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Rides & Events - When will it end?

Yuppiepuppie - Feb 03, 2018 - 04:48 AM
Post subject: When will it end?
I purchased my first derailleur bike from Sears in 1967. It was my primary transportation while an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. At the time, it was Sears' best and most advanced model, and had five gears in the back cluster (-one in the front), and was all aluminum including the fenders, to make it "light as a feather"! It was the peak of perfection, and light years ahead of the three-speed "English" bike that I used in high school. I was amazed at the advances in technology. "FIVE gears!" I marveled, and with this crazy derailleur mechanism that bumped the chain from gear to gear.

I still have the bike, mounted to a trainer in the back corner of my bicycle room. Now it's a dinosaur. -It's now 51 years old, and heavier and slower than its stable mates (-just like me!). What was advanced then, is now about exciting as a Pickett $ Eckel slide rule with the yellow easy-on-the-eyes display (-I still have one of those too!).

Now for the question. When is too much enough? When I bought the Sears bike, the five gears were an amazing advantage, and I once won a five-dollar bet on a race from the U of Md campus to the D.C line in rush-hour traffic (-seven miles, and the other guy was in his car!). My current bikes are 10-speeds (-times the double and triple in front). They're also made out of exotic materials that make them lighter than a popcorn fart. But even these bikes are being surpassed by 11-speed, and soon, 12 speeds!

How many gears do we need to increase performance? When will we reach the ultimate point where more gears will actually slow us down? We DO have physical, finite human limits, where the mechanical advantage of a bicycle cannot be increased. What else can technology accomplish?

-Of course I wondered the same thing, fifty one years ago...
forrest - Feb 03, 2018 - 05:45 AM
Post subject: RE: When will it end?
Anything more than 9 speeds is excessive. It's just a marketing ploy.
cdy291 - Feb 03, 2018 - 11:21 PM
Post subject:
10 and 11 is pretty nice. You can get a bigger spread like 11-28 without having massive jumps between gears. once you start going past 12 it will start taking to long to shift up and down the cassette. What really is going on though is they are trying to get rid of the front derailure, you'll have a 50 in the front with a 14 speed 11-38 in the back.
webgeek - Feb 04, 2018 - 02:25 AM
Post subject:
cdy291 wrote:
What really is going on though is they are trying to get rid of the front derailure, you'll have a 50 in the front with a 14 speed 11-38 in the back.

I've watched some of the chatter on this.
Many of the early adopters ended up right back where they started.
Think it's just marketing to get a cheaper bike in the showroom.
But to ride a bike path, cut cost, it might be the way to go.
Maybe one lever braking will be next?
Or maybe none of the above...
https://www.striderbikes.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/800x550/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/r/green-classic-boy.jpg

Sitting here looking at my re-purposed Basso Pain Cave bike... it has an old 9-speed triple and i use every gear.
I make no tweak to the Zwift power setting, so Zwift makes a best effort to match speed and load on my Kickr.
After spending ~30 minutes climbing Kulavanu, the Epic KOM on Watopia, they dump you on the radio tower climb with grades in the teens.
I just drop to the triple granny and find a tolerable spin/power level for that punishing section.
Granted, it's probably an 11-25 cassette but a good spread for a 9 speed setup. The mix allowed me to re-purpose all that old, last generation gear and a frame with a head tube crack.
cdy291 - Feb 04, 2018 - 04:50 AM
Post subject:
With 11 speed I find my self shifting 2 gears at a time to get where I want to be. With 9 and 10 speed I never did that.
Jiml - Feb 04, 2018 - 09:31 PM
Post subject:
For what it is worth, front derailleurs have gone the way of the dinosaur on Mountain Bikes. Getting rid of the FD opens all kinds of opportunities for designers with respect to chain stay length.
Yuppiepuppie - Feb 05, 2018 - 05:58 AM
Post subject:
The only "cool" invention that I can think of would be an automatic transmission for bicycles. -Something that would know, then shift to the appropriate gear for what you were doing at the moment. If you suddenly increased your wattage input, it would know that you wanted to pass someone, so it would downshift to give you the extra mechanical spin advantage. -A bike that would balance everything and react accordingly, without the need to tinker with gear combinations. Of course, it would never drop a chain.

-Just a thought...
TimH - Feb 05, 2018 - 03:55 PM
Post subject:
Those who pine for a simpler time or lament current bicycle technology might want to look at some of the elegant and sporty steel single speed road bikes available nowadays.

The Wabi Road Pro is a perfect example of classic style built with modern technology and geometry.

https://wabicycles.com/products/2018-wabi-road-pro


-Tim-
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