The best (and worst) of modern tech

In the hope of starting a civilized and productive debate, I 'm wondering which bits of the latest tech people have embraced, and which they’ve decided is not for them. I’m thinking specifically:

  • electronic gears
  • full integration
  • tubeless (for road)
  • disc brakes (arguably not really modern any more, but hey)
  • 3D printed saddles
  • anything else I’ve forgotten

I’ll start by saying that I think Di2 is amazing but I still have a soft spot for a really well-tuned mechanical groupset (especially Campag), I’m a big fan of road tubeless, full integration is too much of a PITA for me, I remain unconvinced by discs for my riding (but don’t actively dislike them), my Power Mirror is the best saddle I’ve ever had by miles, and I’m unconvinced by the Garmin Varia. :slight_smile:

Not trying to start a flame war, just interested

Great topic, I’m sure we will all come to a consensus soon! :smile:

I personally am firmly pro-mechanical. I don’t mind the occasional adjustments (and actually kind of enjoy it…) plus I love the idea of a bike as a purely mechanical device that needs no electricity. I work with technology all day so it’s nice to have an escape to the analog world sometimes. (I don’t ride with a modern computer either, just a basic speed/distance/time computer.)

I like the looks of full integration but do not have any integrated bikes. I do my own maintenance and occasionally adjust my fit, so I like the simplicity of the standard bar and stem.

I am a recent convert to disc brakes for both mountain and road. I haven’t had to do any significant work either yet, but they’ve needed minimal adjustments and the stopping power is hard to beat. They’ve been quiet on both bikes.

I don’t plan on switching to road tubeless anytime soon. Seems like it can be a bit problematic at the higher pressures I run. I’ve been pretty lucky with avoiding flats so far.

I love the idea of a 3D printed saddle but the ones out there are so expensive right now.

There’s no hatred from me for electronic gears or anything else, it’s just not for me.

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I like all of it in principle, although out of the above I haven’t had a chance to try 3d printed saddles (that said, the Specialized Power is so comfortable I am not looking for a replacement until it breaks) nor fully integrated bikes yet. Looking forward to it.

Still riding mostly on mechanical 11 speed except TT bike which is DI2 (really worth it on a TT bike, big difference being able to shift from the basebar and use buttons), but looking forward to 12 speed DI2 on a next bike some years down the line.

Road tubeless keeps getting better imo, the new Contis are sexy - expensive, but easy to put on unlike the old generation, and overall great tires. Paired with rim without spoke holes (have a Mavic and a LB wheelset which are like that, brilliant), dynaplugs and a “repair and inflate” can in the saddlebag, it’s just easy to live with and works well.

Pedro’s Tire levers are the best of modern tech. Every other cycling product is absolute trash in comparison to the absolute superiority of yellow Pedros levers. Don’t even think of bringing those green or pink ones either those are crap despite being functionally the same must be yellow or GTFO :wink:

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  • electronic gears - have it, don’t feel like it is the game changer so many claim it is. Prefer mechanical, in all honestly.

  • full integration - nope. Not worth the tradeoff in adjustability, IMO.

  • tubeless (for road) - Yup. Been on it for 2 years now.

  • disc brakes (arguably not really modern any more, but hey) - Absolutely. Even in pan-flat Chicago, i prefer discs over calipers.

  • 3D printed saddles - just mounted a Power Mirror yesterday. Will report back once I get a chacne to ride it (still a few weeks off since I am on IR)

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Nice topic. Hopefully everyone keeps a “this is just my opinion - and I don’t mind if yours is different” attitude… :wink:

Here’s mine:

  • Di2 : love it, for the opposite reason of those that prefer mechanical. Basically set and forget, shifting stays exactly the same and is almost bulletproof.
    I do understand why others like to tinker with mechanical though, and I quite enjoyed doing it myself before - but I still get sheer joy out of the shifting on my “new” (almost 2 years old) bike.

  • Full integration : definitely looks nice, but I don’t think that would sway my preference either way for my next bike. I prefer to leave major servicing to my LBS, so it’s unlikely to impact me directly!

  • Road tubeless : I converted last year, and have found it to be great. Dynaplug is a must have though…
    And no doubt there will come a time where I end up with the puncture that won’t seal, but I’ve had the same issue running tubes too!

  • Disc brakes : don’t see why you wouldn’t have them if you can. Yes, most of the time a good rim brake will do the same job, but on the rare occasion that better braking will be safer? No-brainer for me!

  • Garmin Varia : @Mintaerobars you’re only unconvinced if you don’t own one yet :grin:
    Absolutely everything it is cracked up to be…
    Acknowledge that in a very busy metro area the use case won’t be as good - but if you ride on quieter roads, it can actually actively contribute to your enjoyment of the ride.
    :+1:

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  • Electronic Gears, last bike was Di2, new bike is eTap AXS, love them both. Big improvement for me over mechanical. I’ve no interest in fettling with cable stretch and limit screws if I can avoid it. Instant, perfect shifting every time, even under power is a big improvement for me, never going back to mech on my road bike.

  • full integration, love the clean lines, dont miss cables and prefer it if I can.

  • Tubeless, been on it for 5 years or so. It can be a pain, I’ve had dramas before particularly with rim tape. Currently on Zipp 303s with 28 mm tyres running down around 60psi. Could not believe how smooth the ride was. Rather than having complicated elastomer and hingey bits built into my frame, some wider tyres running tubeless at lower Psi gives me a better, smoother and faster ride.

  • Disc Brakes, just sold a Trek Madone to get an S-Works Tarmac, largely for the Disc Brakes. Had too many exciting incidents on a long descent in the wet on carbon braking tracks where I’m pretty sure the brake levers were ornamental at best. Disc Brakes are definitely a big improvement, particularly in the wet.

  • 3D printed saddles, havent had the pleasure. in the pantheon of marginal gains I’ve not yet reached that level. i have bought 3d printed connectors for Fly6 camera/lights etc nut never a saddle.

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I’m embracing most of these.

  • electronic gears — check, it’s good, I like them, would buy again
  • full integration — well, technically I’ve got semi integration, cables tuck under stem and go through spacers. Looks great. haven’t had to faff with it.
  • tubeless (for road) — I run sealant in latex tubes, so I’ve gone 50/50 on this one
  • disc brakes — descended down mt baw baw with its 13% gradient and 20% corners, glad I had disc brakes as I always had stopping power but still needed to be careful with overheating
  • 3D printed saddles — got one and it’s great.

I’m onboard with these innovations

Pretty much “none of the above” simply because I have five great bikes, I don’t want or need any more, and they are all pretty much pre “modern tech” (production years ranging from 2000 to 2014).

  • electronic gears — Absolutely not, never. I love setting up my own mechanicals (not “tinkering” with them), and can keep them running, perfectly, wherever, whenever, forever–and yes, I have backups of everything, many times over.
  • full integration — No way, I value simplicity over obscurity.
  • tubeless (for road) — Not against them at all, in fact all 7 of my wheelsets are two-way, so I could run tubeless, and some day will, but no need to until my current supply of tubes and tires are gone, and that’s a long way down the road.
  • disc brakes — Not against them but as mentioned, not interested in buying a new bike just to have them–the rim brakes work fine, especially given the fact that I’m not a racer.
  • 3D printed saddles — Very old school in this regard–all my bikes, the ones I own now, and the ones I have built and sold for others (over 30) have ALL had Brooks saddles–will never use anything different–made to last a couple of lifetimes, stiff yet flexible, and all perfectly fit–for me (after a 1,000 miles or so). Why would I want a plastic saddle?
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I’d very much count myself in the same category. The only slight frustration is I’m just struggling a tiny bit to get my 12 speed Campag absolutely perfect. There is always 1 upshift somewhere which is not quite as crisp and precise as I would like; it moves fine and ‘sits’ fine, but it doesn’t go with (and in sync with) the perfect click like the others.

Interestingly, the mechanic at the LBS who I rate said this was why Shimano were reluctant with 12sp mechanical on the road - the margins were just too fine - and why he slightly groaned when he saw they were getting in some Bassos with semi-integrated cabling and Campag mechanical. He said it might take quite a while to dial in the shifting really precisely.

And I suppose, getting back more directly OT, as we doubtless move towards more and more sprockets (I think 1x14, and a truly ‘mainstream’ 1x road groupset is less than 3 years away), that’s where electronic may have the real advantage (as well as on TT bikes, where I think it’s not only a performance gain, but a safety one, as riders aren’t forced to choose between shifting and braking).

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Some of these are quite intertwined with each other. For example a fully integrated set up is not very cable friendly due to the more complex cable runs so electronic gears and hydraulic lines make a lot more sense.

You can already tell by some of the posts on this thread that it feels like there either has to be a full buy in or full rejection of all these recent cycling advancements.

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Electronic shifting: No, thank you. I can appreciate the advantages, but I prefer the tactile feel of mechanical; I suppose this might be analogous to a manual transmission in a car vs. a dual clutch transmission or an analog watch vs. digital. Half-joking, but I envision a day where a company such as SRAM will begin a subscription model.

Full integration: No, thank you. I think it looks great, but the expense associated with minor position/bar/stem changes isn’t worth it to me. I don’t race so nominal aero gains aren’t important to me.

Tubeless: I have tubeless compatible wheels, but don’t think it’s worth the headache of setup/maintenance. I also don’t want to be stuck with hookless rims.

Disc brakes: Awesome. I would prefer to have the rotor as a consumable item versus a rim, particularly if the rim is carbon.

3D printed saddles: Sounds interesting, I can’t justify a $400 saddle when I do not have discomfort with a traditional construction. I’ll try one when the prices drop significantly.

Short Nosed saddles: I switched to one and have found it to be more comfortable than the Selle Italia SLR I previously used.

Power meters: I recently ordered one, but it hasn’t arrived. I think it’s going to be a valuable training tool.

Smart Trainer: I briefly rode a friend’s and enjoyed the “road feel.” However, I already have a pair of Kreitlers with the Killer headwind and am happy with that setup.

Zwift/Virtual riding apps: I don’t have experience with these, but the graphics seem like they’re from 2002. The group rides/races seem interesting.

Shoes w/ Boa Dials: I can’t justify the expense of $400 shoes to get the full Boa experience so I can’t comment. However, I went from buckles w/velcro straps to a pair of lace ups and appreciate how finely I can adjust tension throughout the foot. I guess what’s old is new again.

Ceramic bearings: I don’t have experience using these. However, my understanding is that ceramic bearings are harder than the metallic races in which they roll. Therefore, the races get worn which would seem to defeat the purpose.

Manufacturer-Direct Carbon Wheels: I don’t have experience using these, but the offerings from companies like Winspace, Far Sports, etc. look interesting. It appears that they’ve advanced to the point where it’s difficult to justify spending an additional $1000+ for a name branded wheelset, particularly when some of these companies produce wheels for the mainstream brands.

Electronic shifting: Not for me - I have tried Di2 twice, but I didn’t see any benefit over mechanical… and I just couldn’t program my mind as to which button did what. This was even after reprogramming the switches. Strangely, I can move between Campag, SRAM, Shimano & bar end mechanical with no issues.

Full integration: Never tried it, but I like being able to work on my bikes. I’d genuinely rather have fully external routing.

Tubeless: I have tubeless on the gravel bike, and some tubeless, and some clincher on the road. I’m moving back towards clincher generally - too many gummed up valves have left me jaded.

Disc brakes: Yes on the gravel bike & winter bike, no on the summer bikes (currently). I don’t buy bikes, just move bits & frames around as I get them. To go fully disc on a summer bike would be a big investment; I’ll probably have to do it in time, as rim becomes unavailable… but I find rim brakes work perfectly well in the dry. In fact, I commuted in the rain on my CrossCheck today, and didn’t die.

3D printed saddles: I’m not honestly sure what this is.

Short Nosed saddles: I guess I’m probably a macro-adapter: I can’t really tell the difference.

Power meters: Got one on each summer road bike, and one on the winter bike - I don’t need 'em, but I like looking at numbers.

Smart Trainer: Got one, have barely used it in 12 months, as we haven’t really bothered with a winter this year (UK).

Zwift/Virtual riding apps: I do actually subscribe to Zwift, but I only do the workouts: I have never delved into the racing/social aspect - I should probably cancel the direct debit.

Shoes w/ Boa Dials: Are these ‘new’? Never tried them - I’m not much a shoe fetishist on the, and still wear an ancient pair of Fiziks mostly, that work like new

Ceramic bearings: I tend to believe Hambini/Peak Torque’s on these… snake oil

Manufacturer-Direct Carbon Wheels: As above, if they’re good enough for Peak Torque…

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Electronic shifting: Never tried it. I would probably like it, but just wouldn’t love paying for it.

Full integration: never tried it. Definitely wouldn’t pay extra for it. I do my own wrenching, and this would just make it more difficult.

Tubeless: Never tried it (I see a theme developing). If I had a disk frame that allowed for much wider tires, I’d look into it.

Disc brakes: I would be happy with them, but have only used them on MTBs. No doubt my next bike will have them.

3D printed saddles: I’m intrigued by how much people who have the Specialized model love it. But I’m spending $400 elsewhere. I would be very open once the price point has dropped.

Short Nosed saddles: I’ve tried one, but love my long nosed saddle for now. My issue wasn’t with the short nose, though.

Power meters: I have a 4iiii and it is interesting data to me, but I don’t use it to its fulness.

Smart Trainer: Love my smart trainer. I used to struggle to stay engaged after 20 minutes on a dumb trainer. In 2022 I’ve averaged 75 minutes a day on it (looking forward, maybe even this week, at riding outdoors).

Zwift/Virtual riding apps: I’ve ridden 5000 miles on Rouvy. It has been a lifesaver for me. I’ve tried Zwift and don’t like it. I like realistic routes.

Shoes w/ Boa Dials: As hard as I try, I still don’t always get the fit of my shoes exactly right before a ride. I put in a mile or two and they bug me. With the boa dials on my Lake shoes (I LOVE my Lakes), I can adjust while riding. Big plus. Everybody’s fit is different, but Lake CX241’s are the bomb.

Ceramic bearings: Never tried them. To continue a theme: would never spend the money on such a limited marginal gain.

Manufacturer-Direct Carbon Wheels: Since I don’t ride disks, an N/A for me right now.

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My only disc brake bike is a 2018 Giant ARX “urban adventure” “city go-anywhere” or whatever other marketing speak they called it. It was about US$400 and came with hydraulic discs. I put a rack on and use it for grocery shopping, commuting, and general big city downtown transportation.

image

So… the disc brakes are fantastic in this application. I am so far over braked the brake system will likely last 15-20 years with no service or replacement of parts. It’s mineral oil. The oil will never ever go through a heat cycle. After almost four years there is virtually no pad or disc wear and I’ve had to do zero adjustments/fiddling. Because braking is so within the capacity of the brakes there’s no brake pad dust. This is truly great versus rim brakes. NO SERVICE.

I can do mechanic stuff far beyond bicycles, like tearing down/rebuilding car engines. That doesn’t mean I like doing mechanic stuff, no matter how simple, when I could have the choice of not doing it. Doing brake stuff on transportation bikes annoys me. Doing anything on transportation bikes annoys me. Having what amounts to a no servicing brake system on this bike is just great!

Electronic shifting: not yet and it’s not so much the electronic part of it that appeals - it’s electronic wireless. But I don’t like SRAM AXS. Maybe the new Shimano semi-wireless. Too expensive for me at the moment.

I do like mechanical. I honestly even like Campagnolo friction shifting, but wireless really really appeals to me. I’ll definitely go for it at some point.

Full integration: everything I got is traditional, but with wireless and hydraulic discs, yeah I’d go semi-integrated. If someone would make a one-piece stem/bar with a traditional curve/shape like a Cinelli 64 then I’d go full integrated with wireless and discs.

Tubeless: no I’m all clinchers and tubulars. I’m light, only do road and track, and ride relatively narrow tires at relatively high pressure - and I get a cushy ride with one flat every three years maybe. The tubulars are for tubular specific applications, for the other stuff tubeless would only be a hassle.

Disc brakes: yeah for some things, it’s so much better. For others I’m fine with rim brakes.

3D printed and short-nosed saddles: my body is molded to Rolls saddles. No point changing this.

Power meters: no. I like ride by feel better. And training by feel.

Smart Trainer/Zwift: yes, it’s fun, and my trainer on Zwift is harder than riding IRL so I don’t like that for online races but for maintaining fitness it’s good

I’ll play.

Electronic shifting: I know it’s probably very good and I know I charge by Wahoo and lights and phone, but I don’t want to have to plug in my bicycle. I enjoy the mechanical system that all comes from my own inputs and is not filtered though software and microchips.

Full integration: Looks cool, but if I want to save watts without the hassle that comes with it, I just need to train a little and improve my diet.

Tubeless: I haven’t used it, but I’m inclined to believe the Fretz-Edwards rule of #teamtubeinside for tires < 34mm. My main riding partner has gone tubeless and it looks like a mess.

Disc brakes: If I rode on big tires, down big mountains, or in nasty conditions, I could get down with discs. But, I don’t, so I’ll keep it simple with rim brakes.

3D printed and short-nosed saddles: No comment at this time.

Power meters: I don’t need it.

Smart Trainer/Zwift: It’s a good way to make the winter months and nasty days go by. The structured workouts are enjoyable and challenging.

Clipless pedals; I’m in. Not just easier to get into and out of than toe clips, but better, more secure restraint. It’s a win-win all round for me.

Combined brake/shift levers; love it, but I’d still prefer friction shifting for the front derailleur.

Disc brakes; I have them on my cargo bike, and my mtb that got stolen, but the dual pivot rim brakes on my road bikes work just fine (in fact, the 105 single pivots on my commuter do an ok job too), so I’ll only change if/when I ever get a new bike.

Electronic shifting; Out of my price range for what you get. As noted above, wireless would start to get me on board. Wireless with a single, removable-for-charging battery that also powers lights, GPS, other electronics, would also get me in. All that on a commuter e-bike, with cargo/small passenger capacity and I’m there.

Tubeless; I don’t get enough flats on my 23mm Conti clinchers at 80psi to justify the hassle.

Power meters: For the level of training I do, heart rate and cadence is enough data.

Zwift; a friend recently posted a ride where he did the final 50km of Milan-San Remo, which would be a bit of a bucket-list ride for me. That might be enough to persuade me to upgrade from my Cycleops fluid trainer.

3d printed saddles; I ride a $20 saddle.

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There is no such route on Zwift (unfortunately, ‘cuz I would do it all the time!)

Maybe on another platform, but definitely not Zwift.

Must’ve been on another platform. I saw the “Virtual” tag on Strava and assumed.

He’s also gone riding in Tuscany, done some fjords in Norway, Cote d’Azur, etc.