It’s been a few weeks since the Internet blew a gasket over the combination of SRAM’s announcement of their new DUB bottom bracket and crankset system
and Knolly’s decision to bypass Boost 148 and go straight to 157 spacing, a la Pivot’s Super Boost Plus.
While neither DUB nor Knolly’s rear spacing can actually be said to be new standards, they (in particular DUB) touched a very raw nerve amongst many riders who wish the bike industry would just take a damn vacation already from cranking out new widgets that aren’t completely backwards compatible with existing components.
I’ve flogged this particular zombie horse a million times over, so I’ll keep this brief.
We’ve come to a point at which many consumers believe the bike industry is just making new shit up in order to:
(1) Obsolete the bikes consumers already own; and
(2) Force those same consumers to buy more product.
Plenty of engineers, on the other hand, will tell you that sooner or later you reach a point when you’ve squeezed all the minor improvements you can out of a particular widget and making the next real leap in performance necessarily requires creating a new widget that doesn’t bolt together with all the parts you already own. At some point, they contend, innovation simply requires that standards change.
So, here’s a question. What kind of performance gain actually merits making “old” parts obsolete? Or to put it another way, how much better does a widget have to get in order for you to stomach the hassles created by a new standard?