Bikes are the coolest invention in the universe

The recent thread about Ometa span off into a discussion about the cycling technology that happy mutants lust after, so how about it? Which examples of the most fuel efficient mode of transport ever created make wearing lycra embarrassing for you*?

Much as I love all manner of cycling tech, I’m all about the tubing and the recent breakthroughs in stainless make bikes that can have a wonderful aesthetic, reminiscent of planes of the early jet era. This example from English Cycles is notable because it’s the first fillet - brazed stainless bike I’ve seen - usually they’re TiG welded. But with advanced in the silver brazing alloys, it is now possible to build fillets in silver - but only at low temperatures, which is difficult but also helps prevent distortion.

I’m not keen on the emaciated seatstays, but overall an incredible example of what can be done at the cutting edge of traditional framebuilding.

Another cool bit of kit is this Kickstarter project, [Lumineer] ( - solving the problem of where to put your lights in an increasingly cluttered cockpit (or allowing a minimalist approach), by building them into an otherwise pretty conventional-looking stem. They seem very well designed and it’s an elegant solution - if they do a version for hub dynamo (or generator for the USians) then I’d be all over this.

*On first read, this imagery might seem androcentric, but I invite the reader to consider the likely result of female arousal in a speedsuit.


This is an interesting post though I’m interested in public domain bicycling tech, esp. recipes for fabrication and joining of the tubed metal, rims and drive assembly.


Bicycles of the world, join the velocipede revolution - you have nothing to lose but your chains!


What, no propeller?


(Although what I’m really looking for is a bike that doesn’t make wearing lycra embarrassing).


Bikes have been too race bred, I think… Gorgeous slim frames and light weight parts are great when every second counts.

They suck when you wanna ride in the rain regularly. Or to the grocery store. Or with people. Or want to look up.

I like bomb proof.

With race bikes as the iconic image of a bike, we end up making practical sacrifices for fashion.

Chain guards are an example … Bikes lose a ton of power due to chain inefficiency. They get dirty… they go from being about 95% efficient to being 80% efficient. That’s a huge difference. Sealing the whole system would keep it working at peak efficiency. But chain guards are dorky.

Pedals. Damn. Those things continue to annoy me. The power gained from clipless shoes and pedals is enormous… Up to 30% more power from pedaling and being able to pull back and up. But clipless shoes are expensive and finnicky, and suck as shoes for walking.

Instead bikes focus more time and expense on lightweight components. Shaving grams off parts. Using carbon fiber and other exotic materials as prices go up.

If we actually focused on drive train and pedaling efficiencies… We’d find ourselves in the bizarre world of heavier bikes being faster, more comfortable, and far more reliable and practical, for almost everyone concerned… except the super teeny demographic of people competitively racing bicycles.


Kickstands too - people don’t seem to have them where I was in the UK, but they’re really useful and should really be on any non-racing bike, IMO. I also think bikes shouldn’t be so rigid about the shape - while the normal shape is probably going to be the cheapest option, many others are more efficient or allow you to carry more cargo. At the very least, the top tube isn’t necessary for a lot of city riding. Hub gears will also prevent a lot of problems from dirt.

The post office uses bikes like these - there are lockable cabinets around the neighbourhood for them to refill their bike with post, so they’re not limited to one load per trip:


I just want to lie down.


Then there is a kind of inbetween

This bike though it looks like racing touring bike it isn’t really. It’s a tank. Not too heavy and solid enough to take the abuse of riding in a city without blinking I have one that needs some fixing up, like new tires, tube, naval jelly work, checkover in general as it’s been sitting about for quite awhile so lots of new bits but the frame and gearing still look and work fine.

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Shaq actually gets custom bikes. Cannondale made this abomination for him in the 90s just for the photo op, no doubt:

but now a sensible person has made a bike framed around 36" wheels for him, and it actually fits him


Aside from price; carbon fiber’s failure modes are…not something you want to be sitting on(effectively, the stuff exists in two states of matter: ‘solid’ and ‘vicious cloud of flechettes’, with phase transitions being effectively instantaneous); especially since the difference between ‘heroically strong carbon fiber’ and ‘low bidder carbon fiber’ is pretty subtle visually; but exactly the sort of care, attention, process relaibility, and careful inspection that get tossed right out the window first when competing on price).

Metals have their own exciting ways of failing; but welding atrociously shoddy enough to keep steel from being able to support a human is often visible; and vaguely adequate work is much more mature than good carbon fiber fabrication is.


I’ve been thinking we’ve needed a bike thread for a while. post your sleds, y’all.

here’s how she came to me – fully stock, rust around the lugs, straight off of Craigslist:

Miyata triple-butted cr-mo: the realest of Japanese steel, and in my size!

most recently:

Still about half stock: frameset, wheels (different freewheel), crank, FD, stem, shift levers all original. no real tech to comment on, but the front rack, a Surly Nice, has the highest load rating available @ 70lbs. I’ll refrain from rambling about the many upgrades and add-ons but I’m happy to field any specific questions.

I also have an 1989-ish aluminum Trek 1400 that I’ve been neglecting but served me extremely well for years.

it’s so beautiful, it’s a shame the seatpost they chose looks like a lump of extruded shit 0_o

I really dig that headlamp idea. having to upgrade the whole stem seems a lot to ask, though. we need that placement as an option on all models, imo.


Lugged frames. High flange hubs. Never low spoke count wheels. * Phil Wood. Chris King.

* Okay, maybe 24 or less if you’re doing a time trial or track racing, but that’s a whole other matter



I love the low rider shopping baskets. Performance and utility.

Agreed on the light although the stem they offer is a 6-degree one so pretty standard. I guess the problem with offering it as an aftermarket add-on is that it would depend upon bolt placement being standard.

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OMG, that looks awesome. I want one!

Edit: $5,150. Perhaps not.


I love 80’s bike boom frames.

I’ve got an 82’ Bridgestone 700. It’s a Centurion bike. It’s made for these crazy bike races in tight packs around corners.

They’re still great frames!

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Isn’t this off topic?


The wheels totally make the bike go from neat to really cool.
edit this should really be a reply to @grimloki and while not technically a BIke, it is human powered and based on the same technologies.