Why are most modern bikes ugly?

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

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  1. dave r

    dave r The Little Diesel

    Location:
    Holbrooks Coventry
    GuyBoden likes this.
  2. mikeymustard

    mikeymustard Über Member

    I happened upon a blog the other day which detailed the writer's best-looking bikes from last year. They were all carbon and aero so not only ugly but also pretty much identical other than the colour schemes.
    It's probably a symptom of my age - and I'm not completely stuck in the past because i like the modern technology of newer bikes, but the frames just don't float my boat: in my mind, bikes looked better back in the day. Luckily the thriving market for hand-built and retro steel bikes is a reaction to lots of middle-aged people feeling the same.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Senior Member

    Location:
    London
    I don't think it's an age thing really, more a question that neither of us like ugly design. If a designer uses CAD, and the design criteria is obsessive aero not pleasing aesthetics, then the computer is going to churn out loads of near-identical results that look more like a piece of weird modern art than anything resembling a proper-looking bike.
    The ironic thing is that aerodynamics of a bike frame don't matter a toss for the speeds at which most bikes are ridden for most of the time. It's even more bizarre when you think about how many cyclists rave about some expensive CF framed aero road bike or other - and then promptly go and bolt that bike to their turbo trainer where both the aerodynamics and the light weight of the bike are completely irrelevant. They could have just bolted on the cheapest, heaviest, steel bike they could find instead and it would make no difference!
     
  4. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Let's face it, all frames are identical other than the colour schemes. In fact there is more variety of design in carbon frames with different tube profiles that there were in steel, monstrosities like the Flying Gate excepted.
     
  5. davidphilips

    davidphilips Senior Member

    Location:
    Onabike
    Maybe they look the same to you Joe but i could tell a nice bates from a good distance away, same with a hobbs (got to agree with you on the Hobbs as its just different from a distance away by the paint) and a conago with chrome lugs some thing to hope for at christmas.
    All a mater of personal preference but to me a steel bike frame with chrome or polished alloy forks just looks great, LOL, just a pity a few bike owners with some very nice old bikes would not change there minds and let there old bikes go my way.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Senior Member

    Location:
    London
    I agree with the bit about CF frames having more variation than steel, but I don't think all conventional triangulated steel frames look the same at all. I own several steel bikes, none of which you could remotely call exotic, but nonetheless there are noticeable visible differences between them in terms of frame geometry and construction. One of my MTB's in particular, clearly has some old-school heavy roadster DNA in it's head and seat tube angles; it looks massively different to a steel racing bike from the same era with steep frame angles and a short wheelbase. If all my bikes had their decals removed and were all painted in an identical colour, I would still be able to immediately recognise which one was which just from looking at the frame silhouettes.
     
  7. The sad thing is that by and large it isn't technology moving forward. Most of the changes are driven by marketing and the need to keep selling 'new' models.
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Senior Member

    Location:
    London
    Rampant Consumerism. The same reason most car manufacturers endlessly make totally pointless changes to things like the light clusters and front grille, so your brand new car looks visibly "old" a year after you bought it.
     
  9. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Without which there would be far fewer jobs in the world. I like choices.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Senior Member

    Location:
    London
    Do you enjoy being ripped off though? Selling someone a product one minute then cosmetically changing it frequently for no other reason than to make your recent purchase look old hat amounts to a deliberate destruction of the residual value of the thing you bought. It's a very questionable practice., and the "choice" is made for you by the manufacturer not wanting you to get years of service out of your new item.
     
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  11. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    I said I like choice, does not mean I follow fashions. If you all only bought what we needed to live and not what we wanted would you have a job, I doubt many would. Designers and sales people create jobs.
     
  12. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I've had new cars in the past when my job (ADI) required it. My practice now is to buy at under a grand and run them till they'll run no more. Even with an annual mileage of around 20k that practice has stood me in good stead for the last fourteen years (With the exception of a Rover 200 I paid £350 for, another £70 to replace the windscreen and owned for a whole week before the fecking head gasket blew).
     
  13. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    If other people did not buy where would yours come from.
     
  14. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    It needs people to buy second hand in order to make new car buying attractive. You wouldn't pay north of 10k for a car that was worthless when you wanted to change it.

    The market needs all types of player to work.
     
  15. I'd argue with that. A lot of recent changes in bike construction are driven by the fact that they provide a more efficient manufacturing process. Bills of materials are reduced, labour is reduced, assembly from a smaller number of stock components. That's just from a manufacturing point of view. On top of that, from an engineering point of view ther are arguments to be had as to whether modern BBs, headsets, freehubs, dual pivot brakes, disc brakes, lights, gearing systems etc are engineering improvements on what came before.

    Before you get too rose tinted, I have two words for you: Sachs Huret. Every single bike in the 70s had exactly the blimmin same clunky SH derailleur (below the fancy price bracket where you might have Suntour or Shimano, or the really posh Campag) and the same godawful saddle clamp.

    Don't get me wrong, I like old bikes. I've never ridden a bike that's not made of steel in my life. I have an 80s vintage Dawes. I like downtube shifters. I think quill stems can be things of beauty. But to say that modern bikes are purely built on fashion or cosmetic changes isn't really true.
     
    Alan O, Dirk, ozboz and 2 others like this.
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