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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:25 am 
retrobike rider
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This all begs the question, where do cycling innovations come from?

Is it from mainstream cyclists? Yes, manufacturers listening to the views of their customers can result the improvement of a product, but is unlikely to result in any radical innovation. The bicycle is a well developed 'mature product' and so is it is extremely difficult to reinvent. It can be and has been done, but it needs a rare combination of technical know-how and creativity. Pedersen, Moulton, Andrew Ritchie as well as many other less successful but equally far-seeing individuals have done this, but are mostly from outside of the mainstream cycling industry.

Do major innovations pour from the big, usually insular and inward looking mainstream manufacturers? Well not often but do sometimes when manufacturers collaborate with outside innovators. Like Mike Burrows working with Giant or Shimano and Suntour working with the Marin Pioneers. Of course manufacturers do constantly introduce new designs, technologies and materials, but this is often used as of a marketing technique than a source of real and radical innovation.

Most big cycle and cycle component manufacturers in Britain went out of business or moved abroad years ago, with their failure to innovate being one of the main reasons for failure.

Small innovative companies?
Over the years I have been a customer of several small and highly innovative cycling companies who have the ideas but not the ability to market their products widely. Some of their ideas like twist grip gear changers, micro-drive derailleur drive-chains, elliptical chain-rings, 650b/700c rim sizes etc eventually became mainstream products years or decades later.

For the 'Next Big Thing' in cycling to be more than just the usual re-issuing of old ideas then the big manufacturers will need to work with the enthusiastic innovators of the cycling world.
Designers and inventors would of course expect be reimbursed for their inventive ideas and development time, whilst manufacturers will try to use the ideas for free. They even buy up patents they never intend to use, so that they can stop other manufacturers from producing products derived from them.
The bottom line is that it is profit that that drives the cycling industry, not innovation.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:37 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:10 pm
Posts: 55
Location: england
I would love it if stainless steel tubing like Reynolds 953 or KVA MS2 became super popular - and therefore cheaper.

The ride qualities of steel, but very lightweight, and without the rusting worries etc.

At the moment it's very expensive, and apparently difficult to work with.
So it's wishful thinking, but I would love it to become cheaper and more commonplace.

I notice Genesis have added a couple of stainless steel road bikes to their range this year - too expensive for me, but very nice indeed.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:48 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: ManchestOr
After a mega brief google search it seems that motorcycles do or have had ABS braking. Interesting, what about motocross? We've all skidded off or not been truly ready for that steep slippy slope and landed on our ass, would ABS help with this. Course ABS was invented for braking keeping traction in corners, and I had that very emergency to try it on the one only ABS equipped car I had. Shocking.
anyway so bikes in general are still very simple. A bit of suspension, Inny or outy gears, hydro brakes, none of its really the Jetsons or Back to the Future though is it? Compared to computing, or cars or medicine or other things.
But TBH I love that my bikes are simple. It's my little escape from an over complicated unfixable world.

What would I like to see? I dunno. I'm still catching up. I'd love to try different wheels, and different frame materials, and even 2 suspensions on one bike! I've spent the last 10 years just working out what kind of mountain biking I want to be doing and what tool is best! Almost there, scratched the surface, leaving me with geared and SS 26" and 24" steel frames mostly, not so diverse, more like subtly different.
I'm curious about the varieties. Fat bikes, 29ers, full suss, slope style, fixie pure, etc etc, not enough space or money!

I like the re terming of ATB, takes me back to my Ralegh Mustang as a youth tried everything on it, All Terrains. Maybe the antidote to all these niches is the cool reinvention of the doing All Terrain Bicycle??
That's pretty much what happened with fixed gear and vintage bike scenes.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:49 pm 
retrobike rider
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To quote from Albert Einstein:
'You can't solve problems with the same thinking that created them.'

And as the big bike and component companies designed the bikes that we ride, they are highly unlikely to recognise the problems inherent in their designs. This would require an entirely fresh approach based on first principles.

For instance, instead of copying suspension and hydraulic braking systems from motorbikes, they would need to create systems based on how the laws of physics relate specifically to bicycles.

What is the point of hydraulic disk brakes that lock the front wheel then the lever is only moved a few millimeters?

And what is the point of then fitting larger diameter disks to make the brakes even more powerful and likely to send you over the handlebars?

Back in the 1980s, we used powerful and reliable hub brakes. Because the braking power was consistent and not effected by mud, water or ice on the rims we loosened the brakes off so that they would not lock the wheel until the brake levers touched the handlebars. The result was highly progressive braking that began as soon as the lever was moved and the power then gradually increased across the three inches of lever travel before it eventually locked out the wheel. Then, just ease off a few mm and the wheel would start rolling again, maintaining control of the bike. This was effectively anti-lock braking in everything but name. But you will not get this from taking hydraulic brakes intended to stop a motorcycle and putting them on a bicycle. It needs to be deliberately engineered from first principles where too much braking power is a dangerous problem. Not a solution.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:42 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8202
Location: New Forest, UK
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
And what is the point of then fitting larger diameter disks to make the brakes even more powerful and likely to send you over the handlebars?


I'll tell you: ride a loaded touring tandem with a trailer. You need the extra metal to soak up the heat.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:33 pm 
retrobike rider
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hamster wrote:
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
And what is the point of then fitting larger diameter disks to make the brakes even more powerful and likely to send you over the handlebars?


I'll tell you: ride a loaded touring tandem with a trailer. You need the extra metal to soak up the heat.


True, but increasing the diameter of the disk also increases the leverage working against the rotation of the wheel and so increases the chance of lockout when unladen. A better solution would be to use vented disks of a smaller diameter. These are effectively two side by side disks joined together. They have vent holes to help the heat escape from inside the gap.

My 1983 Cleland Aventura shown below has hollow brake drums that allow the heat to escape through the entire hub. A system that works well when towing a heavily laden trailer.


Attachments:
1983 Cleland with off-road Tag-along.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:30 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:52 pm
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Location: Trancecentral
Graphene, frames so light all you feel are the tyres on the griund.
Carbon nano tubes, spokes as thin as a hair.
Plasma, head badges generating plasma to cut through the wind and let us cycles without resistance.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:10 pm 
retrobike rider
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Certainly not carbon fibre frames for the larger man!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:13 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:15 pm
Posts: 523
Bio-Pace elliptical wheels, combining the best of 26" and 29" in one wheel, hey they've reinvented everything else why not reinvent the wheel?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:21 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8202
Location: New Forest, UK
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
hamster wrote:
GrahamJohnWallace wrote:
And what is the point of then fitting larger diameter disks to make the brakes even more powerful and likely to send you over the handlebars?


I'll tell you: ride a loaded touring tandem with a trailer. You need the extra metal to soak up the heat.


True, but increasing the diameter of the disk also increases the leverage working against the rotation of the wheel and so increases the chance of lockout when unladen. A better solution would be to use vented disks of a smaller diameter. These are effectively two side by side disks joined together. They have vent holes to help the heat escape from inside the gap.

My 1983 Cleland Aventura shown below has hollow brake drums that allow the heat to escape through the entire hub. A system that works well when towing a heavily laden trailer.


I agree that what matters most is mass of metal - however drums do have the disadvantage that they expand on heating - not great for improving braking with heat. I don't know how badly they fade on the front, but of course the Arai rear drum is a tandem classic. I'd love to see a comparison of wear between drums and disc pads - tandems absolutely eat disc pads. I've come across a Cannondale tandem that ate a brand new set before the end of the Exmoor Beast, with unpleasant consequences.


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