The quiz is set up with pictures of 10 current mountain bikes shown only in silhouette so that no logos or colors are visible. You then have to pick the right bike from about 4 multiple-choice options.
So, how well do I know my mountain bikes? Turns out, not very well at all. I got 2 out of 10, and one of those was just a lucky guess.
Here was the only one that I got right that was more than a simple shot in the dark guess:
|Something about the curves in this bike's top-tube told me "Ibis," so I went with that. YEAH!|
On the whole, though, they all looked pretty much the same to me. Suspension forks, rear suspension linkages and shock absorbers, extra long seatposts, and weird alien-meets-praying-mantis proportions. It's just not something I can fully appreciate, I guess. That's not to say they aren't great bikes -- they're just not my thing.
|No idea what this is.|
Its for reasons like those that a reasonably well-versed classic-bike fan can often identify the make and model of a bike even if the thing has been stripped of its original parts and Kryloned half to death. It's the minutiae of details that, to me, make a hand-built steel bike so much more interesting.
Now, some builders over the years have made their bikes easier to identify from a distance than others. Hetchins made bikes with "curly" stays that are instantly recognizable. Bates made their "Diadrant" forks with a double-bend in the rake. And there were "Flying Gates" and other unusual models as well -- all of which could be recognized from afar, with or without names or logos. But on the whole, classic steel road bikes are special not because of what you can see from a silhouette, but what you learn to appreciate up close and personal.