I’m not sure if you were riding 20 or 30 years ago, but let’s take a few moments to think back – way back. Do you remember what bike technology was like back then?In the early 70s the 10-speed craze hit North America, introducing many people to the joys of cycling. If you are an old-school roadie, you may remember pre-indexed friction shifters, 5-speed spin-on freewheels and 100% “steel” brazed framesets.
Then came the 80s. Some of the first mountain bikes from that era were equipped with chrome bull-moose handlebars, Tommaselli brake levers, rim brakes, height-rites and, of course, fully rigid frames and forks. That’s just the way it was, and gosh it was sure fun, too.
Now, jump way ahead to the present: 2014. So much choice! So many different types of bikes designed for very specific uses: urban, downhill, cyclocross, road race… not to mention three different wheel sizes in mountain bikes alone! Today’s road bike technology is simply unbelievable. For not much more than the cost of a top-end chromoly frame and fork set only 20 years ago, you can now get a full carbon 10-speed road bike similar to what the pros are using – yet for a fraction of the price.
Even the less expensive models feature engineering marvels such as vibration dampening ARC stays
, internal cable routing and frames designed for specific applications: race, endurance, cyclocross, touring or city riding. All of this technology makes these bikes so unbelievably comfortable and easy to ride you will wonder how you ever rode anything around the block before.
Mountain bike technology is no less amazing. Today’s top end bikes all feature dual air, fully tunable suspension, disc brakes and frames made from carbon or alloy tubesets. Again, these frames are functional works of art. They are meticulously designed on an engineer’s computer, where details like suspension are painstakingly considered. The bikes then come to life through the hydroforming or carbon molding process. Incredible!
There are so many styles of mountain bike today, from 200mm travel downhill rigs, to medium travel trail bikes, to super light weight cross-country hardtails. Many of these bikes feature internal cable routing and remotely adjustable seatposts. The technology trickle down is fabulous for riders just getting into the sport, too. Today’s entry-level bikes come equipped with disc brakes, front suspension, alloy framesets and fully indexed gears – for a fraction of what they cost a decade ago.
When it comes to new mountain bikes, much like on the road, technology has come a long way. Custom tuned A.R.T. suspension
helps Norco full suspension bikes climb with ease while descending with a plushness traditionally only available on big travel freeride or DH rigs. Combined with square-edge bump compliance and braking performance a single bike can excel where a whole fleet was needed in the past.
So, in summary, if you haven’t been on a new road bike or 650B-wheeled
mountain bike, I’d encourage you to swing a leg over one and try it out. All this technology will only increase your ride enjoyment and slap a smile on your face that just won’t go away. These bikes are just that good, and they keep getting better.
See ya out there!