There's no doubt that bikes are better than ever. Technology has advanced to a point where most modern bikes ride really well if set up correctly. But from a rider's perspective, there seem to be a few glaring areas where most companies could be doing much better. So while some seem hell-bent on adding ever more advanced materials and electronics to our bikes in the hope of making us ride 0.1% faster, I'd humbly suggest there are lower-hanging fruits if product managers genuinely want to improve the user experience.
Better suspension set up guides
Suspension setup is seen by many as a dark art. It's usually overlooked and often skewed by outdated ideas or downright myths. Even measuring sag (step one for any suspension tuning) is more complex than it sounds, and if you go to any trailhead you'll see plenty of riders with visibly-too-soft suspension. Now that many high-end bikes come with three or four different damping adjusters on both the fork and shock, plus volume spacers and air pressures to consider, it's easy to get lost and forget the basics. It's a shame because the best suspension is worthless without the right setup.
A suspension setup guide should be specific to the bike model and take into account rider weight, height, and riding style. It should make recommendations for fork and shock pressures (not sag), as well as volume spacers, damping settings, and even related non-suspension settings like bar height and tire pressure (get these wrong and the right suspension settings will feel horrible).Norco's setup guide
is by far the best here, although when I last used it the settings were a little off, so even it could use some tweaks and refinement.
But even a rough starting point is much better than nothing. And with most brands, you're on your own. If you have a non-RockShox shock, you usually have to look up the shock stroke before you can even begin working out what sag to aim for. That's needlessly unhelpful in my view.
More stem spacers
Usually, the most expensive component on a bike is the fork, and once you cut the steerer tube down you can't make it longer again. That's why it's so frustrating when bike brands insist on cutting your $1,000+ fork's steerer as short as humanly possible. More than one product manager has admitted to me that the main reason for this is aesthetics.
I've argued before that bar height
is just as important as saddle height, and no self-respecting cyclist would put up with her saddle a few centimeters too low. But while saddle height is adjustable via the seat clamp over at least a 100 mm range, most bikes come with about 20 mm of stem spacers to play with. Sometimes less.
Yes, you can swap the handlebar rise, but this usually only gives you another +/-20 mm or so and isn't as easy or cheap as swapping a stem spacer. If nothing else, it would be nice to have the option to try a higher bar height before deciding whether to buy another bar.
Yes, you might end up cutting the steerer tube down, but this is a ten-minute job with a ten-dollar pipe cutter.
More proportionate sizing
It makes sense that bigger riders are able to pick a bigger bike, and these days, even the tallest riders
can find something long enough. But if you look into the details, the increase in sizing is not in proportion. Not even close.
For example, the YT Capra
29 is available in five sizes from Small to XXL. YT recommends the small to riders of around 160cm, and the XXL to riders of 197cm - that's a difference of 23% in rider height. Across that range, the reach grows by 19%, but the stack grows by just 4%. So although taller riders get a considerably longer reach, their cockpit is barely higher. Adding stem spacers would help, but see my last point. Riders on the other end of the spectrum likely have to put up with their bars too high.
YT is ahead of the curve (barely) in that the chainstay length (aka rear-center) grows from 438 mm for sizes S-L, to 443 mm for XL and XXL. But that's a difference of just 1.1%, while the front center grows by 12%. That means taller riders have a much more rearwards weight distribution than shorter riders.
The obvious solution to this last point would be to lengthen the chainstay on the larger sizes in proportion to the front center, but this only makes sense if the ratio of front- to rear-center lengths is correct on the smallest size, because you can't make the chainstay much shorter. The Forbidden Dreadnought
is one bike with genuinely proportionate rear-center lengths, but when I tested the XL (which has a 480mm chainstay length at sag) I found as many downsides as upsides, so perhaps smaller riders are riding chainstay lengths that are too long?
Clear up unnecesary standards
It's hardly a hot take to say that ever-changing and proliferating standards are unpopular. But I actually think the bike industry is relatively good at making things cross-compatible - try swapping the wheels on your car with your neighbor's. And in many cases where a new standard has been introduced, there is at least some sort of reason. For example, Boost hubs made wheels stronger, and the switch to metric shocks added options for frame designers while (in theory) making the shocks more reliable.
But there is no need for 30.9 and 31.6 mm seat posts; straight-pull and J-bend spokes; 6-bolt and Centerlock brakes; XG, HG and Microspline freehubs, or 31.8 mm and 35 mm handlebars. Pick one, please.
Make frame bearing swaps easier
Most bicycle components are designed to be serviceable, and most maintenance tasks benefit from detailed online instructions and dedicated tools. But when it comes to replacing frame pivot bearings, you're on your own.
While some desert dwellers rarely need to replace these buggers, here in the UK I know people who do it more than once a year. And for a task that routine, it seems most frame designers haven't thought very hard about how the bearings are going to be replaced. They're sometimes recessed in hard-to-reach areas with curved surfaces, making it hard to use a proper bearing extractor tool. Swapping bearings can often require an unnerving combination of ingenuity and brutality to get the job done.
Many brands boast about having high-quality bearings, grease, and seals designed to improve bearing lifespan, but really this only delays the inevitable. Just like the oil in your car, sooner or later it'll be time for a change.
What I'd like to see are frames designed with bearing swaps in mind, with detailed instructions on the easiest and safest ways to do it, including the tools required, plus reasonably priced bearing kits, and/or a list of required bearing codes on the manufacturer's website.
What would you like to see bike manufacturers doing differently? Sound off in the comments. You never know - someone might actually take note.
Every retailer everywhere does this. If you pay attention at your local grocery stores or big box stores they do this all the time. They'll come through one week and raise the prices on everything. Then the next week do a sale... but the sale is just lowering the price back down to where they were the week before. But people buy it because it's on sale.
Everyone wants to feel like they got a deal.
and that sucks, especially for a sport that appeals/markets to young people with free spirits.
And yes, greed is definitely involved, but this isn't news in our world, IMO.
BUT having worked for a major brand before&during the pandemic,
I can tell you that they *were* absorbing much higher costs prior to price increases
Even before the pandemic, Trump's China Tariffs were already cutting into margins,
doubly so for any brands that assembled in the USA (e.g. SC, Yeti, Ibis)
I think most people, including Trump himself,
didn't realize that American companies were paying those tariffs out of pocket:
This was in addition to the usual rise in cost of doing business
due to the speculative nature of our economy.
Brands maintained MSRPs hoping the tariffs would be lifted, and they could then recoup their losses.
When cost of doing business skyrocketed during the pandemic,
brands didn't have enough headroom to wait until the market leveled (aka nowish)
Some are predicting a significant decline in home prices
I think this will be mirrored in retail prices, albeit with a delay
due to the slower digestive system of the supply chain.
MY24 bikes to launch in July '23 are on order at an agreed upon price,
and the MSRPs are already cooked based on this.
As @jwdenver noted, bikes are being heavily discounted
no doubt to make room for this future inventory,
and pay off invoices from the tail end of 2022.
MY24 bikes will likely come out at still-inflated prices, and then be discounted immediately,
either via advertisement or in more "creative" ways.
But I predict that poor sales during 2023 (relative to the previous two years)
will allow(/necessitate) brands to negotiate lower prices with vendors for the MY25(2024) year,
resulting in lower MSRPs..
So, while 2024 will be a nightmare hellscape election year, bikes might be cheaper, so there's hope.
Also, I blame coffee for this rant. GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY
Sales are always going to be poor vs the covid period but from what I have heard from a few UK industry peeps is that they are still above pre pandemic levels, they aren’t panicking at all and certainly don’t plan to reduce prices, party because due to inflation they can’t.
Higher prices are here to stay, the reality of high global inflation cannot be undone somehow, get used to it, no the bike industry isnt imploding either.
As long as prices don't skyrocket to Rocket Surgeon levels!
"According to BA research, the sales of mechanical bikes fell by 22%, to an estimated 1.8 million units, in 2022 – 27% below pre-Covid levels in 2019. "
Lots of shops, brands, distributors and even bike factories in Asia will go bankrupt this year
Cheap bike sales have absolutely shit themselves, no doubt.
Note how the article says the most expensive bikes of all - Ebike sales are stable and gravel is up.
People I know in the industry manufacture / sell high end components and frames to us lot, they are doing just fine right now, as I say they are still up on pre pandemic levels.
Let’s wait and see how many business in this end of the market go bump this year, it won’t be as exciting as what half of PB / yourself seem to be longing for.
1.) The idea that prices will rise forever into infinity is depressing and boring, we're just spitballing here in the comments.
MSRPs are the final link in the pricing supply chain.
Thus, variations in the earlier links can yield magnified changes in the later stages.
I have heard from friends in the Ops/SupChn world that prices of shipping and components have come down significantly.
Brands are already in a price war: Specialized began discounting in Oct 22.
Feedback from retailers was that this bolted other brands to the floor.
Now SC is at 20% off? huh..weird.
With fewer technological innovations to differentiate the pedal-bike market,
and decreased demand due to demand that was "pulled forward" during the pandemic,
exec's will have few options other than to compete on price.
Home prices in your resident country of Canada went up 50% during the pandemic.
They've already fallen 15% from their peak, and are predicted to fall further.
How many realtors told their clients "Higher prices are here to stay, the reality of high global inflation cannot be undone somehow, get used to it!"
Putting aside the Anglo penchant for emotional understatement,
which your "UK industry peeps" might be employing,
my assertion was that poor sales in 2023 will precipitate changes in 2024.
Key word is "will", future tense.
Sales in Q1 are always less consequential than Q2/Q3 in markets between the 30N & 60N parallels.
Summer is the bicycle industry's Black Friday, and if it doesn't come off, you've got problems.
Only time will tell.
I never said the bike industry was imploding, if that was directed at me.
At most, I'm suggesting that it will go back to where it was,
which could be considered a crisis if you're a private equity group that bought a bicycle business hoping to get in on the ride up: sterlingpartners.com/company/velo
In 2014 it was reported that retailers lost ~4% net profits on each bike sold.
As exhibited in the movie "The Platform",
the loss of an advantage can be worse than never having it at all.
But at the end of the day that still prices so many people out of the sport. But these brands could easily produce really high quality hardtail and rigid single speed bikes for a price most kids could afford with some lawn mowing money while still putting away some savings for college.
Fact is i have had an absolute blast riding rigid bikes. And I never would’ve been able to afford to get into the sport, substantially get hooked, and then save for a full sus when my economic situation changed had there not been quality rigid bikes for a fairly reasonable price that were very cheap to maintain. Pretty much all the major manufacturers have dropped these type of bikes from the lineup.
I’d never afford getting into the sport if that were the case back when I randomly decided to give it a go
More like proctologist pricing.
The Tues may have lower label parts but will be a better, faster bike and is around the same price at £3500 vs this bike 20 yrs ago despite 20 years of inflation.
It’s easier than ever now to get into the sport, I can get a Capra 1 for £2500 for example or a hard tail with decent geometry for going fast for less than £1000.
The only reason prices are so high is greed. Bike companies thought they were the new Apple, misunderstanding a bubble (covid) for a business idea. They have no professional analysts and no long term plan. That's the reason why the warehouses are full now, even if a kid could have predicted the end of the bubble.
You think giant bikes have no professional analysts or long term plan?
Yet again - why do you think the bike industry should be entirely insulated from global inflation?
The reason someone hasn’t is because its nonsense - if you want a bike to cost less then we need to delete 95% of all companies, have 4-5 huge companies left who can leverage scale and standardise components.
The PB commenters conspiracy that a shady cabal of company owners set pricing is a fantasy.
With technology, robotics, scale of production in the industry, not to mention most things being produced in low wage countries , bikes should actually getting cheaper!
Giant was the one of the few companies that already in 2020 recognized the bubble (article on the NYT: www.nytimes.com/2020/08/17/business/giant-bikes-coronavirus-shortage.html), as few others, like Shimano who said f**k off to a bunch of western brands that tried to convince them to raise production. Guess the reply.
And guess who ordered like a madman and now has to lower the prices.
As I will say again, if it’s all just greed where is the new start up bike company undercutting all of these existing greedy bike brands while still taking it in? - any explanation or just more conspiracy talk and whining about the evil industry?
And inflation is calculated by taking the price increases of various products and commodities, just because average inflation is a given figure, it doesn’t mean other sectors aren’t higher, like food for example here in the Uk still over 15% while overall inflation below 10%
I am sure you guys think bike companies are run by billionaire evil villains, it’s pretty funny.
"Use logic here - if somebody was able to setup a bike company and undercut all of the other bike companies while still making a considerable margin, wouldn’t someone have done it?
The reason someone hasn’t is because its nonsense - if you want a bike to cost less then we need to delete 95% of all companies, have 4-5 huge companies left who can leverage scale and standardise components"
You also dont have huge re-seller and dealer networks for motorcycles, its often just single-brand or franchised dealers, essentially the business is structured entirely differently.
Also - Yeti are a boutique brand and the SB160 is a flagship bike, a Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is a very low end commuter at best, you should compare the SB to a Ducati V4SP.
Can you afford to drive a lamborghini? - Can you afford to ride a Yeti? - Sometimes in life there are things we cant afford no matter how angry we get about them.
Well, what they fail to realize is that virtually ALL CONSUMERS were kicked in the crotch just as hard (and in some cases harder) than businesses were. No one is going to write consumers an apology letter for what they went through, or write them a cheque for all their lost income, so why do so many companies seem to feel their entitled to put the screws to the very people that they depend on to remain in business??
Yes, perhaps a naive, oversimplification of the whole PANDEMIC ordeal, but the question of WTF?? still remains.........
The other factor is import taxes and duties - for example if the EU imposes a duty on goods imported from China, Taiwan, Vietnam or wherever your bike was made but the US has a different policy that may make it cheaper in the US and more expensive in Europe and that has nothing to do with the bike company, they're just complying with the law.
So by the time you buy a bike for 2799 EUR, probably at least a third of that is tax. 12% or whatever duty entering the EU and then 20% VAT at the point of sale in Germany.
Why is it that an entry level MTB today is far batter value than it was 20years ago but the mid range bike prices have skyrocketed?
In 1998 I got my first MTB. It was a fully rigid Giant ATX870. Had an Alloy frame, Full Shimano STX groupset, canti brakes and rigid fork and cost me $1000 AUD. That price by todays money with inflation is over $2200 AUD!
Yet, I bought my daugher a Liv Tempt2 which has an alloy frame, low end but well functioning suspension fork, hydro disk brakes and Shimano Altus groupset for $1000AUD this last christmas. So, at the $1000 price range, bikes are far better value than ever but at the mid to higher end price range the prices are astronomical. Have you seen the prices of new Alloy frame bikes in the mid range price range? They have gone nuts depite alloy supposedly being the budget option. Can't be the cost of the materials because the material to make the alloy frame 20years ago doesn't seem to have affected the cost of the frame on the new Liv Tempt 2 today. So, where is the huge discrepancy! Why are $1000 alloy bikes today able to iffer such good value for money but mid range alloy bikes such bad value for money?
A Honda Accord is objectively a lot better value than an Audi TT RS. An Audi TT RS is a lot better value than a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
That's actually quite a good analogy for a $800 to a $3,000 to a $10,000 bike
A Honda Accord, like a Trek Marlin or a Liv Tempt 2, is truly mass produced. Probably 500,000 units a year plus. An Audi TT RS is analogous to Trek Slash 8 or similar, probably >50 times less volume than a Honda Accord. Porsche GT3 RS is like a top-end bike with carbon everything, AXS and flight attendant, maybe you make 500 a year of that bike?
Performance difference between a Honda Accord and an Audi TT RS is pretty massive on a race track. Same with a Trek Marlin vs a Slash 8. Difference between the Audi TT RS and Porsche 911 RS is a lot closer. Only really makes a difference on a race track in the hands of an expert.
When people point at a $10,000 bike and say I could get a Honda CRF450 motorbike for that, they're comparing a top-end push bike that sells a few hundred units a year to one of the best selling MX bikes of all time that has presumably sold over 100,000 units and shares almost all its parts with other Honda bikes. Honda sold 17 million motorbikes in 2022.
Thru axles. It’s a glorified bolt folks; why can’t the industry just settle on a thread pitch? Fine, medium, coarse…really?Cmon. It makes no difference. I’m a tool and die maker’s son (now we call them machinists) and it’s laughable that the industry can’t agree on a standard here.
While we are at it, BBs. What’s old is new again. Funny how manufacturers are now gravitating towards the thread in cups. So easy and cheap to swap out without having to assemble a bearing puller or a headset press to install.
Sometimes I wonder if any of these engineers have ever even ridden a bike, much less serviced one.
I mean, do you think that the Yeti really only costs them $2000 to make and the 8500 is profit? you understand if that were true, someone somewhere would come along, make that same quality bike and sell it for $4000 and absolutely eat Yeti's lunch, right?
Even compared to 2019 when I bought a Remedy 8 for $4199AUD, a similar spec bike in 2023 is the Slash 8 at $6499!!!!! Same spec, same Alloy frame has increased by $2300!! So you're saying that this increase in relatively the same bike is to do with volume? I think not! I'm sure Trek make a similar amount of Slash's today than they did Remedy's back in 2018. Bike companies use the excuse that it's the materials that have gone up in price and freight costs but these havent effected lower end bikes somehow???
The reason the Slash 8 has gone up so much in price is increase in prices in Asia for materials, labor, parts and shipping. During these current shortages of equipment nobody is in any position to negotiate on price. You then get charged a 10-12% duty on that cost price bringing it into the west. Then Trek have to add their margin to get to a price they're willing to sell the bike to a shop for. Then shops have to make their margin so they can keep their doors open. So only a couple hundred dollars of increased cost at manufacturing level leads to a huge price increase at retail.
Parts prices should come back down and shipping prices have come down, but companies had to overpay during the pandemic to get bikes and it's now being reflected in prices
Again, the Slash uses similar raw materials to a Marlin. Sure it gets a much better fork, has a rear shock and better componentry, i get that, but the raw materials to build both bikes and their components are very similar so the increases should apply to both ends of the market. Shipping increases should also apply to both as they cost exactly the same to ship as too do the labour costs. No idea, but i doubt anyone on the Slash production line is getting paid more than the Marlin production line but I could be wrong.
BE THAT AS IT MAY!
a.) I agree with you vis-a-vis the lack of planning and greed.
Lots of us saw it coming, but those at the top
refused to consider that possibility (at least outwardly)
for fear of disapproval from their fath..I mean superior exec,
or were, as you said, wistfully looking out the window,
daydreaming of being the Apple execs in the private jets flying by.
It's important to consider that, relative to other fields,
bicycle industry employees make very little money, and get very little clout
(it's likely your family will always think you work at a bike shop, no matter what)
In the same way that kids in the US want to grow up to play in the NBA
and not Major League Soccer,
there just isn't a ton of talent coming into the bike industry.
And it's not a problem that can be resolved quickly.
You can bring a pile of MBA's into the bike industry,
but they don't really *understand* it.
That same group would need 10+ years in the bike world,
going between different companies, in different sectors of the industry,
refining the data collected by the person before them
to be able to break this negative feedback loop.
But alas, they drop in like paratroopers,
see how f&cked everything is,
try to help,
and then evacuate to the sweet security of FinTech.
I'd recommend Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" for some perspective on how
long it takes for top performers to develop (despite seeming like overnight successes)
b.) I don't believe "Europe", if we can refer to it as a monolith,
is known for its freewheeling trade policies resulting in lower cost of doing business.
On the contrary, it is my understanding that Europe has relatively strong import restrictions to protect its markets.
This means higher prices for the consumer, in exchange for (potentially) more secure jobs.
Am I wrong about all that?
c.) North American brands which have a subsidiary in Europe
can bypass many import fees, and sell directly to retailers.
Brands that don't have a subsidiary are on the hook for these import fees,
AND must sell through a distributor, which marks up the product up again.
Specialized and Giant are large enough to afford subsidiaries.
This is why their price points have always been MUCH lower in CAN and EU
compared to other brands like Santa Cruz, Yeti, etc.
(in addition to their stronger position in the supply chain)
Just would change that "ride how you can, with the bike you have today" Ok, I also want to do a Rampage once in my life, but I don´t have the technique and also the HW needed, in the meantime, I just do my light XC with a lot of fun!
a headset is, without thinking too hard, the literal last place you would want to run a bushing. it would last like, 1/2 of a medium length ride. lol
yes it's a pain in the dick every 2 years when you need a new headset.
Cheap suspension is worse than no suspension.
This is basically to say, I think that your comment is a great idea and would make riding also more accessible for lower income folks as well.
But yeah, it seems like the advocates for "droppers before everything else" are more like "if I can't adjust it on the fly then I'm going to leave the saddle high" and indeed if one would insist on that then I'm going to agree: get the dropper. You need room to move around over your bike.
In the Alps, with 2hr climbs followed by 30 minute descents, yes. But if I would do this on my local courses it would mean that I would be out of the saddle for 2hrs, not 2 minutes.
I do have a hardtail as a secondary bike, that doesn't have a dropper. I sometimes lower the saddle quickly with the qr for descents or jumps. When I put it up it is usually a bit lower than ideal pedaling height but nowhere near a level that allows proper descending/pumping techniques.
I remember way back when I had just started riding, my seatpost bolt broke and I had to ride an hour without saddle. My calves were what I felt the most then, hence my remark.
As for the calves, were you still riding with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle? If so I can imagine they take a beating! I've got these big Catalyst pedals on everything (commuters, BMX, mountainbike, mountain unicycle) and the creator thereof insist on riding with the midfoot over the pedal axle so that's what I'm doing. It is definitely easier on the calves and allows you to push harder. I suppose it could be done with smaller pedals too but you'd then want some fairly stiff shoes to distribute the load. Also, at the end of the day, what you're feeling most after a ride is what's your weakest link. Doesn't necessarily imply that it is actually weak, just that the rest is stronger. That may be a more positive way to look at it .
I'd personally always choose a bike with somewhat decent suspension, second hand or not, and buy an affordable dropper post. They can be had for €100-150, while decent front suspension costs at least €300 as an upgrade.
For anybody reading this with a Rockshox 35 silver (coil fork), you can buy a damper and air spring for around 150 to make it much better. Both are great options if you are looking for an entry level bike for yourself or your kid but are put off by the coil fork.
1. Stop putting motors and batteries on everything
2. Stop rolling out so many tiers of products, do we really need deore, slx, xt, and XTR for example.
3. Enough with all the annoying and useless naming standards for said tiered products. select plus performance team ecoboost with CC+ kashima.
4. Enough with price gouging by restricting international sales. I get it you need regional distribution for shops but when my local distributor is charging more to the shop wholesale then I could get it full retail online from other countries that is bad news.
The mixing of units drives me batty. Watching one of Evan's vids he kept switching from ounces to grams through the video.
'Eventually, they produced a bar that had the right shape, wall thickness and finish, and went into production, expecting to create the first 32mm bar. But that’s not how it went. “Our first 250 or 500 bars had all suffered some shrinkage, which was just a flaw in our manufacturing … but we hadn’t machined our stems yet.”
Thus, 31.8 was born.'
And if the article is true, (neither it being true nor it being false would surprise me, there is some dire reporting in this industry that amounts to little more than hearsay and rumour) then its a hell of a coincidence that bars used to be 25.4 (1") and then went up to 31.8 (1 1/4") by mistake. I'm not even sure at what point this shrinkage would be said to have happened seeing as the tubing will almost certainly have been mechanically formed. If there is a grain of truth to the Funn story then I'd hazard a guess that the factory that was outsourced to create the bars figured they couldn't be arsed to retool, so just made it in the closest size they had tooling for. It happens a lot. Drawings are sent to tiawan, and the factory adjusts them slightly to suit their tooling without saying anything at all about doing so. Then what comes back is slightly different to what was asked for. I've heard excuses worse than "shrinkage" to cover for it.
Then again the quote you copied could be the gods honest truth... but as I say, it'd be one hell of a coincidence.
I just want to pump my suspension up in psi, measure my bar width and stem length in mils, my bike weight in pounds and my individual components in grams like a red blooded man!
Something about this guy makes me want to trust him……
Even more after seeing the account wasn’t created yesterday.
Move to metric, but only use powers of 1/2 to size thing.
No 30.5 mm internal width rim, you would get a 61/2 mm rim!
List frame weight w/o shock.
Spec longer dropper posts on medium size bikes.
Include max dropper insertion length on bike info page.
Spec 32T chainrings on mullet bikes.
Spec heavier spring weights for coil shocks on all sizes.
Ergo, it's not about being more traditional, like roadies, nor do the mtb product designers always get it right.
It's, what a shocker, about the right balance. Because aren't we happy with disc brakes, droppers, and tube-less tires? And /some/ roadies (or gravellers) are rightly happy with us for that.
Road is more about fitness and tactics, MTB is more about skills and speed tolerance.
In road you keep up with your friends by training harder. In MTB, a different bike can really help you keep up. I love 27.5", but when I got a 29er with longer chainstays I could plow the chunk so much better and be more confident at speed.
I hate that it matters, but gear really matters in MTB, unless you're just totally riding by yourself dinking around
On mtb forks and shocks wear out after a few seasons of heavy use, even with maintenance. Rims get beat up. Brake rotors get worn. Dropper posts wear out. If you ride mtb multiple times per week then almost every part will need to be replaced after 2-3 seasons.
I'd be interested to see what major leap will be next
I gree to disagree slightly. Most models that come with elastomers,odd shaped fork steerers or something else quirky never seem to stick around long enough to become a standard. Some brands might continue the quirk with an individual model but it rarely catches on further afield.
Who knows, I'm happy thrashing a steel hardtail about the place
I second that, I bought a second hand Mojo HDR frame a while ago for peanuts and discovered you can download PDF manuals for all their bikes. Importantly they contain pretty much everything you need to know with clear diagrams.
I needed the shock brackets as well as they had been scuffed up by a gorilla with a pipe wrench. The UK distributer sent them out FOC!
They sell their own touch kits, saving you a trip to the auto parts store…
As a 6'5" rider, it seems crazy that 130mm head tubes end up on XXL bikes, I've got 55mm of spacers under the stem on some bikes, and at least 35mm on others. I have to buy frames so I can get a fork with an uncut steer tube.
Also need a note about Super Boost hub spacing, which would also help clean up crank/chainring chain line options.
WARNING: Never use more than 30 mm of height of steerer stem spacers under the steerer stem, as this condition can cause the steerer tube to fail prematurely, causing a loss of control resulting in SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.
@seb-stott since we're not going to get 670mm stacks on most XLs anytime soon I'd be curious if you ever explored this? Is it just the company lawyers so they don't get sued by the family of a 400lb dude who snaps the tube and goes OTB?
I make bike purchase decisions based on stack but if I could feel better about putting on 50mm of spacers that'd simplify things quite a bit.
Seems that adding spacers or longer head tube on slacker bikes just makes bikes need a shorter stem when going for a slightly steeper head angle & longer higher stem would make for better fit?
But also higher rise bars not being easy to get is something that would be easier for manufacturers to sort out
I guess I'm just commiserating with Seb's sentiment in the article and wishing we didn't need any of these bandaids. I have 2 bikes with reasonably tall stacks including a custom Nicolai that I had made for that specific reason so I don't have an issue currently, but I wish we didn't have to jump through all these hoops. It would be nice to just be able to pick our favorite widely available 20-40mm bar + grips and get a good fit on any bike like riders of average height typically can.
Taller stacks on big bikes would be ideal, but being able to run more spacers would be a lesser compromise for me than having to dig up and trial a bunch of different bars and grips.
Buy dream bike, add OneUp bars and fave grips, done. Wouldn't that be nice?
A first world problem to be sure.
more than about 30mm of spacers under the stem, creates a leverage point on the upper headset bearing assembly. this then transfers to the frame obviously and can lead to ovalization in AL and cracking in carbon. The bike brands do it to protect the bike, not make it look better.
Look at the pic linked below. It highlights how absurdly short the stack is on larger bike frames. It is nearly identical yet the two riders are massively different in size. Look at how much higher the seating position is on the taller bike relative to the bars.
I’ve tried higher, but it’s difficult to keep enough weight on the front wheel, I have to aggressively lean forward, which is not comfortable to me. Idk how you ride a bike properly when the handlebars are much higher than the saddle like the short person in the pic.
IMo that’s one of the reasons we still need 27.5, to keep reasonable stack heights for shorter people.
Outside of turning, I’m not trying to weight the front of the bike. The higher bars let me keep my weight on my feet and the bike can basically pivot around the bottom bracket. It is much easier to ride through rough terrain, especially braking bumps and rock gardens. The bike is much more forgiving as I have better bike/body separation.
Pay their workforce appropriate wages.
Catch up with the times in regards to benefits for their employees.
Start selling frameset options on e-bikes.
Fix Rampage. Do all the media BS on replays. Day of broadcast should be riding heavy so guys can get through their runs faster....
Work harder to reduce waste and/or reuse materials.
Luxury items will probably adjust last.
Margins range depending on the parts... example.... pedals, handle bars, etc... higher margin than say a low end fork....
I have noticed that some top spec Specialized and Santa Cruz bikes have an MSRP higher than the sum of their parts.
They only way it makes sense is if you're willing to wear parts out and replace them as you go... if you're one of those that has to replace all the parts right away... it's a waste.
If all you're doing is swapping grips and tires then fine....
I'm fortunate that i can be picky though
2). More World Cup races NOT in Europe
3). All major industry changes must first pass a Pinkbike poll.
4). No thin casings spec’ed on enduro bikes
5). Bring 27.5 back.
Rant complete. Thank you comment section.
One I would like to add is bring back demo’s. If Im going to spend several grand on a new bike at least have the decency to let me try before I buy. As many of the reviewers comment in their articles there is only so much you can learn from a geometry chart and reading how other people found it.
The two bikes I'm eyeing right now are brands I've never owned either.
Special mention to Thomson for using 2.5mm hex on your stems. Nice try, kid, no wonder you get 0.0003% OE specs.
I now have to wheel my entire Snap On Tools toolbox with me to make sure I have everything covered.
Looking at DH WC coverage suspension setup seems to be one of the biggest challenges even for very experienced riders and pro mechanics working on it. All available settings that have complex interactions with each other might be right for pros but not for most consumers. I would much prefer simpler solutions that I can easily set up to reach 90% of its potential instead of super high-end products where I reach only 60%.
And you gotta get some bigger tires on that thing. I run 235/245 on my wagon and 255 on my sedan.
the 86'd 150mm rear hub is baffling. 148mm such a wank. whose fault is the 148mm hub?????
We are all too entitled these days. Incremental advancements over many years has made the 26" wheel almost unridable to me now.
Just takes one ride on a rigid bike to make us really appreciate how good suspension bikes have gotten.
Check out lululemon ABC Warpstreme 37” pants
Best I’ve ever found for riding and being tall
I would add to your list the effective STA is often not adequately addressed across size extremes.
The further the actual STA is from the effective STA, the harder it becomes to design something that works for everyone... but in particular riders with very long legs.
> Stop putting cheap [rear] hubs on high-end bikes. No one deserves DT370 (or worse) on a $7k+ bike.
> Provide necessary adaptors (this goes esp. for frame only)... if you design a frame that most riders will use a 180mm or 200mm rotor with, don't sell it with a 160mm post mount and no adaptor.
And my HT commuter should stop when I want, at least lock its wheels, without service every 2 months, even if it cost just EUR 1500 back in '18. Also looking at you, Shimano.
Isn't there some sort of testing or spec that brakes need to live up to?
Bonus pic: Look at how little the stack height changes between frame sizes and rider sizes.
If that was the case, it might be that the scaling of the ratios of the sizes of various bike elements is actually non linear. That might explain why proportional scaling of eg chainstays doesn’t work as imagined?
Yes there is; to everyone who has a box full of hubs they maintain, service and re-use.
It is not about getting rid of one or the other if both serve a measurable purpose in the re-use of components, sorry, Stick, wrong end.
What there is no need for (for the vast majority of riders who are not racers) is yet more over-priced, ever decreasing marginal gains masquerading as the next great "game-changer" that the latest SNS influencers diligently puke-out of their compromised corporate sponsored mouths.
Rant over, now, where's my box of Whitworth bolts got to.
There is no way boost made wheels stronger (than 150x20), there's no way metric made shocks more reliable. I feel like I'm running around with a pair of they live glasses
All is well until you get a new stem or lockon grips using 2 instead of 2.5 instead of 3 and boom- your mutitool is now defunct.
As a bikepacker this is my biggest pet peeve!
Sure a couple extra tools doesn't equal that much weight, but it is just more clutter and so frustrating when you are trying to fix something in the middle of bad weather or something. And if you are with multiple people? Everyone is on their own since everyone's parts are arbitrarily using different tool standards.
And how am I supposed to buy the "right" multitool? Do I need to bring all my bikes into my LBS and test drive every little bolt? Because so many times a mutitool will end up missing one thing I need for that one bike.
Go and wash your mouth out with soap young man.
Good list apart from this comment though.
The most-frustrating non-standardised component for me is DM chainrings. WTF does every brand need to invent it's own sodding pattern?
Yes Honda sells lots of low cost motorcycles and has sold lots of things like Super Cubs, but those go to Asia. People in north america don't really ride motorcycles in a normalized daily way- its just not part of our culture.
I don't really think the whole 'motorcycles sell in huge volume' argument really holds water. I think the bicycle industry is actually bigger (at least in the western world, which is really what those of us on PB care about). I think generally motorcycles are built with extreme low cost parts because weight doesn't matter nearly as much as it does on a pedal powered machine. The engines on most lower cost motorcycles are quite primitive and only one or two cylinders, so they aren't all that complex. A fully carbon motor cycle with high end adjustable suspension and carbon wheels would cost an astronomical amount of money. I think if you match up the materials and processes used between a motor bike and a bicycle you'd see that the bike is significantly lower cost.
Max dropper insertion depth
Weight of frame in each size - minus shock
If you honestly make a great part it does not need improvement. If you "improve it" a year later now parts are probably incompatible.
Was last years ______ crap?
Must be If it needed changing .
Maybe if a part is exelent is does not need change .
One example that completely goes against the trend of new a d improved:
Saint cranks . Professional DH racers prefer them . Must have been a decade ago they were last "improved " still using same standards. Look at this year's DH pros . They prefer those Saint cranks .
Innovation is awesome.
New and improved is an annoying joke .
The suspension part is 100%. I've ridden so may friends bikes where the suspension is actually way too stiff or over damped .. like "run a bike park lap and use 60% of the travel" - stiff. They think it makes the bike more efficient, are just aren't the tinkering type, or think that bottoming out should be avoided at all costs.
Actual pressures are way more inaccurate than sag, because people are different shapes and riding positions are different for everyone. Yes, sag takes a bit more effort than just reading a number off a chart, but it takes into account so much more than just height and weight. Some people carry more weight up top, so a fork pressure just based on weight is going to have them soft up front, and vice verse Some have much longer legs and much higher saddles and thus (especially with slack actual seat tube angle) more rearward weight bias, meaning shock pressure based on weight is going to be soft and the fork is going to be hard, and vice versa.
I'd add to the list though. Sensible spec. I don't want an Xt derailleur, cranks and brakes when the deore stuff performs very nearly as well. Save budget on all the other parts and put it into the forks, shock and tyres. So many bikes come with tyres that aren't fit for the kind of use that the rest of the bike was designed for. With decent suspension already fitted all I have to worry about is possibly upgrading some of the wearing components when the originals are worn out, but generally I don't see the need for anything more expensive than SLX these days. And I actually prefer shimanos cheaper brakes - the MT420 is 4 pot, doesn't have servowave (so no wandering bite point) and the lever clamps never get in the way of where I want the shifter and dropper remote to go.
This is basically what privateer have done, and it's one of the main reasons I bought a 161 a couple of years ago.
For someone that seems to know a lot about bikes, and I am not discounting his knowledge at all, he should really know better than "what's the point of having 31.8 AND 35mm bars, and what's up with Straight pull spokes???"
What? Surely you jest! I suggested just this in a thread not too long back and got roasted. Bike companies know exactly what psi equates to what sag for their bikes. Should be easy info to provide.
a new powder coat if the frame is worthy, then piece by piece
build it up, choosing each component on its merits, era, sizing standard, colour etc and at a price that suits,
build it in instalments and watch it grow, at the end its exactly how I want it to be, then I keep it for many years : )
Replacement parts need to be standardised to give Economy of Scale and reduce prices, but brands need to keep pushing for improvement on new models with new designs to ensure the industry remains at the cutting edge and relevant.
To me the frames and suspension are exponentially better designed, but the bearings are not suitable for the terrain (rain & mud).
Maybe Mountain Bikes should also come with a IP code like electronic equipment?
It's gotta look good, tho... We want ceramic coated paint jobs and top teir components on EVERY bike.
All jokes aside, love @noapathy s idea of running the bars straight through the headset. If we play are cards right, no more stems.
2) Chainguards. So much lubrication development against the enemy of a dirty chain ... how about we simply have a splash guard to minimize crap on the chain in the first place.
I had this issue with my Devinci Spartan 2015, no way to get the list of bearings types and quantity to change them.
I had to email them to get the list.
A few I would like to throw into the mix:
1. Two geo charts for each bike - unsagged and at manufacturer's front and rear sag recommendation. I think this would help clear up a lot of misconceptions for end users
2. (not as simple) if users could enter their inseam, and the geo chart would provide some meaningful data on distances from (top of saddle colinear to seat tube?) to top to heat tube (or better yet, axis of handlebars), effective STA etc. Would have to assume crank length, stem length etc (this might make product managers think about specs more!).
3. Brake calliper alignment screws - I am still in shock this was able to be patented!
And adding a bit for bearing removal - while not always possible, at least on metal based frames jacking screws should be able to be a feature (probably small grubsrews for the bearing sizes in question).Having said that I have never had a problem with a blind puller on a bike - maybe I am lucky.
Oh yeah? You got any categories lined up for "riding style". Because we all know how semi-useless and diluted bike categories are, I'm sure some metric called "riding style" won't be completely useless almost instantly. And then someone will add a "downcountry" riding style to their setup guide and the world will implode with the force of 8 billion of Levy's Mini Coopers getting hucked to flat.
I put a Rockshox (Judy?) fork with 120mm of travel on a bike back in 2009. Top of the line. 20mm thru-axle.
I heard that axle standard is coming back for trail bikes. Guess I should have hung onto that fork!
So, how many here would prefer having a heavier fork and pay more for it to ensure greater height adjustability though spacers versus finding a bar with the correct rise on a well-designed frame with proportional stack measurement/head tube length?
From a force/moment perspective on the steerer there's zero difference between 10mm of steerer with a 30mm riser bar vs a 30mm steerer with a 10mm riser bar. If Jack Moir can run 30mm of spacers + a big ass riser bar I'm pretty sure none of us are going to snap our steerer tubes at the upper race and die.
Yes head tubes should probably be taller in some cases, but the least bike brands could do is give you the full 30mm of adjustment (what RS allows in their single crown manual). Many don't give you that much. That's the whole point of that bit of the article..
can I ask where you got your MBA? lol
Keep in mind this is written on their, and all others', website:
"Please note that our suspension settings are a suggested starting point, not rigid values that will work for every rider. Please refer to the manufacturers' default suspension settings for more information."
You're effectively complaining because their setup guide didn't have, "Hey Seb, here is your custom setup guide!" written at the top. Their setup guide rocks, and shouldn't be lambasted because it was off by 0.00004 bar and you bottomed out once during a 5-hour ride over undulating terrain.
More than one product manager has admitted to me that the main reason for this is aesthetics."
Bullsh*t. It's done to further monitize the industry. All steer tubes should remain uncut until purchase.
Stop releasing 'new' models every year! It's not necessary.
Usually it's just a colour change so what's the point?
As an example we all wasted thousands on bummer droppers for at least 4 years with ZERO recourse. Again we are test rats.
The industry sold us 7K 26" bikes saying that these were the ultimate and could not be improved on aside from wireless tech coming in the future. Hell my Nomad and Mojo became door stops in their eyes the moment we were told that they ALL SUCK and 27.5 is now the standard and 29 is our future. Then they stopped producing parts to keep the used bikes running. My Fox 36s are useless without certain parts even when they were only 5 years old I sent them to Fox they fixed what they could and sent the pile back stating each one has one part we do not make anymore and I should buy into new technology.
I am so done with the industry. It makes me want to say f*ck this and stop riding bikes.
Now the industry is saying I NEED THAT E-BIKE as it will get me to further desolate places and give the ultimate ride.
f*ck E-BIKES until i can not pedal due to age or body I will repeat this Go f*ck yourselves with all your eeeee crap.
Yes it is destroying our fun on and off the trails.
For everyone on this train, what's your pain point? Most frame manufactures have decent setup guides for rear shocks, same is true for forks. Is it clicker settings? Fore/aft balance? Knowing what right feels like? Something else entirely?
(Insert Confused Unga bunga mechanic noises meme here)
Bravo Guys Phenomenal Writing.....
This article seems to be more geared towards just making everything easier for the average consumer and the novice at home mechanics and just the MAKE STUFF ChEaPeR for all concepts. Like: HeY GuYs Moar people would ride if it was more affordable......
Yeah & I'd love it, if (insert brand name here) actually warrantied my frame.... or if I could buy it from the same factory for the same cost they paid for it..... or if there weren't import fees..... or if Oceanic freight and Rail Freight was free as well..... Those would be awesome improvements right? But then who gets paid who actually gets the money?
Meh I guess Outside just doesn't want to hire anyone to write an article that's gonna upset any brand who buys add space here or sponsors any content or events... Oh well wishful thinking....... Anyways All Jokes Aside though
I severely doubt this was already brought up here in the comments
The One Grey Area That I've seen recently pop up over the past three to four years essentially before Covid and Post Covid is, eCommerce sales and violation of long held or recently acquired territory agreements. This became more prevalent and re-occurring issue that always required either lots of correspondence which lead to time lost and lost sales all whilst waiting for a simple clear concise answer. From the Massive Corporate Brand, It seems that over the past couple years that the industry has shifted from supporting the local shops to f*cking them over big time by launching their own highly competitive eCommerce Sites and essentially reclaiming the market back as their own.... and then shitting on us for doing the same thing that we've been doing for years before them.... saying all the sudden we can't do that anymore.
They're making it almost damn near impossible for any shop any business owner to remain competitive. Much less carry the product. Especially if the product in question has a controlled MSRP already set and publicly advertised, & is on sale for a substantially lower price then what your own margin and cost allows for.
But then to just turn around and essentially tell any small business or any shop that you’re violating the Annual NDA Contract you signed. For trying to do the exact same thing same thing i.e. sell their product online and ship their product to other neighboring provinces, states, and or even other countries. Simply because you have it and it’s your business prerogative to do so..... You know to make money.
If they could stop this hypocritical practice of selling direct to any consumer in any country.
Whilst barring us from doing it too.
That would be great........ Like if they didn't want us to sell it. Why bother with dealer programs, dealer orders, & dealer accounts, if we simply can’t compete with them. Much less sell it in a specific manner that reaches a wider audience than just the locals in our area
What’s really upsetting here is when they write and attach more clauses in their dealer agreements essentially barring us from doing what we've always done in the first place. Our perspective here is it just seems to be too much red tape to do anything about it. Honestly what’s the point, which really begs the next big question what will happen to the shops in the next 5-10 years?
“If these rules or agreements carry forward.”
Here are some of the responses we've essentially gotten from over the years.
"Like wait we're only allowed to do that." "no no no you can’t advertise shipping prices either"
"You have to sell it locally" "no guys you can have an eCommerce that's fine,.... But you'll have to ensure that you sell it locally though" .....
Like excuse me what why.......? Nobody use to care; now it is such a big deal why? It used to be territory agreements for their product in your store. Not exclusive rights for only that brand to sell its entire product line up online and you can’t.
Oh an bring back 20mm axles FFS
I recognize that some would like to add more spacers, but when purchasing your bike, see if you can make a deal with the shop for swapping out a fork with a new one., maybe even for a small upcharge.
add to that, most dont know or want to even make that change, and its now going to add one more thing to do at the shop level to build a bike, and get it out the door
$10 pipe cutters are pretty garbage anyway
(Btw, I upvoted your obvious joke)
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