The cycle trade likes to invent new stuff and promote it to us – in the end, that’s why it exists. However do we want all this new tech and does it truly help in making us higher cyclists?
Nearly all new tech comes with problem someplace. In most cases, it’s extra complicated to paintings on than the previous stuff and it’s just about all the time dearer, which drives up the price of purchasing and keeping up your motorcycle.
So right here’s the Luddite’s information to the biking tech tendencies that can be extra hassle than they’re value.
New backside bracket requirements
“The great factor about requirements is that you’ve got such a lot of to choose between; moreover, if you don’t like every of them, you’ll be able to simply watch for subsequent 12 months’s style.” So stated Andrew Tanenbaum. He used to be speaking about computer systems, however the similar applies to motorcycles in spades.
Best of the listing of undesirable tendencies needs to be the urge to invent a brand new backside bracket usual each and every time a brand new motorcycle is introduced.
As soon as upon a time, all motorcycles had BSA threaded backside brackets, or Italian threaded when you have been Italian. Pinarello is Italian and so nonetheless makes use of the Italian usual, because it says it’s a part of its heritage, but it surely’s been deserted through maximum motorcycle manufacturers.
Instead got here BB30, however this used to be fiddly to insert, so PressFit 30 took its position. And BB86. And BB386 EVO. And BBright. And on and on.
Every had its meant advantages and actual drawbacks, so alongside got here T47, which is each pressed and threaded and designed to unify the factors and increase compatibility.
It’s now not simply me who needs that the tech development to invent new backside bracket requirements didn’t exist. So does Cannondale, which has reverted to a BSA backside bracket on its newest era SuperSix Evo, in spite of being the one that began the entire thing through inventing PressFit.
Entrance finish integration, with the entire keep watch over cables and hoses squirrelled away within the handlebars and stem, seems super-cool on the ones professional aero motorcycles. Motorcycle manufacturers reckon all of us want it, and it’s creeping down the bicycle meals chain.
It would prevent a couple of watts as smartly; Pinarello reckons that its interior cables and hoses stored 5 watts between the Dogma F10 and Dogma F12, however that’s at some pro-level velocity that the remainder of us – even the ones driving the newest Dogma F – are not going to check for lengthy.
However integration makes keeping up our handlebars a lot tougher than exterior cabling to the cockpit. Even elevating or reducing your stem turns into a trial, with sticky cables frequently making it difficult to take away play for your headset. As soon as issues put on out and wish changing, you’re in for an inflated invoice out of your motorcycle store for workshop time.
In equity, with trendy digital groupsets working wirelessly, it’s best the hydraulic brake hoses that burrow their manner thru your headset and tight bends don’t impact their potency.
However some methods will permit you to path mechanical equipment and brake cables internally. The pointy routing makes it tricky to stay mechanical cables operating successfully, so moving high quality might undergo and cables put on out extra briefly than with the sweeping curves of an exterior cable.
Drivetrain equipment unfold divergence
When you’re a professional, Shimano and the opposite groupset distributors reckon that you simply’re macho sufficient to show a 54/40 crankset, up from the 53/39 that was once thought to be ‘professional’. In the event that they truly need to sing their own praises, SRAM shall we the professionals switch out to a 56/43 – and that’s with a cassette that begins with 10 enamel.
The remainder of us are introduced increasingly more wimpy gears, with cassettes that move as much as 34 or 36 enamel, on occasion paired with a subcompact 48/32 crankset or smaller, to present us a sub-1:1 lowest equipment.
That’s nice if we’re biking up the Eiger, however the rest much less way spinning up a climb that we’d have luckily tackled on a 34×28 teeth equipment ten years in the past. It simply makes us slower up hills and prolongs the agony.
Creeping groupset electrification
First it used to be Dura-Ace Di2. Then got here Ultegra Di2 and now 105 Di2. Digital groupsets is also nice, and their availability at inexpensive value issues is a great factor, however I are not looking for that to interchange mechancal choices to the purpose that it signifies that the cost of mid-range motorcycles is going up and up.
SRAM takes it even additional, and has certainly moved clear of equipment cables. If you need SRAM 12-speed mechanical moving, that implies Apex, which isn’t reasonably priced (in comparison to similar-level groupsets from only a handful of years in the past) and places double cranksets off-limits.
It is yet another factor but even so lighting fixtures, GPS, telephone and earbuds to bear in mind to fee up prior to leaving house.
And fail to remember about Campagnolo, which hasn’t upgraded its mechanical methods in years. Even supposing, but even so upgrading Tremendous Report to Wi-fi final 12 months, it isn’t up to date any of its groupsets for some time.
Ever-more freehub requirements
Highway and gravel motorcycle freehubs are getting ever-more sophisticated. As soon as, there used to be simply Shimano/SRAM 11-speed (which changed Shimano/SRAM 10-speed, which used to be somewhat shorter) and Campagnolo.
Now, issues are swiftly getting loopy. First there used to be SRAM XDR, designed to permit you to have compatibility a cassette with a 10-tooth smallest sprocket. Then got here Shimano’s new 12-speed freehub with added splines; a minimum of the Shimano 12-speed cassettes are backward suitable with 11-speed.
On the similar time, Campagnolo introduced N3W to cater for its 13-speed Ekar gravel groupset with its tiny nine-tooth sprocket. Once more, there’s backward compatibility, on this case between wheels with an N3W freehub and 12-speed Campagnolo highway cassettes, if you have compatibility an adapter.
However now you’ll be able to purchase SRAM Apex Eagle, which makes use of MTB spacing, with an MTB chain and cassette. The latter suits on an XD freehub, or an XDR with a spacer.
In the meantime, Shimano’s newest 1x 12-speed GRX gravel creations additionally use MTB spacing, together with its Micro Spline freehub frame, so you want a unique set of wheels.
So we’ve swiftly long past from two freehub requirements for roadies/gravellers to seven or 8. It’s getting as dangerous as backside brackets.
We’ve all learn the motorcycle trade’s spiel about the advantages of tubeless: smoother, quicker, puncture secure. However in go back, there’s the joys of putting in place and keeping up tubeless tyres.
Even getting the tyre to seat at the rim is a trial initially, requiring an laborious burst of pumping or purchasing a dear reservoir pump to provide the important burst of air. As soon as it’s there, frequently there’s a effervescent of sealant from someplace across the rim or a leak across the valve that must be handled.
It’s now not over as soon as your tyre is fitted and retaining air both. At a while someday, most probably in a few months, you’re going to wish to part-pull the tyre off once more to ensure that the sealant hasn’t dried out, most sensible it up and repeat the entire seating rigamarole.
The power of the sealant to care for punctures is frequently illusory too. You’re as more likely to get a flat that doesn’t seal, that means that you want to hold but extra equipment to plug the opening or have to suit an internal tube, grappling with the sticky mess of sealant together with the street and driving house with it coating your arms.
But some other new-fangled wheel tech. Sure, I do know they’re lighter, extra aero, and many others. But if you want to learn and reread the wheelmaker’s web page to make certain that the tyre you propose to suit is suitable, it ups the trouble issue over a standard rim/tyre aggregate which can all the time have compatibility quite smartly.
It’s now not even simply the tyre style that you want to get proper, some tyres best paintings with a given wheelset in explicit widths. The ETRTO is doing its very best to take care of, however even they’ve modified their steering just lately.
Then you want to stay your tyre power under a undeniable quantity, to keep away from it blowing off the rim. As power will increase with temperature, when you reside someplace scorching, you want to test your tyre power outdoor prior to you experience, as it would exceed the really helpful worth if you step from your air-conditioned house.
Don’t depart your motorcycle within the solar at your espresso prevent both, or you have to come again to an ugly mess, particularly given the tubeless sealant within that we’ve got already mentioned.
Every other professional development this is permeating to motorcycles for the remainder of us is aero profile bars. Aero way truly deep, skinny tops. When you love to experience at the tops, those can turn out uncomfortable to grip for lengthy sessions, specifically you probably have smaller arms.
It’s even worse with blended bar/stems, which convey a loss of adjustability to the birthday party, so you’ll be able to’t regulate the bar attitude for a extra comfy dangle both at the tops or within the drops.
And whilst we’re at it, what’s with narrower and narrower bars? It’s now not lengthy since we have been all content material to make use of 42cm bars on mid-sized motorcycles, however now even 40cm isn’t stylish and you want to experience 38s to be in with the in-crowd.
I am getting that the professionals need to be extra aero, however I’d reasonably be extra comfy and in a position to influence higher. No less than the UCI has put the kibosh on turned-in levers.
It’s now not simply slim aero bars both; huge flared gravel handlebars are a ache – actually. The flare to the drops frequently places the levers at a daft attitude, in order that you’re nearly resting on their facets, or a minimum of at the sharp edge between their tops and their facets.
Somewhat than distributing hand power calmly over the comfortable rubber lever tops, you find yourself with a difficult ridge bashing you between your forefinger and thumb over each and every bump.
What’s the good thing about having 50cm huge drops anyway? If you’ll be able to’t keep watch over your motorcycle from 44cm huge drops, does the additional 6cm truly assist? Give me further convenience when driving at the hoods any day.
As soon as upon a time, all seatposts have been spherical. Certain, there have been a few other widths (now not certain why we would have liked outsized 31.6mm seatposts, for the reason that maximum have been alloy and inflexible as hell anyway, however there you might be).
As with backside brackets, each and every emblem now turns out to have its personal design, in order that you’re caught with the seatpost that matches your motorcycle, even though it’s over-rigid and uncomfortable. And plenty of aero seatposts are uncomfortable, because the prolonged tail reduces compliance while you experience over our potholed roads.
So that you could compensate, the newest crop of aero seatposts frequently have a piece chopped out of them: see Merida and Scott, as an example. That can upload compliance but additionally worries about robustness.
And fail to remember about seatmasts, which imply that you are restricted to who you’ll be able to promote your motorcycle to.
Proprietary seatpost clamps
It’s now not simply the seatposts which can be proprietary to a given emblem. The clamping mechanism has long past from a band across the most sensible of the seat tube to clamps within the entrance, again or facets of the body.
Some paintings higher than others. I’ve had motorcycles with clamps that totally refuse to carry the seatpost in position and feature needed to be tightened to far more than the 5Nm or in order that it says at the bolt. In a single case, this rounded out the allen key head on a comfortable alloy bolt, wrecking the clamp. And the seatpost nonetheless slipped.
Even Canyon doesn’t appear to have were given it proper at the Aeroad, transferring the clamp from in the back of the seatpost to the highest of the highest tube on the newest model, a minimum of for the professionals.
Why can’t we’ve one form of seatpost clamp that simply works for everybody?
Indoor biking apps
Does somebody experience outdoor any further? Time used to be, getting have compatibility for summer season driving intended all of your to be had sunlight hours within the iciness (and lots past them) have been spent grinding alongside for your metal steed in rain, wind, snow, hail and frost. It used to be character-forming.
Now, iciness working towards is composed of an hour or two at the turbo, racing anyone in Hawaii on Zwift or following a line on TrainerRoad. Certain it is more secure, extra handy, extra comfy, provides higher construction to working towards, more uncomplicated at the put on and tear of your elements and extra, however the place’s the dignity in that? I in my view want the draw of the Sunday morning membership run, the sound of a dozen cyclists clipping in concurrently, the hard earned espresso and cake on the midway cafe, the pride of getting observed the first light, the inane chat with clubmates and the remainder of Sunday at the settee figuring out you have got installed a excellent shift.
Instrumented the entirety
We’re hooked as much as an increasing number of electronics after we experience. It began with middle charge screens. Then got here GPS and tool meters. Now you’ll be able to observe your blood glucose (except you’re a professional in a race) and core temperature as you experience. There is communicate of constant lactate screens at the manner too.
If you prevent, your smartwatch will observe how smartly you’ve recovered, the way you slept, your tension point and your middle charge variability. When you head to altitude, it’ll assess how smartly you’re adapting. You’ll be able to sleep in an altitude tent if you wish to building up your oxygen uptake with out heading to Mount Teide.
Your working towards app will stay tabs on whether or not you’re below or over-training and nag you when you omit a consultation. Your scales can measure now not simply your weight, however your frame fats, water content material and muscle tissue.
What’s flawed with Fausto Coppi’s experience, experience, experience maxim?
Does any of this topic for Joe Reasonable?
I completely get it for the professionals. The obsession with marginal beneficial properties, ever since Staff Sky got here up with the idea that, has allowed them to experience quicker for longer. The full moderate velocity for winners of the Excursion de France has crept up continuously year-on-year, possibly because of those beneficial properties, even though there used to be a blip upwards due to different interventions within the Armstrong years.
If the professionals have it, there’s a herbal trickle-down to beginner riders. However for the Weekend Warrior, heading out for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning and now not driving at Vingegaard’s 42kph moderate velocity within the 2022 Excursion, do those go-faster improvements truly topic? Give me a inexpensive, simpler-to-work-on motorcycle any day.