The unmistakable sign of a connoisseur in 2015?

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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xg43x
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by xg43x

When you wrap your handlebars like this to maintain a uniform look...

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Multebear
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by Multebear

Just stumbled over this old topic while using the search function for something else. Just read all of it, and IMHO the problem with this topic maybe is how OP approached it:
sawyer wrote:
Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:44 pm

A comment in another thread got me thinking about what it is visually (equipment and clothing) that distinguishes the true connoisseur of the road from the also-rans.
A true connoisseur is not defined or recognized by his equipment and clothing. Those things maybe give you a hint, but what makes him a true connoisseur is his mentality and approach to the sport.

Obviously cycling circles around racing. You want to beat the other guy. That's why a true connoisseur has been racing for many years. Not necessarily a pro or former pro, but at least at the top amateur level. And he is still racing and has done it for +30 years probably since he was a kid. You can't be a connoisseur while in your 20s or 30s. It is earned over the years with lots of training and racing and riding your bike in all kinds of weather throughout the years.

The reason connoisseurs are racers is, that the whole sport evolves around racing. It's probably the most competetive sport there is. You race for the town sign, the top of the mountain, the next street light. You try to drop your buddies when pushing hard, you halfwheel if your buddies talk too much about Rapha, Pas Normal Maap, Baum or Speedvagen. It's all about winning. Even in these modern times, where most people log their training on Strava, you hunt KOMs. It's all about putting your name above the others'.

Since it's all about racing and winning, it's not about equipment and clothing. You don't pay much attention to your kit, because it's obvious what kit you're wearing. You're wearing your teamkit/cycling club kit, because you're proud wearing it, because you've won countless races wearing that kit. If it's wintertime and your team doesn't provide you with winter clothes, you certainly don't wear something that signals anything else than bikeriding. No fancy colors, no big logos, no fancy companies like Rapha e.g. Probably just some discrete black clothes like Assos.

Regarding the equipment, a true connoisseur knows, that it's not the bike that wins races, it's the hardness of the rider. We've all seen the dentist, and lawyers kind of riders and a connoisseur doesn't want to be confused with those guys. He rides a machine that has done a lot of racing and probably also some crashes hence severel battle scars, because that is part of racing. So the machine isn't perfect by WW standards. It's not even a WW bike. If he's riding Shimano, he will probably ride Ultegra because when riding +15k km a year, there has to be room/money for spares. He doesn't buy fancy parts like EE brakes, THM cranks and expensive wheels like Enve, Zipp or LW. And he doesn't care about stem length, saddle to bar drop and so on. He cares about riding in a bikeposition, that is comfortable and fast when spending countless hours on his machine, and that varies from rider to rider. But he certainly doesn't ride with +2 cm spacers under the stem, because he knows excactly what framesize fits him.

His bike is obviously always clean. His chain, chainrings, cogs and pulleywheels are clean, shiny and well lubricated before every ride because he respects his bike like the tool that will take him to victory. He doesn't leave anything to chance. The bike is silent, because he knows every part on his bike and knows if something is out of tune. And he knows how to fix most of it. Maybe he builds wheels himself, but he also knows, that there's no reason to do that, if he hasn't got the talent for it. In other words he knows his limitations and spends his time where it's well spent - like training rather than fixing the bike.

So the conclusion is, you probably wont recognize a true connoisseur on a café or bikeshop. But you recocnize him when he drops you in grouprides or passes you on a mountain. And he only talks about races he has won, where he did an inhuman effort or where some douchebag wheelsucker stole his win.

by Weenie


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themidge
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by themidge

In my opinion a 'connoisseur' (if that's even the right word) doesn't try to be cool, they just are. They aren't pro, but they have that subtle edge over us normies, and their entire attitude towards cycling is one of relaxed satisfaction.
I have the utmost contempt for those 'douchebags' who try way too hard to be hip and trendy, riding steel for the sake of it rather than because they truly think it's better, wearing kit that is beyond pretentious in it's design, or getting tattoos on their perfectly shaved calves that say things like 'shut up legs' or 'just ride', and revere the 'legends of cycling' as infallible deities.
/rant, obviously I'm neither, just another rider on the road, I even wear a team sky jersey sometimes :D.

mrfish
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by mrfish

Just read the whole thread. Multebear’s answer is one of the best.

I would add that the connoisseur is at least middle aged as he has lived his or her passion for bikes for at least 20-30 years. He has been through phases of shimano and Campagnolo, has tried Sram and appreciates all for what they are. Likely he is a post weightweenie and now prefers reliable top-end parts which just work, although he may own a bike which is sub 6kg. He has also been through Assos and likely tried Rapha back when they only produced soft shell jackets. Now like Mark Zuckerberg he sticks with a favorite brand and limited color scheme to avoid needing to think about colors and instead just focus on wearing kit exactly right for the weather. His garage contains a wide spectrum of bikes which were benchmarks when they were produced during the last 30 years, along with a well- organized set of tools covering all functions of each bike. When he rides he no longer pushes the same ftp as he once did, and perhaps weights more, so is slower uphill, but on the flat he will outsprint faster riders through canny following of the right wheels and better timing. Downhill he is faster than ever thanks to superb racing technique and increased weight. He is always willing to share knowledge or give an inner tube to a fellow cyclist, plus occasional tactful hints to help newcomers to the sport, without boastfulness or rudeness. In a bunch he rides considerately, calls out potholes, parked cars and rides in a straight line whether drinking from his bottle, changing his top layer or looking behind. He is able to discuss cycling history and technological developments without becoming a bore. He is respected and looks up to by other cyclists.

beeatnik
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by beeatnik

True connoisseurs are cats who probably post over at Velocipede Salon, have about 20 friends on Instagram, are tight with at least one bike artisan or industry person and, most importantly, what and how they ride now is how the rest of us will ride in 15 years. See all things Bicycle Quarterly, wide rims, fat tires, wacky gearing, mixed dirt riding, Rapha (ya, some dudes were actually wearing this stuff in 05 on things like D2Rwhatever).

https://forums.thepaceline.net/showpost ... ostcount=6

https://forums.thepaceline.net/showpost ... stcount=11

Oh, this only applies to the online realm because at least in California there are no bike connoisseurs IRL.

uraqt
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by uraqt

I love this thread, helps you get a "world" view, I disagree that "whole sport evolves around racing".. while that was true about 2 or 3 years ago.. it's clear that there is a great big market of riders that are using "gravel" bikes and produts that have nothing to do with racing ... sure they may have been racers, but with every brand having a "gravel" bike" and gravel "parts" that riding isn't about racing ... it's about having fun and back to nature.... not about who finishes 1st or fastest... IMO and from what I can tell on the internet... : )

C

PS I will "never" own a gravel bike.....

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micky
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by micky

NB; in many part of the world gravel bike is still a minor market. We don't all live in USA.

Multebear
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by Multebear

I sure as hell still race my friends on the gravel bike. We definitely aren't as competitive as on the road, but we still have sections, where it's crucial to kill the other guys - this includes Strava KOM hunting as well.

If you're sitting on a bike and you don't feel the urge to race your friends for fun once in a while, well.... it's seems hard to imagine...

uraqt
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:53 am

by uraqt

Look my point was and I am sure you are going to argue, is that the latest large golbal cycling trends, really didn't start with or becasue of road racing ...

C

PS The fact that you would think that the USA is the major market for any thing bike related is funny the quick numbers I found (that could be wrong) was USA 6B the rest of the world 40B. EU makes the rules, has the most rides and is the history of the bike. USA is just BS johnny come lately, and using tech to try and compete and we aren't any good even at that...

RTW
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by RTW

Multebear wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:52 pm
Just stumbled over this old topic while using the search function for something else. Just read all of it, and IMHO the problem with this topic maybe is how OP approached it:
sawyer wrote:
Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:44 pm

A comment in another thread got me thinking about what it is visually (equipment and clothing) that distinguishes the true connoisseur of the road from the also-rans.
A true connoisseur is not defined or recognized by his equipment and clothing. Those things maybe give you a hint, but what makes him a true connoisseur is his mentality and approach to the sport.

Obviously cycling circles around racing. You want to beat the other guy. That's why a true connoisseur has been racing for many years. Not necessarily a pro or former pro, but at least at the top amateur level. And he is still racing and has done it for +30 years probably since he was a kid. You can't be a connoisseur while in your 20s or 30s. It is earned over the years with lots of training and racing and riding your bike in all kinds of weather throughout the years.

The reason connoisseurs are racers is, that the whole sport evolves around racing. It's probably the most competetive sport there is. You race for the town sign, the top of the mountain, the next street light. You try to drop your buddies when pushing hard, you halfwheel if your buddies talk too much about Rapha, Pas Normal Maap, Baum or Speedvagen. It's all about winning. Even in these modern times, where most people log their training on Strava, you hunt KOMs. It's all about putting your name above the others'.

Since it's all about racing and winning, it's not about equipment and clothing. You don't pay much attention to your kit, because it's obvious what kit you're wearing. You're wearing your teamkit/cycling club kit, because you're proud wearing it, because you've won countless races wearing that kit. If it's wintertime and your team doesn't provide you with winter clothes, you certainly don't wear something that signals anything else than bikeriding. No fancy colors, no big logos, no fancy companies like Rapha e.g. Probably just some discrete black clothes like Assos.

Regarding the equipment, a true connoisseur knows, that it's not the bike that wins races, it's the hardness of the rider. We've all seen the dentist, and lawyers kind of riders and a connoisseur doesn't want to be confused with those guys. He rides a machine that has done a lot of racing and probably also some crashes hence severel battle scars, because that is part of racing. So the machine isn't perfect by WW standards. It's not even a WW bike. If he's riding Shimano, he will probably ride Ultegra because when riding +15k km a year, there has to be room/money for spares. He doesn't buy fancy parts like EE brakes, THM cranks and expensive wheels like Enve, Zipp or LW. And he doesn't care about stem length, saddle to bar drop and so on. He cares about riding in a bikeposition, that is comfortable and fast when spending countless hours on his machine, and that varies from rider to rider. But he certainly doesn't ride with +2 cm spacers under the stem, because he knows excactly what framesize fits him.

His bike is obviously always clean. His chain, chainrings, cogs and pulleywheels are clean, shiny and well lubricated before every ride because he respects his bike like the tool that will take him to victory. He doesn't leave anything to chance. The bike is silent, because he knows every part on his bike and knows if something is out of tune. And he knows how to fix most of it. Maybe he builds wheels himself, but he also knows, that there's no reason to do that, if he hasn't got the talent for it. In other words he knows his limitations and spends his time where it's well spent - like training rather than fixing the bike.

So the conclusion is, you probably wont recognize a true connoisseur on a café or bikeshop. But you recocnize him when he drops you in grouprides or passes you on a mountain. And he only talks about races he has won, where he did an inhuman effort or where some douchebag wheelsucker stole his win.
I like this. I think a lot of it rings true. I don't think, neccessarily that I agree with you about the racing, club kit, as being a qualifier, but I you are saying it is a signifier and I agree 100%. If you are this person, you are very likely to be a connoisseur. There are other ways to get to this though. Riding for years and years and years without racing is one. Faithfully training for yourself. I see myself in what you write too. My 105 equipped winter bike gets almost as much praise as my dentist bike. My dentist bike gets looks, and I know it puts me in a bracket. But I ride it because I am industry. That, in itself usually makes a connoisseur too!
Your cycling kit is one size too big!

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Multebear wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:52 pm
Just stumbled over this old topic while using the search function for something else. Just read all of it, and IMHO the problem with this topic maybe is how OP approached it:
sawyer wrote:
Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:44 pm

A comment in another thread got me thinking about what it is visually (equipment and clothing) that distinguishes the true connoisseur of the road from the also-rans.
A true connoisseur is not defined or recognized by his equipment and clothing. Those things maybe give you a hint, but what makes him a true connoisseur is his mentality and approach to the sport.

Obviously cycling circles around racing. You want to beat the other guy. That's why a true connoisseur has been racing for many years. Not necessarily a pro or former pro, but at least at the top amateur level. And he is still racing and has done it for +30 years probably since he was a kid. You can't be a connoisseur while in your 20s or 30s. It is earned over the years with lots of training and racing and riding your bike in all kinds of weather throughout the years.

The reason connoisseurs are racers is, that the whole sport evolves around racing. It's probably the most competetive sport there is. You race for the town sign, the top of the mountain, the next street light. You try to drop your buddies when pushing hard, you halfwheel if your buddies talk too much about Rapha, Pas Normal Maap, Baum or Speedvagen. It's all about winning. Even in these modern times, where most people log their training on Strava, you hunt KOMs. It's all about putting your name above the others'.

Since it's all about racing and winning, it's not about equipment and clothing. You don't pay much attention to your kit, because it's obvious what kit you're wearing. You're wearing your teamkit/cycling club kit, because you're proud wearing it, because you've won countless races wearing that kit. If it's wintertime and your team doesn't provide you with winter clothes, you certainly don't wear something that signals anything else than bikeriding. No fancy colors, no big logos, no fancy companies like Rapha e.g. Probably just some discrete black clothes like Assos.

Regarding the equipment, a true connoisseur knows, that it's not the bike that wins races, it's the hardness of the rider. We've all seen the dentist, and lawyers kind of riders and a connoisseur doesn't want to be confused with those guys. He rides a machine that has done a lot of racing and probably also some crashes hence severel battle scars, because that is part of racing. So the machine isn't perfect by WW standards. It's not even a WW bike. If he's riding Shimano, he will probably ride Ultegra because when riding +15k km a year, there has to be room/money for spares. He doesn't buy fancy parts like EE brakes, THM cranks and expensive wheels like Enve, Zipp or LW. And he doesn't care about stem length, saddle to bar drop and so on. He cares about riding in a bikeposition, that is comfortable and fast when spending countless hours on his machine, and that varies from rider to rider. But he certainly doesn't ride with +2 cm spacers under the stem, because he knows excactly what framesize fits him.

His bike is obviously always clean. His chain, chainrings, cogs and pulleywheels are clean, shiny and well lubricated before every ride because he respects his bike like the tool that will take him to victory. He doesn't leave anything to chance. The bike is silent, because he knows every part on his bike and knows if something is out of tune. And he knows how to fix most of it. Maybe he builds wheels himself, but he also knows, that there's no reason to do that, if he hasn't got the talent for it. In other words he knows his limitations and spends his time where it's well spent - like training rather than fixing the bike.

So the conclusion is, you probably wont recognize a true connoisseur on a café or bikeshop. But you recocnize him when he drops you in grouprides or passes you on a mountain. And he only talks about races he has won, where he did an inhuman effort or where some douchebag wheelsucker stole his win.
I'm sorry but I can't disagree with this post more. I obsess over brands, wear Pas Normal and bought two $15k bikes last year. I have never raced (outside of sportiffs etc.) I also frequent the cafe scene, so by most definitions, I am a poser. I am also a dentist/lawyer/doctor in real life!

But there's more to the story. I became obsessed with cycling when I first saw Greg Lemond race on TV. I was a runner, ran in division 1 in college, and I took up cycling in middle school as cross training. I would mostly only ride on weekend afternoons, after having gone for a 10-12 mile run in the morning. My first bike was a Colnago 5speed with downtube shifters. I loved cycling, had my own truing station at home and would tear apart and put together my bike with tools I collected just for the fun of it. I mounted my first tubular tires when I was 13 (took me about 2 hours), yet, I never raced. I hated running but loved cycling, but couldn't commit to cycling because I needed running to go to college, and I didn't have the money as a middle/high schooler to really commit to cycling (plus lack of car and parental support). A nice man at the LBS (the closest one was 30 or so miles away) would let me work on my bike at his shop for free, and he taught me most of what I know about bike maintenance. We even experimented with stripping paint and repainting frames and making custom decals. Those were some really fun summers. I trained with Cat 2 and Cat 1 riders, and at least on short rides (50 miles or so) I had no problem hanging as a high schooler, and could even drop some of them on climbs. This one time I was pushing the pace a little too hard on a paceline and the local champion got pissed and swore at me and attacked and left us all behind and we didn't see him for the rest of the ride. I think I was a freshman in high school, but he still swore at me! I recall our average speeds were between 23-26mph, with faster intervals. But then I ran a 4:15 mile in high school and was state champion.

I loved my Colnago with its downtube shifters, but it was heavy and the 5 gears were a pain on the hills. I also only had one jersey (a bright yellow one I got for $15, which I still own) and the cheapest cycling shorts (simple pullups) I could find. When I could finally afford clipless pedals, I bought used MTB pedals and shoes because that was what I could afford. I promised myself that if I ever became rich, I would buy the fanciest bikes and buy all the gear I wanted.

I am older and much slower now. I can't go 25mph for longer than 5 minutes. But I have a lot of cool gear. Just looking at my gear makes me smile. And I still obsessively watch pro cycling and read pro cycling news (I also obsess over gear). I go to my LBS at least twice a week to talk about gear and maybe buy stuff I don't need. When I meet local riders who just want to go hard and fast or prepare for racing, I avoid riding with them. Cycling was never about winning or racing for me (I had running for that). It was more about the journey and being able to go places on a completely manual and mechanical machine that you understand, and the sound of the wheels ticking and the wind rushing by your face. I love meeting overweight dentists with their cool gear because I can stare at it, talk about gear. They know nothing about pelotons or the classics, but they know the release date for the new model Venge. This is interesting to me, so I spend many hours at cafes with them. We cruise around at 15-18mph, head to eat panckes and sausages, then cruise to the local bike shop for coffee and to check out the latest inner tubes or tire offerings, or just to wash our bikes. I've been doing this for years, and I love it.

I don't know where I am going with this, but basically I think there are many types of riders, and we all have our reasons for riding. Few of us will ever race, but that does not make us any less of a connoisseur. In fact, we may love cycling and our bikes more than the racers themselves. I was very nearly an elite runner, and I hated every mile of running and haven't put on a pair of running shoes in years.
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AJS914
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by AJS914

My old mechanic was the ultimate connoisseur. He had cred. He had put in his time racing. He had been district TT champion and won his share of races. He was a mechanic of the highest order. He had crewed with Mavic neutral support one July for the TdF. He was also one of the best wheel builders around.

What defined him as a connoisseur was his equipment and attitude. First, he was the nicest guy. He was never trendy or label conscious and never looked down at anyone else or put them down for their equipment choices.

The colors of his bikes were timeless - classic understated retro colors in the 90s when people were buying neon. He was always a few years ahead of everybody else. He was wearing Assos before anyone had ever heard of it in the US. I remember he had this loud as hell Hugi cassette hub but they were so cool. He was the first person I ever saw ride a radial laced front wheel on the road. Up until then I had only read about it as a track or TT thing. He was the first person I ever saw cross his shift cables under the down tube. His frames were always some small Italian maker you had never heard of or custom from a small builder. He only rode Campagnolo. His bike was always in perfect working order and always clean.

On a ride you always wanted to be on his wheel if we were pace lining. He was so smooth and effortless when he took his pull.

RTW
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by RTW

Multebear wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:52 pm
Just stumbled over this old topic while using the search function for something else. Just read all of it, and IMHO the problem with this topic maybe is how OP approached it:
sawyer wrote:
Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:44 pm

A comment in another thread got me thinking about what it is visually (equipment and clothing) that distinguishes the true connoisseur of the road from the also-rans.
A true connoisseur is not defined or recognized by his equipment and clothing. Those things maybe give you a hint, but what makes him a true connoisseur is his mentality and approach to the sport.

Obviously cycling circles around racing. You want to beat the other guy. That's why a true connoisseur has been racing for many years. Not necessarily a pro or former pro, but at least at the top amateur level. And he is still racing and has done it for +30 years probably since he was a kid. You can't be a connoisseur while in your 20s or 30s. It is earned over the years with lots of training and racing and riding your bike in all kinds of weather throughout the years.

The reason connoisseurs are racers is, that the whole sport evolves around racing. It's probably the most competetive sport there is. You race for the town sign, the top of the mountain, the next street light. You try to drop your buddies when pushing hard, you halfwheel if your buddies talk too much about Rapha, Pas Normal Maap, Baum or Speedvagen. It's all about winning. Even in these modern times, where most people log their training on Strava, you hunt KOMs. It's all about putting your name above the others'.

Since it's all about racing and winning, it's not about equipment and clothing. You don't pay much attention to your kit, because it's obvious what kit you're wearing. You're wearing your teamkit/cycling club kit, because you're proud wearing it, because you've won countless races wearing that kit. If it's wintertime and your team doesn't provide you with winter clothes, you certainly don't wear something that signals anything else than bikeriding. No fancy colors, no big logos, no fancy companies like Rapha e.g. Probably just some discrete black clothes like Assos.

Regarding the equipment, a true connoisseur knows, that it's not the bike that wins races, it's the hardness of the rider. We've all seen the dentist, and lawyers kind of riders and a connoisseur doesn't want to be confused with those guys. He rides a machine that has done a lot of racing and probably also some crashes hence severel battle scars, because that is part of racing. So the machine isn't perfect by WW standards. It's not even a WW bike. If he's riding Shimano, he will probably ride Ultegra because when riding +15k km a year, there has to be room/money for spares. He doesn't buy fancy parts like EE brakes, THM cranks and expensive wheels like Enve, Zipp or LW. And he doesn't care about stem length, saddle to bar drop and so on. He cares about riding in a bikeposition, that is comfortable and fast when spending countless hours on his machine, and that varies from rider to rider. But he certainly doesn't ride with +2 cm spacers under the stem, because he knows excactly what framesize fits him.

His bike is obviously always clean. His chain, chainrings, cogs and pulleywheels are clean, shiny and well lubricated before every ride because he respects his bike like the tool that will take him to victory. He doesn't leave anything to chance. The bike is silent, because he knows every part on his bike and knows if something is out of tune. And he knows how to fix most of it. Maybe he builds wheels himself, but he also knows, that there's no reason to do that, if he hasn't got the talent for it. In other words he knows his limitations and spends his time where it's well spent - like training rather than fixing the bike.

So the conclusion is, you probably wont recognize a true connoisseur on a café or bikeshop. But you recocnize him when he drops you in grouprides or passes you on a mountain. And he only talks about races he has won, where he did an inhuman effort or where some douchebag wheelsucker stole his win.
Damn, that's me out. Only raced MTB briefly, ridden all over the world, worked in the industry for 13 years!
Your cycling kit is one size too big!

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853guy
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by 853guy

A connoisseur is to taste, as an athlete is to performance.

While I think it's true to say cycling as a sport revolves around performance, cycling as a lifestyle revolves around enjoyment. A connsoisseur, then, need not be the fastest, fittest, or most powerful. They may in fact be none of those things.

So while a connoisseur may likely show appreciation for those whose athleticism is measured via those metrics, they'll also show appreciation for the more subjective and aesthetic elements of the cycling experience, like the way a frame transmits road feel, the interaction derived from a mechanical groupset, and the cut, fit and proportion of various garment manufacturers.

In other word, a connoisseur is someone who appreciates - who enjoys - the socio-cultural elements that define cycling. That may mean marveling as a pro rider devastates a stage on an aero frame with discs, while deriving tremendous pleasure from a leisurely ride amongst the vineyards on a lugged steel frame, without considering one to be a superior experience to the other.

Best,

853guy

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kgt
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by kgt

+1

by Weenie


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