Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28
  1. #1
    Resident Curmudgeon
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    11,957

    An Open Letter to Bicycle Manufacturers

    An Open Letter to Bicycle Manufacturers

    Dear Bicycle Manufacturers,
    I’m 75 years old and I’ve been cycling for a very long time. Not counting miles when I was a child, but considering post high school riding only, I’ve been at it for 55 years and hundreds of thousands of miles. In a serious, unfortunate crash this year, my carbon fiber bike’s frame was broken and I’m in the process of looking for a brand-new replacement bike.
    I remember long ago in the halcyon days of my relative youth, bikes used to be beautiful, flashy, colorful, fun objects. Bicycles used to look fast just standing still. They were painted in high gloss, bright colors like red, blue, yellow, orange, white, and almost every other imaginable hue, even the occasional black one. They were spectacular to behold. Some were even done in metallic colors. WOW! Something for everyone to love.
    Then somewhere around the mid to late 1990s the “red, black, and white” people came to the fore. Everywhere you looked you saw red, white, and black bikes. Red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, and then…even more red, white, and black. This went on for years, and years. I didn’t think it was EVER going to end. Oh sure, you could find bikes that weren’t red, white, and black, but you had to look for them.
    Thankfully, that era seems to have passed. Well, maybe I should retract thankfully part because now that era has been replaced by the “Dark Ages.” Black bikes have become the dominant gene in a huge way. Not only black, but flat black. You know…the stuff we used to call primer. Flat black bikes with glossy black decals, black components, black rims, with black spokes. Gee! How exciting can you get? Did some bicycle god die that these “funeral bikes” had to be created? Almost as bad, bikes that are available in actual colors are being produced in flat or matte finishes. Why? Did lots of people write in to complain about glossy finishes? Matte finishes are harder to keep clean, scratch more easily, and just look dull. Somebody told me that there’s a weight savings of between 40-60 grams if the frames are painted with matte instead of glossy finishes. (Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard even if it’s true)
    So here I am looking for a spiffy new bike, preferably one with a carbon fiber frame. I’ve looked on line at many major manufacturers. I found a bike that I liked a lot. It was pictured in a weathered asphalt gray matte finish. (NO, I’m not kidding or exaggerating) I emailed the company to see if it was available in other colors. The answer? Nope! I found another that could be had in either matte black or gloss black. I could hardly contain my excitement. I found lots of bikes that come in various choices of colors, but many of them are matte/flat finishes.
    So, here’s the deal. I’m not about to pay megabucks for a bike then have it stripped down, pay several hundred additional dollars, including the pain in the patoutie to have it shipped, then wait weeks, maybe months to get it back looking like I want it to look.
    QUESTION? Hey bicycle manufacturers! What the hell are you thinking? Can you imagine the consumer uproar that would ensue if auto manufacturers did what you’re doing? Yessir, you can take delivery of that brand new Cobra Mustang GT next week. What’s that? No, I’m sorry, it’s only available in matte finish pink.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,163
    Even the car manufacturers have only about four colors in thier pallete.

    The Trek Project One website allows you to customize a bike with hundreds of different paint combinations? I hear Trek makes good bikes.


    Another option would be to buy a bike off the shelf and take it to a local auto body shop. It would take a bit of disassembly, but I'm guessing the local bike shop would disassemble and reassemble a new bike for about $100 if you told them what you were doing...getting it painted.
    To those in uniform, both present and past, who have protected my freedoms, I thank you. I've had a good life so far.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,569
    I hear you to some extent. I hate the red/black/white scheme. In fact, I own nothing red in my wardrobe, cycling or otherwise.
    My Parlee is essentially black but has beautiful green bands on the down tube and seat tube. I’ve had lots of compliments on it.
    And I’ve heard that “friends don’t let friends ride Treks”. I’ve never owned one, and really don’t intend to.

  4. #4
    Adorable Furry Hombre
    Reputation: Marc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    24,751
    The only thing worse than the stealth bike ...is the pastel tax imposed on women.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    259
    Thank you for this rant! I couldn't agree more.

    FWIW check out KTM bicycles. You might like what you find. "Looks fast standing still" definitely applies here https://ktmbikeindustries.com/revela...e-shimano-105/

    As with everything KTM expect high prices. it seems like to opted for nicer wheels but lower end group sets on most of their bikes.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    6,049
    Ridley has a paint program that lets you pick the color and lettering. Don't know the cost or time element.

    https://www.ridley-bikes.com/customize-your-bike/
    Too old to ride plastic

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    907
    Great post and I agree!

    ...wait..my bike is Black Red and White with black wheels LOL At least its gloss and not rattle can flat black primer.

    As mentioned Trek P1 gives you lots of color choices

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Kontact's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,978
    I think the current palette is a sign that everyone is taking themselves too seriously. The bicycle world manifestation of the whole "tactical" thing. And I think that frames are too expensive to paint in colors that anyone might not like - so they don't

    I was noticing just how cheap one can buy a used or even new Lynskey Ti frame off ebay. If I wanted a colorful bike, I would buy a Ti frame, clean it up as necessary, and have it painted by an autoshop. I like Ti because you can see any damage so they are very safe bets for used bikes, but ride as nice as carbon.

    New carbon bikes are much too expensive to not get what you want.
    Get a better saddle: www.kontactbike.com

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Fredrico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    22,835
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The only thing worse than the stealth bike ...is the pastel tax imposed on women.
    No joke!

    More than half the women customers in the shop I worked at seriously looking for a road bike preferred bikes that weren't pink, baby blue, TEAL, or feminized with vines and flowers. Some analyst found teal to be the color of choice of young girls. So for a while, if it was for girls it was teal.

    Manufacturers do it to save productions costs, first obvious answer.

    Yeah, what happened to shiny surfaces? Much easier to clean. The clear coat resists scratches, keeps the decals from wearing off, and not necessary to paint more than one coat of color under the decals.

    OTOH, black bicycles have been standard since the early days, like Henry Ford's model T. I got a black bike in '85, painted with chip resistant DuPont imron, covered with generous clear coat. Spiff it up with auto detailer and it looks as nice as the day I picked up the frame from the builder and brought it home over my shoulder on the subway. Polished aluminum components nicely dress up the frame. Then the stealth look came up, dull, non-reflective black everywhere, carbon wheels completing the look.

    Once in a while a carbon bike would come out painted and clear coated. Remember the red Kestrels of the '90s? I think manufacturers decided, "Hey this bike is carbon! It doesn't need to be painted! Slap a layer of clear coat over the decals and let that space age carbon weave shine through!"
    Last edited by Fredrico; 1 Week Ago at 08:50 PM.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,431
    You are right on. Pathetic looking bikes dominate the shops.

    The coolest bike I've ever seen was a somewhat beat up white steel colnago and the tubes were partially painted/wrapped with the colors of the Italian flag over about 20% of their length. It looked fast and like it had a hell of a story to tell.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Fredrico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    22,835
    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    You are right on. Pathetic looking bikes dominate the shops.

    The coolest bike I've ever seen was a somewhat beat up white steel colnago and the tubes were partially painted/wrapped with the colors of the Italian flag over about 20% of their length. It looked fast and like it had a hell of a story to tell.
    It didn't have disc brakes, either!

    Steel is like that. It lives to an old age, wearing the dings and chipped paint proudly. They're cool because they've been there and done that and have nothing to prove.

  12. #12
    a real member's member
    Reputation: blackfrancois's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    2,998
    Quote Originally Posted by op
    Bicycles used to look fast just standing still. They were painted in high gloss, bright colors like red, blue, yellow, orange, white, and almost every other imaginable hue, even the occasional black one. They were spectacular to behold. Some were even done in metallic colors. WOW! Something for everyone to love.... Then somewhere around the mid to late 1990s...
    you can still buy vintage bikes like this and new steel bikes.

    the paint on all my vintage bikes is beautiful, even the '60 paramount still shines.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Srode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,653
    Exactly! soo many colors in the world and so many bikes needing them now.
    Moderation is boring - do epic s##t

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: 11spd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    496
    No idea what you are smoking. Pretty much any color of the rainbow is available if color is your driver on what constitutes the right bike for you.

    An old rider like yourself if you want carbon..get an endurance geometry like the new Roubaix with shock integrated into the steerer. Roubaixs are available in monochromatic color schemes as are many bikes still.

    I don't like disc brakes because of where I live and don't need the shock either but you may appreciate both. The geometry with high stack is friendly to an aging cyclist and I am right behind you. Although I ride an understated matte grey Roubaix SL3 Pro with red cues, I like the new Roubaix in blue....below.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails An Open Letter to Bicycle Manufacturers-roubaix-comp-specialized-2017.jpg  

  15. #15
    Adorable Furry Hombre
    Reputation: Marc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    24,751
    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    No joke!

    More than half the women customers in the shop I worked at seriously looking for a road bike preferred bikes that weren't pink, baby blue, TEAL, or feminized with vines and flowers. Some analyst found teal to be the color of choice of young girls. So for a while, if it was for girls it was teal.

    Manufacturers do it to save productions costs, first obvious answer.

    Yeah, what happened to shiny surfaces? Much easier to clean. The clear coat resists scratches, keeps the decals from wearing off, and not necessary to paint more than one coat of color under the decals.

    OTOH, black bicycles have been standard since the early days, like Henry Ford's model T. I got a black bike in '85, painted with chip resistant DuPont imron, covered with generous clear coat. Spiff it up with auto detailer and it looks as nice as the day I picked up the frame from the builder and brought it home over my shoulder on the subway. Polished aluminum components nicely dress up the frame. Then the stealth look came up, dull, non-reflective black everywhere, carbon wheels completing the look.

    Once in a while a carbon bike would come out painted and clear coated. Remember the red Kestrels of the '90s? I think manufacturers decided, "Hey this bike is carbon! It doesn't need to be painted! Slap a layer of clear coat over the decals and let that space age carbon weave shine through!"

    Everything retail starts as "hey this is sort of cool and NO ONE ELSE has done this!"....at which point everyone proceeds to do it-particularly if it increases profit margin. Aesthetic design was pretty much taken out back and put 6ft underground...and was sealed in with the main-brand death of the proper head tube badge.



    Kestrel (pre-buyout) did some pretty frames (still have my BMW blue Talon hanging up). Klein, of course, had a bit of a gaudy rep--although in today's bland days I'll happily take the 2-color metallic fade color splash.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    656
    Colnagos where once known for their fancy paint jobs (at least that's how I always remembered them) but even they have now joined the "red, white and black" bandwagon as well.

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: burgrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,802
    Quote Originally Posted by config View Post
    Colnagos where once known for their fancy paint jobs (at least that's how I always remembered them) but even they have now joined the "red, white and black" bandwagon as well.
    Oh yeah, they had some beautiful frames. Tommasini also. I remember lusting after these frames equipped with shiny Campy components. I think the newer bikes don't look as this. I guess I'm officially an old guy now.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    2,331
    You can always get a Bianchi in Celeste Green. Instantly recognizable.

    https://www.bicycling.com/news/featu...ianchi-celeste
    Insert something clever here:

    Insert list of every bike I own here:

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    6,049
    Too old to ride plastic

  20. #20
    Man, I'm Awesome
    Reputation: brianmcg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    2,171
    I like red bikes.
    "I like to ride my bicycle." - Lance Armstrong -

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    7,431
    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    It didn't have disc brakes, either!

    Steel is like that. It lives to an old age, wearing the dings and chipped paint proudly. They're cool because they've been there and done that and have nothing to prove.
    I think the colors of that paint had little to do with the substrate.

    While I would not have wanted that relic of a bygone era to ride, it would have looked great hanging on my den wall.

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    3
    Have you looked at Allied Cycles? They have some bright, satin finishes for their bikes.

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: OldZaskar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,972
    I think the black or black options come down to an inventory issue that the industry has created... in those halcyon days, there were "road bikes" and... well, that was it. Now, there are race bikes, aero bikes, endurance bikes, CX bikes, gravel bikes... etc. Each of those coming in 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61... and with about eight build levels.

    So in comes the customer "I want a Madone, not the Domane or Emonde... 58cm Ultregra, rim brakes not disc, electronic shifting but not wireless, the 35mm wheels, not the 50mm, 9 series.. but the H1 geometry. What are my color options" "Uhh... in stock? Black."

    As boring as black is, it matches everything.

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,205
    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    I think the black or black options come down to an inventory issue that the industry has created... in those halcyon days, there were "road bikes" and... well, that was it. Now, there are race bikes, aero bikes, endurance bikes, CX bikes, gravel bikes... etc. Each of those coming in 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61... and with about eight build levels.

    So in comes the customer "I want a Madone, not the Domane or Emonde... 58cm Ultregra, rim brakes not disc, electronic shifting but not wireless, the 35mm wheels, not the 50mm, 9 series.. but the H1 geometry. What are my color options" "Uhh... in stock? Black."

    As boring as black is, it matches everything.
    It seems like the murdered out look with carbon followed the car industry...

    Anywho, it looks like some more color is coming back and even Orbea has paint programs. It's interesting to see Trek and Specialized for example come out with bikes that resemble candy after all the matte/black trend.

    I may built up this FACTOR O2 or maybe even an orange one. Would never have thought this a couple years ago. It was ghost, matte, black every thing for me. Now I prefer color in the frame but black everything else.

  25. #25
    Russian Troll Farmer
    Reputation: No Time Toulouse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    962
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile View Post
    .......They were painted in high gloss, bright colors like red, blue, yellow, orange, white, and almost every other imaginable hue, even the occasional black one. They were spectacular to behold. Some were even done in metallic colors. WOW! Something for everyone to love.
    Then somewhere around the mid to late 1990s the “red, black, and white” people came to the fore. Everywhere you looked you saw red, white, and black bikes. Red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, red, white, and black, and then…even more red, white, and black. .......
    Since you wrote this, I've been paying attention to bike frame colors and glosses. I've seen quite a few brightly colored and glossy paint jobs (on recently made bikes), but it seems that they are essentially all on "dime-store" bikes. Maybe this is the reason; any bike in orange or lime green, etc, makes the rider look like he bought it at Wal-Mart?
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Bicycle Manufacturers and Frame Warranty
    By T-20 in forum General Cycling Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-21-2014, 05:31 AM
  2. which bicycle manufacturers stock microshift?
    By jfd986 in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 06-16-2014, 06:53 PM
  3. Where to find bicycle manufacturers' demo truck calendar?
    By picview in forum General Cycling Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-02-2013, 05:06 AM
  4. Replies: 21
    Last Post: 08-31-2004, 03:31 AM
  5. VN.com:open letter from hampsten re.lemond
    By blackhat in forum Pro Cycling - Tour de France
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: 07-27-2004, 08:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •