Looking Back Over the 2010s

At the beginning of the year, we talked about our predictions of where bicycles are headed in the upcoming decade. Now, with a little time to reflect on the 2010s, it’s fun to look back and see what the last decade really has been all about in terms of cycling.

One thing that strikes me is how little road bikes have changed. A 2010 Tour de France bike (above) looks not very different from a 2020 one: lightweight carbon frame, brifters, narrow tires. Sure, the tires have grown from 23 to 25 (or even 28) millimeters wide, and the derailleurs are now activated by little motors rather than directly via cables, but the fact that we’re excited about such small details shows how little has really changed.

Compare that to the 1990s: At the beginning of the decade, almost all riders were on steel bikes with horizontal top tubes and downtube shifters. Ten years later, steel was dead and brifters had taken over. And the 2000s started with Marco Pantani winning Tour stages on a top-tier aluminum bike. Talk about radical change!

The last time racing bikes changed this much had been during the 1930s, when lightweight frames and derailleurs first made their appearance in the big tours.

So what were the big themes of the 2010s? On the surface, it was gravel bikes and disc brakes. Almost unknown at the beginning of the decade, drop-bar bikes with wide tires became the hottest trend of the late 2010s. Disc brakes and tubeless tires migrated from mountain bikes to the gravel sector. 650B wheels came full circle, from randonneur bikes to mtbs and now back to all-road bikes.

With all the talk about ‘gravel,’ it’s easy to overlook that these new all-road bikes are a much more significant shift than the ‘big’ changes of the 1990s. For the first time in more than half a century, ‘go-fast’ bikes are no longer synonymous with narrow-tired racing bikes. All-road bikes have upended the familiar categorizations:

  • Racing Bike = fast
  • Mountain Bike = rough roads
  • Touring Bike = comfortable

The new breed of all-road bikes are as fast as racing bikes, can go on rough roads like mountain bikes, and are as comfortable as touring bikes. Combining all these qualities in a single bike seemed impossible in 2010. Today, it’s commonplace.

And a typical Sunday ride is no longer limited to pavement. Being able to ride – and enjoy – gravel roads has opened up new loops that bypass busy roads.

Realizing that wide tires and performance can go together has also changed bicycle touring. Where traditional touring bikes were designed for rear loads that required stiff frames and more sedate riding styles, now riders tour on performance bikes. Off-road, bikepacking distributes the load across the entire bike to keep it nimble in tight single track.

On the road (paved or gravel), stiff racks have changed how we distribute our loads. We can carry an entire camping load on the front wheel of a performance bike, where it is more aerodynamic, has little impact on the handling, doesn’t require an overly stiff frame, and even allows out-of-the-saddle sprints. Traditional touring bikes have become almost obsolete – just put a good rack on your all-road bike, and you can enjoy spirited performance even on a camping trip.

Another important trend: Women are finally taken seriously as cyclists. Gone are the days when women’s bikes came only in pink and with low-end components. (We’re not against pink entry-level bikes, but against stereotyping women.) Today’s women cyclists buy their own bikes and ride them competently, rather than relying on the men in their lives, both for equipment and advice.

These trends are not mere fads. They are so profound that they are here to stay. Cycling will never be the same again, and it’s all the better for it.

What do you consider the most important developments of the last decade?

Photo credits: Amanda Naumann (Photo 1); Alex Kochon (Photo 2); Al McWilliams (Photo 3); Mark Vande Kamp (Photo 6)

40 Responses to Looking Back Over the 2010s

  1. mike kelly February 17, 2020 at 7:32 am #

    For me it is not the bike but the relative acceptance of cycling as an economic force. Growing up in the pre-bike boom days cycling and cyclists were considered invisible.
    Now communities are recognizing cycling tourism to be a viable boost to local economies.

    The separated cycling paths that Germany, Austria and Northern Italy have created in the last decade are spectacular. Not just demo bike paths that are 5 miles long these are separated, often paved, paths that go for hundreds of miles.

    The other aspect is the apparent shift to bikes being the new golf and the well-to-do spending $10K on a bike.

  2. Alvin February 17, 2020 at 7:43 am #

    > What do you consider the most important developments of the last decade?

    The popularity of e-bikes, and as much as I love disc brakes, I don’t think it’s even a contest. In 20 years, the evolution that everyone will remember isn’t disc or gravel – it’s that bicycles started serving a large new group of bicyclists (and for some existing riders, made their bikes useful in more situations).

    And for all the changes that e-bikes have already brought, this new group of bicyclists is in the earliest stages of its growth trajectory.

    • Morten Reippuert February 17, 2020 at 10:18 am #

      Im not that impressed with the ‘german style’ cycling paths (having ridden all over in south Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Bavaria, from Cologne to Bodensee allong the Rhine, from Flensbourg to Usedom allong the baltic sea on varous vacations in the past 10y.

      Too often the seperated paths are unpaved – and when riding through towns its up/down foot pathways too often as Germans are afraid of cyclists on the roads though towns – and those shared foot/cycle pathways are nbot suited for high speed cycling at all.
      When the pathways are truely seperated and paved with Asfalt/Fliesen they are often almost unrideable at speeds exceeding 20km/h due to roots from straßenbaunen etc.
      In the BRD there is also a major issue with signposting which is horrible compared to France, Spain or Italy – ex riding though Karlsruhe is just horrible as you will be diverted though the local neighboughoods and a 10-15km distance can easily take +2h.

      Im Daneish so like the Dutch im used to very good cycling infrastructure throoighout the country – Swizerland is fabolous though with descent cycling lanes and fabolous signposting regardless if in central Zürich or rideing in rual arreas of Graubunen.

      • Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 11:45 am #

        Let’s not turn this into a discussion of cyclepaths and separate infrastructures… Perhaps one of the great developments of the 2010s is the discovery of backroads – often gravel – that offer a great riding experience, and the safety that comes with solitude. What other developments marked cycling in the 2010s?

  3. Tim February 17, 2020 at 8:00 am #

    Noting the increased tire volume change begs the question, in which decade did the change to narrowing tires happen?

    • Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 8:09 am #

      Narrow tires feel faster, even if they aren’t: High pressures make tires vibrate at higher frequencies, which is the same effect as going faster (and hitting road irregularities at higher frequencies). Thus, the general trend seems to have been to narrower tires throughout the history of cycling.

      The first pneumatic tires were wide, because they were the antidote to the harsh-riding solid-tire ‘boneshakers.’ Air was better than solid rubber, more air was even better. By the 1920s, Vélocio already reports that the ‘pneu crayon’ (pencil tire) had become entrenched, and he called for a wide-tire revolution. For cyclotouring, that lasted through the 1940s, mostly because the rules for the Concours de Machines technical trials required wide tires, and every cyclotourists dreamed of having a superlight bike like those in the Concours. Once the Concours ended with the downturn of the general cycling market in France, tires seem to have become narrower and narrower, until they reached a low point of 18 mm (Continental was very proud to have the narrowest ones) in the late 1980s. Racers were on 21.5 mm tubulars by then. Tires grew back to 23 mm – I suspect that in back-to-back tests, it was just too noticeable how much slower the super-narrow tires were. They stayed there for a decade, until our tires tests showed that 25 mm tires are faster even on smooth pavement…

    • John C. Wilson February 18, 2020 at 6:26 pm #

      Growing up on bike in the 60s the narrow racing tire was 25mm. Anything narrower was for track. Racers used up to 29mm as a matter of course. As late as 1973 saw a criterium won on 32mm tubulars. It was raining and the course was rough and Ochowicz used big tires. It was also 1973 when I first saw 22mm road tubulars. You could not tell anyone they were slower and they sold like hotcakes. Inside two years it was all you could buy.

      This is all tubulars. Clinchers were just slow. You hoped they held air. The ride was harsh. Few knew or cared what the width was. Michelin 50s rode smooth but flatted nearly as easily as tubulars. For all the endless noise made about how tubulars flatted so often, clinchers were fragile as well. The really good riding tire that didn’t flat was a Goodyear, big and wide only. Only in the past decade have we seen tires as great as the old Goodyears.

      Even in the 60s some knew that less air was faster and less air meant fewer flats. My coaches always told me that. I even listened a little. For most riders tubulars meant 100psi or more. That was one reason for going narrower, a 22mm tire at 100 (or 140 ) works much better than a 29mm tire at 100 (or 140). Everyone was skinny back then, we did not need so much air.

  4. Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 8:02 am #

    E-bikes and separate infrastructure have been big trends over the last decade in the U.S., too. I view them with mixed feelings. For transportation, e-bikes make more sense than electric cars (why haul around 2 tons of metal and toxic batteries?), but they’ve also led to increase in serious accidents, because they make it too easy to go too fast.

    The separate infrastructure fortunately no longer is an excuse to banish cyclists from the road (as it was in the past in Germany), but even well-meaning attempts to provide ‘separation’ have made cycling more hazardous by hiding the cyclist from other traffic as it becomes ‘unseparated’ at every intersection.

    Right now, both trends are mutually exclusive – e-bikes are too fast for infrastructure that was created for speeds of about 5 mph. Hopefully, as both trends mature, their negative effects will be mitigated, and only the positive – getting more people on bikes – remain.

    • Gene Wayne February 17, 2020 at 9:25 am #

      Is it clear that the increase in traffic fatalities for bicyclists in the Netherlands is due to the increased speed of e-bikes? I couldn’t find that in the article you linked to. Not trying to be argumentative – just curious, and generally concerned about traffic safety issues for cyclists.

      • Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 9:43 am #

        The Dutch keep good statistics on these types of things, so it’s easy to see where the increase in fatalities has been. One related news article is here.

        • Gene Wayne February 17, 2020 at 10:35 am #

          Thanks!

      • Morten Reippuert Knudsen February 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm #

        We are beginning to see the same issue with inexperienced e-bike cyclists here in denmark.

        My commute in copenhagen has changed in the past 5y – but i have really noticed the high speed of non-exerienced cyclists on underdimensioned cyclepaths the last two summers in germany where i toured along the Rhine from Cologne to Bodensee (and into swizerland) and from the Danish border to the Poilish border allong the Baltic sea.

    • Rick Thompson February 19, 2020 at 11:19 am #

      I may be in an unusual cycling environment, living on the outer edge of the SF Bay area. San Francisco itself has seen a huge increase in dedicated cycling lanes over the last decade, but they are crowded with a risky mix of normal bikes and electrified bikes, scooters, and skateboards. The rider may be a skilled local commuter, or a tourist on a rental. It is fun to ride there, but I have to stay alert every second.
      My local town has also built up bike infrastructure the last 10 years, many new bike lanes and paths, but they are used mostly by weekend riders. On my e-bike commute I rarely see another cyclist and have the lanes to myself. The main risks are turning cars, or possibly a solo crash on a 6 mile separate bike path where my tracks were the only ones for a week. I tell everyone how easy bike commuting is here, but so far it’s all for me.

  5. Derek February 17, 2020 at 9:59 am #

    “Women are finally taken seriously as cyclists.”

    I wish, but hardly. It would be accurate to say we’re starting to take women seriously as cyclists, but it’s far from final. And it won’t just happen, it took work to get to this point and will take more work for the trend to continue. Equipment makers need to listen better and not take something they designed mainly for male racers, make it like 3% smaller or something else barely discernible, and call it a day. Also, there’s nothing wrong with a woman getting advice from man, if he actually listens and doesn’t try to make her do things “right” as in his way. But that’s a big if. Most of us naturally stink at listening and have to try hard.

    • Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 11:38 am #

      It goes the other way, too. Many men can learn a lot from women cyclists. I’ve learned a lot from Natsuko, and her influence as an editor on Bicycle Quarterly has been profound in so many ways.

      • Derek February 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

        Yes, though it often isn’t, it can be a two way street. Please continue to be a good example by making BQ and this blog as inclusive as possible.

  6. Jamie February 17, 2020 at 12:39 pm #

    I would have to say cheap, reliable, bright and efficient LED lighting has been the most important development for cyclists over the last 10 years. Combine that with the availability of Lithium Ion batteries (for those who use battery powered lights.)

    Just look at the first picture Jan posted up above. A revolutionary change compared to the halogen and incandescent lights we used to use.

    • Jan Heine February 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm #

      Agreed on the importance of LEDs to make lighting better. Actually, that change was a bit earlier – the first ground-breaking Edelux and B&M IQ Cyo were introduced in 2008…

      • Jamie February 19, 2020 at 8:58 am #

        Good point Jan. Come to think of it, I bought my first B&M LED dynamo light around 2009, and it was a huge step forward. However, mass adoption, continued improvement and lower price points made this very much a 2010’s trend as well. For example, the Cree XM-L was introduced in 2011.

  7. Craig Lloyd February 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm #

    I would argue that the wind-tunnel marginal-gains drive to make everything aero has changed road bikes quite a lot from 10 years ago… everything now has dropped chainstays, shaped tubes, kamm-tail seatposts, one-piece bar and stem, 40-60 mm deep & fat wheels, fully hidden cables, and (mostly) disc brakes.

    Weight plays second fiddle now. “Aero” is perhaps as big a movement as “gravel/all-road”, even if many of us feel the later is more relevant for most riders.

  8. Jon Blum February 17, 2020 at 1:58 pm #

    No disagreement with what you’ve said, but I think another important change in the last decade is the slow progress toward using bicycles for practical transportation. That’s been helped by the aforementioned ebikes and LED lights, but it is also the recognition that continuous expansion of the infrastructure to serve automobiles cannot solve our transportation problems and is contributing to climate change. New York City tried bike lanes in the early 1980s. It was a fiasco, and they were torn out.
    Yet today they are talking about congestion pricing to reduce car traffic, a political impossibility in the past. The expansion of bicycle infrastructure is a positive sign, despite the serious shortcomings mentioned by Jan. Progress here in California has been slow; with long commutes, a weak public transit system, and a cultural aversion to non-automotive transportation, it’s hard to get people out of cars. We have a long way to go, but the bicycle is finally being taken (somewhat) seriously as an element of the transportation system.

  9. Markus Kellerhals February 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

    Three things I noticed during the 2010s

    1) Decent quality kids bikes increasingly available. This started back in the 2000’s with Islabikes and others, but during the 2010s the number of niche kid bike makers exploded (Spawn, Woom, Cleary, Prevelo, Frog, Trailcraft). This availability of nice kids bikes has caused a few of the major brands to up their game on the junior bike front.

    2) Boom in cyclocross racing especially at the non-elite level

    3) Angry bikelash from a segment of the population whenever/wherever a bike lane is built or proposed

  10. John Duval February 17, 2020 at 3:44 pm #

    I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest something different: bicycle press. The rise of Global Cycling Network, and other cycling channels on YouTube, rather than trying to break into networks or cable channels, or paper. Also social media far outstripping traditional media as a source of information, while blogs have stagnated. Maybe not the content; pushing industry agendas and products that most enthusiasts at best would see a placebo effect. Bicycle quarterly certainly has bucked the trend by expanding paper and substantial content when most of the world has gone digital and aims for the 7 second attention span.

    But the bike itself? Not much different for me. The steel tubing is much better today, which makes the bike lighter and plane better. But otherwise? Would not miss it.

    • Pete Chesworth February 19, 2020 at 2:12 am #

      Totally agree. Reading this blog is a bridge between BQs, and no longer waiting at the newsagent each month for Cycle, Bicycling or some other overseas magazine arriving three months after publication.

  11. Paul Stein February 17, 2020 at 7:18 pm #

    To me, one of the biggest developments over the past 10 years was that bikes got a lot more complicated and difficult to work on, in particular: electronic shifting; disk brakes, especially hydraulic; and tubeless tires. I am an OK amateur bike mechanic, and the wrenching skills I learned in high school served me well until recently. I now own a bike with derailleurs that can’t be tweaked with a barrel adjuster, and brake hoses that need to be bled–a process I don’t think I will ever bother to learn. These parts and systems are also a lot more expensive to replace; new disk brake pads and rotors, which need to be replaced with some frequency, are significantly more costly than a new set of rim brake pads. People say the same thing about fixing cars, which are now extremely complex; I’m not against it, I’m just flagging it, and I suspect (and hope) all of this complexity will be a good thing for bike shops, as people pay for repair work they might have done themselves in the past.

    • Owen February 17, 2020 at 11:03 pm #

      I’ll call it out and say I’m against it! One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about cycling is being able to work on my own bike, letting me explore remote areas with the confidence I could make home in the event of a mechanical problem (this after taking just a couple basic repair classes).

      You give good examples: brakes, shifters and derailleurs used to be so much simpler to service and consumables were cheap, I’ve never understood the push to make these systems more complicated given the very simple tasks they’re required to do. I hope in ten years we still have reliable, economical 9 speed components that don’t cost an arm and a leg and are also nice to look at. It’s encouraging to see smaller companies fill these niches, I’m not holding my breath for Shimano and SRAM.

      • Stuart Fogg February 18, 2020 at 11:15 am #

        I’m using TRP HY/RD brakes with old-fashioned single-purpose brake levers. No maintenance other than simple and infrequent pad changes.

        I’m also using (gasp!) friction shifters on Paul Thumbies with no maintenance and perfect shifting on 8- or 9-speed cassettes.

        What’s next? Tubes in my tubeless tires? Yep.

        Big manufacturers may be pushing technology not suited to my needs but I don’t have to buy it.

  12. marmotte27 February 18, 2020 at 12:58 am #

    Fundamentally I think, not much has changed. Cycling is still dominated by large makers whose aim is to mainly cash in on trends. So they push materials and equipment which maximise margins. There are exceptions, like SON ; when you sometimes ask for reader’s favourite articles, I keep forgetting to mention the one about your visit at SON, who seem to be exemplary in so many ways. Not sure of course if they can be considered a large maker.
    What I mean is, the really exciting advances are still happening at the margins, like the resurgence of small bespoke builders, catering for real needs.
    I’d say in many ways BQ was and is at the centre of it all. I’m looking forward to more articles on real world bicycles (judging form your muddied face on many pictures lately, real all-road bikes clearly need fenders), everyday transport cycling (and why not e-bikes in that domain), equipment (are you interested in ecological out-door and cycle clothing? I find it’s a domain that really needs some questioning, research and testing, for example into natural fibres…)

  13. GeorgeV February 18, 2020 at 3:37 am #

    “touring bikes are obsolete”

    I’m sorry but that is nonsense.
    Perhaps it is true for your specific USE/Seattle environment, but where I live (the Netherlands), touring bikes are dominant as ever; with standard 50mm tyres (since already more than 10-15 years) on 622 wheels, straight bars and both rim- disc brakes. Often with a Rohloff 14 speed rear hub. Luggage is still being carried at both front and rear, or just at the rear, on a rear rack. (which is a perfect way of traveling with a bike and camping gear)
    Personally, I am not in the least attracted to front-load-only with regard to cycle touring, a nd I don’t know anyone that travels like that. (which in itself is off course not an argument but nevertheless a fact)

    And with regard to back-packing; (which I also do) it is in fact a very cumbersome way of touring, your gear particularly difficult to reach compared to classic panniers. The only real argument for bike-packing is when you want to ride difficult technical tracks, or when you want to travel ultralight. Carrying a tent for instance, is virtually impossible as a bike packer, you will have to stay overnight in hotels or stay on a campsite with a minimalist shelter.

    • Jan Heine February 18, 2020 at 8:26 am #

      Traditional touring bikes are still around, but they are obsolete in the sense that they no longer are the best solution for going on a camping trip with your bike. That doesn’t mean that a trip on a touring bike won’t be fun – some of my most memorable trips were on a bike with flexible Blackburn racks and 25 mm tires. But that bike is long gone, and none of the bikes I use today have a rear rack.

      The convenience of being able to rise out of the saddle without the whole bike wobbling, the joys of climbing on a frame that ‘planes,’ and the fun of carving deep into corners on twisty descents – these were things that used to be impossible on a bike loaded with camping gear. Now we’ve realized that they were just limitations of too-flexible racks, rear load placement and front-end geometries not taking the load into consideration.

      Agreed on bikepacking gear – the packing and unpacking is cumbersome, and the carrying capacity is limited. Bikepacking setups are useful in places where you can’t go with traditional panniers, or for loads so small that they’d also fit in a handlebar bag. And, of course, you don’t need racks, but can strap the bags to just about any bike.

      • Stephen W February 18, 2020 at 9:15 am #

        I’m not convinced! On a traditional touring bike, with most of the weight in panniers at the back and the lighter items in front panniers, it’s quite possible to carve pleasantly around corners on twisty descents. If the racks are decent quality, they don’t flex so the bike doesn’t wobble about.

        Depending on how much stuff you have to carry, two large front panniers and a handlebar bag may not be enough space.

        I can see that if you put the load at the front, the frame doesn’t need to be so stiff and this is a good thing. However, you still need a stiffer fork to take the extra load, so it’s not a free lunch. For the kind of load shown in your picture (two large panniers and a handlebar bag), I imagine you could probably get away with using a very flexible fork if you carried the panniers at the back.

        The thing I don’t like about heavier loads at the front is that they need to be balanced between sides, whereas at the back it’s not so critical. If you store lots of food in one pannier and then eat it this could be a problem.

        • Jan Heine February 18, 2020 at 10:10 am #

          You make a good point about the front load needing to be balanced. The same applies to a rear load, but you can compensate more easily for this. (If you follow a commuter who uses a single pannier, you’ll notice how they make periodic swerves to compensate for the steering effects of the unbalanced bike.)

          Regarding the fork stiffness, the weight of a front low-rider is carried on the dropout, so the fork doesn’t need to be stiffer than on an empty bike. My Mule uses the Kaisei ‘TOEI Special’ fork blades, yet it handles great with camping gear for two people and 3 days’ food the largest Berthoud pannier.

    • Mike M February 18, 2020 at 5:36 pm #

      I’d say that only the name “touring bike” is obsolete. The category was, in my opinion, the forerunner of allroad bikes, even more so than early MTBs. Many quality vintage touring bikes can be retrofitted with wide(r) and supple tires, fenders, and quality racks, making them de facto “allroad bikes”. It’s the label of the 2010s-the present (tying it back to the theme of this post), one that emphasizes traveling over different types of roads vs. “tour” which implies longer distances.

  14. Jairp February 18, 2020 at 12:14 pm #

    Looking at the allroad bikes released so far, I see two trends in the front end geometry:
    1) MTB inspired handling: Bikes with slacker head tube, more fork rake, longer top tube and short stem. ( recent example being Evil Bike’s new bike that has super-slack (66.67 degree) head angle.
    2) Road/Cyclocross handling: steeper head tube with less rake and shorter top tube.

    I wonder if these two distinct category will stay separate or if the market will converge on one design.

    • Jan Heine February 18, 2020 at 9:15 pm #

      My prediction for the 2020s was that they’ll separate. 1) is monstercross or adventure, great for single track, but not ideal for fast gravel roads; 2) is all-road, perfect for high speeds and sweeping corners, but not so great in technical terrain. We’ll see what happens.

  15. Keith Benefiel February 18, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

    Touring is all about …touring. I remember having as much fun in the 60s on my coaster brake Rollfast. The Wald basket which usually held fifty tightly rolled newspapers, carried the kapok sleeping bag, a couple cans of Beanie-Weenies, a fistful of Slim-Jims and a bottle of Vernors. At seventy, I still ride with a front load on a “modern” gravel/tour rig. New soft coolers mean COLD beer in camp. This is way better than electric gear changers

  16. kai s February 18, 2020 at 1:49 pm #

    one very obvious change on the bike scene is that mamils invaded bike lanes for commuting, last years somewhat under pressure from e-bikes.

    and for mtb 29er full suspension bikes took over, 650b already on its way out, both topped with 1x gears with monstrously expensive and fast to wear out parts, and unfortunately also low efficiency and big jumps at higher gears

  17. Ed February 19, 2020 at 7:29 am #

    I am searching for the important positive changes to the bicycle that occurred over the past decade. That is, changes for bicycle riders that ride less than an hour four or five times a week. The option of the 650b wheel with wider tires has been a significant positive.

    However, many of the other developments during the past decade have been a negative for the rider that doesn’t need a Leadville 100% capable bicycle or devotes time to riding 600k/1200k brevets.

    Disc Brakes
    By the end of the decade, most mainstream bicycle companies had ditched v-brakes, cantis, and/or center-pull brakes in favor or either mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. V-brakes are vastly superior to mechanical disc brakes. I have a bicycle with mechanical discs and they require adjustment at about 250 miles and pad replacement around 1500 miles. My bicycle with v-brakes has 7500 miles and has the same pads and cables from when I purchased the bicycle new. I have adjusted the brakes maybe twice over that time period.

    I have ridden bicycles with hydraulic disc brakes and they are slightly better than v-brakes. But v-brakes for me have 95% of the stopping power of HD brakes. So why would I want to pay a bicycle shop 60 to 80 dollars every couple of years to bleed the brake lines? I can take care of my cable controlled bicycle with few problems.

    Marginal cost vs. marginal benefit is the real question here. Is the marginal cost, (brake cost, maintenance expenses, time to transport to bicycle shop, etc.), less than the marginal benefit from using disc brakes? The answer for me is no.

    Tubeless tires
    All I can say is go to this link. https://www.renehersecycles.com/how-to-set-up-tubeless-tires/ Why would one, except for the cutting edge bicycle rider, want to put up with tubeless tires? This technology will probably not trickle down to the point where average riders have to accept tubeless tires.

    However, that is not the case for disc brakes. Go to the website of any major bicycle company and observe the number of bicycles with disc brakes. Rim brakes are hard to find.

    Electronic shifting/12 speed cassettes are among other things that seem unnecessary for many bicycle riders. The problem is this: choice is going away. Shimano has already stopped production of the 8-speed Ultegra bar-end shifters and has announced the end of the Deore 9-speed derailleur. The hope is other companies will fill the gap left by Shimano.

    Again, I am willing to acknowledge the new technology as long as I am not forced to accept it. I will be able to avoid most of this nonsense because I am keeping an inventory of bicycle parts. However, many new riders are going to be forced to accept technology they may not need or want. Will they continue to ride once they realize what they have to do to maintain that new bicycle (bleed brakes lines, remember to charge batteries, etc.)? We will see soon enough…

    I will close by asking, what type of bicycle did Jan use in last year’s PBP? It seems to be a simple bicycle that would be easy enough to maintain. That is all I want.

  18. Jacob Musha February 19, 2020 at 7:47 am #

    I think custom frames have become more relevant in the past decade. Ten years ago, what would a builder offer that you couldn’t get off-the-shelf? Geometry to fit, your choice of braze-ons, and of course the custom appearance.

    Today you can order a randonneuring bike that is unlikely to ever be offered in the mainstream. Aside from the brand-new Crust Lightning Bolt, no one is making a production frame that uses superlight tubing, low-trail geometry, rim brakes, clearance for wide tires, proper fender mounting, etc. I expect bikes like this will always remain in the custom or very low production realm.

    The existence of these bikes today is due to the awareness that they are not just historical relics but the best setup for the riding that many people do, and the availability of parts to make it possible to build them.