I’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to fend off the onslaught of technology that has bombarded the bike industry. Constant “improvements” that add varying degrees of enjoyment for the end user. Sometimes, like in any other industry, we see change merely for the sake of change. It makes me crazy. However, with a recent bike build I employed some features that, while not brand new, I had previously eschewed. I’m warming to the idea that all new things are not necessarily bad. Radical, huh?
We’re at an interesting point with regards to bicycle technology. Like with any tech, things happen pretty quickly, but not all “improvements” lend themselves to a better overall riding experience. My biggest complaint is that this new tech makes the bicycle, which by it’s very nature is a very uncomplicated machine, much more difficult to work on. When professional mechanics struggle what hope does the home mechanic have? I think if what “we” (as an industry) really want is more people using bikes, shouldn’t those bikes be a simple and straightforward as reasonably possible?
Now, you have to understand I’m not talking about recreational “bike path” bikes. Those bikes are straight forward, easy to ride and easy to maintain. I’m talking about bikes ridden by more……enthusiastic riders (I refuse to use the word “serious”. Why would anyone-save for someone making their living on a bike-be serious about something that should be so enjoyable and care free?).
The touring bikes that I ride, and sell have historically been the epitome of a bicycle that is functional, durable and straight forward with regards to design. What I started to notice a year or so ago was “newfangled” tech creeping into my precious touring bikes! The horror.
As I started to build a new bike this year I started to think about adding some of these new features. Things like a 1x drivetrain have allowed me to ditch my front derailleur. Tubeless tires make the big tires I ride, ride even better. Finally, disc brakes allow me not only better stopping power, but more flexibility in tire selection. There were challenges here and there, but I shouldn’t have been surprised that everything worked just the way I expected. Have no fear, there are plenty of old things on this bike (least of which is the rider!). It is, to me, the ideal mix of old and new tech. It employs classic touring gear while borrowing from current mountain bike, and bike packing gear.
Keep one foot firmly planted in the past, while exploring whats new and embracing what works for you. I like it. I’m sure there are more aspects of life where this strategy can be employed. I look forward to further epiphanies.
Below is a picture of said bike.
Thanks for reading.