Bike blog thread


#16861

I’ve always thought of race bikes being purpose-built machines. They’re usually not following on-trend aesthetics for technical reasons.

I think it’s inevitable that we get shit like #slamthatstem or BFSSFG where the public mimics the form, regardless of the function.


#16862

So how much of the gravel bike phenomenon is due to stuff percolating up from BQ-reading nerds? Or is that not really the origin.


#16863

If I had to guess, I’d say not much. Jan’s universe is different than the one which spawned midwest gravel originators.


#16864

about 0, seeing as most of the gravel cross checks are not at all like the BQ fart sniffer bikes. Pretty much all they have in common are fat tires, since the PNW style adventuremobile has definitely moved well past BQ retro fetishism into smaller wheeled cross checks with different geometry from the flyover style slack groaders.


#16865

a lot of the gravel people i see in my neck of the woods are either:

dirtbags like me

post-cat3 roadies turned gravel on $8k wonderbikes who are just as insufferable as they always were, but now they’re “grinding gravel”.


#16866

[quote=yonderboy]
I’ve always thought of race bikes being purpose-built machines. [/quote]

Exactly. And how many of them have boner stems with 4cm spacers under the typical mamil? They have to shoehorn themselves onto a race bike instead of buying a road bike. That’s how I differentiate the two.


#16867

Agree with the near-zero estimate here. Jan will always try to subtly take credit for anything he ever touched, but this was gestating since BQ was still Vintage Bicycle Quarterly.

But the point is that almost none are being used for “gravel” and the marketing is even starting to shy away from it. It’s just the fat-tired road bike with disc brakes that nerds like us have been either building ourselves or complaining that bike companies didn’t build for us.


#16868

FWIW, I started riding “gravel bikes” in the late 80s. The first iterations were steeper-angled MTBs with drop bars and skinnier tires. Eventually moved to wider 700C wheels and road-inspired frames similar to what Bruce Gordon was doing.


#16869

The Cycling Tips podcast interview Heine gave in conjunction with someone from Zipp (?) about wider tires was pretty demonstrative of his understanding of his influence of industry trends.


#16870

Everyone here has as much shit to talk on Grant Peterson as they do on Bruce Gordon but to be fair Bruce actually made these types of bikes 30 fucking years ago. It’s kinda crazy. Had he not been such a cantankerous asshole he would have had us all on ‘gravel’ bikes before the turn of the century.


#16871

Don’t forget Charlie Cunningham


#16872

Everyone here has as much shit to talk on Grant Peterson as they do on Bruce Gordon but to be fair Bruce actually made these types of bikes 30 fucking years ago. It’s kinda crazy. Had he not been such a cantankerous asshole he would have had us all on ‘gravel’ bikes before the turn of the century.[/quote]

Yeah, BG was a huge influence for me. I would have bought one of his RnR framesets back in the day, but he was such a dick that I had someone else build me a frame/fork.


#16873

It’s all Bruce’s fault?

Bianchi Volpe - 1986, followed by the Axis and Project-Xs
Miyata Triple Cross
Diamond Back Overdrive
GT Tarckyon

Mountain Bike Action had an article around '90 about “metisse” bikes, basically cross bikes for exploring LA fire roads.

Bicycle Guide reviewed the Rock 'n Road around the same time, and even with the stock Hakka snow tires with studs (which have to be a kilo each) they said it was “the best climbing mountain bike we’ve ever ridden”.

Nobody gave a shit, they all wanted to be Greg/Lance or Tomac.


#16874

[quote=drwelby]
Nobody gave a shit, they all wanted to be Greg/Lance or Tomac.[/quote]

Yup, no clear pro sport narrative attached to a style of bike, hard to get traction with consumers. Until, of course, Lance Armstrong basically broke a solid 30 year buildup of bike marketing practice. I read something I can’t now find about how the Festina affair had a similar effect on Euro bike consumers- once you disenchant people about how a real fancy bike is what makes the pros win (and not horse meth or whatever Festina was mainlining), it’s hard to keep the amateur racers sold on the added value of a super high end bike.


#16875

No, we can have bikes like this now because disc brakes provide adequate stopping power, where previously every other option involved some kind of compromise on the one thing customers care most about.


#16876

I think it is funny how rim brakes have suddenly become unacceptably bad. I was listening to a cyclingtips podcast and they made riding with rim brakes sound positively dangerous.

I have never once been in a situation with carbon rims and rim brakes where I was like golly I wish I had more braking power. Actually I take that back, the only time discs would be really nice is on one steep, very potholed and dangerous gravel descent I take frequently, and just because they’re an easier squeeze.

Not saying that I dislike disc brakes or anything, nor am I deliberately going to go out of my way to avoid them on my personal bikes, just that they are no more necessary for your average rider riding around at 18 mph than a top-end fancy race bike.


#16877

[quote=Recumbentist]I think it is funny how rim brakes have suddenly become unacceptably bad. I was listening to a cyclingtips podcast and they made riding with rim brakes sound positively dangerous.

I have never once been in a situation with carbon rims and rim brakes where I was like golly I wish I had more braking power. Actually I take that back, the only time discs would be really nice is on one steep, very potholed and dangerous gravel descent I take frequently, and just because they’re an easier squeeze.

Not saying that I dislike disc brakes or anything, nor am I deliberately going to go out of my way to avoid them on my personal bikes, just that they are no more necessary for your average rider riding around at 18 mph than a top-end fancy race bike.[/quote]
Yup to all of this…
The only time rim brakes ever scared me where it wasn’t my own fault somehow (super dirty pads/rims, or lazy/bad setup of cantis) was the first time I rode a Schwinn Varsity with its steel rims down a steep hill in the rain.


#16878

My feeling has been that on wider tire bikes, poorly set-up cantilever brakes <<<<<< disc brakes. But, I set my LHT up with V-brakes and have been perfectly happy with the braking performance there and haven’t been in a hurry to switch to discs.


#16879

I figure if I can make it endo it’s good enough, and I can make all my bikes endo, disc or not.


#16880

I currently ride the same routes on a bike with shimano road hydro disc brakes and another bike with 6800 rim brakes. they both work fine. for road bikes, consistent performance regardless of weather and non-trashed rims are probably a bigger deal than absolute stopping power (unless you really hate everyone in your paceline).

On the other hand, if we’d jumped from spoon brakes to hub disc brakes and someone came along and suggested rim caliper brakes, they’d get laughed out of the room. “sure, Einstein, we’ll just dramatically heat up and abrade the thing that holds the tire on every time we want to slow down”