|Breadwinner Cycle B-Road (photo from VeloNews)|
Svelte steel frame, bloated, massive front end.
Often, the NAHBS has been a real showcase for steel bikes with lugged frames -- "keepers of the flame," if you will. I've been looking through this year's photos -- but I'm really surprised that I didn't see too much that really interested me from this year's show. It's possible that there were still lots of gorgeous lugged steel bikes that blend traditional style with modern materials and the like -- and maybe those just weren't the bikes that were being posted in the galleries. Maybe the photographers and other bloggers find those bikes too "retro-grouchy" or simply too passé to include in the galleries. Who knows.
What I do see in the photos are lots of carbon fiber bikes. While the ones I'm seeing in the galleries actually qualify for the "hand-made" moniker (they don't appear to have been popped out of molds, that is) they don't really excite me like a good steel bike. There was apparently lots of titanium at the show, too. And while there were apparently more than a few steel bikes at NAHBS, many of the steel frames I'm seeing pictured have carbon fiber forks and massive head tubes.
|Cielo Road Racer (photo from BikeRadar) -- sporting|
the latest in 44-mm. (internal bore) head tube.
The latest thing, as evidenced from the NAHBS galleries, is the 44-mm. (internal bore) head tube. The outside diameter on these is something like 50 mm! Compare that to a steel bike with a traditional 1-in. headset that has a head tube of roughly 30 mm. in outside diameter. I must have blinked and missed something, because one of the articles referred to it as the "now common" 44-mm head tube. This was the first I'd seen of it. Apparently while I've been kvetching about carbon fiber, and disc brakes, and other retro-grouchy nonsense, somebody went and declared this a new headset "standard." The supposed "benefit" of this massive new "standard" is that it allows steel and titanium bikes the use of a tapered carbon fork by using an external bearing cup on the lower race with an internal "zero-stack" cup for the upper race. For steel and titanium builders, I guess it's great because they don't have to try to find tapered dimension tubing for the head tube. But holy cow -- the front end of bikes just keeps getting fatter and uglier.
Enough already. Just give me a nice steel fork with an attractive traditional crown.