Thursday, February 22, 2024

Whither Rim Brakes? – Motorcycle Snob NYC


Additional to the day past’s submit, I closed out ultimate weekend with a cold Sunday trip on what’s these days my maximum modern-est street motorcycle:

Even though it passed off to me that it’s in reality now not leading-edge in any respect, now not even shut. No, this motorcycle is punctiliously “antique” now. As an ageing Fred it kind of feels like handiest the day past to me that stuff like built-in transferring, 1 1/8″ threadless steerers, crabon forks, and double-digit cassettes (10 complete speeds!!!) represented the chopping fringe of racing motorcycle generation. However except for the abnormal more moderen element (the cranks, for instance) the above motorcycle is now smartly over twenty years outdated, and it’s a hoary vintage in comparison to the plastic house motorcycles the professionals trip lately:

This forced me to take stock of the present state of rim brakes and street motorcycles–now not within the extremely subjective “disc brakes are evil” sense, however extra within the dispassionate “I’m outdated and at a loss for words, are you able to nonetheless even nonetheless purchase a street motorcycle with rim brakes?” sense.

My “leading-edge” motorcycle is supplied with a Campagnolo Document 10-speed drivetrain now. I’ve had more moderen drivetrains since then (sure, together with Di2, which is what got here at the wood motorcycle), however to me the 10-speed Document nonetheless feels just like the unique pro-level stuff it was once when it first got here out–partly as a result of I feel mechanical drivetrains haven’t in reality modified all that a lot since them except for including a pair extra cogs, and partly as a result of, you already know, I’m outdated.

There’s in reality no explanation why I, an ageing semi-professional motorcycle blogger, would wish to substitute the functionally best possible Document 10-speed drivetrain on that Litespeed. Additionally, it kind of feels just like the older I am getting the fewer I’m in leading-edge portions, which is why maximum of my motorcycles have friction transferring now. However let’s say I used to be a regular individual, and I did desire a new drivetrain with built-in transferring and a number of cogs to fit my racy titanium street motorcycle. What’s these days to be had–now not to be had as in “in inventory” or “on eBay,” however to be had as in “the corporate is if truth be told nonetheless making it”–in a rim brake drivetrain in 2024?

Smartly, because of the Web, the worldwide economic system, yadda yadda and many others. and so on, there are all varieties of street motorcycle drivetrains available in the market at the moment:

However should you’re purchasing for a brand new rim brake drivetrain to your liked vintage, you’re most certainly outdated and at a loss for words, and subsequently you’re additionally scared of latest issues. Sure, the ones horrifying new issues are most certainly made via the similar individuals who make the belongings you in finding acquainted and reassuring, however that’s now not the purpose. The purpose is you’re now not plowing any new furrows at this level for your existence, so let’s keep on with the Giant 3, which should you’re outdated and at a loss for words way Shimano, Campagnolo, and the ones younger upstarts over at SRAM.

Of the ones, so far as I will inform, the one corporate nonetheless these days providing a rim brake street motorcycle drivetrain on the upper finish is Campagnolo, and their web page presentations mechanical rim brake choices from Tremendous Document proper on all the way down to Refrain:

In fact Campagnolo have at all times presented more than a few drivetrains underneath Refrain, however I don’t see any of the ones on their web page, so I don’t know if that implies they don’t cause them to anymore or what. Clearly Campagnolo have lengthy been overtaken via Shimano and SRAM relating to gross sales, so possibly they’ve needed to pare down their choices in recent times, however I in reality do not know. After all, should you had been an ageing Fred and sought after to interchange the outdated Document drivetrain to your antique Litespeed with the trendy an identical then one thing like that Refrain crew could be an obtrusive selection.

Given this, I used to be curious to be informed extra about the most recent Refrain stuff, and so I learn a evaluate and was once stunned to be informed there’s nonetheless a perception floating round that Campagnolo is “gorgeous” as it’s Italian:

I’m certain the more moderen Campy stuff works nice, nevertheless it has now not been objectively sexy because the 10-speed technology, although I’m certain quite a lot of Campyphiles would argue it were given unsightly once Tullio’s frame was once chilly. Both means, there’s without a doubt not anything gorgeous about it now. I imply have a look at that shifter, it seems like Cthulu:

I’m now not pronouncing I wouldn’t put the most recent Refrain portions on that Litespeed, as a result of I completely would, however I without a doubt wouldn’t do it for cultured functions.

I feel each and every roadie of a definite age hopes Campagnolo will relinquish their position within the professional peloton perpetually, stay providing high-end mechanical rim brake drivetrains indefinitely, and commit themselves fully to creating merchandise for mature riders who wish to stay their vintage street motorcycles working with dignity:

[Classic Cycle]

On the other hand, that’s most certainly now not an effective way to stick in industry–although a minimum of it’s simple to provide a life-time guaranty when maximum of your shoppers have already reached retirement age.

As for Shimano, it seems like they’re disc brake handiest right through 105:

Even though they nonetheless be offering rim brake Tiagra:

It’s just a little unhappy that what’s for all sensible functions Shimano’s most sensible finish street motorcycle rim brake doesn’t even include cartridge brake pads. This being Shimano I’m certain it really works nice, and in truth I’m certain all of the Tiagra drivetrain works nice. Definitely the one explanation why to not put it to your outdated Litespeed or equivalent is self-importance. On the identical time, it’s beautiful obtrusive that Shimano has reached the purpose the place they’re completed refining the rest rim brake-related and are as an alternative simply slowly casting off options to chop prices, and in contrast to Campagnolo you’ll’t in reality delude themselves that they’re going to be there for you if you wish to stay your fancy rim brake street motorcycle working smartly into your golden years. You can be simply effective hanging Tiagra on that outdated street motorcycle, however you most likely received’t be effective with no matter their easiest rim brake street crew is in 5 or ten years.

And SRAM? Don’t even consider it. Fail to remember rim brakes–if you wish to have mechanical you’ll’t even get a entrance derailleur from them:

Howdy, I feel the Eagle drivetrain on my Jones is superb. However should you’re speaking about preserving a vintage street motorcycle going, SRAM isn’t your buddy.

In fact, there’s no explanation why for those corporations to stay making rim brake street motorcycle drivetrains when no corporations are hanging it on their motorcycles. (Excluding for Campagnolo, who can do what they would like, as a result of no corporations put Campagnolo on their street motorcycles anyway.) Maximum closing rim brake street motorcycles from the large corporations are finances fashions and are on closeout:

Or out of inventory:

Even though I used to be stunned to look Cannondale nonetheless seems to provide a complete vary of rim brake street motorcycles:

Most commonly although, new rim brake street motorcycles lately are restricted to heritage fashions:

Or frames from corporations like Rivendell and Crust:

Of the ones, handiest the Grasp is a candidate for a complete leading-edge street motorcycle drivetrain, while the Rivendell and the Crust can be construct extra esoterically, as with the ones motorcycles getting all varieties of disparate stuff to paintings in combination is more or less the purpose, so it doesn’t in reality subject what the Giant 3 are doing with their street drivetrains. Actually the Crust doesn’t even take matching brakes:

As for standard street motorcycles, I knew the rim brake was once useless, however I didn’t rather admire simply how useless it was once till now. That’s to not say they’ll be onerous to return via or the rest like that–a brake caliper lasts kind of perpetually, and I doubt provide at the used marketplace will come as regards to being exhausted in our lifetime–however it’s to mention they’re formally “unfashionable,” and as squarely previously as downtube shifters and toe clips. 

Did I name it?

Or did I name it?


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