Odds that we see disc brake only bikes go back to having rim offerings?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
youngs_modulus
Posts: 529
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:03 am
Location: Portland, OR USA

by youngs_modulus

Mattr:

Yes, a lot of CX racers had issues (and sometimes DNFs) due to worn-through pads—absolutely. My point is that by switching from organic to metallic or semi-metallic pads and bedding them in—that is, by actually learning how to use new equipment—the issues some perceived to be show-stoppers simply evaporated. I don’t see why the same won’t happen in the realm of road bikes.

Regarding the advent of disc brakes for mountain bikes: I started racing on the road in 1986 and I began racing mountain bikes in 1989. I remember when people were saying that disc brakes were fine for downhillers, but XC guys would never accept the extra weight of discs. I was working for a bicycle industry trade paper at the time, and I saw what you’re referring to: NOS cantilever-braked mountain bike frames got discounted as much as NOS cantilever-braked CX frames are right now.

I agree that performance consistency is a benefit for mountain bikes with discs and that the consistency is great for road bikes too. Ironically, I’m much less likely to ride off-road in the wet (due to concerns about trail erosion) than I am on the road. I recently moved to Oregon, in the US Pacific Northwest, where the weather approximates that of Normandy, so wet road rides are a thing for me. The quantifiable benefits are pretty much the same for mountain and road bikes...whether those benefits are “worth it” for any particular rider is a subjective question answerable only by the rider in question.

But your point about the price of entry being too high for the benefit you see is (I think) at the center of all this. Yes, there are benefits to disc brakes on road bikes. Yes, most new road bikes will be sold with disc brakes. For people buying a new bike to get into the sport, disc brakes are not good or bad but simply the brakes on their bike. The cost/benefit analysis you legitimately bring up doesn’t exist for a lot of bike buyers.

You, Matt, will soon have disc brakes on your training bike. I might be mistaken, but I imagine that at some point, the convenience of being able to swap wheels between your training bike and your fancy road bike—coupled with falling weights for road disc groups and the likelihood that the fastest aero rims will soon be those without brake tracks—will convince you (or at least many like you) that your next high-end road bike needs discs too. In other words, when the costs of keeping rim brakes become too high, people will switch and not think twice about it.

In other words, it’s not that road discs are so much better that one simply can’t ride without them—it’s that, on balance, they’re “better enough” that they’re worth having for most bike buyers. And that “better enough” may have more to do with mundane convenience (like having the abilities to swap wheels between all your road bikes) than raw performance.

About two years ago, I built up an “experiment bike.” It’s a fixed-gear belt-drive CX bike with tubeless tires and a front disc (and no brake on the rear). I wanted to play with wide tubeless road tires/rims and drop-bar hydraulic discs (TRP Hylex) just to know what those things were like. I also wanted to see if I wanted those things on my road bike. It turns out that they work just fine and, yes, I want them on my road bike.

The difference isn’t huge, but yeah, the discs are a little nicer and feel a little better. I’m not winning or losing races because of my road bike’s rim brakes, but if/when I buy a new bike, I’ll take the slightly nicer option. Most people will, and that’s why the market will shift.

Once that shift is complete, there won’t be a high cost to “switching” to discs; there will be a high cost to sourcing rim-brake frames and parts, so those things will become niche items, like cantilever-braked mountain bikes are now. At least, that’s my prediction.

by Weenie


youngs_modulus
Posts: 529
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Location: Portland, OR USA

by youngs_modulus

northwestern wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:54 pm
youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:41 pm
But Northwestern seems to be suggesting that the shift to rim brakes is a cynical marketing conspiracy soon to be reversed in the name of...well, I’m not sure what. Yet that theory isn’t borne out by history and it doesn’t make a lot of sense on its own terms. It’s an extraordinary claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I’m all ears.
In the name of MAKING MONEY. LOOOL.
Well, shouting about making money is hardly extraordinary evidence to support your claim. But it is evidence that you’re perhaps unfamiliar with how the bike industry works.

Virtually no one gets rich in the bike industry. To paraphrase Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: First prize is a modest profit. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.*

There’s no cabal of executives rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking money from naive enthusiasts by fabricating “improvements” that aren’t improvements.

Rather, you’ve got a bunch of product managers trying not to get fired, at least at the bigger companies. The smaller companies have 2-4 people of various titles trying not to let their tiny business go bankrupt. Everyone is operating on razor-thin margins. It’s true that the industry could have a good year or two if everyone runs out and buys disc-brake road bikes, but “the industry” isn’t powerful enough to bend consumers to its will. They’re just trying to be ready for the next big thing.

If Mike Sinyard wants you to buy a disc-braked Venge (and he absolutely does) it’s because that’s how he stays in business. He also wanted to sell you a Stumpjumper mountain bike in 1981.

By anticipating market trends, Sinyard built a bike company; he’s one of the few in the bike industry that made real money over the long term. He’s the exception, not the rule. But every company in the industry is trying to do the same thing: be ready with great stuff when consumers are ready to buy that stuff. To do that, they’ve got to try to anticipate what’s next. But they’re not doing it to manipulate you; they’re simply doing it to keep their jobs and keep their companies in business.

I have to admit that I’m confused when I hear conspiracy theories like Northwestern’s. They make a lot less sense to me than the idea that the industry has always lived hand-to-mouth and will take any windfall it can, whether that’s from disc-braked road bikes, gravel bikes or (ten years ago) Lance Armstrong mania.

NW, do you really believe that road bike manufacturers have a secret plan to fabricate some studies and re-introduce rim brakes, uh, because money? Industry trends are often silly; chainstay-mounted U-brakes were a terrible idea for many reasons. But even big companies don’t control the industry in a way that would make your theory workable.

WheelsONfire pretty much nailed it: having rim and disc versions of the same bike doubles the number of SKUs for that model, and that costs money. Plus, neither version benefits from the economies of scale that a single version does, so a company that offers both makes money on neither.

(Yes, margins are that slim. Keep in mind that with a single bike model with two paint schemes and six sizes, you’ve got 12 distinct items to source and stock. Add two kinds of brakes and now you’re at 24 distinct items. This just doesn’t scale).

To address the original question: given the realities of the marketplace, no major manufacturer can afford to keep making both rim-braked and disc-braked models of the same bike, so they won’t. Custom builders will make rim-braked bikes, just like custom builders make the randonneur bikes that Trek doesn’t.

This isn’t a conspiracy or the will of a few individuals but simply market forces at work. Sometimes the market does things I dislike too, but I don’t see how imaginary conspiracies make that less annoying.



* Put that coffee down, Northwest. Coffee is for closers only. ;)

C36
Posts: 368
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

youngs_modulus wrote:[quote=northwestern post_id=1440939

Well, shouting about making money is hardly extraordinary evidence to support your claim. But it is evidence that you’re perhaps unfamiliar with how the bike industry works.

Virtually no one gets rich in the bike industry. To paraphrase Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: First prize is a modest profit. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.*

There’s no cabal of executives rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking money from naive enthusiasts by fabricating “improvements” that aren’t improvements.

Rather, you’ve got a bunch of product managers trying not to get fired, at least at the bigger companies. The smaller companies have 2-4 people of various titles trying not to let their tiny business go bankrupt. Everyone is operating on razor-thin margins. It’s true that the industry could have a good year or two if everyone runs out and buys disc-brake road bikes, but “the industry” isn’t powerful enough to bend consumers to its will. They’re just trying to be ready for the next big thing.

If Mike Sinyard wants you to buy a disc-braked Venge (and he absolutely does) it’s because that’s how he stays in business. He also wanted to sell you a Stumpjumper mountain bike in 1981.

By anticipating market trends, Sinyard built a bike company; he’s one of the few in the bike industry that made real money over the long term. He’s the exception, not the rule. But every company in the industry is trying to do the same thing: be ready with great stuff when consumers are ready to buy that stuff. To do that, they’ve got to try to anticipate what’s next. But they’re not doing it to manipulate you; they’re simply doing it to keep their jobs and keep their companies in business.

I have to admit that I’m confused when I hear conspiracy theories like Northwestern’s. They make a lot less sense to me than the idea that the industry has always lived hand-to-mouth and will take any windfall it can, whether that’s from disc-braked road bikes, gravel bikes or (ten years ago) Lance Armstrong mania.

NW, do you really believe that road bike manufacturers have a secret plan to fabricate some studies and re-introduce rim brakes, uh, because money? Industry trends are often silly; chainstay-mounted U-brakes were a terrible idea for many reasons. But even big companies don’t control the industry in a way that would make your theory workable.

WheelsONfire pretty much nailed it: having rim and disc versions of the same bike doubles the number of SKUs for that model, and that costs money. Plus, neither version benefits from the economies of scale that a single version does, so a company that offers both makes money on neither.

(Yes, margins are that slim. Keep in mind that with a single bike model with two paint schemes and six sizes, you’ve got 12 distinct items to source and stock. Add two kinds of brakes and now you’re at 24 distinct items. This just doesn’t scale).

To address the original question: given the realities of the marketplace, no major manufacturer can afford to keep making both rim-braked and disc-braked models of the same bike, so they won’t. Custom builders will make rim-braked bikes, just like custom builders make the randonneur bikes that Trek doesn’t.

This isn’t a conspiracy or the will of a few individuals but simply market forces at work. Sometimes the market does things I dislike too, but I don’t see how imaginary conspiracies make that less annoying.



* Put that coffee down, Northwest. Coffee is for closers only. ;)
Having thin margins doesn’t stop to look how to improve them and that’s how Marketing depts work.
When Giant introduces the TCR for the Once, with the explanation that Compact Geometry made possible 3 sizes for all, that was marketing justifying premium uber BS, the reason was purely economical and fit your previous example, 3 sizes = less stock. Still everybody bought the marketing speech.

Disc brakes, brings their benefits but from a business point of view is an incredible opportunity to “force” a renewal, you can’t use an old frame, can’t use old wheels, can’t use old group set, everybody has the same reasons to push for. It’s a std business school case, nothing incredibly original.

In MTB the 29 and 27.5” saga was similar, recall seeing few years ago an internal slide explaining the marketing plan behind how the subsequent stds will be introduced, could extrapolate to other stds in the pipeline, they don’t come out of the blue, that’s not a conspiration... just a marketing plan.
Do they always work? No. Aero frames in early 2000s (caad aero, Specialized M4 aero, GT edge) didn’t picked up (but here you were not forcing the entire change of “system”).
If the UCI drop the weight limit to let’s say 5kg, i wouldn’t be surprise to see people advertising rim brakes again. Part of a well structured marketing plan. Will it work? Not sure, will it happen... I have little doubts.


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Karvalo
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:40 pm

by Karvalo

C36 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:15 pm
In MTB the 29 and 27.5” saga was similar, recall seeing few years ago an internal slide explaining the marketing plan behind how the subsequent stds will be introduced, could extrapolate to other stds in the pipeline, they don’t come out of the blue, that’s not a conspiration... just a marketing plan.
It's not just a marketing plan, it's necessary for the production of complete mountain bikes. MTBs are wierd compared to road bikes, there are so many different parts, and different standards for different parts, that all have to be produced for a bike to hit the shop floor. Like when Rockshox and Cane Creek brought out metric shocks, how long did the rest of the industry know about it before it was launched? Probably quite a long time, because they had to have time to evaluate the idea, decide whether to get on board, then redesign frames, linkages and kinematics to best take advantage of the new shock sizes, all before the press release comes out - because otherwise when this great new shock is released people go "what can I use it with" and the answer is ummm..... nothing. But in the meantime you might have seen an internal document talking about the timescale for releasing this great new shock from a company that is currently trying to sell you a bike with the old shock on it. It's not marketing's fault, it's just that design and testing takes time.

For wheels it's even worse. 27.5, Boost, Plus, needs co-ordination between people who make frames, who make hubs, who make chainsets, who make rims, who make tyres... companies have to know what's coming significantly in advance so that they can spec their bikes with parts that will work. Even then, it doesn't always happen. To what extent did Plus bikes fade away because the only available tyres for a couple of seasons had wimpy treads and papier mache sidewalls, got specced on everything from a singletrack type hardtail to 150mm travel, hard riding trail and all-mountain bikes and everyone got tired of ripping them to shreds?

RedbullFiXX
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Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:13 am

by RedbullFiXX

It would seem the trend is that Road, CX/Allroad, MTB will continue to share common designs, & parts in the future

That should be for good all

C36
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

Karvalo wrote: For wheels it's even worse. 27.5, Boost, Plus, needs co-ordination between people who make frames, who make hubs, who make chainsets, who make rims, who make tyres... companies have to know what's coming significantly in advance so that they can spec their bikes with parts that will work.
Not sure if you are proving the point that there is a shared marketing plan to push for changes that may bring benefits but also force a complete material change?



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ericoschmitt
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by ericoschmitt

Wookski wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:39 pm
There will always be custom makers willing to produce rim brake frames which is great because we all know factory bikes are for people with no dreams ;)
So much me! Loving my custom Columbus spirit frame with KCNC CB1 brakes, bike is 6.85kg. I wouldn't choose discs for road, and wouldnt buy carbon stuff unless I'm a pro, or have lots of spare money. My custom steel ended up being much cheaper.
OTOH i got a gravel /drop mtb with hydro-mechanical discs... But mtb wheels.

BiaNeutron
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:52 pm

by BiaNeutron

The issue with moving to disc brakes on a road bike for many, myself included, is that unlike other upgrades, it requires the purchase of an entire new bike. Any actual performance gain or general upgrade would have to be a significant one in order to justify that kind of financial outlay. Are disc brake benefits today that kind of significance? The price for a new bike could be north of $10K with the used market price for a top rim brake bike recovering only a small percentage. It will likely be a few years yet before I'm in the position for needing a complete new bike, but I'm keen to see how the disc technology evolves.

Karvalo
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:40 pm

by Karvalo

C36 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:44 pm
Karvalo wrote: For wheels it's even worse. 27.5, Boost, Plus, needs co-ordination between people who make frames, who make hubs, who make chainsets, who make rims, who make tyres... companies have to know what's coming significantly in advance so that they can spec their bikes with parts that will work.
Not sure if you are proving the point that there is a shared marketing plan to push for changes that may bring benefits but also force a complete material change?
No, making the point that it's a 'make bikes better' plan, and it needs coordination and forward planning to be able to do that. In road bikes sure, it's debatable how much improvement there's really been, but in MTB you just need to go and ride a 10 year old bike vs a new one to prove beyond a doubt that it's not just marketing.

Or I dunno, maybe you mean marketing encompasses every part of bringing a bike to market. Just a different way of looking at it I guess.

AW84
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by AW84

youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm

There’s no cabal of executives rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking money from naive enthusiasts by fabricating “improvements” that aren’t improvements.
That's exactly what the industry is doing.

Frames are about as light as they can be without becoming dangerously brittle. Groupset component weights have either stalemated or in some cases actually gone up. Wheels, stems, handlebars, cranksets, they're all virtually as refined as they can be. The industry has painted itself in a corner and it has to BS us to continue selling things...it knows a middle-aged dentist will spend anything if it can convince him that new technology will make him ride like a pro, when reality later proves otherwise.

The industry is unlikely to do an about-face and convince us that rim brakes and 9-speed drivetrains are the way of the future, but it will certainly sell you on the significant benefits of things and all of the testing it's done to prove it that will never amount to a hill of beans in the real world.

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Spinnekop
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by Spinnekop

AW84 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:45 am
youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm

There’s no cabal of executives rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking money from naive enthusiasts by fabricating “improvements” that aren’t improvements.
That's exactly what the industry is doing.

Frames are about as light as they can be without becoming dangerously brittle. Groupset component weights have either stalemated or in some cases actually gone up. Wheels, stems, handlebars, cranksets, they're all virtually as refined as they can be. The industry has painted itself in a corner and it has to BS us to continue selling things...it knows a middle-aged dentist will spend anything if it can convince him that new technology will make him ride like a pro, when reality later proves otherwise.

The industry is unlikely to do an about-face and convince us that rim brakes and 9-speed drivetrains are the way of the future, but it will certainly sell you on the significant benefits of things and all of the testing it's done to prove it that will never amount to a hill of beans in the real world.
The fact that sooooo many people cannot see this point is mind baffling to me.
:unbelievable: :unbelievable:
"In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is DESIRE.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"

mattr
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by mattr

youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:22 pm
Once that shift is complete, there won’t be a high cost to “switching” to discs; there will be a high cost to sourcing rim-brake frames and parts, so those things will become niche items, like cantilever-braked mountain bikes are now. At least, that’s my prediction.
Which will be my next nice bike, in 5 or so years.
youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:22 pm
I might be mistaken, but I imagine that at some point, the convenience of being able to swap wheels between your training bike and your fancy road bike—coupled with falling weights for road disc groups and the likelihood that the fastest aero rims will soon be those without brake tracks—will convince you (or at least many like you) that your next high-end road bike needs discs too. In other words, when the costs of keeping rim brakes become too high, people will switch and not think twice about it.
Unlikely, I'm not specifically interested in weight or aero (more interested in fit, form, overall performance, which aero and weight make up a small part of)
And i'm in sweden, chances of swapping wheels between a disc training bike and any race/nice bike are between nil and zero. ~38mm studded tyres, not happening...... ;)

We also have almost completely empty trails, so erosion isn't a massive issue, i can do two rides on the same trail a week or two apart and very often there will still only be one set of tracks.
And it seems like you have a similar timeline to me, started on the road in 84 and MTB in 90, just in time for the rush from Canti, to V and then discs. None of which seemed to generate huge resistance.

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tymon_tm
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by tymon_tm

Spinnekop wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:50 am
AW84 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:45 am
youngs_modulus wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm

There’s no cabal of executives rubbing their hands together at the prospect of taking money from naive enthusiasts by fabricating “improvements” that aren’t improvements.
That's exactly what the industry is doing.

Frames are about as light as they can be without becoming dangerously brittle. Groupset component weights have either stalemated or in some cases actually gone up. Wheels, stems, handlebars, cranksets, they're all virtually as refined as they can be. The industry has painted itself in a corner and it has to BS us to continue selling things...it knows a middle-aged dentist will spend anything if it can convince him that new technology will make him ride like a pro, when reality later proves otherwise.

The industry is unlikely to do an about-face and convince us that rim brakes and 9-speed drivetrains are the way of the future, but it will certainly sell you on the significant benefits of things and all of the testing it's done to prove it that will never amount to a hill of beans in the real world.
The fact that sooooo many people cannot see this point is mind baffling to me.
:unbelievable: :unbelievable:
amen to that

common sense appears to be a rare commodity amongst customers, even "educated" and "self aware" ones - like for instance active cyclists, even those who have been around long enough to witness all kinds of really significant improvements and absolutely BS marketing moves.

I've no doubt roadies in general don't need discs. just like we don't need aero bikes. thing is, for some of us these things work. or at least "work". that's why manufacturers have broaden their line ups having a bike (or a component) for each and every one of us. so we get to chose what we ride.

don't like tubulars? go with clinchers. or the other way round. but what if industry decided overnight tubeless is the new standard and actively cut clinchers and tubulars out? I bet it wouldn't be that hard to prepare good looking data and make pros ride it, effectively forcing all of us to convert. would you be happy and claim how beneficial the change is?

or imagine the price of aluminum or just the bolts (lol) goes up and manufacturers decide it's gonna be integrated carbon bar/stem combos only from now on. better yet - each and every bike manufacturer makes their own, not compatible with other bikes. oh I can see comments how you don't really need the palet of different bar shapes, because this particular shape chosen by a given producer "fits them all"

..or imagine Aqua Blue somehow managed to win a whole bunch of races this season, and 1x is storming the scene. "it's so much better, I wouldn't win (insert any given monument) with a 2x, I'm sure of that" Larry Warbasse claims. dentists and lawyers stand in long ques trying to order their 1x, every manufacturer prepares a whole line of 1x bikes ("One is mOre") and Shimano announces DA won't be offered in a 2x version from 2020 on

...but sure, producers always know better and act in our best interest :lol:
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

joejack951
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by joejack951

Spinnekop wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:50 am
The fact that sooooo many people cannot see this point is mind baffling to me.
:unbelievable: :unbelievable:
This begs the question, if everything is as good as it is ever going to get, why do you care if rim brake development stops? Be happy with what you already own (no reason to ever upgrade, right?) and maybe buy some spares now to have on hand should rim brake parts evaporate overnight. Think of all the money you’ll save down the road not being forced by the industry to buy the latest and greatest.

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Spinnekop
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Location: South Africa

by Spinnekop

joejack951 wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:27 pm
Spinnekop wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:50 am
The fact that sooooo many people cannot see this point is mind baffling to me.
:unbelievable: :unbelievable:
This begs the question, if everything is as good as it is ever going to get, why do you care if rim brake development stops? Be happy with what you already own (no reason to ever upgrade, right?) and maybe buy some spares now to have on hand should rim brake parts evaporate overnight. Think of all the money you’ll save down the road not being forced by the industry to buy the latest and greatest.
Not really my issue with the whole thing. I am fortunate enough to be able to buy a new bike should industry force me to.
Its not about the money saving.
It is about the marketing BS
"In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is DESIRE.
No reason or principle contain it or stand against it........"

by Weenie


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