The Evolution of Cycling Equipment

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Dail Neely has participated in local cycling activities for 25 years.

Neely said the gear has made a significant shift, compared to past decades.

“Oh my gosh, first bike was extremely heavy,” Neely, avid cyclist and HHH Rest Stop Coordinator, said. “The shifting was not integrated with the handle bars. It was actually on the down tube, so you had to reach down on the down tube to change gears.”

The biggest change that he and other local bike experts have noticed is the material of the bikes.

“I think the progression of bikes from back then to now is mostly weight and types of material because almost all bikes back then were steel,” Neely said.

“The bikes have changed so much,” Bo Williamson, Endurance House General Manager, said. “The bike used to be steel or chromoly and now most bikes are carbon fiber. So you’ve dropped probably…. I’m going to say eight, nine pounds off of a 30 year-old bike to a newer bike.”

And bike brakes have changed too.

“Now they went to a disc hydraulic. So it’s like a car. So it’s got a disc brake on it with a hydraulic system. So when you actually grab the brake, it pushes hydraulic fluid, cranks the brake down. So like in the wet conditions it’s going to stop no matter what,” Williamson said.

However, with these improvements in cycling material — the cost of a great road bike has gone up. Williamson said from around $800 then up to as high as $3,000 now.

But this evolution has been beneficial for avid, long distance cyclists.

“And weight. You’re dragging your weight and the bike’s weight and whatever else you bring with you along, so the lighter you can get, the better,” Neely said.

A big weight being lifted off — or rather underneath — long distance cyclists.

Helmets and other cycling attire have also changed from different padding foam for your head — to UV protectant in clothing to protect skin.

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