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Old 04-03-2023, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,508 posts, read 2,651,635 times
Reputation: 12990

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The standard steel frame diamond shape bike with aluminum rims, steel spokes, rim brakes, and decent width tires is the most efficient and environmentally-sound way to move people from one place to the other, for short trips (say under 10 miles).

Plastic bikes, exotic wheel designs, electronic shifters, all that business is for a tiny number of professional racers and a whole lot of people who want to look like they use the same gear the pros use.
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Old 04-03-2023, 12:41 PM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,237 posts, read 5,114,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit33 View Post

Plastic bikes, exotic wheel designs, electronic shifters, all that business is for a tiny number of professional racers and a whole lot of people who want to look like they use the same gear the pros use.
I used to ride horses on the Cook County multi-use trails. We'd commonly share the trails with hikers, strollers and bicyclists...I always smiled when I frequently saw the small group of wanna-bees on their $1000 racing bikes, Spandex riding togs, aerodynamic helmet with attached rear-view mirrors huffing & puffing along, vying with each other for position....and following about 20 yds back, and keeping right up, would be an 8 y/o girl in an Alice in Wonder Land pinnafore dress on her pink 20" StingRay with woven basket, happily ringing the litte bell on the handle bar as she went along.
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Old 04-04-2023, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,508 posts, read 2,651,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
I used to ride horses on the Cook County multi-use trails. We'd commonly share the trails with hikers, strollers and bicyclists...I always smiled when I frequently saw the small group of wanna-bees on their $1000 racing bikes, Spandex riding togs, aerodynamic helmet with attached rear-view mirrors huffing & puffing along, vying with each other for position....and following about 20 yds back, and keeping right up, would be an 8 y/o girl in an Alice in Wonder Land pinnafore dress on her pink 20" StingRay with woven basket, happily ringing the litte bell on the handle bar as she went along.
Yeah, I enjoy passing on a steep uphill the guys with plastic bike, full imitation team gear, compound-eye-fly-type eyewear, heaving and straining up hill in the traditional wrong gear - and I go past on my old rusty steel frame, wearing a T shirt and sneakers, with my big heavy leather saddle WITH SPRINGS - but I know how to dance a bike up a hill by using proper technique and the right gears.

Never mind that a fully-kitted-out amateur rider who can actually hold a straight line is pretty much nonexistent.
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Old 04-04-2023, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
2,024 posts, read 1,650,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post

Quick summary-- manufacturing has shifted to China- now producing 75% of all bikes....Marerials have shifted away from steel to aluminum and now even carbon fiber-- each way more energy intensive to produce than steel, and don't last nearly as long, so more need to be produced as replacements each year.

Who says an aluminum bike won't last as long as a steel bike? I've commuted on an aluminum bike for over a decade and there is nothing wrong with it.


And who says aluminum is way more energy intensive to produce than steel. Virgin steel does take less energy than virgin aluminum. However, when you add in the amount of recycled material added to the mix, aluminum comes out ahead.
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Old 04-05-2023, 12:38 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,237 posts, read 5,114,062 times
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Aluminum has low tolerance to repearted deformations, as in vibrations on a moving bike https://www.quora.com/Does-aluminum-...th-age?share=1 therefore has a considerably shorter useful life for this application.

Al takes 20x (!!) more energy to produce from ore than steel, and about 2x as much from re-cycling. https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/what...materials.html That means you have to re-cycle the Al 20x just to get close to the enegy cost of steel, and it will never catch up and continue to fall behind because you can re-cycle the steel too.

3% of the world's energy usage (co2 production) goes into making Aluminum, as does steel, but twice as much steel is produced than Al
https://www.iea.org/reports/iron-and-steel
https://www.iea.org/reports/aluminium
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Old 04-05-2023, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,508 posts, read 2,651,635 times
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In theory aluminum has poorer high cycle fatigue characteristics than steel, which is the source of much uninformed discussion about the supposedly shorter life of aluminum bikes. In reality, because fatigue curves are based on a logarithmic scale of numbers of cycles, fatigue life will never become an issue for any normal aluminum bike.

Aluminum is a bit harder to repair, but how often do normal riders need a major frame repair anyway? Almost always any serious frame damage will result in buying a whole new frame.

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic, on the other hand has very poor impact properties - the combination of the material's brittleness and its notch sensitivity can result in some pretty spectacular fractures in failure when a steel or aluminum component would simply bend. A bent bicycle frame probably won't dump you to the ground the way a fractured one will. And CF is not repairable. A bent steel or Al frame can be bent back roughly to shape at least for the ride back home.

The biggest issue with Al bicycle frames at present is that those in search of lighter weight have moved so strongly to carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic that the selection of aluminum frames is much smaller than it was say 20 years ago.
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Old 04-05-2023, 07:16 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,237 posts, read 5,114,062 times
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Weight of a bike is important for The Tour de France where max speed is required over a 2000 mile long course, but how important is a few pounds when your goal is to get you to the corner store two blocks away, given that the total weight of the kinetic system is 150-250 lb?

The article documents in detail the useful lives of the various modes of manufacturing. While the energy savings for a given bike is miniscule, there are 100s of millions of bikes in use. It adds up, I guess, but again, the energy savings of all but the most high tech bikes vs a car is huge...

...Maybe our first consideration should be to just get more people on any kind of a bike, then worry about which particular one later.
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Old 04-05-2023, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,508 posts, read 2,651,635 times
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Back in the day, the crusty old bike shop owner Joe Bentley in Houston used to tell people who were obsessed with bike weight: 1) Go take a crap before the ride; 2) look at yourself; you can lose 10 lbs a lot easier and cheaper than your bike can.

Yes, it's aesthetically more pleasing to ride a lighter weight, more responsive bike - if the rest of the components and the rider are set up to take advantage of this. Too many "bike path racer dudes" drop thousands on bike, gear, and outfits and then they can't change a tube if they get a flat, or they weave all over the place pushing 20 rpm in top gear, or they don't even know how to close the quick releases on their wheels properly.

The problem is that here in the US, bikes are STILL largely seen as toys. It used to be they were seen as toys for children so while you could buy any number of gas-pipe 80 pound specials guaranteed to fall apart after 200 miles of use, you couldn't buy anything of decent quality for adults. Now, they're toys for adults and the modality of adult play on bicycles is to pretend to be sponsored racers. So now you get ultra light frail plastic bikes with 16 spoke wheels and 18 mm wide tires, hydraulic disk brakes (!!!) and electronic shifters, purchased by 230 pound overweight chaps in full Team Super Pro kit. But it's still thinking about bikes as toys. Not as transportation.

What I'm riding for example, is probably analogous to driving a sporty car like a Mustang. What Bike Path Racer's riding is like taking a Formula One car and using it to drive to the 7-11. The bike equivalent of the F-150 pickup or the Buick sedan just hardly even exists in the US.
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Old 04-05-2023, 10:40 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,237 posts, read 5,114,062 times
Reputation: 17722
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit33 View Post
Back in the day, the crusty old bike shop owner Joe Bentley in Houston used to tell people who were obsessed with bike weight: 1) Go take a crap before the ride; 2) look at yourself; you can lose 10 lbs a lot easier and cheaper than your bike can.

.
Thanks. I needed a laugh on this cold, dreary day in WI....I always say that theory is one thing but it's practicality that counts. Keep things in persepective.

Bikes oughta be designed with their intended use in mind, and there oughta be multiple choices available. I'm ignorant of the market, but I so rarely see three-wheelers on the streets, designed to carry cargo easily. You'd think they could increase sales if they pushed that a little more.

I haven't looked at or priced bikes in years. I just searched the Walmart site and found this https://www.walmart.com/search?q=bic...erride=default

Except for maybe this one https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hyper-Bic...sRedirect=true they all look like orthopedic conditions waiting to happen. No wonder no adult wants to ride a bike regularly anymore.
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Old 04-05-2023, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Redwood City, CA
15,250 posts, read 12,947,351 times
Reputation: 54050
Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
Only one drawback to that-- You can't leave it unattended for very long anywhere there are wild panda bears.

LOL! Gotta watch out for those wild pandas.
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