Why are most modern bikes ugly?

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by SkipdiverJohn, 22 Jan 2018.

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  1. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Having become more interested in bikes again after years away from cycling, one of the things I noticed was how radically different the majority of new bikes look compared to what everybody was riding back in the 1980's and even 1990's. Even a relatively cheap bike from the 80's will at least have a presentable looking lugged frame with pleasingly slim tube dimensions, and simple geometric shapes. The intricate high quality stuff from respected makers was almost a work of art in its own right.
    Fast forward to the present day and what we get now is oversized tubes squashed at each end so they spread out and very un-pretty welds. On a small-sized triangle frame there can be more frame than daylight between the tubes these days - they look really crudely built.
    Then if you start talking about CF bikes, the frame ugliness is taken a stage further, with things like rear wheel clearance cut out of the thickness of the seat tube, weird looking seat posts, straight forks that look like a couple of kitchen table legs, and having them sticking out from the bottom of the headset at a funny angle like the bike has been involved in an accident and the forks have been damaged!
    The vast majority of what is on sale now, regardless of price level, I would not have in the house on the grounds they are mingingly ugly. Am I just a dinosaur with my dislike for current bike design or are there others who also much prefer the clean lines and slim tubing dimensions of old steel machines?. And before anyone blames the MTB craze for this, remember most MTB's from the 80's and early 90's had frames very similar in terms of appearance and geometry to old-school 3-speeds!
     
  2. woodbutcher

    woodbutcher Über Member

    Location:
    S W France
    Are you kidding you are treading the hallowed ground of the curmudgeonly fanatics who's one aim in life is to be surrounded by elegant not to say beautiful steel and leather in the shape of a bicycle. :cuppa:
     
    Alan O and raleighnut like this.
  3. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Give me carbon and aero over the old stuff.
     
  4. Drago

    Drago Guru

    Location:
    Poshamptonshire.
    I think there are examples of pretty and ugly bikes that are old and new. Beauty of form often follows efficiency of function, and that's where real elegance comes from.
     
  5. MontyVeda

    MontyVeda a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll

    With regards to lugged frames, i suppose it's down to weight... get rid of the lugs and save a fair bit of metal. I agree lugged frames are lovely looking things, but in a market where weight trumps aesthetics, the lugs have slowly disappeared.
     
    GuyBoden likes this.
  6. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Lightest bike I ever owned had lugs, maybe fewer bikes are handmade which suits lugs more.
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  7. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    To look at - A classic racing bike from the seventies or eighties.

    To actually ride - A lightweight carbon fibre frame with all the latest tech.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Most modern steel frames are machine welded, regardless of how cheap or expensive the finished bike is. Just think that as recently as 20-ish years ago, many British built bikes, even modestly priced ones, had a hand-made frame!. My Raleigh Pioneer, which I believe dates from 1995, has a lugged & brazed R501 frame, the last year they were hand built like that. It's nothing fancy but it's nice looking nonetheless and it says "quality" when you see a traditionally built bike.
     
    Illaveago likes this.
  9. Ajay

    Ajay Veteran

    Location:
    Lancaster
    Because product development/marketing/competition dictate that the bike must be charged slightly every year whether it needs it or not. Form follows function.
     
  10. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    I thought it was about us having more choice, something I like.
     
  11. Maenchi

    Maenchi StoneDog

    Location:
    Cornwall
    I'd agree that some are ugly now and years ago ,and for sure there are some beauties around now, I bought my Scale in 2014 for several reasons, one of them being that the aluminium it was made from had much smoother welds than they were in the 1990s, and I liked the fatness of the down tube and cross bar, all in the eye of the beholder hmmm :smile:
     
    Andy in Germany likes this.
  12. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Why now though? If I look at a bike made in the 1960's and compare it to one from the 1980s, they will not be that much different. Different paint and slightly different components maybe, but the overall appearance of the frame, wheels, bars, saddle etc will be very, very similar even 20 years apart. They didn't radically change physical designs year to year back then, but they still competed for business.
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  13. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Do you not think things have moved on very quickly since the invention of the thing you are using right now.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Computers are not a modern development, they have been around for well over half a century. Without doubt the blame for a lot of unattractive modern design can be laid at the door of CAD, if that's what you're getting at. Like cars that all look much the same apart from the badges.
     
  15. ozboz

    ozboz Über Member

    Location:
    Richmond ,Surrey
    Two pics I took just before Xmas in Sigma Hampton Wick , two brand new bikes , same manufacturer , as you can see , one high tech modern , one classic , both beauties ,
    no doubt which th OP would walk out with !

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    As materials develop, so along with it innovative design will naturally follow , I am all for it ,
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2018
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