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Top 9 Bike Tech Innovations That Changed Cycling History

Top 9 Bike Tech Innovations That Changed Cycling History


Speaker: Bikes have evolved constantly over
the years and are almost unrecognizable from the velocipedes of the Victorian era. What are the bike paths that have had the
biggest impact on cycling? What are the parts that have changed cycling
for the better? In this video is our top list of the most
important bike innovations so far. [music]
The derailleur. These days we might take the ability to change
gear for granted, but it’s hard to imagine that gearing only really came into racing
in the 1930s, with the invention of the derailleur. Prior to that, riders basically only really
had one gear. Although there was the option to take your
wheel out, spin it around with another cog on the back, and use that, effectively giving
you two gears. Although to do this you had to stop, take
your wheel out and- well, slow and far from ideal. Something I found out firsthand when trying
to emulate Tulio Campagnolo on the Croce D’Aune. In the rain. [music]
Rear derailleur allowed riders to change gear on the go. This meant they could tackle steeper gradients,
a wider variety of gradients. It also made racing faster. Sound, the speed of light and the cosmic microwave
background have always existed. In that respect, it’s hard to imagine that
pedals haven’t also, but they only came into existence in 1863. Prior to this, bikes were known as velocipedes. You had to use your feet, kind of like a balanced
bike, but for adults. The invention of the pedal is attributed to
Pierre Lallement, who claims to have come up with the pedal and rotary cranks that would
be attached to the front wheel to drive the machine. At the time, this would have been a huge technological
leap forward and paved the way for the modern bikes we started to see later on. A cool nerdy tech detail, and that is that
on modern pedals the left-hand pedal has a reverse thread. This is to stop it coming undone. This wasn’t always the case. This actually came about as a design solution. People continuously undoing their left-hand
pedal while they were cycling along. Power meters, bike power meters first became
available in the late 1980s. The first commercially available portable
unit was the SRM, or Schoberer Rad Meßtechnik or Schoberer’s bike measuring technology,
invented by the German Ulrich Schoberer. Power meters have had a huge impact on the
sport of cycling. Not only do they allow riders to perfectly
pace their efforts in time trials or long climbs, they’ve also allowed coaches to analyse
and quantify athlete performances, which has led to better structured and more efficient
training. Carbon fiber frames. Carbon fiber is the most widely used material
in performance bike frame manufacturing today. This is for good reason. It allows frames to be lighter, stiffer, more
corrosion resistant than steel. Also you can mold it into pretty much any
shape you want. The first notable example is the Look KG86,
which Greg LeMond used to win the 1986 Tour de France. Carbon fiber was a huge leap forward in materials
technology. The fact that you could mold it into almost
any shape meant that bike designers could make bikes far more aerodynamic than ever
before, and this led to designs such as the Lotus 110 Superbike that Chris Boardman used
in the Hour Record. However, it might be hard to believe this
now, but riders weren’t initially convinced of the durability of the new composite material. It wasn’t until the Mapei team in the 90s
dominated the cobbled classics riding the carbon fiber Colnago C40 that the material
really took off. STI shifters. Now we might take changing gear on a bike
for granted, but we also take changing gear on our handlebars for granted as well. Prior to 1990, you would have had to have
used down tube shifters in order to change gear- or so I’m told by the older GCN presenters. STI shifters, or Shimano Total Integration
shifters to give them their full name, allowed you to change gear on your brake levers rather
than having to reach down onto your down tube, something which made responding to attacks
in races or having to change gear when you were on a climb much easier. Just simply click with your hands and you’re
away. On the topic of shifting we also have to talk
about electronic gears. Shimano’s Di2 system debuted in 2009. With Di2, a light press of a simple button
resulted in quick, precise and consistent shifting. Technically, the first electronic group set
was the ill-fated Mavic Zap in 1992. This proved too unreliable and it never really
caught on. With Di2 the system stuck and other brands
subsequently took note. With Campagnolo bringing out EPS and SRAM
with its eTap system. Electronic shifting has become the default
option for performance road bikes. Although there are still some specialist applications
where mechanical gears are favored, electronic shifting has brought smoothness, reliability,
speed and consistency to changing gear. Now we’re going to go back in time again to
1887. If you were one of the people who was riding
a bike around then, then you probably would have been shaken around a lot, because pneumatic
tires hadn’t been invented until then. The man behind the invention, John Boyd Dunlop. Yes, the founder of Dunlop Tires. The pneumatic tires came about because Dunlop
wanted to create an invention which would stop his son getting headaches from bouncing
around on rough roads. No wonder. Big thanks, John, for coming up with the invention
that would allow us to all ride around far more smoothly. We are forever grateful for that and the green
flash trainers. Our next big technological innovation is a
controversial one. Disc brakes, they certainly haven’t been without
their detractors. It’s taken a while to convince most of the
pro peloton that they are indeed the future. The same could be said about other innovations
in this list, such as carbon fiber frames when they were first introduced. It wasn’t until 2017 that Marcel Kittel took
the first pro victory on disc brakes. Since then, there have been countless of these. We’ve even seen summit finishes from the likes
of Alaphilippe and Nairo Quintana won on disc brakes. Disc breaks offer far more consistent braking
in all weather conditions, more power and more modulation. It’s a vastly improved system over rim-brake
technology. In this respect, they are without doubt the
future of braking. Our final entry on this list is the safety
bicycle. What on earth is the safety bicycle? I hear you ask. Prior to its invention, in 1885 people rode
around on these. Yes, penny-farthings. John Kemp Starley set about designing a bike
that was safer and more efficient than the penny-farthing. The result was the safety bicycle. The bike which defined the shape of the modern
bikes we see today, with its diamond-shaped frame. In this regard, we owe a lot to Starley. He is the father of the modern bicycle design,
and probably the most important inventor you’ve never heard of. That is of course unless you’ve heard of him. Next time you’re on a bike ride [unintelligible
00:09:15] cap or helmet to Starley. We owe him a lot. That was our top list of the most important
bike parts that have changed the world. What did we miss? Let us know on social media or in the comments. Also, what about the next 10 innovations? What are going to be the biggest innovations
in the future? You’ve got any ideas? We’d like to hear those too. I’m going to go now for a bike ride. Bye.
[00:09:45] [END OF AUDIO]

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100 thoughts on “Top 9 Bike Tech Innovations That Changed Cycling History

  1. I think they should bring back the phrase "Dandy Horse" to use as a catch-all phrase for all bicycles.. "Just off out on the Dandy Horse, dear.. back soon…"

  2. Downtube shifters aren''t dead. I still prefer them and they may make a comeback. And disc brakes solve a problem on road bike that doesn't exist.

  3. Safety bikes would still be slower/worse than penny farthings without transmission maybe faster without brakes but you overlooked both.
    Kudos for listing pneumatic tires for comfort and not falsely for their speed advantage.

  4. Interesting!, but made me feel slightly aged by the downtube shifter bit, my first racing bike (A Peugeot race bike with orange logo and checkered flag design from around 1980) lasted me around 15 years before it got stolen. It features downtube shifters, very "analogue". You index your shifters real-time 😀

  5. HI GCN, I would like to add that the creation of the pneumatic tyre is much much more controversial then disk breaks for the reason that King Leopald the third of Belgium was behind the decimation of the Congolese people and it is worth mentioning! No disrespect to my fellow Belgium folks out there much love and respect.

  6. Stop with the disinformation about pedal threads! The left-hand thread on the left pedal does not help with the pedal becoming undone, it's that way to prevent the pedal thread from being overtightened. It's so easy to check. Just loosen the pedal, hold the spindle and pedal forwards. It will undo itself.

  7. The left pedal has reverse thread because in case of jamming, it is safer for the pedal to fall out than to continue rotating with the cranks, injuring the rider. In case of clipless pedals, this could be far more dangerous.

    I love this channel 🙂

  8. I never thought of the pedal as an innovation before. Ok that can top pneumatic tires as most important.

  9. Would you all make a video on how to decontaminate disc rotors and pads? The road is much harder on them because of the grime/oils and rotor and pads are not cheap…rim bakes are much much cheaper to maintain.

  10. Loved this video and gave a thumbs up. Nonetheless I felt the order in which you brought up the points should have been chronological. Still great compilation man.

  11. I think the basic cycle computer changed history more than the power meter (which is pointless w/o a computer). Not every cyclist has or needs a power meter but nearly EVERY cycling enthusiast has a cycle computer to track their miles, time, speed and, nowadays, GPS to explore new routes and not get lost. I remember the day I got my first Vetta Cyclometer, totally changed the way I looked at my riding forever after.

  12. When were disc brakes first introduced on bicycles? In the mid 1980's there was a programme on BBC2 called Local Heroes. The presenter, Adam Hart-Davis, rode a cycle with a disc brake fitted on the front mono-blade forks.

  13. The Biography of the Modern Bike, Chris Boardman with Chris Sidwells: Advised reading to compliment this video.

  14. Is cyclist safe from COVID-19? Coz you know, cyling improves the respiratory system. I apologize for my own english, most of the asians are really not good with your language haha

  15. I would say the affordable car. Before everyone could afford a car, cycling was much safer and way more popular.

  16. It’s a shame you don’t mention that Campagnolo actually invented the derraileur because he hated faffing around with a flip hub.

  17. Power meters doesn’t belong here. That’s a luxury and isn’t even an actual bike part. This video doesn’t say road bikes it says bicycles so your missing suspension.

  18. Really? Electronic shifters? Carbon fiber? Disc brakes? Honestly? They "changed cycling history?" Just admit that bikes haven't changed significantly for the last 40 years and be done with it. Electronic shifting does literally nothing different than a well oiled brifter. AND you have to make sure it's charged… on a bike…. Carbon fiber? The material so light and fragile that if you crash or even let your frame rub against something while in a rack… you have to evaluate the structural integrity of your bike so see if it's even ridable? That's a tradeoff, not an innovation. Carbon fiber bikes save a few measly pounds over an aluminum bike or good steel… the same few pounds that could come off of literally every non-professional rider out there sitting on that multi-thousand dollar "I'm not as fast as I used to be so I'm using money to compensate" machine. The exact same tradeoff that's been made in literally every single racing discipline ever. Disc brakes? Really? REALLY? Sure, they're GREAT for mountain bikes, but they're hardly noteworthy for road bikes, especially considering the difficulties in servicing for anybody but those with the special tools required. (Simple ones are easy to service… get yourself some of the upper echelon ones and they each have their own special tools required and special way of bleeding that MUST be followed if you want a good result…. I know… I've tried when I worked at a shop.) Bikes have not changed significantly since brifters. Answer yourself this…. could a time traveler from the 80s/early 90s ride a modern bike without any instruction? (Ignoring the patent dodging designs of some modern brifters that require weird shifting motions…. looking at you sram doubletap.)

  19. Disc brakes again? :O Every episode you try to sell this idea that disc brakes are better bla bla. Are you guys sponsored? So annoying… Relax, mates.

  20. In the early Universe, temperature was so hot no photons could escape. 380 000 years after the Big Bang the now expanding Universe reached the temperature at which photons were free to escape creating what we call the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), temperature fluctuation at that exact time. It’s the farthest (thus the oldest) we can observe can. It technically didn’t exist for 380 000 😉 but it’s only a detail in a awesome video, great work!

  21. I bought Shimano 6spd index shifting in 86' – I was laughed at in the peloton… but it was very clear in the first race… it was a huge advantage… never looked back.

  22. In high school I had a “10 speed” Schwinn Varsity Sport which had friction shifters mounted on the stem rather than the down tube. Although I loved that bike, I coveted my cousin’s Paramount!

  23. Electronic shifting as an innovation that changed history? Come on… that's just a free ad for Shimano. A tech innovation like a pedal, a lipless pedal, a derailleur are things that changed history. Electronic shifting? Not a chance… a pro can still race and win on mech derailleurs. And disk brakes? Come one… again this is marketing mumbo jumbo by your tech sponsors. Rim brakes stop your bike just as efficiently as disk and are lighter, quieter and less fussy. Big thumbs down on this one… just basically paid promotion to your S-word sponsor.

  24. Missed? Clipless pedals was a huge leap forward in pedal tech. When I got my first pair of Looks in '86, almost everyone on my club ride laughed at me and said they'd never catch on. As someone who suffers from Renauld's Disease, Look pedals not only were easier to get in and out of, but eliminated that binding across the top of the foot, that essentially cut off circulation for us RD sufferers.

  25. My prediction is thermoplastic matrix carbon fiber. It is much tougher, so parts can be built lighter than current thermoset matrix carbon fiber. The materials already exist, but they are difficult to fabricate into parts.

  26. Why is everybody forgetting the pneumatic tire? It's impact, in combination with the chain, was the first thing that was faster than an ordinary (penny farthing).
    Without it we would still be thinking folks riding "safeties" were – well sissies really 🤨

  27. Jon Canning’s Shimano 6000 STI shifters were intentioned and non-functional. The first bike shown with Di2 had poorly wrapped bars. In our context — cycling — they are called motorcycle brakes or mountain biker or Extreme Dude brakes.

  28. Was looking at a nice circa 1990 Klein road bike for JRA fun when I test rode it and immediately said, "why would I want down tube shifters? When am I ever gonna ride this thing?"

  29. A cyclist could shift before he got a derailleur if he had a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. The Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics who made 2 important inventions, 1, the airplane and 2, putting the threads on 1 of the pedals backwards.

  30. I assume that the next improvement will be sprockets that will move from side to side while the chain stays in the same plane.

  31. I think that since you included the safety bicycle, you should consider adding one of what must be the all-time safety considerations ever – the UCI sock height rule. Imagine the number of cyclists that must owe their continued well-being (from not crashing) to having their socks come up to the exact right height.

  32. Yes, free wheel hub is a biggie. How many people would actually ride if their only option was a fixie? Way more important than a power meter which seems only relevant to the race crowd.

  33. If a pedal spindle became seized (or when you put the spanner on it), it comes loose while pedalling forward. This applies to left and right. This is why I never understand when the reverse thread is attributed to prevent loosening.

  34. Are alu rims on here? My grand dad used to tell me how he'd use steel wool to get the surface rust off his steel rims..Then there was the weight

  35. 1×11/12 got worst chainline in bycycle gear history …try to switch on bigest cog of cassette and pedal back …and you will see, where chain wants to be , its overstressed and parts wear faster ..but hey ….thats what they want …buy more more ..and replase like phones 😉 lol

  36. 2.31 On my bike the left hand pedal with a left hand thread loosens in the direction of pedaling, same goes for the right hand pedal with a right hand thread, also the right hand bottom bracket cup with a left hand thread and the left hand bottom bracket cup with a right and thread. Is that just a southern hemisphere thing?

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