Friday, April 26, 2024

Nobody asked for them.

Here’s a great article by Eben Weiss, aka Bike Snob NYC:

In it, he makes all the reasonable arguments against an entire bicycle industry dropping older technologies in favor of promoting the false idol of “racing trickle-down.”

And if you like that one, here’s another:

Again, same thing. The bicycle industry insists on infantilizing consumers by presuming they know what’s best, rather than the people who ride the damned bikes every day.

The last time I dared to question this attitude deeply, I was still working in the bicycle industry and I got my head handed to me on all sides — entirely by men, by the way — because in poo-poohing the 650b renaissance, I had somehow blasphemed the bicycle industry gods.

I built up a 650b test bike for Kogswell twenty years ago. Matthew (of Kogswell) had asked me to be part of the testing group because all his other test-builders were tall guys, and he needed someone shorter to fill out the sample group. I learned a lot from the process, and I’m glad to have done it. But in the end, I simply was not tall enough or big enough to notice a meaningful difference from n ride quality between 650b and my standard, go-to tire size of 26”/559. After the testing was finished, I sold my Kogswell to someone else and went back to my 26’er bikes with no regrets, and watched from the sidelines as two men with considerable social capital proceeded to bully the entire bike industry to invest deeply into 650b. My shop bought some tires, but we never sold very many. Our customers, living on smaller budgets and riding mostly older bikes, didn’t need another t wheel size to devote garage space to. (Rivendell Bicycle Works, which made my 26’er All-Rounder back in 1999, no longer makes frames to fit that wheel size. Too bad. However, they have yet to make a bike with disc tabs, so I mostly forgive them.)

The hard, ugly fact is that racing trickle-down is what helps to pay for the juggernaut costs of racing bike and component development and production. And racing is what gets the company name out in front of the media, not some old fat lady peddling her city bike at 10mph on her way to the store.

Which is a big part of why this old fat lady no longer shops at bike stores for anything new, and why she has a supply of overhauled freewheels on hand to see her out.

Can’t afford the new and shiny stuff? Don’t worry. There are plenty of used bikes and parts out there at downright cheap prices. Relax, and go ride your bike.

No comments: