Bikes are the coolest invention in the universe


I bought my current bike at a hipster bike store (the only kind around my college hipster neighborhood) and had to push really hard to get a bike that (a) wasn’t a fixed-gear and (b) had a kickstand. As a guy who just rides on bike trails and city streets to go to the store or have a casual bike ride, I’m baffled as to why kickstands would be looked down on or something that has to be added aftermarket on nearly every bike these days. And I’m just as baffled by fixies. Why is coasting on a bike looked down on?



I agree to a point. I think that the way that high level sport cycling informs the bikes available to the public is pretty daft: it’s as if 50% of cars bought by men were F1 cars or a cheaper, slower version of the same style. There is a trade off though and plenty of examples of a ‘race’ affectation being better for more mundane uses. For example, an upright riding position such as required by your roadster in the first picture would create so much wind resistance that the average healthy male could sustain 20mph for about a minute. Change nothing but the position to a more bent over one, and you quickly reach a point where 20mph can be sustained indefinitely. So for commuting a ‘sport’ posture has obvious advantages.

I agree with you on chain guards and chain efficiency is a really interesting subject. Well adjusted chain transmission is extremely efficient but efficiency rapidly drops off as cleanliness, adjustment, and wear is accounted for. I’m interested to see whether shaft drives could be a good substitute, sacrificing peak efficiency for lower maintenance and greater robustness. Chain guards obviously limit the kinds of gears that are possible (one chain ring and presumably hub gears at most) but still have plenty of potential - French style porter bikes are a good example of a sporty style of bike (although load bearing) that usually has an enclosed chain.



Fine, because I really want a recumbent bike/trike and a new unicycle (I gave mine away before leaving China). If I had the money and space, I would probably have at least seven different kinds of unicycle/bike/trike - and no cars.



It’s a cult that’s grown up around fetishising mechanical simplicity. That said, fixed gear has an advantage in urban traffic that you can modulate your speed continually with your legs rather than brakes. Some people really love the sense of connection that they get.

I’m happy with a freewheel. It means I can go down hills easily.



This is what I was riding up until recently… a vintage Raleigh three-speed with an encased Sturmey-Archer hub. Loved it but it started to fall apart.

Oh, good point. I can totally see that, actually. Hmm.



I ought to mention that the reason that this topic is tagged ‘wrath’ is that ‘cycling’ was mentioned as a suitable topic for this tag. Bullshit anti-cyclist norms blah blah blah…



So was the Gossamer Albatross.



I’m not the market for carbon, I don’t race or do any “sport” riding. I don’t need it and can’t afford it anyway. But I thought carbon was safe these days?

but, the way it was explained to me was that the exploding carbon of the 90s is no longer a thing for frames/parts made by the reputable brands. Presumably the build techniques have improved since the early days, but the key is that they police their quality control commensurate with their status. If Specialized carbon explodes in 2016, they get a lawsuit and even if they win, their reputation is ruined. Buying a chinese knock-off is super cheap, and it may indeed be made in the same factory, but without the ability to sue that nameless company who offers it into oblivion, they have no motive to vet their product’s quality at all.

It seems like this should be true, right? You don’t hear a lot about exploding frames anymore. And you still see the occasional new metal frame failure as a fluke, so as an armchair observation, it seems to have evened out to the “acceptable” flukey failure rate of anything else. anyhow, this is just the scuttlebutt I’ve heard so please correct me if I’m wrong.

but your bottom line is still valid: if carbon fails, the failure is much more dangerous.

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Right it does! Aerodynamics and wind resistance make up most of what we push against…

But that uncomfortable tuck position adds about 5 mph under ideal conditions.

For real aerodyamics… we get into the realm of fairings. And they make a huge difference.



A fixie with clipless pedals - the connection to the road is amazing!

Freewheel on one side and fixed on the other for the back wheel works well.

Plus fixies allow someone to take an old bike, strip it to the frame and rebuild it with the parts on hand. That’s pretty amazing. They do pass the simplicity test. There’s not a whole lot left to break.

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I don’t do ‘bike’; but my understanding is that most of the really scary carbon fiber is found in the knockoffs of the reputable brands; though there are also some risks associated with failure during crashes/accidents/etc. where bad manufacturing isn’t to blame; but the obsession with trimming every last gram; and carbon fiber’s behavior once its tolerances are exceeded, make it more likely that the accident will culminate in catastrophic failure, rather than metal bending or a bad weld cracking.

What I don’t know is whether the dangerous knockoffs are something you bring on yourself by knowingly purchasing from the finest vendors of alibaba, or whether they are good enough to have infiltrated the ‘reputable’ supply chain; and you might actually end up with a piece of dangerous rubbish even if you attempt to purchase a reputable part from a reputable supplier.

Some stuff has really excellent knockoffs with substantial penetration of the supply chain; some stuff moves knockoffs because the prices are just that appealing; but actual confusion/successful misrepresentation is pretty rare. I don’t know where bike parts fall on this.



I love using them, they function awesomely and I can roll the bike right into the kitchen to unload, which is cool. But man alive, I did not pay attention to weight before I bought. they seriously weigh more than my frameset. The ones I found were Wald’s, but hopefully there’s a lighter option I can upgrade to at some point.

right. we need a model that can somehow be universally mounted, or mfrs could make an optional “plate with light” for their particular builds. Though I don’t run threadless headsets anyway…



Yeah, although it rapidly stops being a bike in the classic sense… I’m currently ploughing through the 3rd edition of Bicycling Science from the MIT Press and a lot of the research seems to end up looking at fairings. Anyway my point wasn’t about speed so much as sustainability of power output.



There are threadless to quill adaptors available. Velo Orange sell one, but I’m sure there are others.

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The problem with carbon fibre is not that it randomly disintegrates but that it does so suddenly and without warning. If you ding a steel frame it’s generally not a problem. If a crack propagates it does so slowly and gives you plenty of time to spot it and respond. If you bash a carbon frame you may invisibly damage it, and you will not know about it until the microscopic cracks suddenly go macroscopic and the frame fails. So the problem is more analogous to the difference between bronze cannon and cast iron cannon; bronze gave you a heads up when something was wrong.

Aluminium is also know for a tendency to fail suddenly, but you can at least bash it about a fair bit.



just so it’s written in the thread somewhere: fat-tired bikes are awesome for snow and sand, but they’re a huge penalty for weight and rolling resistance under any other conditions. and they cost way more.

in other words, don’t just buy for looks, folks.



just avoid those people as much as possible.



That’s a great book! Yes. It stops being the traditional bike… but I’m OK with that.

The more human powered machines, the better, IMO.

And of course you run into different problems powering these things. A simple hub moter… a fairing, and soon you’re in some wild territory.



Rolling resistance is more of a function of tire inflation, rather than tread width, afaik.

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one of these days I’m gonna get one of those clear vinyl, parabolic umbrellas and experiment with mounting it as a fairing. deploy for distance riding or high winds, fold it up and leave it at home when tooting around the city.