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History of the development of the bicycle.

9
votes
2answers
805 views

When did bicycle chains go back to being bushingless?

The original bicycle chains were of a "bushingless" design, then later they came up with a roller chain design that utilized bushings, this was later updated again to the chains we are used to today ...
7
votes
3answers
278 views

Have multi-speed non-freewheeling bikes ever been common?

Prompted by a recent question I was pondering the idea of bikes with variable gearing (derailleur or otherwise) but without the ability to freewheel. Have such bikes ever been widely used? They would ...
7
votes
2answers
252 views

Why are bearing ball sizes measured in imperial units?

Most everything on a modern bicycle is built to metric measurements - see, for example this question. Major exceptions include bearing balls, where metric balls don't even merit mention on Sheldon's ...
3
votes
1answer
306 views

Why mountain bikes had originally 26 inch wheels?

If the road bikes already had "almost" 29 inch wheels, why wouldn't we simply use those stock wheels instead of inventing a new standard? Also, if a pro rider from the 90's rode bigger wheels in ...
4
votes
1answer
378 views

Why did Shimano name them V Brakes?

Why did Shimano name and trademark their variety of direct pull brakes: V-Brakes®? Is it because of shape? The two arms look kind of like a V? That seems a fail as they are more parallel than most ...
6
votes
2answers
419 views

When did Square Taper Bottom Brackets retire from racing?

I haven't been able to find any hard data on this. I have the impression that most top-end bikes made the switch around the year 2000. It would be great if I could get an answer for both of these: ...
1
vote
1answer
620 views

Are bikes from Motoconfort equivalent to those from Motobecane?

I've got something called a Le Champion from Motoconfort dated to the 1970s which, aside from the different decals, is indistinguishable to me from Le Champion models from that era from Motobecane (...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Tour de Trump/Tour DuPont routes?

The Tour de Trump (later Tour DuPont) was run from 1989 to 1996 on the East Coast. Information regarding the details of these events seems to be sparse, especially the earlier editions. Does anyone ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Which countries have employed rail biking in their armed forces?

Can anyone tell me which counties have employed rail bikes in their armed forces? I remember seeing pictures of soldiers riding the rails on bikes, but cannot recall any details of them. Rail biking ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Why is 53/39 known as “standard” for road bikes?

In common cycling parlance, 53/39 is referred to as "standard" gearing for road cranksets, and most mechanics or experienced cyclists will understand that if you say you have a "standard crankset", ...
7
votes
1answer
238 views

Has anyone ridden fenders in a Grand Tour?

Has anyone ever ridden a bike equipped with some type of fenders in a Grand Tour, for even a short part of the race? Are they UCI race legal? If so, who was it, what was the race, and when did it ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why/how did flat bars take over?

Is there a verifiable reason for the ubiquity of flat bars on bikes these days?-- if so, what is it? It seems that 90% of the time I see people riding a newish bike that isn't a Dutch bike/roadster, ...
0
votes
1answer
439 views

Why are post ~'80s bike finishes so “dull”?

It seems that (with some notable exceptions) bikes from about the '80s and earlier seem to have more pleasing finishes than later bikes-- is there a verifiable reason for this, either economically or ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What was the rationale for reverse brake levers?

The Porteur style of bicycle popular by newspaper delivery men in France in the 1940s-1960s had reverse brake levers, seen here in this diagram from an article from Bicycle Quarterly (the photo jpeg ...
3
votes
3answers
605 views

Help to find the history of my 1900's Armstrong cycle :)

Pretty new to the whole vintage bike thing so would love a bit of help finding the history of the bike I bought in Walthamstow, London, last year. It's marked to be an Armstrong Cycle, Birmingham, ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

How did cyclists get over curbs before BMX era?

There were curbs before 1970s, right? I wonder whether everyone had to dismount or dramatically slow down before curbs until bunny hop and wheel lift became popular, I guess, in 1970s among first ...
8
votes
1answer
211 views

What is this “recumbent” trainer?

In the photo below, what is the trainer that is attached to the bike? Are these custom fab?
6
votes
1answer
357 views

Why have 29-ers arisen only recently? [closed]

I have been hearing for the past months about twenty nine inch wheels for bikes, and seeing such at the showroom windows and on the street. Also heard that they have a lot of advantages and a couple ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Why the penny-farthing?

The penny-farthing was the standard until the diamond-frame "safety bike" was "invented" and revolutionalized the world of bikes. It seems to me strange to have to "invent" to put the same size of ...
0
votes
1answer
582 views

Where did a '95-'96 Sycamore mtb fit in the Mongoose product range?

From what I've managed to piece together trawling the internets, this period was before quality dropped for Mongoose, but that Sycamores were low- to mid-range models. I'm considering how much time ...
65
votes
27answers
53k views

Why aren't Tour de France riders going any faster?

I was having a look at the average speeds of the winner of the Tour de France over the years on this page. To help things along I put the data into LibreOffice and produced a plot: I put on the chart ...
6
votes
3answers
589 views

Did any manufacturer ever try using more, but lighter spokes to minimize weight?

Wheels generally used to have more spokes. As technology improved and markets changed, manufacturers have taken to making wheels with fewer (and often heavier spokes). I've been told this comes at ...
7
votes
2answers
40k views

What is the name of those Old Timey Bikes?

The bikes with a huge front wheel and small rear, with the cranks attached directly to the front wheel... What are they called? Additionally, it seems they need to be very tall in order for you to ...
-2
votes
1answer
109 views

What's the most notable production model bicycle ever? [closed]

I'm thinking to start collecting bicycles of the last 20 or so years that are special in a way or the other. What would be the one bicycle that should be in such a collection?
43
votes
4answers
18k views

Why do bikes have their drivetrains on the right?

Every bicycle I have seen in my life has its gears and chain on the right side? Why is this? The only thing I could find regarding this question is this forum topic, which speculates about things such ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Finding the history of my 1980s Norco Bike

Where can I find a Norco catalog from 198X? I bought a used Norco about 10 months ago and I am begining to get curious about the bike. How good of bike is it? How much did it cost new? Where was ...
0
votes
1answer
620 views

What are simplest rideable bikes over history?

I copy-catted the question from moz here because he did not ask it himself. I try to keep my bike design as simple as possible so I need to learn from mistakes in the past. What are the simplest ...