Hating on road biking just because it’s road biking is the stuff of amateurs. There’s plenty to like about riding a road bike. You can see a lot of the world on a road bike and you can train pretty much right out your front door if you’re into that. Which you should be because you’re tired of getting 27th place at the local enduro races behind 23 people who can’t ride a dirt jump and 3 dudes who are actually good bike riders. It’s not just about wearing a billboard for a kit while trying to look like every clown in the Tour and talking non-stop about watts and ceramic bearings and how much chamois butter you have slathered on your bean bag.
Even though you likely consider yourself a hardcore downhiller who has to race enduros to stay relevant to your few remaining sponsors, you can indeed still have fun on a road bike. Look at Rob Parkin. That dude seems like he’s all smiles on a road bike, even with half the world cup circuit giving him grief about it.
So road bikes are allowed to be fun. This might be news to the cycling industry, but they seem to be catching on judging by the fact that every asshole is releasing their own version of the “gravel grinder” next year. The mega-dorks of the cycling industry can sure do a lot of wind tunnel testing, but when it comes to making a practical bike for the Common Joe, they can’t seem to walk across the hallway to the mountain bike guys and ask what the hell has happened in the last ten years that might make things better on a bike regardless of wheel size. I’ll personally be holding off until it looks like everyone gets their head out of their ass about a few key options- through axles, tubeless 28c tires, and real disk brakes.
Tubeless tires are nice and fat tubeless tires are even better. No one rides sew-ups unless they also have a full time butler at their home cleaning up after their shitty messes. If I’m going to ride a bike with skinny tires, at least make them fat ass skinny tires without tubes that I have to patch three times a week.
No one climbs up the Alpes d’Huez and no one does a wheel swap in the middle of the peloton from a support car, so why should any consumer give a shit about fast and light weight quick releases? Give me a 15mm through axle like my mountain bike has, especially if we are moving to disks. And just do a 142×12 rear axle while we’re at it. Don’t ask what the market wants. Just do what the mountain bike side already did and force these sizes down everyone’s throat. At least now, we’re ready for it with car racks and spare axles or whatever.
Disk brakes are not new. They have been around for a while. Long enough that sometimes they are even done well, even if not by Sram/Avid. Mounting them is not a fancy process and Shimano’s flat-mount “standard” is solution to a non-problem on the level of infomercial dumb-assery. “How do I put a disk brake caliper on a bike? Oh I don’t know, how do I drink a glass of milk?”
So when I stop seeing these brakes spec’ed on bikes:
Then I’ll stop having bad PTSD flashbacks to these things:
And maybe then I’ll buy a new road bike. Some companies are striking gold by knocking all three of these features off and maybe a few more will follow suit by dumb luck. Just you watch. When fat tubeless tires get mounted on wheels that get mountain by through axles and get slowed down by real disk brakes… road bikes will get popular as shit among all of you.
Anyways, back to the regularly scheduled enduro hate.