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 Post subject: Is it just me, or...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:17 pm 
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Do many, many modern bikes all look the same..?

I know there's a fair amount all produced in exactly the same Taiwanese factories, but even so, have we reached such a point in bike design that they all follow much the same geometries, tubing & features?

I keep seeing brand new Specialized's - and I think they are boring and homogenous, I see Cannondales that look like Spesh's, Focus/Cubes that look like either, and they all look f'ing boring!

I know that perhaps some of the more 'interesting' designs are outdated and obsolete these days, but I remember disctinctly you could always tell a Saracen HT from it's top-tube, likewise a GT or a Haro or a Schwinn.
Trek Y's and Specialized FSR's looked amazing (I SO hanker after a good lightweight box-section full-suspension frame!!), as did Cannondale's V's, and even Sunn's square-all-over tubing, and you could always spot a Klein Mantra or HT from a mile off.

So, what went wrong? And is there any reason why some of the more 'niche' manufacturers couldn't create something more interesting in an HT, or even the front triangle of a full-sus (even despite suspension designs being fairly limited in scope by practicality nowadays..)

I'd love someone to develop a non-URT Mantra-style design for example, or a new S-works box-section FSR XC!! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Hmmm, not so sure. Hard tails have always looked like hard tails, if anything modern ones are more interesting due to the technology available.

One thing that has changed is that people want to be able to drop their posts, but designs like the FSR's wouldn't let you do that which is why I never bought them. There is also a lot more design licensing which limits design further.

If I'm honest, some of those bikes you listed looked cool but were rubbish, hence they died. URT was possibly one of the worst things ever designed.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:26 pm 
retrobike rider
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Anyone can make an interesting HT, the question is will it work , there's a reason we don't have E stays and the like nowadays, they didn't work that well, the simple diamond shape of a retro or modern HT is the most effective and efficient design so other than tube profiles and bends that's why they all look the same, if you look closely you'll notice a lot of small differences but basically the design hasn't changed for donkey's.
My 2009 Spesh is similar to my 95 E3 which is even more like my 91 MF.
I therefore have to disagree with you sir.
Matthew :D


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Yeah, I'm not talking about obsolete design features per se, but just that a lot of the paintwork, decals, frame designs, finishing (tube ends, chamfering, dropouts, no badges, even tube profiles and shaping are very much the same), I mean they are just dull... There's very little nowadays that makes one say 'wow, I want!!' aside from price & finishing kit..
Yes, you can still spot a GT from a distance, but for me there's very little in modern HT design that actually gets you interested in the bike as more than just a functional piece of hardware..
Most of the big 'brands' seem to have also gone out of their way to make their full-sus bikes as similar and as bland and anodyne as possible. Specialized & Cannondale I find are particular culprits on that one. Maybe it's middle-aged bike companies still catering to their original owners who are now middle-aged and the bike has to fit with their grey Audi and grey suit..? Who knows..


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:55 pm 
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I still disagree. The modern Intense Tazer is gorgeous and probably better looking that the original. The Santa Cruz Chameleon is better looking than the original.

I actually think there is more effort going into decals etc. The colour coding done by the likes of Trek and Mondraker look great. I don't think Specialized have ever been than interesting - they are a mass produced, mass market bike that generally happen to ride very well. Cannondale have always been pretty conservative in terms of decals etc. Some of their new bikes a quite interesting I think in terms of what they have done with linkages and two shocks etc.

Tube profiles have gone a bit mad, but that's only because everyone has gone mad for hydroforming. I think we are in a period of evolution having realised that the old splatter paint jobs are rank and that the mad designs of the late 90's were just rubbish. If anything bikes are more interesting as we are moving away from the stealth black look that was popular around 05, even out of the factory.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Evolution dictates that differences between bicycles (with the same purpose) will become smaller as designs that work are adopted by everyone and those that don't are shelved.

If every bike these days looks the same, its because we're getting damned close to the perfect design (given our current technology.)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:31 pm 
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Stealth black is still around, it's just not that common anymore.

As for e-stays, IMO there's nothing wrong with the principle, but none of the manufacturers ever got it right.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:48 pm 
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Russell wrote:
Evolution dictates that differences between bicycles (with the same purpose) will become smaller as designs that work are adopted by everyone and those that don't are shelved.

If every bike these days looks the same, its because we're getting damned close to the perfect design (given our current technology.)


The fact that the geometry remains pretty similar over the last ten years suggests it is the limitation of materials and the constraints of commercial concerns that is now the driving force for change.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:43 am 
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Genesis, Whyte, Ragley, Pinnacle. cotic.. even On-one are all modern hardtail designers with what I consider genuinely interesting designs.

Full suspension can look similar but there's always some ugly and nice bikes around, always has been. I think Santa Cruz for example are still chucking out some of the best looking full suspension frames around that look even better than the hecklers if yesteryear.

I agree to an extent, and certainly some paint and decal work is terrible, but there are good looking bikes around.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:58 am 
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I still think Spesh make some great looking bikes...the Demo for example has got better looking over the years and it looks like a lot of thought has gone into it. Some of the new Treks look good too. Santa Cruz have always made dood looking bikes.

My big gripe about that the 2013 range is that most of them are 29ers, which despite being hailed as the second coming I have only seen two or three actually being ridden.


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