Modern bicycles...

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Freddie
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Modern bicycles...

Postby Freddie » 22 Aug 2019, 4:58pm

Are they ugly? I suppose if you like Bladerunner esque, futuristic carbon fibre, all is well with you, but does anyone get the Campagnolo catalogue to gawk at the beautiful parts any more?

One can argue that aesthetics makes no difference to the riding, but one has to get off the bike and look at the thing at some point...

What was your favourite period for cycling aesthetics or favourite beautiful components, bonus points if they functioned well (at least compared to other equipment of the period).

reohn2
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby reohn2 » 22 Aug 2019, 5:09pm

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,one man's meat and all that jazz.
I'm aware my aesthetic tastes may be very different from someone else's,but there is no right or wrong aesthetics only differences of taste.
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Cugel
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby Cugel » 22 Aug 2019, 5:43pm

reohn2 wrote:Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,one man's meat and all that jazz.
I'm aware my aesthetic tastes may be very different from someone else's,but there is no right or wrong aesthetics only differences of taste.


Troo but ....

We kid ourselves if we think we're immune to the social pressures to adopt the currently fashionable. All of us are hard-pressed to resist our human nature to conform to whatever herd or tribe we feel a member of. Even the preference for a previous fashion (as in retro-preferring cyclists of the Eroica & similar ilk) is in large part due to their self-identification as a member of that tribe.

Long ago I realised that "my choices" were actually made by someone else - perhaps a current influencer (such as the dreaded advertman) or perhaps some long dead person who was the instigator of some word/concept or even a whole philosophy. We're all socialised products of a very long and variegated history of memetic evolutions.

***
So, which bicycle style do I prefer? Well, the one I currently ride as why else would I have bought it? This is usually a matter of function before style - although once the functionality is chosen, something stimulates my preference for one style of that functional thing rather than another. Even I sometimes treat a bike as though it were a frock!

Even the choice of functionality might be a fashion. How can I/we ever know? :-)

Flesh robots, we are.

Cugel

PS Of course, some of we flesh robots get stuck with a a past program and cannot be updated for some reason. (Perhaps there is no means to upload a new fashion program). In some ways a tried and tested program is no bad thing. On the other hand, no bells or whistles (or STI or e-bike).

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby Bmblbzzz » 22 Aug 2019, 6:16pm

Campag is not a good example, IMO. (Oh dear that's an O.) The design forefront passed from them to others several years ago. Arguably SRAM would be considered the design leaders today.

jimlews
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby jimlews » 22 Aug 2019, 7:01pm

Are they ugly?
In my opinion, yes they are!

I think that aesthetically, bicycles from the 1920's up to about the 1990s are the acme of mechanical beauty. When Mr. Shimano perfected indexing gear changers the whole system was close to perfect.

But marketing demands that this years model should be perceived to be an improvement on last years model. And if the mechanical side of things is near as damn perfect, the only the only way left to 'innovate' is by changing the style of the thing. I.E. built in obsolescence.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby Bmblbzzz » 22 Aug 2019, 7:12pm

Marketing has always been a demand. And built-in obsolescence doesn't really refer to styling, it means the object is designed to become functionally obsolete from the outset; sometimes by a knowingly shoddy build quality, equally often by planning upgrades and advances that will render it either less attractive in comparison to newer products or impair its functioning by introducing incompatibilities. Software is a prime example, eg releasing version 9.9.9 knowing that next year there will be version Coyote, which won't be work in conjunction with 9.9.9.

scottg
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby scottg » 22 Aug 2019, 7:47pm

Freddie wrote:Are they ugly? I suppose if you like Bladerunner esque, futuristic carbon fibre, all is well with you, but does anyone get the Campagnolo catalogue to gawk at the beautiful parts any more?[snip]


Just think in the year 2050 some 50something will be waxing nostalgic about the good days of Campag 12,
scouring Ebay looking for parts. The best looking stuff was made when you were 25 years old.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.

peetee
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby peetee » 22 Aug 2019, 9:21pm

I believe that aesthetics play second fiddle to performance. The advent of CAD and prioritising minimum weight has ruined the opportunities for designers to produce beautiful components. The angular elegance of Campagnolo's 70's Super Record and the subsequent, fluid lines of Corsa Record were diametrically opposite examples of design flair at its best.
Current Campagnolo components are hideous.
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

gxaustin
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby gxaustin » 22 Aug 2019, 11:34pm

I love a lightweight steel lugged frame with thin seat stays but I hate downtube gear levers.
My favourite bike is my CF Merckx though.

Brucey
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby Brucey » 23 Aug 2019, 12:29am

the aesthetic of a bike is informed by many things but one thing it always is, is subjective. And there are bikes that I like the look of but I wouldn't want to own them or even ride them necessarily. I've ridden bikes that have been very nice to ride but looked terrible. I've ridden bikes that other folk have chosen for their looks or their practicality and I have not had the slightest desire to get something similar.

Its as well to remember that we are all children of our time; going back ~150 years every generation of new bicycles will have been loved by some, hated by others, in ways that today, we might find difficult to understand or relate to.

For example at the start of the last century, top tubes in racing machines went from sloping upwards, to flat, to sloping downwards, all in the space of just a few years. I can't begin to imagine what folk thought of these changes; doubtless there were those who wailed and gnashed their teeth and there were others who welcomed these changes with open arms. At this distance they all just look like old bikes.

Imagine yourself buying a bike when you were a teenager; most wouldn't even consider buying one that was made in an 'old fashioned' way, a way from before when you were born. Today's teenagers are no different; they will mostly want something contemporary, especially if they are going racing.

Not everything new is better, even if sells well to start with. Only a fraction of the 'new stuff' that is unveiled each year will still be with us in ten years time; the rest will be languishing in the dustbin of history.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jimlews
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby jimlews » 23 Aug 2019, 7:56am

I don't think aesthetics are subjective.

By analogy, there are few people I suspect, who would pronounce for example, classical Greek architecture to be anything but aesthetically pleasing. That, I suggest, is because the 'orders' have been defined by many generations of agreed good taste.

So what we have with modern bicycles is the 'shock of the new'; and (as above) not all that is new is good and much that is good is quite old.

In a nutshell, I think that modern bicycles are styled rather than stylish and many exhibit elements of mechanical monstrosity.

Straight forks, anyone?

reohn2
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby reohn2 » 23 Aug 2019, 8:23am

jimlews wrote:I don't think aesthetics are subjective.

That's nonsense,different styles,materials and different colours vary from person to person.If that's isn't subjective I don't know what is.

By analogy, there are few people I suspect, who would pronounce for example, classical Greek architecture to be anything but aesthetically pleasing

Speak for yourself

. That, I suggest, is because the 'orders' have been defined by many generations of agreed good taste

That implies anything not in the Greek (mathematical)order is in bad taste,which isn't true

So what we have with modern bicycles is the 'shock of the new'; and (as above) not all that is new is good and much that is good is quite old

And by the same token not all that is old and established is good.
That said the (safety) bicycle which we all ride sliiiggghhhtttt derivatives of,arrived at a general near perfect and accepted design early on because it was also functionally near perfect from the outset.
I'm deliberately leaving recumbents out in that statement.


In a nutshell, I think that modern bicycles are styled rather than stylish and many exhibit elements of mechanical monstrosity

But that's only the bicycle according to jimlews,one in 6.5billion inhabiting the planet currently :wink:

Straight forks, anyone?

Yes please,I have three bikes with straight forks that look great to my eye and ride very well indeed :) .
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jimlews
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby jimlews » 23 Aug 2019, 8:48am

reohn2 wrote:
jimlews wrote:I don't think aesthetics are subjective.


And by the same token not all that is old and established is good.
That said the (safety) bicycle which we all ride sliiiggghhhtttt derivatives of,arrived at a general near perfect and accepted design early on because it was also functionally near perfect from the outset.
I'm deliberately leaving recumbents out in that statement.

We are singing from the same hymn sheet, then.

reohn2
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby reohn2 » 23 Aug 2019, 9:05am

jimlews wrote: We are singing from the same hymn sheet, then.

If we are OK,but your comments on straight forks and Greek architecture seem to suggest otherwise.


EDIT;Here's an argument (cat,pigeon,amongst) an accepted and heralded by many,design(flaw IMO)are horizontal toptubes.
To me it's not only aesthetically unpleasant,it's also functionally inept especially when riding tricky terrain due to it's high SO,it also limits frame fit.
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Cugel
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Re: Modern bicycles...

Postby Cugel » 23 Aug 2019, 9:45am

A case can be made that some aspects of the human aesthetic sensibilities are quite common and based in natural phenomena such as the Fibonacci sequence. However, there's little in traditional or modern bicycle design that pays much attention to those phenomena. Rather, bicycles tend to be designed in a form-follows-function manner - even if someone then frockerises it with a paint job or a bit of a twirl.

Traditional tubed designs exhibit their shapes and diameters because the tubes involved were designed from the then extant best materials, joining methods and so forth to arrive at tubes of optimum size, diameter, weight and strength, joined in a manner allowing maximum stiffness and resilience for their purpose of being ridden-via-pedal-thrust over bumpy roads. Modern frames use newer materials and design parameters to achieve similar (often better) functional outcomes. The shapes are often styled for function first and looks second.

Fashion is a queer thing. Many who are totally immersed in loyalty to a fashion (and that's how fashion works, via the fanboy mode) can't put their mindset outside of this loyalty to consider alternatives, which all look "wrong" because they are not "the best fashion (to which I have an unthinking loyalty)".

The design aesthetics of Greek architecture or any other design style following natural phenomena such as The Golden Mean, Fibonacci and similar don't come into it, with bikes. ......

...... Unless someone can demonstrate how they do, of course. After all, it would just be a matter of measurement to discover some such fundamental aesthetic parameter lurking in a bike, traditional or modern. :-)

Cugel