Road bike tech we wish would disappear

Our list of bike tech that the industry can survive without

Clock14:00, Monday 17th July 2023

Mind-boggling bottom bracket standards. Internal cable routing. Tubular tyres. Is the world of bike tech designed to frustrate us?

While we’re lucky enough to encounter plenty of cool and innovative tech, there is also plenty that is annoying to outright inconvenient.

It's all become too much for Alex and Ollie who decided to pull together a list of bike tech they wish would disappear. Here’s what made their shortlist.

Bike categories

Road. Aero road. Lightweight road. Commuter. Hybrid. Gravel. Aero gravel. All-road. Commuter. Urban. City.

We think you get our point. There are too many different categories and half of them are basically exactly the same. Realistically, who is ever going to own bikes from more than a couple of these categories?

Can’t we just keep things simple with a select few categories instead?

Tubular tyres

They’ve had their day in the limelight but tech has advanced so now is the right time to wave goodbye to tubular tyres.

We know there will be some old-school tubular fans out there aghast, but really, what is the point in them? The industry has put all of its focus into clincher and tubeless technology which have left tubulars far behind.

In the interest of fairness, we will concede that tubulars do have their advantages such as being lightweight, but this is far outweighed by their added rolling resistance, plus they’re really impractical.

Even the pros have stopped using them, as should everyone else in the cycling industry.

Internally routed cables

We get it, internally routed cables improve aerodynamics and create a sleeker appearance. If we’re being honest, we’re big fans, most of the time anyway.

That’s until it’s time to replace the cabling or carry out some maintenance, then we’re definitely not fans. Poor Ollie recently tore the rear derailleur cable on his time trial bike which used to be a quick fix. Now it’s a dismantling nightmare.

So, internal cables make our list…some of the time.

Bottom bracket standards

We’ve already covered some strong contenders, but the baffling number of bottom bracket standards tops our list of the most annoying bike tech.

Conventional. BSA threaded. Italian threaded. BB30. BB30a. BB86. BB90. BB95.  PF86. PF92. Lost yet? So are we, and that’s not even half of the standards available. It’s unnecessary and the world would be much easier if there was one universal standard. We’d even accept a few, anything other than the current mind-numbing number of options.

And what is the deal with the bike industry’s current press-fit obsession? There’s nothing wrong with press-fit bottom brackets, but they require specific tools to fit and remove which is a pain. Plus, if the manufacturing tolerances of a frame are off, you’ll be tormented by a creaky frame.

We don’t think press-fit bottom brackets should disappear but we do think threaded bottom brackets should be used more regularly.

Carbon fibre everything

Let’s be clear with this one, we’re not saying carbon fibre should be completely banned. We love carbon frames because, let’s be honest, they’re great.

The problem now is that virtually every part of a bike is available in carbon, even parts that aren’t suited to it. Take carbon chainrings for example, which wear out far faster than alloy alternatives. There are even carbon bolts available which save a negligible amount of weight.

Let’s not ruin carbon fibre by overusing it.

Honourable mentions

Don’t worry, our tech-based rant is nearly over. Before we finish, here are a few honourable mentions.

Starting with far too many mech hanger standards. There are also too many types and sizes of bolts, not just in general, but across a single bike. Why can’t we simply have a couple?

Next up, what’s the deal with super skinny or wide road bike tyres? Just stick to the middle ground with 25mm to 28mm tyres.

We could go on, but we’ll spare you our frustrations. What tech would you like to see disappear? Let us know over on the GCN App along with #badtech.

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