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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:47 pm 
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I agree. I am an architect engineer myself and I know very well what designing and constructing something means. I use hundreds of materials and technological systems that get more and more advanced everyday.

The Berk example was a provocative one against those who think that bike technology is something comparable to the automotive or aerospace technology. It's not at all.

Making a high end frame is like making a fine musical instrument IMO. It is not an easy or simple task at all. It asks for a lot of knowledge and experience. But the work itself has nothing to do with advanced technology.

A frame manufacturer is not a PHD scientist who invents new composite materials. He may very well be an artisan of an elementary education.

I also prefer smaller companies, even family run businesses for many reasons and I do not think bigger companies make the most advanced frames. At the end even the biggest companies do not make actual scientific research.

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Last edited by kgt on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:47 pm 


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:18 pm 
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I think, that in most cases it's a question about what firm big or small have the best price vs. quality vs. customer service.
It's though to say who's the best in the business to do components, because people are riding and loving different things.
Maybe you could give the award to the firm who has the most happy customers :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:37 pm 
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in the industry

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Very few companies do everything themselves. Industry is interwoven global thing. All bike companies making something rely on other other companies somewhere else in the world to make a product. Even design is not a national thing as an employee doing the inovating at a german firm could be from slovakia. There is it a German inovation or a slovakian one? We live in a global technological civilisation and every nation contributes something.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:12 pm 
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@kgt

I'm just curious as to why you think bike technology can't be compared to the automotive or aerospace industries. As has been said, all the industries rely on other companies in part to develop the methods of manufacture. Admittedly there is a lot more that goes into an aeroplane or car, but also, many of the composite based bike companies develop their techniques through other industries as well. Both ourselves and AX Lightness are involved with the top level of motorsport for instance.

One of the biggest issues with composite manufacture is void removal, where air gets trapped in the laminate. I think Storck for instance came up with a technology for removing more voids than ever before in their frames. If you think that a frame with a very, very thin wall structure has to support the weight of rider and the other associated forces, something such as the Fascenario 0.6 has to be at the forefront of technology, the alternative would be quite catastrophic.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:31 am 
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Is Germany an Indstry leader?
Good question but is it about Germans ... or Italians .... or Japananese ... or Americians ... or British?
As I see it who cares what nationality the engineer is as long as he (or she) produces innovative and better kit
I suppose the Nation/Company that gets the glory is the one who has the balls and money to run with the new idea and is prepared to see it through whether WE the cycling public allowit to live or die
Remember it is US (not the pro peleton) who have the ultmate decision


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Enda Marron wrote:
Remember it is US (not the pro peleton) who have the ultmate decision


Why? How big is the market in the US for higher tier road bikes and components in comparison to that of other countries?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:30 pm 
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Pharmstrong wrote:
Enda Marron wrote:
Remember it is US (not the pro peleton) who have the ultmate decision


Why? How big is the market in the US for higher tier road bikes and components in comparison to that of other countries?



I think he means US (you and me etc), not United States....

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:07 pm 
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Yeah, now that I re-read it that does make more sense.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:10 pm 
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^hehe. Jumped the gun there ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:58 am 
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I'll jump in and totally agree with the proposition that in general, the best light weight components (not saying bikes & wheels, just parts) these days do seem to come from German companies or individuals. Of course there are other people making state-of-the-art stuff like Mr.Hellore in Sweden, but folks like him are few and far between.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:20 am 
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I think the USA is currently the industry leader followed by Taiwan.
I say USA because as far as mass produced bikes go, the design and engineer some fine bikes, Trek Madone and Domane, Specialized SWorks, Cannonale Evo and where custome carbon comes into play Parlee, Crumpton, Inependant Fabrication, Serotta and Alchemy produce some outstanding bikes, and with Ti Firefly, Moots, Lynskey and IF produce some of the finest available.
With wheels Zipp, Envelope and HED make some of the most aero wheels available.
Components, well there is Chris King with hubs and headsets, Alchemy hubs, Enve with seat posts, stems, bars for road and MTB, Specialized with their own brand bars stems and posts
SRAM is an American company manufacturing in Taiwan

And finally we get to Taiwan. Giant and Merida are now producing some really top notch bikes that are pretty damn good, and are sold at really competitive prices. Bang for buck they are hard to beat. Maybe they don't have the cachet of European brands, but many "Italian" bikes are actually made in these two factories as well as many bikes sold by big American brands.

I will give Germany credit for building bikes that win Tour Magazine shoot outs, and for the niche WW components like Schmolke, Tune, Lightweight, AX Lightness etc which are really lit, really expensive and usually come with rider weight limits.
The problem with Storck bikes is their geometry which is not suitable of the wider market.

Cycling, much like the motor industry is now a global industry, where many components / bikes / frames are designed in one country, manufactured in another and sold as a product from another country. It is now only the niche brands that make SOME of their products in house.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:42 am 
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Italy is the industry leader in cycling and has always been that way.
Think about Colnago, Pinarello and so many other high-end brands that keep on winning in the big competitons, and look astonishing.

Same goes for the gruppos. There is nothing out there that performs better than Campagnolo. They make the best wheels and have the best shifting groups that are the most reliable and take less maintenance compared to others.

If you can choose between a Trek with SRAM and some Bontrager wheels, or a Colnago with Record and Boras, the choice is obvious.
:beerchug:

(irony included, but true nevertheless :D )

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:20 pm 
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@ de zwarten
Campy makes good group sets, but on the electronic front is lagging behind Shimano by a few years. EPS only came out a few years after Di2 and still has no internal battery option.

And where do you think most Colnagos and Pinarellos are manufactured - in TAIWAN.
Also Pinarellos and Colnago, although making good bikes, are in no way at the leading edge of technology. In comparison to many others their bikes are HEAVY, and follow tried and trusted construction methods. Also very little if any innovation regarding aero bikes or wheel sets.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:49 pm 
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Ernesto Colnago said he does not care about building the lightest bike. He cares more about form, function and craftsmanship.

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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:49 pm 


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:19 pm 
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@ Ozrider:

You sir, do not know your history, nor the future. :D
Have you ever noticed the electronic group sets from Mavic and Campagnolo that were there, before Shimano even had 10-speed? I do not want to go into a Shimano-Campa argument, but to state that one is first because they have first commercialized something like electronic shifting (which they haven't), is just picking some elements from a much bigger story to make your argument. SRAM, Campagnolo and Shimano all have shown they were innovative at some moment in time.
Have you checked out the new sub-900 Bianchi Oltre? I guess not. Italian builders CAN make light frames, but they choose sometimes not to do so. Does that make them industry followers? Maybe some companies that DO build light frames are just following...
Same goes for aerodynamics. Have you checked some Cinelli frames from the 80s and 90s? The Bianchi of Berzin in the Vuelta '94? It's not because Bianchi, Colnago, Pinarello and many others do not follow the now-aero-is-the-hype bunch, that they haven't done that already a long time ago (just to conclude that the gains are marginal, and the teams they sponsor just keep winning with or without the 'latest innovation').
Same goes for Campa wheels. Just find wheels that combine excellent bearings, strength, reliability and weight and Campa will always be in the top 3, and they have been there for the last decades. Remember it is easier to reach the top, than to stay there!

Take all the hype with a grain of salt. On every continent, excellent bikes are being made. Some German companies (and forum members) were allready innovating regarding weight a long time ago. To say that one or the other is now an industry leader, considering the criteria regarding 'technical innovation' are vague and industry is very much globalized...

If the criterium is 'desirability', Italy wins hands down. :thumbup:

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