Tagged: high-tech vs low-tech
March 6, 2019 at 3:19 pm #258290
Bike manufacturers produce a continuous steam of new high tech gadgets. And I get it, why buy a new bike if it’s just the same as the old bike. Even better for company profits if that new gadget is pricey. More and more, I’m seeing new bike gadgets that don’t improve the riding experience. Here some of my examples of high-tech vs low-tech.
Solid vs dropper post. I’m not totally opposed to dropper posts. If your dropper post has enough drop so that you can put your feet on the ground while seated in the saddle that could be handy in many ways. Is it worth the extra expense, weight, and maintenance? Every time I demo a bike with a dropper, it doesn”t work right However, adding a few hundred bucks to the price of a bike is good business. I’ll stick with the solid post.
Tubes vs tubeless. The great paradox of tubeless tires is that they work great and they eliminate minor thorn flats but they also require a lot of maintenance and changing a tire or fixing a major flat can be a huge hassle and a mess. I’m now think that the only reason to got tubeless is if you get many minor flats. I been switching my bikes back to tubes.
2x or 3x vs 1x drivetrains. This is an example where the industry is going in the low-tech direction. I’ve always hated 3x drivetrains. Chain suck, chain drop, unreliable shifts. Wonderful to eliminate chainrings, front deraileur and shifter. Thank you Sram for the 1x Eagle drivetrain with the wide range 10-50 cassette.
Narrow 26 vs 29+. Here’s another low-tech solution. Back in the old days, riding a hardtail with 2.0 tires at 35psi was like riding a torture rack. Once full-suspension came out, I would not ride nor recommend a hardtail. But with 29+ tires at 17psi, hardtails (and full-suspension bikes) are much more comfortable and I ride them and I recommend them. There’s a reason many bikes now come with 29×2.6 tires.
Old school vs Enduro geometry. Amazing how small low-tech changes in geometry could improve ridability so much. Climbs better, descends better, no more flying over the handlebars. Enduro geometry has improved modern mountain bikes immensely. However, let’s not get too long and slack.
Clipless or flats vs flats with cages and straps. I tried them all and flats with cages and straps work best for me. The right balance of attached to the bike but not too attached to the bike and you don’t need special shoes. Another low-tech solution that improves cycling.
I could list many more example of low-tech bike improvements. I just want to make the point again that new high-tech gadgets don’t always make a bikes more rideable. Sometimes simple solutions yield big rewards. High-tech vs low-tech? Have you given up on some of the latest and greatest high-tech bike improvements. Have you low-teched your bike?
March 6, 2019 at 5:36 pm #258301
I am totally with you on the tube tires. Granted, you might get better traction from tubeless fatter tires however, if you want speed with good traction, as long as you know how to corner and climb properly, a 2.2 or 2.3 inch tube tire on an FS will be sufficient and you won’t need to deal with maintenance or sealant mess. PS, I don’t have to deal with cactus or big thorns on the trails I ride.
I am also a big fan of slacker head tube. I replaced my XC, that had a 70 degree angle with a trail bike that has a 66 degree angle and it immensely improved my downhill confidence and abilities.
FYI, I have a low tech dropper post, spring assist, that I use a lot. Spent $120 a few years ago on it. It has more than paid for itself, it always works and I can maintain it.
One more thing, which I am sure will cause an uproar, are carbon frames. I do not race, I still exceed my abilities and crash and my aluminum bike is under 30 pounds. I can’t see spending at least $1000 more for a bike with a carbon frame.
Overall, I keep my bike as low tech as possible. I will only move to higher tech if I can prove to myself on the trail that the cost of the upgrade is worth the enhanced experience.
March 6, 2019 at 7:23 pm #258302
While I do have my carbon full suspension with all the latest and greatest on it, I find myself riding my rigid single speed just as often. I bought it with an 11 speed drivetrain, hydraulic brakes, and a suspension fork. I ended up selling all of that and setting it up single speed with mechanical brakes that I had laying around. It’s a little refreshing to have a bike that rarely needs maintenance. I also don’t worry about riding it in messy conditions, I don’t worry about damage being done to it when I crash, I don’t mind locking it up around town.
I did put a dropper on it right away though because that’s the most fun per dollar upgrade out there!
March 6, 2019 at 7:39 pm #258304
One more thing. I do like hydraulic brakes over mechanical for the ability to feather the brake when I only have one wheel on the ground and have great stopping power with one finger when necessary. Learn how to bleed them and maintaining is pretty simple.
March 7, 2019 at 3:31 pm #258375
“Have you low-teched your bike?” Interesting question. Never thought of changes in that way.
For me, I guess it’s been going back to using tubes.
Not really a “bike” low-teching thing, but I’ve dropped using a hydration pack, and went back to a bottle on the frame for my daily, less than 15 mile after work rides.
March 7, 2019 at 4:10 pm #258380
If I only had one bike it would take advantage of most of our modern technology. Since I have multiple, I really enjoy riding the rigid single-speed sometimes. I could go either way on tubless; it’s not that important. Hydro disc brakes are amazing, my road bike has mechanical discs and they’re annoying. Modern cranks/bottom brackets are vastly superior and a dropper post is a must have.
I guess the answer is no. Even my rigid ss has been upgraded to hydraulic disc brakes and a dropper post.
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