Ah, if Jim requires an argument, I suppose it's my duty to provide it, having started the thread.
I actually said one wonders if the bicycles AS A PRACTICAL VEHICLE has improved much in a half century. Jim cites evidence that the carbon fibre wonders are, when price is no object, able to produce a superior piece of sporting equipment that could easily be made even lighter than the UCI minimum. Quite possibly so, but Jim is talking about sporting equipment, while I, as I said, am talking about practical vehicles. I happen to believe tha bicycles can and should be practical vehicles, and that making them so could be of enormous benefit to the future of of the world, much more beneficial than a hundred TDF victories or indeed all the victories in all professional sports over their entire histories. After all, other than the few with a financial interest, who wins the TdF, the World Cup or the Superbowl does not make one damn bit of practical difference in the life of any person on the planet. A practical, dependable, affordable touring bike, on the other hand, can save one money, eliminate obessity, lower blood pressure, save energy and reduce pollution. To me those things are a hell of a lot more important than who won the TdF, or who won the Superbowl, which I've usually forgotten by March.
I think the reason the Technical Trials improved bikes in ways that racing never will was that while the actual bikes entered might not themselves have been practical vehicles, they had to have most of the features of practical bikes, like lights, mudguards, racks and bells. So the advancements made in the trials translated much more directly into improved bikes that people used every day to the benefit of the quality of their lives. And I bleieve that if a similar competition of similar prestige could be reinstitued, that some of the technologies now used on race bikes might actually be used in vehicles that matter in some practical way. Now I still believe that carbon fibre frames are to a large extent throwaway items in that they really can't be repaired, but there is no reason why they can't be made with mounts for lights, racks and mudguards, and clearance for practical tires. Except that almost no one is interested in doing so. Jan did review a carbon randonneur bike in Bicycle Quarterly, but that is an extremely rare bicycle. But such a thing might not be rare if there were a high-profile competition to showcase them. Especially a competition where the quality of the bike, rather than the drug-assisted performance of the riders is the major determiner of success. Not that I particularly welcome the concept of dozens of carbon randonneurs, as I'm still opposed to a disposable culture, but at least we could see what current technologies can or cannot do to make a useful bicycle better.
Was that the sort of argument you were looking for Jim? Sorry, I don't do abuse. As Phil quoted Monty Python, that's next door.
Big Spring, Texas, USA
> From: Phil Brown <email@example.com>
\r?\n> Subject: Re: [CR] Rene Herse Ligtweight Record Bike
\r?\n> To: "Classic Rendezvous" <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
\r?\n> Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009, 11:38 AM
\r?\n> On Feb 7, 2009, at 9:31 AM, Jim Merz wrote:
\r?\n> > Ok, but how about the argument?
\r?\n> > Jim Merz
\r?\n> "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you wanted abuse.
\r?\n> Argumen is next
\r?\n> door."-Monty Python
\r?\n> Phil Brown
\r?\n> Of to woodwork in Berkeley, Calif.