gears of which about 12 are not duplicated. With half step, and components that would enable this, you get 12 usable non duplicated gears with a 7 speed rear cassette and a double crank, narrow "Q" between the cranks so you can spin rather than waddling down the road like Daffy Duck, and the hub flanges can be near centered for a durable rear wheel. But just try to find the components you need to create this setup!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can remember club rides with 100 bikes and every one of them had a full length pump. It was fashion and it happened to work. Now I go on rides where I have the only long pump and boy do they look my way fast when someone flats. And I have to inflate it for them because they'll break my 1974 pump with 1964 head, no one knows how it works anymore.

      Yes, 1964 Campy pump head. The rubber that goes over the valve is original. Has been in continuous service. That's why they don't sell them, it's a once a lifetime product. Minipumps clog drawers and closets and end in landfills. That makes money.

      The minis will work for lower pressure tires. Just takes time. The bike with the lower pressure tires probably has a bag that will hold the pump. The heavy low pressure tires won't flat much either. Put the nearest pump (they're everywhere) in the bottom of the bag and forget it.

      Delete
  47. One issue with full-length frame pumps for transportation cycling is that... well, they're full-length. They don't fit easily in a briefcase or bag. Many places I lock up, you can assume that anything easily removed from the bike will be stolen (yes, I've had pumps stolen, but oddly never my minitools). For recreational road riding, they're swell, but for commuting they are less practical, especially if it's a treasured and hard-to-replace antique.

    One other thing that I'd love to see as a commuter would be more large Carradice-type saddlebags, particularly ones that can be detached and carried on a shoulder strap like a small messenger bag like the Zimbale bags. Along with that either more readily available and less expensive quick-release brackets or plastic saddles with bag loops.

    This would allow for carrying a light commuting load on bikes without racks (or that one doesn't want to add a rack to) while avoiding the sweaty back engendered by a messenger bag on a August day. I'd ask for loops on plastic-shelled saddles because I don't like leaving even my moderately-priced Velo-Orange leather saddle exposed to weather and thieves all day.

    ReplyDelete
  48. "easy to use minipumps"

    They exist. They're called "frame-fit pumps".

    They're not terribly stylish for the velominati, modern ones typically weigh a bit too much (250g more or less) and can be difficult to fit to swoopy-shaped carbon-fiber bikes, but they work reliably and well, to full pressure, at relatively high speed and relatively low effort. Having come of age back when Silca pumps were common, and having gone through the learning curve required to use them well (they're quicker to pressure at the cost of higher effort and weigh 155g vs 250g, but are fragile, don't have a check valve, and will shatter if abused), I prefer them, but the Zefal HPx classic and Topeak Master Blaster are competent and inexpensive pumps. I slightly prefer the HPx classic. QBP sells them both to your LBS.

    "low gearing for road bikes"

    Shimano and Campagnolo both offer near-1:1 gearing with their road "racing" triples, compatible with their series derailleurs. Lower with a chainring swap. I personally don't love triples, but the solution is there.

    Well below 1:1, or assuming you want an in-series double chainset, you're basically looking at long-cage derailleurs designed for wide-range rear cassettes and big jumps between the rear cogs. Both of those things slow (indexed) shifting and reduce its precision, regardless of how the derailleur is finished, though the 9s Shimano derailleurs worked well and were cross-compatible through their entire range.

    Alternatively, non-series ultra-compact doubles (like the excellent but still thin-on-the-ground René Herse crank) are available, but not specified on big maker's machines (yet). They work well with series components, though super-compact rings don't blend well aesthetically with front derailleurs designed for much larger chainrings. This is my preferred solution for non-racing use. If enough folks opt out of stock cranks (and especially if one of the big bike sellers does so), a decade later the larger manufacturers will figure it out.

    I'd love to see an integrated sporting machine promoted as the "do it all" sporting machine, either in "audax" form (rear-loading machine with generator lights, fenders, and wider tires) or, ideally, "randonneur" (front-loading, integrated fenders, front rack, and generator lighting systems; wider tires) form, with relatively light frame specs (so not a loaded touring bike with a Bold New Graphics facelift). These almost exist (in 700C, anyway). It is a pity that the mass-market bikes that ride well (for sporting use by normal-sized people) are "racing" bikes with the limitations of that breed built-in. They don't have to be.

    A big manufacturer can actually do integration-by-design with less overhead than a small builder (witness the old Raleighs), but I'm not holding my breath. Product managers who buck pretty narrow industry norms are 1. rare and 2. not long for the industry. It is tough to sell a bike that the typical shop employee can't easily identify, which means that product manager's bikes don't sell without lots of education. Also, an integrated bike costs more (before "accessories", anyway), than a stripped-naked bicycle with the same level of components. They're harder to assemble well, and the design is more tightly specified. It would require a pretty big groundswell from the consumer side to get this to fly.

    Best,

    Will

    ReplyDelete
  49. In addition to good quality lighting, one should add desing for night use; ie. a dashboard illuminated (fibre-optic from dynamo) to show time, speed etc at night.

    And most importantly, focus on bike security. There are many options for immobilising bikes, making them traceable, that never feature on new machines.

    ReplyDelete
  50. My dry commuter is a hybrid with full ultegra and XT hydros that weighs about 20 lbs with SKS fenders and pedals. I have absolutely no problem riding this bike for long distances. In fact, its more comfortable than my road bike (which I ride for long distances more often). Its patently ridiculous to claim that all hybrids are uncomfortable or ergonomically inferior. I suspect that V and that clever cycles dude here have not ridden many $1000+ hybrids. I can assure you that if you buy and properly adjust (e.g. stem, post, saddle, bars) a high end hybrid can be just as comfortable as any retro-grouch steel bike.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Regarding trousers?

    Check this site out: http://www.betabrand.com/bike-to-work.html

    Already done :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually those do not have a gusset as far as I know. Will soon find out, as they've asked me to review a pair.

      Delete