New fangled nonsense or genuinely better?

XmisterIS

Purveyor of fine nonsense
At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man before my time here; is the "latest thing" in bike technology really all that great?


I give you an example - I have an old-fashioned octalink bottom bracket in my MTB which has seen four years of pretty hard use and now it needs replacing.


I remember when the Shimano UN series of bottom brackets came out; they started at about £40 and went up to over £100!


Now that we have Holotech, the Shimano UN73 BB can be picked up for about £15.


I went into my LBS to see if they had any ... "Oh no!", said the yoof behind the counter, "we don't recommend them for a good mountain bike any more", he said with an air of, "oh, that's just so last season, like, whatever, y'know, of course we wouldn't be seen dead with one of those in stock!" He then warbled on about how holotech was the next best thing since slived bread, although of course I'd need a new set of cranks too because the old ones don't fit holotech, etc, etc. I thanked him for his copious advice and politely told him I'd think about it (which means I'm going to buy one off the net!).


Now ... I looked on chainreaction ... price of an XT/SLX Holotech + cranks is gonna be about £50 or more, price of a UN73 (which was the old XT/DX spec, I think) ... would have been £17, but they don't sell that anymore (presumably because it is just so last season, like, y'know, whatever!).


I have just realised I don't actually have a specific point or question to ask in this thread, it's more of a general rant!

Anyway, I have found a UN73 online for £15 + £2.99 p&p, so I am afraid that for the next few years my bike is going to be just so last season, like, y'know, whatever ....
 

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
I never have the latest gadget in any aspect of life and I find I can save a fortune in many things by using older but still perfectly serviceable technology that nobody else wants. The price of most tthings come down if you give it a while.
 

eldudino

Bike Fluffer
Location
Stirling
I 'upgraded' to Hollowtech 2 due to a groupset upgrade - I was wearing out the cheapy Suntour cranksets quickly so the LBS suggested going to Deore. New chainset = new BB which is now making a slight clicking sound. When I asked the LBS, he said that it's a problem with Hollowtech 2 BB's that there's a bit of plastic in it that sometimes gets a bit of grit in it and causes this sound, nothing to worry about, but it does need cleaned - more expense and not something I'd expect after a few months. Solution - I'm borrowing a Hollowtech 2 tool from a mate and learning how to do it myself!

I'd stick with what you know, I had a UN73 sq. taper on my bike before for 3.5 years with no problems until the bearings wore out, it then needed replaced just before the whole groupset, and was sold on ebay last week - you could've had it for £2.06!
 
C

chillyuk

Guest
Don't forget that all these upgrades will make you cycle much faster. You wont have to do any training, just flash the plastic for the right equipment and the fancy lycra and you too can ride like a TdF rider.

Well, that's what the manufacturers would have you believe.
 

accountantpete

Brexiteer
Personally I find that the external bearings are smoother and run more freely. On the downside the maintenance involved is a lot more - gone are the days of slinging the BB on the bike and forgetting about it for 5 years.
 

Davidc

Guru
Location
Somerset UK
I'm sure (but perhaps I'm just cynical) that the new bits are mainly:

1) To keep us all spending to maintain profits through the supply chain

2) For the convenience of manufacturers of bikes - making new bikes easier and cheaper to make.

3) For the convenience of component makers - reducing manufacturing costs.

With a few exceptions they make little or no difference to performance or ease of maintenance and nearly always reduce durability.

(OK I'm just cynical - see above).
 

mark barker

New Member
Location
Swindon, Wilts
As with many things in life there probably is an advantage to having the latest items, but very few will actually notice the difference. Its the same with computers, folks "need" to have the latest all singing, all dancing computers so they can log onto Facebook and ebay, even though my 10 year old imac does just fine!
 
Some of the latest ideas are well worth having; I love the carbon forks on my latest bike for the way they absorb road shocks. Things like bottom brackets, headsets, etc., I am doubtful about. Square taper bottom brackets have been around for donkey's years, as have cup & cone wheel bearings, and they seem tolerant of a fair bit of abuse and neglect. With careful and regular maintenance they seem to go on forever in the low stress situations on my bike. Things may be a bit different in the TdF, but in general I share your scepticism for the average Joe.

Having said that, square taper bottom brackets were a huge advance over cotter pins and well worth the price of an upgrade.
 

Davidc

Guru
Location
Somerset UK
Some of the latest ideas are well worth having; I love the carbon forks on my latest bike for the way they absorb road shocks. Things like bottom brackets, headsets, etc., I am doubtful about. Square taper bottom brackets have been around for donkey's years, as have cup & cone wheel bearings, and they seem tolerant of a fair bit of abuse and neglect. With careful and regular maintenance they seem to go on forever in the low stress situations on my bike. Things may be a bit different in the TdF, but in general I share your scepticism for the average Joe.

Having said that, square taper bottom brackets were a huge advance over cotter pins and well worth the price of an upgrade.


In my post above I didn't mean to say that no developments were worthwhile.

The eradication of the cotter pin must rank as one of the best changes in the past 45 years, and the modern freehub plus cassette is both easier to handle and functionally better than the the old freewheel block.

The cartridge BB seems much less robust than the traditional ones, but the ease of replacement as against servicing makes them worthwhile.

Another change for the better has been the improved tolerancing of bike parts, and the much easier alignment and adjustment of parts which has come in over the years. Setting up a 5 speed system on a 1950s or 60s bike was far more difficult than the same for a 27 speed 21st century system, for example.

There are things which I far preferred in their traditional form, starting with the headset and and the old adjustable quill stem, and I'm sure, as I said above, that the change wasn't for our benefit

One thing I've always expected to appear but it hasn't is cartridge bearings for wheels. I'm quite happy with cup and cone but cartridge bearings would make things easier for all.
 
OP
XmisterIS

XmisterIS

Purveyor of fine nonsense
Get yourself a decent bike shop.
I think I just might ... !! My local LBS didn't have the required headset when I changed my forks ... so they sold me a pair of sealed races to go with the bits of my old headset that were still good ... and Joe Idiot behind the desk went through all the parts of the old headset that I'd given him so he could go an find a new one to match ... and gave me back all the bits that he thought I needed ... and proceeded to throw the rest in the bin! I then told him that he had just thrown away the cups that sit inside the head tube ... "Oh yeah! Sorry mate!". Cue 10 minutes of him rummaging through the bin to find them ...
wacko.gif
. I then gently reminded him that it's not usually a good idea to throw anything away until after you've finished a job ...
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