Blog: skinning cats and bicycle design

The many different methods employed by bicycle designers to achieve their ends

Significant others

The chassis, groupset, and rolling stock of a bike account for only some of the possibilities upon which designers can exercise their imagination. Speedplay have opted to invert LOOK’s design for the clipless pedal, placing the retaining mechanism  in the shoe cleat and creating a double-sided pedal. Lights have changed beyond recognition in the last five years alone, with most companies now offering an integrated solution that places lamp and battery in the same housing and pure white light from LED bulbs that pushes illumination into thousands of lumens. Halide bulbs, and a plethora of cables to unite battery and bulb, are increasingly things of the past.

Speedplay have reversed the shoe cleat-pedal relationship of rival manufacturers such as LOOK and Shimano

I’ll wrap this up with praise for the humble mechanic:  at once guardian of the spanner and the blighted soul tasked with making every customer’s component wish integrate with their other choices, often against the mechanic’s advice. These guys get to work on a broader selection of brands over a longer period of time than any of the rest of us: the advice of a good mechanic should be taken seriously.

I’ve previously discussed my belief that developments in bicycle technology should be embraced rather than resisted, but it’s pointless to deny that even the most experienced cyclist has at some point purchased a whizz bang ride that was more style than substance. The trick is not to do it twice. Now where was that 2014 brochure…

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