The Bicycle Industry is Regressing

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As technology expands and new bike products, or forms of bike products,  hit the market the market grows – or so one thinks. If you look at the basic roll of the wheel in the past 10 years we’ve had full suspension to the masses, lighter carbon road and mountain bikes, 29″ and 27.5″ wheel sizes,  carbon wheels, stainless steel tubing and more tech driven clothing than I could ever talk about in a lifetime.  Lights run for days and nutrition is truly a science.

The technology that is pushing the market forward is also allowing us to regress.  One example of this is the push on 29ers in the industry. Most of the bikes offered are hard tail and there are a good number that are fully rigid single speeds. Why? To me I ride one for simplistic sake and to enjoy the ride. As a mechanic I want my bikes to work right. No squeaks, no skips and everything set up perfect. With a fully rigid single speed you put air in the tires every once in a while and lube the chain when it gets too dry or dirty.

In the coming weeks I want to touch on regressing in the industry.   Marketing, product and education. Wool and steel are a big hit.   Retro “tweed” rides seem to be monthly across the country and the lure to fixed gear riding is still on a high.   Companies such as Rapha, Vassago and all those custom small builders across the world are building momentum based on our own regression.   How do you feel?  Do you like riding your steel Serotta or the feel of merino wool?  If so, tell us why!

What are your preferences to the below?

* Clipless or platform?
* CO2 or hand pump?
* What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
* Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
* Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
* Camelbak or water bottle?
* Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
* Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
* GPS or cyclometer?

38 Comments

  • Archergal says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    Platform

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    Hand pump. I don’t buy bottles to throw away. Why would
    I want to toss out CO2 cartridges?

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Steel

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears. But I could probably live w/a 1×9

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    Out of my experience level.

    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    Water bottle

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Drops right now

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    I’d wear wool if I could afford it. Mostly I wear cotton

    * GPS or cyclometer?
    Cyclometer. I’m a utility rider, so I know where I’m going. Most of the time, anyway.

    • Bizzle says:

      pedals. clips with straps
      floor pumpat home. tiny useless hand-pump just in case
      steel, aluminum. single freewheel, both
      Note: my velotaxi has 3×7=21 speeds (steel, btw)
      my 1950 Schwinn tandem 1×5=5 speeds (also steel)
      BB euro 68 mm cartridge sealed blah blah, profile sealed blah
      tandem: cottered spindle and cup, 1/4″ ball bearings, lots of grease (either Phil or Park)
      beer bottle or can
      just bought first jersey, dries quick- pockets for bottle, patch kit, etc. in back

  • * Clipless or platform? Clipless all the way!

    * CO2 or hand pump? Pump

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..) I like steel for hardtails and road bikes, aluminum for dual suspension.

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup? Gears are good. I’d love a 1 X 9, especially with a belt drive and internally geared rear hub! I own a single, but it’s a bit ghetto and jury-rigged. I see the appeal in the single.

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? Outboard.

    * Camelbak or water bottle? I live in Arizona – both, and a tanker truck full of cold Cytomax behind me.

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? XC bars with a slight rise.

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? Gimme the wick.

    * GPS or cyclometer? GPS.

    Even though you didn’t ask, gimme gimme hydraulic disc brakes.

  • Deb says:

    1. Platform
    2. Hand Pump
    3. Steel (though I’ve never tried Titanium)
    4. Gears
    5. I have no idea what you just said!
    6. Water bottle, though it’s not preference so much as what I have on hand. I’ve thought about a camelback for winter commutes, to see if the water is less likely to freeze
    7. Drop bars
    8. Cotton in summer, wicking in winter. Never wool.
    9. cyclometer primarily because that’s what I have. I will get a GPS at some point for some future adventures I have in mind.

    I am clueless as to what you are talking about with “regression”. 29’ers are causing regression? Or a single speed bike is causing regression? And anyway what does that mean? 29’ers are causing people to regress to single speed? Regress to hard tail or fully rigid?

    I’m just not following what you’re getting at. Maybe “regression” has a specific meaning in marketing, that a simple code jockey is missing?

  • Von Falkenhausen says:

    OK, I’ll take a shot at it:

    -Clipless, and I will kill any fool who tries to make me give them up. Seriously. They are the only thing keeping me on the bike, my favorite crutch for having no actual skills.

    -Hand pump, tubes, presta, patch kit.

    -Steel is real, partly because I couldn’t afford the Ti version of my bike, an IF Deluxe, but also because I really do love steel. And I run a Fox fork, 100mm, on my hardtail. With a Brooks Ti Swift saddle.

    -24 speed XTR as long as I can keep replenishing my spares on eBay. M951 Rapid Rise forever!

    -Cone and cup has got me this far, only because I can never quite pull the trigger on a Chris King based wheelset. For like 15 years now.

    -Have both Camelbaks and water bottles, but I only seem to ever ride with bottles any more. Stocked up on cheap Polar Bottles at Interbike.

    -Carbon low rise regular sized Monkey Bars.

    -Wool socks, sometimes wool jersy, no cotton.

    -Haven’t used a computer in years, but sometimes crank up the My Tracks app on my Android phone.

    So I am clearly a complicated guy, part old school, part modern, a techno-geek wrapped in a retro grouch. But I mostly just feel old and confused.

  • * Clipless or platform?
    Well, I am just now making the transition to clipless – I swear by toe clips now on my MTB that I have turned into a commuter by putting some slicker tires and a rack on it. But I have a 20 mile round trip commute, and I could definitely use the efficiency that clipless pedals offer. Tried some MTB shoes on today, and thinking I will probably go with a Bebop or Crank Bros. pedal.

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    Hand pump, no question. I think of Mt. Everest will all the discarded O2 cartridges and want to cry.

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)

    Trying to nail that down now, as I am probably going to buy a road bike in the next year. Leaning strongly towards steel, although carbon is pretty sweet. Both the Surly Pacer (built up) and the Jamis Quest and Eclipse are appealing. My MTB is an aluminum alloy, and it’s fine for shorter rides, but I don’t think I’d want to go aluminum for a ride over 20 miles. Not w/o a carbon fork, anyhow.
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears!
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    I don’t know what this means.
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    I love my camelback, but on my daily commute, I just use a water bottle.
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    No special preference. With drop bars, I spend my time on the hood, anyway.
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wicking! Wool for Jan.-Feb.
    * GPS or cyclometer?
    Also trying to figure this one out. Right now, I think a cyclometer with a cadence feature would be ideal.

  • John says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    clipless

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    CO2

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Steel and Titanium. I do own a couple AL bikes but it’s just bone rattling on the Detroit streets. I have a dream that I’ll have a Stainless Steel Road from Independent Fabrications one day. For a mtb I just want an upgraded version of my venerable Litespeed Ocoee. It’s done me well and will continue to. I love it.

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Road – Singlespeed or standard double
    MTB – Singlespeed or 2×8/9. yes i said 2×8/9

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    well it’ll be really hard to find inboard BB’s nowadays. I’d like something still compatible with my 8 speed XTR

    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    both. Bottle for nice short rides. Camelbacks for long 2+hours

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Road – Standard ergo drops but I use bullhorns on my SS
    MTB – Straight bars! My F/S has bent bars
    Also, I still setup my hardtails 90’s old school. big bar drop vs seat. i really think it’s better for climbing.

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    WOOL! Except Swobo is so expensive. So I use wicking material. unfortunately it ends up smelling nasty later. not the greatest for casual rides

    * GPS or cyclometer?
    cyclometer is handy. i just leave My tracks running on my phone for gps.

    It’s funny how you mention the regression of bicycle marketing and products. I sincerely think that it’s a natural progression.

    Just thinking back to my days as a young racer and wrencher, I wanted all the newest most advanced stuff. Carbon! XTR! bright anodized aluminum skewers! Sooner or later you start to try other bikes, your friends’ bikes, and demo bikes. As I got older, I had new appreciation for simpler functionality. Singlespeeds, steel, durability over ultralightness…

    Maybe that’s the retro grouch in me….

  • Paul Wujek says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    –> platform
    * CO2 or hand pump?
    –> hand pump
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    –> Bamboo & Hemp (finalizing the design for the frame for bike #2 — the bamboo has to acclimatize for a couple of months while the metal parts trickle in)
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    –> NuVinci N360 (just ordered), why be normal?
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    –> water bottle
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    — What’s on sale this week?
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    — cotton, but I’m not racing
    * GPS or cyclometer?
    — neither

  • steve says:

    Far and away my favorite bike is an old road bike — a Raleigh Pro from the mid 1970s with a beautiful steel lugged frame. Clips and the original 2×5 campy gears. It feels right and makes me smile.

  • Dan O says:

    Interesting post. Yeah, some things are regressing a bit. I’ve been riding as an (alleged) adult since ’84, so have seen all this progress since then. I also did the official bike shop tour of duty in the early ’80s.

    Since I’m approaching semi-old in most people’s book, I have a bit of retrogrouch streak in me, though I certainly dig new stuff as well. The longer you ride, the more you realize it’s not about technology, it’s about just getting out there. And to do that, you don’t need a $10,000 carbon bike. You discover the performance is 99% you, not the bike. Still, lusting after cool gear is part of the fun. And if owning a super nice, high end bike makes you want to ride – perfect. Just don’t be surprised when get your ass kicked by some kid on a singlespeed.

    I’ve watched with interest the return of the steel frame – at least with small builders. Why? I think because there’s nothing after carbon – no other “magic” materials exist for frames. So, its come full circle back to steel. The smaller builders can compete, since the larger companies are still living in the land of carbon. I’d bet anyone a nice dinner, that within a few years all the big boys (Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc) will offer high end steel frames – alongside their carbon offerings.

    As far as 29er mountain bikes, I’m a recent convert – and yes, a hardtail. For old school, XC Geek me, I’m digging it. They ride really well.

    The preference list….

    Clipless for sure.

    Hand pump. I’ve never even tried a CO2 cartridge.

    No real material preference for me. I’ve owned all of them, except titanium. Carbon is the wonder material for sure. If done correctly – light, strong, tunable. Works for road and mountain bikes. Aluminum is really close to carbon for weight – and way cheaper. For mountain bikes, especially full suspension, makes the most sense. Steel for road frames – can’t go wrong with that. I have a soft spot for steel frames – ride sweet, durable, cheaper cost, with a nod towards history,

    Gears for sure. Though I wouldn’t mind adding a single speed mountain bike to the mix someday.

    Outboard bearing – light and simple.

    Handlebars? Drop for road and ‘cross. Flat or slight riser for mountain bikes – with bar ends. Yes, I’m showing my age.

    Wicking material or wool.

    Cyclometer – but only on the road bike.

  • @JakeM says:

    Almost all of these are useful depending on the situation. But, I prefer
    * Clipless
    * Hand pump?
    * Steel frame with Carbon fork is my favorite right now
    * Gears
    * Outboard
    * Water bottle
    * Oversized drop bars
    * Wicking material
    * GPS

  • Ian Hopper says:

    1. clipless on rare occasions (highly technical singletrack and high speed off road downhill) but most of the time I rock flat pedals.

    2. Honestly I have both, but I only use the CO2 when I’m totally late and I get a flat. The pump is what I use 99% of the time.

    3. Ti is way fun but too expensive (owned it once when i got a industry discount). Steel is real, reliable and feels great. It’s my metal of choice.

    4. Gears? Sure. IGH? yup, both Shimano and Rohloff.

    5. Outboard bearing. Yup.

    6. Camelbak? I do that when I’m doing a looong ride or an overnight. The water bottles are my daily drinkers, though I prefer the stainless steel ones.

    7. Bars bars bars. On-one Mary Bars on my big dummy, stock sweeps on my azor Oma, stock bars on my vintage swing bike. I had nitto albatross on my Marin Xtracycle.

    8. Cotton in the summer. Wool in the fall and winter and the cooler parts of the spring. Wool is wonderful and I love it. I wish it was cheaper, but it’s worth it.

    9. Cyclometer on my road bikes, GPS on the MTB.

    I am the true chameleon: I’m a retro grouch AND a lover of the new farkle. I like to mix it up and use whatever works best. Sometimes the old solutions are the best ones. Sometimes the new solutions work just as well. Sometimes it’s a matter of preference in style.

  • Asher says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    Clipless, though right now I’m running platforms with clips … still haven’t snagged clipless pedals for either of the bikes I roll right now. I learned, though, that toe clips come in handy when you blow up the tendons on the outside of your knee and can’t clip out without significant pain, since you can just yank your foot straight back, so I plan to keep the platforms and clips handy, just in case I happen to have another altercation with a lamp post in the near future.

    That being said, running clips in a ‘cross race suxx0rz. As me how I know, LOL.

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    Whatever’s handy. At home, it’s the awesome Bonty Turbocharger every time, but on long rides, I generally take a belt-and-suspenders approach and bring both the CO2 and the frame pump. That way even if I use up all my C02, I can still help someone else out (as long as they don’t mind riding at kinda low pressure, because my frame pump kind of sucks).

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Honestly, it really depends on the purpose. I’ve never ridden carbon (heretical, I know), but I would probably like it all right. Steel and ti both feel lovely on long road rides, especially on our Kentucky/Southern Indiana back roads (and Louisville’s back-alleys), which throw up a lot of chatter. Aluminum is far from my favorite ride because of the chatter factor, though carbon forks and stays and/or seatposts mitigate that some — but I prefer it for winter because it’s much more resistant to the salt and schmutz on the road (and I can’t afford Ti, though I lust after many a litespeed and have had the pleasure of riding one once in a while).

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Yes, please. I am a solid proponent of the ‘n+1′ rule, and my justification is that I need one of each kind of bike — you know, a singlespeed 29er, a 1×9 29er, a fully-geared 29er, a singlespeed ‘cross bike, a 1×9 cross bike, a fully-geared ‘cross bike, a… well, I think you get the idea ;) Basically, they’re all fun to ride in different ways.

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    I don’t think I actually have a preference here. I am not enough of a wrench to work on either, so for me, as long as it works, I’m good.

    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    Water bottle.

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Drops, sized spot-on. My current ones are a hair on the narrow side.

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wicking or wool. I long claimed I would never wear lycra, but now that’s about all I want to wear. It’s like an excuse to run around in your pajamas all the time. What’s not to like?

    * GPS or cyclometer?
    I have mixed feelings. GPS would be handy for route-logging, but some part of me rebels at the thought of it anyway. On the other hand, it could help at the bazillion-and-five intersections around here with missing signs, at least when I’m riding a new route.

  • Eric says:

    * BMX platform
    * hand pump
    * steel is real
    * freewheels
    * old school square taper
    * water bottles
    * mustache or drop
    * whatever I happen to be wearing
    * GPS on my phone if I bother to turn it on

  • hawkeye169 says:

    * Clipless or platform? Clipless ALL THE WAY. I fought the transition for a long time. Once I got used to it, there is no going back. I rode both platforms with and without cages over the weekend, and it just felt foreign.

    * CO2 or hand pump? Both. CO2 kit plus a spare in all of my tool bags. But also carry a normal pump in my commuter bag for use if I have time. That way I don’t have to run back out later and replace a CO2 bottle.

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..) Only had 1 carbon bike. Bought used in good condition. Sold it because it flexed so much. Give me an aluminum bike and set me free.

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup? Wouldn’t trade my gears for all the sweet bikes in the world. 2X10 on the road, 3X10 on the trails.

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? Outboard is the preference, but my “Millennium Falcon” bike has an axle/cup type currently. She may not look like much, kid. But she’ll do the Kessel run in under 3 parsecs.

    * Camelbak or water bottle? Water bottle when possible. I ride with a backpack most days of the week to get to work. So if I can avoid it on my non commute fun rides, I will.

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? All of the above. I’ve been known to commute on a time trial bike, a standard road bike, and a 29er mountain bike. Depends on how the mood hits me. Keeps me from getting to comfortable with one set up.

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? Wool in the really cold weather. Wicking in the hot.

    * GPS or cyclometer? GPS. I’m a geek. I may not be the fastest, or strongest, or best looking. But I really dig seeing my numbers, and where I have been when I get home.

  • K says:

    * Clipless or platform? — platform
    * CO2 or hand pump? — pump
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..) – steel
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup? – 1×8, fixed, single or hub gear.
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? – either
    * Camelbak or water bottle? – either
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? – varies
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? — wicking or wool.
    * GPS or cyclometer? – most often, none. Wired if I NEED it. GPS if I’m mapping for somebody.

  • Cynthia says:

    Clipless or platform?
    Clipless.

    CO2 or hand pump?
    Hand pump.

    What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Whichever I can afford for a good comfortable ride.

    Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears

    Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    Wha..?

    Camelbak or water bottle?
    Water bottle onroad or when running errands; camelbak offroad.

    Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    No preference onroad. Wide bars offroad.

    Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wicking. It’s the tropics of Borneo where I am.

    GPS or cyclometer?
    Cyclometer.

  • I’m a different breed of cyclist, so my answers are going to be different, as I ride to shun the car and I’ll ride just about anything that moves.

    1. Neither. Flats.
    2. Hand pump or compressor.
    3. Anything that’s not rusted.
    4. Gears
    5. What?!?
    6. Water bottle
    7. Bent
    8. Wicking
    9. GPS, but mostly for location and route planning. Speed doesn’t happen.

  • dave says:

    Certain things on a bike, i’ll never go without: great clipless pedals, co2 in the pocket and a basic water bottle.

    what brought the industry forward (speed) is what’s bringing us back to what matters: comfort. i hesitate to pin regression on the industry when the progression of bike innovations is what might be directly related to the new trends.

    my single speed, my steelie commuter, my classic wool jerseys – they’re all secondary (for me) because racing is where my passion is. i just wonder if the advancements in bike racing technology are finally complemented by the pure enjoyment of riding.

    • Asher says:

      I think Dave has it spot-on when he says, “i just wonder if the advancements in bike racing technology are finally complemented by the pure enjoyment of riding.”

      I wonder this, too. It does sometimes seem like the focus, for a long time, has been entirely on shaving off the grams and the seconds at any cost. Likewise, I have known more than a few people who got really into racing and kind of lost the joy, then got out of racing and got it back. Some of them get back into racing and find balance; others have branched out into other areas.

      From everything I’ve read and seen, here in the ‘States, for a long time it was racing that really drove bike industry development, even though only a tiny fraction of US cyclists are racers (and some of us, like me, are broke-college-student newbie racers who ride old bikes :P). Cycling in the US is generally seen as recreational, and recreational racing seems to have long been the market-carrying segment — it seems like the folks who have the money to drop on fancy bikes for a long time mostly seemed to want to drop it on souped-up racing machines, be they road or off-road stylie.

      I’m very much a proponent of the ‘ride whatever makes you want to ride’ school of thought, so I’m really interested in seeing what the upsurge in utility cycling will do for the US bike industry — likewise, I’m very interested in seeing what the explosion of cyclocross’ popularity will do to the bike industry here, though not as optimistic about what I think said explosion might do to ‘cross itself (unless it attracts a whole lot of people fatter and slower than me, in which case, bring it on :D).

      I do think the industry is hearing the voices of the commuters, the randonneurs, the touring folk, and even the People of the Beach Cruiser much more clearly. Part of that, for me, comes down to the fact that the shop where I work is located in Louisville’s business/finance/medical district and really caters to the commuter crowd, so I see very different bikes here than I see at a lot of other shops, and it’s awesome to see how many different utility-type ‘daily driver’ bikes are available now.

      It seems like that really began with the smaller fabricators, but now a lot of the big names seem to be listening — even Specialized has nodded to the steel market by rolling out a steel Allez (I’m sure my ’94 Allez Pro appreciates the homage :D), and apparently there were some steel frames in the Cat 1s at one of our fairly-major circuit races here this year.

      I’m going to shut up now, because this is kind of off-topic and I think I’ve rambled long enough, but it’s really interesting to see what everyone has to say, here!

  • Generide says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    clipless for the road/mountain/cross bike and platform for the fixie urban and toeclips w/straps for the fixie dropbar

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    hand pump for the road bike; co2 for mountain and cross

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Carbon for the road and high end cross; Steel for the mountain and urban fixie; Al for the dropbar fixie and single speed cross

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears for Road and Cross; Single Speed for Cross and Mountain

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    Outboard bearing for road and cross(multispeed); axle/cup for cross(single speed), dropbar and urban fixie

    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    Camelbak for mountain and cross; water bottle for road

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Oversized bars for everything except mountain

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wicking for everything except townie riding

    * GPS or cyclometer?
    GPS

  • Jil says:

    1. Clipless
    2. Someone to do it for me…heh. If not that, then either option is fine.
    3. Carbon for road, aluminum for MTB unless I could ever afford a FS carbon MTB.
    4. GEARS.
    5. Huh? (see: answer #2 above)
    6. Camelbak
    7. Wide, wide bars are my friend. At least on MTB. Road – no idea. Everything is uncomfortable on a road bike.
    8. Wicking, for sure. I have some high end wool but I prefer the tech fabrics, still.
    9. Neither. I have a GPS but wish I had a cyclocomputer. Not enough to buy one, though. I content myself with asking my guy “how fast are we going NOW?” every five seconds.

  • Lowrah says:

    I would also like to hear more about what you mean by industry “regression.” Regression to a “simpler”, less tech machines? Or the motivations for riding? Regression is not a term I’m familiar with!

    * Clipless or platform?
    Platform.
    * CO2 or hand pump?
    Hand pump.
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Steel.
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears.
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    I don’t have experience with outboard bearing.
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    Bottle in the cage.
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Drop bars. Sometimes risers.
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wool. Sometimes wicking, but mostly wool.
    * GPS or cyclometer?
    Clyclometer, but I don’t bike outside the city so I wouldn’t need GPS.

  • Christopher says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    Platform
    * CO2 or hand pump?
    Pump
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Steel
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    All of the above
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    Axle
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    Bottle
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Bent
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Cotton or wool
    * GPS or cyclometer?
    Neither

  • Jackie says:

    Regression is something that happens in every facet of life. I would prefer to believe that things happen in cycles… colors. frame materials, fashion etc… If you truly look at deisgns of most bike parts, it quite often has roots from something that was produced in the past… and might be seen again in the future.

    Like you, have been in the bike industry for the past 19 years, and I’m amazed how certain things return and perhaps with a slight twist..

  • Chris says:

    * Platform, because I don’t want to have to wear cycling specific shoes. I’m car-free, so I require my bike to be compatible with my everyday clothes.

    * CO2 (because that’s what I have) when I carry an inflator. I haven’t had a flat while riding in the past 10,000+ miles, so I often live on the edge and carry nothing.

    * Steel, because it’s relatively inexpensive, durable, and rides nicely. Most importantly, it’s what I have.

    * I’m happier with my singlespeed 29er than with any of my previous geared bikes, though I’ll probably add a 2-speed kickback hub when the time comes to replace my wheels. I think “singlespeed with overdrive” might be the best of both worlds.

    * Whatever BB type is on the bike I’m riding.

    * Often nothing, unless I’m riding over 30 miles. I have a Camelbak, but not a water bottle or cage, so that’s what I usually use if I take water. Sometimes I’ll carry a bottle or two of Gatorade or soda or an insulated tumbler of coffee in my backpack.

    * Riser bars with ergonomic grips. I don’t care for drops; I don’t find them comfortable despite their aerodynamic benefits.

    * Whatever I happen to be wearing. I don’t wear cycling specific clothes. In the summer, it’s cotton shorts and a t-shirt.

    * Neither. I’m old school; I use a map when necessary (and the clock on my phone if I’m curious about my speed). I’d use GPS if I had it, since it would provide useful information (i.e., my location relative to points A and B) more quickly. I don’t see any utility value in a cyclometer.

  • Jenny says:

    * Clipless or platform? – Depends on the ride.
    * CO2 or hand pump? – Hand pump.
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..) – Steel, baby, steel.
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup? – Gears. I live in Mendota HILLS.
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? – Too techincal. I don’t know!
    * Camelbak or water bottle? – Bottle. Camelbaks make me hot.
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? – Drop for distance.
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? – Wicking. I do love me some high-tech clothing. I exercise to accessorize to be honest.
    * GPS or cyclometer? – Cyclometer only b/c I don’t know how to use a GPS yet. I’m kinda old school in some ways.

    I just love biking! Leisurely with my kid, commuting to the train, racing up to the store for milk, long solitary rode rides… I just love it.

  • Sara says:

    * Clipless or platform? – clipless. Much better power transfer.
    * CO2 or hand pump? – Hand pump. With an accurate gauge!
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..) – Carbon!
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup? – How about 2 x 10? The coast of California is very, well, undulating!
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? – No clue!
    * Camelbak or water bottle? – Bottle(s). Camelbaks are too uncomfortable and hot.
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? – Drop bars, but I’m usually on the hoods (road bike). I’m a roadie! I have flat bars on my old Cannondale – they’re good for me!.
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? – Wicking. It’s warm when it’s cold and comfortable when it’s hot – nice!
    * GPS or cyclometer? – GPS. I love data – give me DATA!

  • gregory says:

    clipless on two bikes, platform on a third. I stuck with track pedal and double straps when i raced, but find clipless pedals a wonderful thing.

    Hand pump… seems more self reliant somehow…

    I like steel for the ride to cost benefit, but ride anything that’s nicely crafted

    2 x 9 speed road bike, commute bike an 8 speed internal geared hub. Hills and age make me love my gears

    i don’t have outboard bearings…just haven’t needed to upgrade to them and no longer need high efficiency, no flex drivetrain as I no longer am vying for a finish line. I rarely notice a bottom bracket.

    waterbottles… they are easier to clean and come in colors

    drop bars on my road bikes, slightly curved/mostly flat bars on my commute rig. I love being bi.
    .
    i love nice soft merino wool shirts. reminds me of when i first started riding. don’t miss the baggy wool shorts though… knickers are a kick

    took the cyclometer off my bike recently. miss the two button avocet’s which were simple like the bike is simple.

  • ross says:

    As an old bike mechanic/shop employee, I’m kinda sick of the whole ‘steel is real’ mantra. I think the new crop of framebuilders are using it because it’s forgiving to work with. You can screw up pretty majorly with a steel frame and still reasonably fix it with no adverse consequences.
    I don’t see any of these ‘nouveaux’ framebuilders working with quality tubesets like Reynolds or Columbus because it takes actual skill to braze. Same with aluminum. You need to know what you’re doing. I think in that regard these people have more marketing skillz.
    The argument about aluminum being a harsh ride is also completely erroneous and has to do with tubing diameter, not material. No one has ever ridden an old Alan frame?
    Same for reliability. If anything, in this litigation-happy culture aluminum frames are overbuilt now.
    This badmouthing anything but steel comes from the same people who poo-poo bikes made in China, having no idea that the majority of bike-shop bikes are of Chinese and Taiwanese origin as well. Dorel owns most of the major brands, (including Schwinn, Cannondale and Mongoose) supplying both bikeshops and box stores such as Walmart. (yes of course the parts are inferior, they’re trying to steer you ultimately into a bikeshop.)

    Don’t even get me started on the fixie debate. No brakes? No gears? Is shifting really that difficult to master or maintain? Skidding to a stop is also great if you ride in a cul-de-sac, not in NYC traffic. Then again people still smoke, so what do I know.

    Having 16 bikes, all except one is aluminum. The only steel one being an old Somec Italian racing bike made out of Columbus.

    * Clipless or platform? Platform, I can’t be bothered carrying 2 pairs of shoes around or walking like a duck in front of clients.

    * CO2 or hand pump? Using CO2 is like having an iPhone when you need to replace the battery.

    * What material do you prefer? Aluminum, it’s way lighter than steel and just as cheap now.

    * Gears, single speed or? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use gears.
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type? Either one, doesn’t matter. Lots more titanium axles out there in square though.
    * Camelbak or water bottle? Whatever fits in my waterbottle holder.
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars? I put BMX bars on all of my mountain bikes now. It’s nice to be able to sit up and see where you’re riding without cramping your neck. Comfort trumps speed and aerodynamics.
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool? Wool? In the summer? In this humidity?
    * GPS or cyclometer? all Android phones have built-in GPS bicycling apps now, but they kill battery life very quickly. Until the battery-life thing gets solved, cyclometers will be around a while.

  • One Eyed z says:

    * Clipless or platform?
    -Platform with Power Straps for my summer fixed gear commuter. Clipless for winter fixed gear commuter with my winter SPD shoes

    * CO2 or hand pump?
    -Both. I use CO2 but I carry a pump just in case

    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    -Steel

    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    -My daily drivers are fixed gear. My 29er is single. CX I have one of each (2×9, SS & FG)

    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    -Outboard bearing or square taper – Splined was a waste of time

    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    – Bottle

    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    -31.8 is preferred except for my track bike since it has a 1″ head tube.
    -risers with some back sweep on some and short and shallow drop bars on the rest

    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    -I’m all about the wool, wish I had more

    * GPS or cyclometer?
    -Bah. Just ride.

  • Jean says:

    Clipless or platform?
    * CO2 or hand pump?
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    * GPS or cyclometer?

    I returned to cycling regularily nearly 20 yrs. ago. I’ve been car-free last 30 yrs.
    Platform with toe cups,no straps
    Hand pump (and floor pump)
    Aluminum, steel . Don’t want carbon due to cost.
    21 speed bikes (I have 4 bikes, all hybrids, with 1 folding bike)
    Water bottle
    Bent bars
    Wicking material for over 70% of clothing
    I removed the cyclometer for let 8 yrs. of cycling. Tracked my mileage. Now I don’t. I just ride as much as I can and don’t obsess over total mileage.

  • balazs says:

    Clipless or platform?
    Both. Shimano 530!
    * CO2 or hand pump?
    hand pump.
    * What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
    Steel.
    * Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
    Gears
    * Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
    ??
    * Camelbak or water bottle?
    water bottle
    * Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
    Drop bars
    * Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
    Wool. But i have wicks as well.
    * GPS or cyclometer?
    cyclometer

  • velo girl says:

    * platform

    * steel

    * hand pump

    * axle cup

    * water bottle

    * straight bar

    * wool, love my icebreaker as weather cools

    * none, did a GPS check of my speed to confirm. Thankfully I am able to commute to work and just spin at my cadence. As long as I have the gearing to spin in a variety of conditions I’m happy. Currently ride a 3X6 and it has been more than adequate

    Most important aspects of my bike is my Wald 520 basket set and lighting. Love to ride at night. My Wald changes my bike from a recreational piece to practical transportation. I live a car light lifestyle.

  • Phoenix says:

    I didn’t know merino wool was a retro throwback. Just my experience, but merino wool is very expensive because the temperature regulation abilities, comfort, resistance to odor, and ability to keep you warm even if you’re soaked far outstrip any synthetic I’ve personally used. When crap happens, wool just plain tries harder. :)

    In the Pacific NW, we have a saying about cotton when you’re far away from home and the weather turns:

    Cotton Kills.

  • Mac says:

    Regression is a great word to describe the industry for women. I am 5’4″ and can’t find a cyclocross bike to fit that I can afford ($1,200 or less). The smallest REI women’s frames are 52″ (Raleigh); same for Performance (fuji). When I visit the stores, no display small frames are out to test ride. You have to take a chance and order! And when there is a women’s frame, it has cheaper components. Hoping more looking will turn up something, sad state.

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