Is This As Good As Bikes Will Get? (besides braking)

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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by Lelandjt

So everyone has a disc version of their climbing bike, aero bike, and rough road bike now. It seems like the pro peloton is gonna be all disc by next season. Even if rim brake bikes continue to be available it seems like no one is devoting developement to them anymore.

So, will disc bikes ever get as aero and light as the current best rim brake bikes? Will rim brake bikes get better than they are now? If better brakes mean nothing to you is the bike you're riding today as high performance as you'll ever experience? I'm on a very aero 61cm bike built on a budget that weighs 14.5lb. With more money it could be 13.5ish.

We're accustomed to bikes getting a little better every couple years and it's been generally assumed that a new bike will blow the doors off a 20 year old, but is this coming to an end?

by Weenie

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by cyclenutnz

I'm not anticipating a better bike than my current S5. To be more aero will require more (inconvenient) integration - especially to overcome the extra drag of discs. And I've already determined that I'm not that thrilled with the performance of disc brakes on a road bike (by building and riding a nice disc bike). I'm not expecting to see a bike I want from a brand I like for quite some time, if ever, so this bike might be in for the long haul.

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by Marin

Realistically, road bikes reached their peak sometime in the 1950s.

By that I mean that a rider who is stronger than me will be faster on a bike from the 1950s on, say, a stage of the Tour the France.

He'll have a sub-10kg bike with cotton tires and useful gearing, so I won't have a significant weight advantage, I'll have higher rolling resistance because my tires will probably have a puncture protection strip, and if he knows how to sit on a bike the aero difference will be negligible.

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by TobinHatesYou

Our understanding of aerodynamics and access to CFD has been the biggest innovation since the invention of the bicycle. The design of current aero bikes is still limited by UCI regulations, so once those are lifted we may see another few watts saved just from frame design. Look at the tri bikes like the Andean and P5x, now add additional fairings over the bars and in front of the legs. CFRP is not the be-all-end-all in composite materials. Something lighter and stronger will come along. Cornering grip will get better with the implementation of damped suspensions. Basically race bikes should evolve into the shape of human-powered go-fast motorcycles.

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by Marin

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:51 am
now add additional fairings over the bars and in front of the legs.
You realize this has already been done many times and that there are good reasons why it didn't catch on :)


Take your pick: ... QQfo-l--EM:

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by TobinHatesYou

Full-on enclosed velomobiles are one thing. Adding smaller strategically placed structurs is another. Think winglets and bargeboards on F1 cars.

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by gewichtweenie

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:51 am
, so once those are lifted we may see another few watts saved just from frame design.
marginal banes

i mean vanes

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by c60rider

Road disc brakes are in their infancy right now so of course they will get lighter, more efficient and perhaps even anti-lock braking will be built into them electronically at some point. Development will be endless. Bikes continue to be on a steady evolution rather than revolution. There have been great steps of development with clipless pedals, indexed gears and the bikes today are far lighter and faster than any of the first iterations of STi/eroglevers so it's only natural that disc braked bikes will be the same. Whether they're better or start to push the boundaries of what's safe like they are with road frames being rather on the light side is another matter.

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by Shrike

Far too large a focus this era on piggybacking on whatever material science developments hit the market and it's debatable how successful that has been ultimately.

The next big leap in performance comes from 'infinite' automatic gearing with machine learning. That would have the largest increase in speed gains for time trialists or breakaway artists on rolling terrain. The machine learning would be multi pronged - it's looking at the terrain, initially using GPS, but will be more accurate if it's been on that course before. Then it's looking at your power and cadence and learning what works best for you on that particular gradient/surface smoothness. On top of that it's looking at your current fatigue levels and basing the gearing and cadence targets in relation to that again, and on top of that, the wind and temperature conditions.

The tech for the machine learning to do that is already here, in fact that's quite a basic affair these days. Once 'infinite' gears get sussed the penny will drop and machine learning will drop right after it. No point doing it before as gear changes aren't currently nuanced enough to take the best out of a rider on anything but a flat course.

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by TobinHatesYou

Infinite automatic gearing will only be beneficial if friction and hysteresis losses are lower than using a traditional chain gearing system. "CVT" would be nice, but I'm not clever enough to think up a practical implementation for a bicycle.

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by AJS914

You don't need infinite gearing. An AI could be set up to shift electronic groupsets.

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by kgibbo1868

Does anyone think a Bluetooth (similar to etap) controlled disk brake could ever be developed? Obviously the technology exists and would be simple enough. If you have ever used a modern gaming console you know you can get decent feedback to a controller as well.... A comprehensive dental insurance plan would be in order before testing me thinks! :twisted:
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by bremerradkurier

Synthetic or bio engineered spider silk tires might bring a few watts.

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by uraqt

Nope the current bike engineer and designers are limited by the lame and corrupt UCI rules... old guys keeping old guys in power


by Weenie

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by wheelbuilder

I think for me, I am at a point where I don't feel like hunting for the latest and greatest anymore? I'm in my fifties, happy with my fitness, very happy with the performance of my bike........could not ask for more. It's got all the high end components I lusted after, and is what most would consider a damn nice bike. I feel pretty damn satisfied. Rim brakes and all.
Never cheer before you know who is winning

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