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Suppliers clean up bike aesthetics as tech development takes a breather

Published September 1, 2016

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — After adding disc brakes and thru-axles the past few years, designers are turning their focus to the overall look of the bike and the results are surprising.

The biggest change is that cables have almost entirely disappeared as has the seat collar. And stems are designed to flow smoothly from clamping the bar into the toptube so there is one uninterrupted form from the front of the bike to the back. And finally that ugly stack of headset spacers that ruins the look of any bike is gone.

“It's a nice change. Functionally road bikes are really dialed now. They ride much better than they did a few years ago. So designers have time to focus on better integrating how a bike and components look,” said Luke Musselman, Duro Tires' director of business development.

One of SRAM's strategy meetings at Eurobike focused on how the company can help bike designers attach components with as little fuss as possible.

“It's not that our customers have asked for components that ease cable routing, but we know it is something that is coming. So we are starting to think about how to design things, like a front cable derailleur, with cleaner cable routing,” said Ron Ritzler, vice president of SRAM components.

De Rosa's SK Pininforina has nice, simple graphics extend from the seat tube onto the seatpost with no hint of a seatpost collar to get in the way. Even the rim brakes are less obtrusive because there are no big loops of cable announcing their presence.

The Look 795 Aero Light not only does a better job integrating the stem into the flow of the top of the bike, but it hides its front rim brake inside the fork, and the rear is out of sight down by the bottom bracket to deliver an even cleaner look.

But BMC's Road Machine 01 goes the full distance, with all the cables disappearing inside the stem right behind the handlebar clamp. A quick look at the bike and it would be easy to confuse it with a fixie as there is nothing to suggest the presence of cables one normally associates with geared drivetrains.

Other bikes are slipping the front disc hydraulic hose into the shoulder of the fork to run it internally to the caliper. But BMC goes inside the fork at the stem for the cleanest look. The company even took the extra step of creating a skeletal rear quick-release lever that all but disappears. It may not have the fully integrated stem of the Look, but that seems like a small nit to pick.

And it's not only road bikes getting the makeover. Rocky Mountain's Slayer 790 has hidden its rear stay suspension pivots so the bike at first glance looks like a hardtail. The company also went to extra lengths to tuck its cables out of sight, but with droppers and no way for long internal cables runs on a full-suspension bike, it had to settle for minimizing what is seen.

BMC Road Machine 01
Topics associated with this article: Eurobike

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