Bike Features: what’s important to you? (From Instagram)

I heard/saw this clip from the podcast on Instagram and felt like a forum post would be a better place to provide comments. @James_Huang

I just want to hear from you…we are seeing a lot of features that are becoming almost sort of standard with higher end bikes (like fully integrated cable routing, disc brakes, stuff like that…)

  • What sort of bikes are you riding?
  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?
  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?
  • What’s important to you?
  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?
  • What sort of bikes are you riding?

I ride primarily road bikes, gravel bikes/all-road, bit of CX mixed in. Essentially, I’m a drop bar bike guy.

  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?

I’m currently happy with my stable of horses, however I have been more and more interested in the bikes that seem to keep developing the newer tech (disc brakes, clean look and feel, gear versatility) that are also still keeping the weight down. I don’t race as much as I used to, but living in central europe, I still register and race events like Haute Route and other mountain-oriented fondos and sportivs. So, for me, control is important, as well as bike weight.

  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?

Accessibility and Maintenance. While I don’t work as a mechanic, I am a certified mechanic and do a lot of my own builds and repairs. So for me, features that are important definitely include those that allow me to dig in a little on modifying and maintaining my bike, without the need for a host of new tools or a trip to the shop to use a stand there (I did work part-time in a shop and they won’t work on my bikes, instead providing me with space to work on my bike myself. Which is great and a luxury.)

Addressing Clutter. I’m always looking for features that add to the clean look of a bike. Features that declutter are definitely of interest when it comes to what I’m looking for in innovation. For example, I love how Trek manages to make use of the space inside the downtube of their Domanes and Diverges. This is awesome and I would love to see other follow suit. Mounting bolts on the underside of the downtube are also small but important features. If I can find places to stash cleanly the bits and bobs I need for a ride, all the better.

Weight. I know a lot of others seek out aero gains, but I’m still a weight weenie at heart. For me, new bikes that are still aiming to adopt innovation and strive for low weight, are the ones that catch my eye.

  • What’s important to you?

As mentioned above, clean looks (innovative), low weight, versatile maintenance.

  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?

Right now, there are two things that jump out as deal breakers.

  1. The 27.2mm round seat post. I like thinking about tweaking the weight, position, and comfort of my bikes. From that comes a fun exploration in shopping and finding items that suit that tweaking. The seat post is a great place for this. Confining me to a proprietary shape is a massive limiting factor. I get that there are aero gains to be made here…but these simply are not going to make me a better/faster cyclist, for who I am as a consumer and enthusiast.

  2. Packability. I travel often with my bike. It has an 1-piece stem and bar, but it does not have fully concealed and integrated cabling. I ride eTap with hydraulic discs, and being able to disassemble my bike into a compact travel bag is really important. I don’t like clutter on bikes and I like to move swiftly through an airport, so a small bag is important to me. I currently use a Post Transfer case and love it. I do really like the look of a fully integrated front end, it appeals greatly to my desire of a clean bike. But so many of these newer bikes would simply be a nightmare for me in my assemble/disassemble routine, let along limitations with getting the handlebars to FIT in the bag. So, this detracts from looking ahead to a purchase.

Both of the above deal breakers collided when I was visiting family back in Canada in August. I arrived, grabbed my bike from the luggage carousel, hopped in a rental car to head up north of Toronto and ride with friends I hadn’t seen in 2yrs. When unpacking and building my bike, I realized I had left my seatpost and saddle in my bike stand at home. Well, fuck-a-duck. BUT, since I have a 27.2 seat post, a friend’s gravel bike (Aspero) provided a solution immediately for me to ride with. Had I been on an aero bike, forget it. I’d have been sunk.

I found this to be easier to type up here than in the comments of Instagram. Hope others are keen to contribute here as well.

I’ve actually posted many of my thoughts on those things in other threads, so apologies if I’m boring people. But…

Factor LS - set up as an all-road bike with 2 wheelsets. Force/Rival AXS
Cinelli Superstar - mechanical Chorus, rim brake
BMC TM02 - TT bike, 10sp 105/ultegra mix

I’ve just ordered a custom steel frame. Rim brake, mechanical. In general, I’m looking for something that fits my purposes. This purchase is for a straightforward but beautiful summer bike. It needs to look lovely, be spirited to ride, and be something I can get out of the garage, check the tyres, put some drops of lube on the chain and go - and that I can 100% maintain myself. But I’d have the re-launched Klein alloy that’s been mooted on here a few times in a heartbeat.

I very seriously considered a Low, but with VAT and import, it’s a pricey proposition in the UK (10% more than a fully custom stainless steel frame and with a longer lead time). In the bigger picture, I still think it should be possible to buy a sub 8kg, alloy frame, ‘sporty’ bike with a killer paintjob, mid-range groupset and nice wheels for not much over £3k, and have that last for the best part of a decade.

High quality manufacture, reasonably light weight, nice aesthetics, goldilocks geometry (‘sporty’), zero (or very limited) proprietary parts, at least reasonable value. Threaded bb and 27.2 seatpost are definite bonuses.

I think largely covered above. I don’t race on the road, so out and out performance isn’t the key for me. But it does need to be fast enough to be fun.

I would want a lot of convincing to buy a bike where all the cables are totally integrated at the front end. I’ve seen too many issues with 3T frames cracking at the seattube clamp, and I’ve seen too many issues with Cannondale bbs, so they would probably be off the list (very specific, I know). An electronic only road or gravel frame would be a hard sell to me as well.

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  • What sort of bikes are you riding?

Most of the time - Mason ISO as either a Toddler-trailer-tow bike (30kgs up and down 9% incline) or light MTB/Gravel sportive bike(20kmh approx). Basically a 2.1" rigid drop bar mountainbike with rimpact and a dropper. Dependable and hilarious.

Some of the time - Kinesis 4s disc on a 48km one way commute (with laptop) approx 27km/h, 4km of this on gravel. None too comfortable currently. Tubeless 30mm with fenders. Tailfin rack FTW.

also some of the time - Transition Scout 2015 for more serious mountainbiking

  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?

Electric cargo bike to carry 1/2 kids with fun views fire-road capable and car transportable (some dissasembly accepted).

Allroad bike to make the commute bit more fun/faster. Aerodynamics, fenders, lots of contradicting desires.

Replacement MTB if the old one breaks.

  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?

Assist when moving kid(s).

Better passenger experience for kid(s).

Aero and comfort on the road bike. Light gravelling capability.

  • What’s important to you?

Kit made somewhere with decent pay and conditions. Ideally in Europe or places with H&S regulations,worker welfare considered,sick pay etc. Don’t want my fun to be someone elses horrid life.

Environmental/sustainability credentials/considerations.

  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?

knock-off/dubious/cheap for a reason equipment

Road and gravel mostly…largely because any MTB trails near the northern Chicago area are non-existent. I’d rather ride an extra 2-3 hours than drive somewhere to ride.

Honestly, nothing right now. Bought a new gravel frame this year (Aspero) and my Canyon Aeroad is only 3 years old.

Nothing, since I am not considering a new bike right now. But, in general, on the road, aero is an important feature and for gravel, versatility.

Pressfit BB (even though I just bought an Aspero :man_shrugging:) and despite my aero affinity, not really a huge fan of integrated front ends…1) stock setups usually don’t work for (too short) and 2) maintenance is a total PITA.

ETA - 3) High BB’s for a gravel bike. That was the primary reason I chose the Aspero this year, despite the PF BB. It had the lowest BB I could find. A low BB is more stable when cornering on gravel.

Allied Allroad, Ultegra 11 Di2, road and gravel wheelsets
Trek Émonda SL6, Ultegra 11 mechanical, road (and many trainer hours)
Santa Cruz Stigmata, GRX810 mechanical, gnarly gravel
Trek Crockett, mechanical Rival, CX race and commuter
Ibis Ripley V4, mtb

Maybe replace the Émonda with something a bit sexier (it frustratingly works great nearly stock despite many kms), and get a second CX race bike. I already have road/allroad/gravel/cx bikes, so despite the fact that I ride them all reasonably frequently it seems a bit … nuts.

I am sorry to admit that I like electronic shifting and disc brakes. Other than that, easy to service.

Reasonable light weight; quality wheels; durability; ease of maintenance; availability / cost of replacement parts; a clean look; tire clearance; something slightly out-of-the-ordinary compared to the bog standard, works great $3-$4k bike from one of the big brands.

As the owner of many wheels, the 12 speed eTap AXS freehub body still scares me off.

I don’t know if it is a deal breaker, but I am wary of integrated front ends, super lightweight frames, non-threaded bottom brackets, and seat masts.

What sort of bikes are you riding?

Two carbon drop bar bikes and a custom painted steel townie. I live in a hilly and sometimes damp area, and therefore I am converted wholly to hydraulic disc brakes. I can’t imagine ever riding mechanical again on a drop-bar bike, after being on Di2 for a few years, so I guess I am stuck with that level of spending when I get new bikes. Aside from electric shifting and disc brakes, every other development on road bikes over the past decade is marketing gimmickry, in my opinion. I bought the Aethos because I basically wanted to go back to my 2011 S-WORKS SL3 and just have disc brakes and the option to run 32c tires. For gravel, I am bit more open to “innovations” but even the newest future shock, I would not miss at all if it just disappeared from my Diverge. Definitely won’t get another bike that has it, or any other form of suspension.

'21 Specialized Aethos Pro with UDi2 and LB carbon hoops laced to DT240

'21 S-Works Diverge with 2x UDi2 and HED Emporia GC wheelset, 38c GK tires

'20 All City Super Professional 1x11 Shimano, flat bar, 650x47, huge front basket and fenders year-'round

What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?

A lighter, more classic-looking gravel bike.

What sort of features you are actually looking for?

A lightweight carbon frame and fork. Normal cockpit with external hose and wire routing. Threaded BB. Round 27.2 post, internal frame storage, mounts for fenders and extra things, but done cleanly, ala '21 Diverge.

What’s important to you?

Weight, steering response, ride quality, minimal aesthetics.

And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?

Super long and/or dropped chainstays, MTB tire clearance, press fit bb, proprietary cockpit, a gazillion obvious mounting points (Fezzarri Shafer/Niner RLT), specifically, visible rack mounts on the outboard side of the seatstays, drives me nuts, will never buy a bike that has that. Aero tube-shaping, horizontal top tube, proprietary/31.6 seatpost, suspension, obnoxious branding and/or hideous paint ('21 SC Stigmata) a frameset price above $3k.

What do I ride?
I have five bikes, all, according to one member, “waiting to explode”, as they are all carbon: a Giant MTB, MCM SE, circa 2000 (and two decades down the road, nary a “crack” on it–go figure), an Opera Leonardo FP (the original Pinarello Dogma prototype), a Storck CD 1.0, a Ridley Excalibur, and a Ridley Fenix/Liz–all Campy equipped, all with Ultegra brakes, Eurus or Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels.

What do I want?
What is important to me is for the media that supports specific activities, such as cycling, to get over the fact that their readers are always looking for the next best thing (in this case, bikes) to buy. In fact, not all are–rather, many of us are simply interested in keeping what we own running, in improving them in small ways (new chains, new tires, new lubes, new saddles, etc.) rather than always craving the next best thing (bike) on the market. Sure, it’s always nice to know what new things have made it to the market place, but that not only doesn’t have to be, but shouldn’t have to be, the main focus of interest–rather, how to use and improve what we’ve already got would make a lot more sense for many people.

The typical media mindset is easy to understand (market-driven), and perhaps easier to understand when the playing field is changed. I am an avid semi-pro photographer, and over the years, have subscribed to many photo/camera magazines. These could be easily divided into two basic types: one, the type that was primarily market-driven, which offered tons of reviews of the latest cameras and accessories, plus, to a lesser extent, some photo galleries and how tos. The other was primarily end-product/results driven, and featured photographs as the primary focus–different themes, subjects, galleries, contest results, some how tos, and of course, a small section on the latest (and also existing) equipment. I personally favored the latter type, while of course keeping abreast of current developments.

Cycling online “magazines” seem to be uncertain which direction they lean, more often than not, combing the two (market and results), but ignoring the existing tools and equipment that most of us have, assuming we are always looking to replace whatever it is with something new, which simply is not the case for many of us.

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  • What sort of bikes are you riding?

Road bike and gravel bike at the moment. Road bike is my favourite which gets taken out for hard training sessions, long weekend rides and races, gravel bike for easy rides and doing a bit of offroad exploring or for general riding.

  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?

Nothing is itching at the moment. Some years down the line, a new road bike. Briefly flirted with the idea of a TT bike, but I just don’t see myself training on it enough to make good use out of it. Maybe if family obligations in some years allow for more time.

  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?

Looks good, has disc brakes, aero frame, light weight as far as feasible, quality made. That’s it in broad strokes. Electronic groupset with hydraulic discs for sure on the next bike. Narrow, integrated aero cockpit. Geometry wise, I’m looking for a low stack height and long-ish reach, typical of aero bikes, preferably with a generous front center. Prefer pressfit, but not a dealbreaker.

  • What’s important to you?

Looks, performance, quality.

  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?

Known engineering issues with a particular model, known QC issues, obscene prices without manufacturing quality to match. Aggressively sloping top tubes don’t do it for me aesthetically, despite nothing being wrong with them.

  • What sort of bikes are you riding?
    I have a Parlee Altum Disc and a Cannondale CaddX
  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?
    A TT bike, some day. Also maybe a less clunky bike for riding in bad weather and gravel roads instead of the Cannondale, but it is fine I guess for a beater. A TT bike would be cool though.
  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?
    I really just want a nice ride, something that feels really great and fun to get on. I ride for personal enjoyment so I want my bike to make me happy going up hill, down hill, around corners, or when I try and put some power down :laughing:. I want it to move smoothly and be snappy when I get after it. This includes a reasonably low weight, really crisp shifting, and a general lack of fuss to use, but also just great design and construction for what I am using it for. It also needs to look nice, that helps make you want to ride it more.
  • What’s important to you?
    Good sensations while riding, secure braking, reliable parts and construction. Again, it has to look nice because that motivates me to get out on it more.
  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?
    I probably would not buy a rim brake bike anymore for lack of wheel options and I just feel more secure with disc brakes. I also don’t love the idea of a one piece handlebar and stem situation for lack of adjustability, so would avoid that if possible even though they look great.

*** What sort of bikes are you riding?**

  • Road, gravel and trailriding. Evenly distributed.
  • What sort of bikes you are looking to buy?
  • New road bike and maybe a new gravel
  • What sort of features you are actually looking for?
  • Road bike; rim brakes, bsa or bb86 (dep. on manufacturer), round seatpost, 28-30mm tire clearance
    - Gravel bike; road bike ish geometry, 42mm tire clearance, round seatpost, bsa/bb86.
  • What’s important to you?
  • Handling
  • And what are sort of deal-breakers for you now?
  • bb/pf30, integrated cockpits, disc only frames (road), slack gravel geo, not round seatposts (not a deal breaker put prefer to choose post myself)