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vision zero article in washington post is interesting
Thanks! Vision Zero podcast coming up next week with Leah Shahum from the NY Symposium.
Feels like we are on the cusp of a seed change in cycling. Getting so I can’t support my bikes. Parts are disappearing. Rim brake rims, 5 arm cranks and chainrings, triple cranksets, rim brake hubs, 10s parts let alone 9s, 8s etc., Non-tubless tires, Non-disc forks, etc etc. The marketers say “you must buy road bike discs” and the sheep march to the tune. Solutions without problems.
Then on the horizon are eBikes which threaten to complete eliminate non-electric bicycles. On a recent tour from Munich to Verona Italy over 50% of the bikes on the trails were eBikes. Visited familiar high-end road bike shop and it was so different. Owner said high-road bikes were now a niche and he made his living selling eBikes 80%. Volume sales drive everything in the mass production world.
Will take longer in the US because no one commutes but as volume brings prices now manufacturers are going to be pushing the ebike. More consumables for the seller in the form of batteries and bikes that don’t have to be sold on performance basis. Lightness or fineness of components is unimportant.
I can see a time soon when our world is gone.
You might also find a good interview with Lloyd Alter of treehugger.com on his point of view of bikes of a green transportation society.
Thank you for writing!
I know we are on the receding edge of what we all knew as “road bikes” – but, the niches that are the Handmade Show or the Builder’s Ball or even French Fender Days still keep me engaged.
What goes around comes around and, even though E-Bikes will be a huge part of the story, they will never “replace” bicycles. More people riding will, hopefully, make the roads safer though.
It remains to be seen – and, I will still hold out hope that some diligent parents will “teach their children well.”
There are many of us still riding, and even building, 9 and 10 speed bikes as if they’re brand new.
Some newer stuff is legitimately superior. For myself, and most of my customer base, the benefits of discs may never overcome the drawbacks, and it is indeed discouraging to see the non-disc choices diminishing, especially with the marketing clout of the major parts manufacturers. Options, mostly aftermarket, do remain however, and may never disappear entirely.
11-speed finally made triples obsolete. It took several generations, but the operation, reliability, crispness, light-weight, gear-range, performance, and (debate-ably) even appearance have indeed surpassed what triples had to offer. This is one of those rare instances when I say, “Just do it. It is better, and it is worth it.”
(I have exquisite 5-speed, 7-speed, 9-speed, and 10-speed bikes, and they’re perfect as they are – all with top-end components – so I’ll not be changing any them, but my 11-speed is far superior to all of them.)
There are still several great choices for rim-brake rims, including Velocity, DT-Swiss, HED, Velo-Orange, H+Son, Alex, etc. For classic cranks, we have Phil Wood, White Industries, Stronglight, SpecialtiesTA, Sugino, IRD, and Rene Herse (3-arm).
I too am heartbroken by the loss of non-disc hub choices, especially the recent elimination of Ultegra and Dura-Ace.
As for eBikes… I’m hesitant to disagree that they’ll make pure-pedal bikes a niche, but E-assist bikes are in their infancy of development, and have a long way to go before we can lament the elimination of pure-pedal bikes. It’s hard to argue that more people on bikes, of any type, is a negative thing.
Today we spend large percentages of our income on smartphones, tablets, and computing technology, because 1.) they magically deteriorate every couple years, 2.) it’s easy to lump the payments into the data plan so it feels like they’re free, and 3.) in many cases it’s challenging to “keep up” in today’s society with anything less. Only a couple decades ago we spent in one year, on a landline, less than many spend in a month now for mobile access. This is far more than inflation, and it’s insane.
Only a couple decades ago $500 bought you a great bike you intended to enjoy for… Well, perhaps forever, and $2000 bought you an exquisite handmade machine that really would last a lifetime. Now it’s “normal” to NEED a new $6000+ foreign-made disposable carbon marvel every 2-3 years. I’ve made my living building and selling expensive custom bicycles but, much like the smartphone craze, this is not inflation, and it’s insane.
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