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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by Weenie


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.

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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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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:26 pm

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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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:53 am

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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Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 10:11 pm

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
Posts: 848
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
in the industry
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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!

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