Monday, March 4, 2024

Whither Rim Brakes? – Motorbike Snob NYC


Additional to the day prior to this’s put up, I closed out remaining weekend with a cold Sunday journey on what’s lately my maximum modern-est street motorbike:

Despite the fact that it passed off to me that it’s in point of fact now not leading-edge in any respect, now not even shut. No, this motorbike is punctiliously “antique” now. As an ageing Fred it sort of feels like most effective the day prior to this to me that stuff like built-in moving, 1 1/8″ threadless steerers, crabon forks, and double-digit cassettes (10 entire speeds!!!) represented the reducing fringe of racing motorbike era. However excluding the bizarre more moderen element (the cranks, for instance) the above motorbike is now smartly over two decades outdated, and it’s a hoary vintage in comparison to the plastic area motorcycles the professionals journey these days:

This pressured me to take stock of the present state of rim brakes and street motorcycles–now not within the extremely subjective “disc brakes are evil” sense, however extra within the dispassionate “I’m outdated and at a loss for words, are you able to nonetheless even nonetheless purchase a street motorbike with rim brakes?” sense.

My “leading-edge” motorbike is provided with a Campagnolo File 10-speed drivetrain now. I’ve had more moderen drivetrains since then (sure, together with Di2, which is what got here at the wood motorbike), however to me the 10-speed File nonetheless feels just like the unique pro-level stuff it used to be when it first got here out–partly as a result of I feel mechanical drivetrains haven’t in point of fact modified all that a lot since them excluding including a pair extra cogs, and partly as a result of, you already know, I’m outdated.

There’s in point of fact no reason why I, an ageing semi-professional motorbike blogger, would want to substitute the functionally best File 10-speed drivetrain on that Litespeed. Additionally, it sort of feels just like the older I am getting the fewer I’m in leading-edge portions, which is why maximum of my motorcycles have friction moving now. However let’s say I used to be a typical particular person, and I did want a new drivetrain with built-in moving and a lot of cogs to fit my racy titanium street motorbike. What’s lately to be had–now not to be had as in “in inventory” or “on eBay,” however to be had as in “the corporate is in truth nonetheless making it”–in a rim brake drivetrain in 2024?

Smartly, due to the Web, the worldwide economic system, yadda yadda and many others. and so on, there are all types of street motorbike drivetrains in the market in this day and age:

However in case you’re searching for a brand new rim brake drivetrain to your loved vintage, you’re most certainly outdated and at a loss for words, and due to this fact you’re additionally scared of recent issues. Sure, the ones frightening new issues are most certainly made through the similar individuals who make the things you in finding acquainted and reassuring, however that’s now not the purpose. The purpose is you’re now not plowing any new furrows at this level on your lifestyles, so let’s keep on with the Large 3, which in case you’re outdated and at a loss for words way Shimano, Campagnolo, and the ones younger upstarts over at SRAM.

Of the ones, so far as I will inform, the one corporate nonetheless lately providing a rim brake street motorbike drivetrain on the upper finish is Campagnolo, and their web page displays mechanical rim brake choices from Tremendous File proper on right down to Refrain:

In fact Campagnolo have all the time presented quite a lot of drivetrains beneath Refrain, however I don’t see any of the ones on their web page, so I don’t know if that implies they don’t cause them to anymore or what. Clearly Campagnolo have lengthy been overtaken through Shimano and SRAM on the subject of gross sales, so perhaps they’ve needed to pare down their choices lately, however I in point of fact do not know. In spite of everything, in case you had been an ageing Fred and sought after to exchange the outdated File drivetrain to your antique Litespeed with the trendy an identical then one thing like that Refrain crew can be an glaring selection.

Given this, I used to be curious to be informed extra about the newest Refrain stuff, and so I learn a evaluate and used to be stunned to be informed there’s nonetheless a perception floating round that Campagnolo is “gorgeous” as it’s Italian:

I’m certain the more moderen Campy stuff works nice, however it has now not been objectively sexy for the reason that 10-speed generation, regardless that I’m certain quite a lot of Campyphiles would argue it were given unpleasant once Tullio’s frame used to be chilly. Both approach, there’s indisputably not anything gorgeous about it now. I imply have a look at that shifter, it looks as if Cthulu:

I’m now not pronouncing I wouldn’t put the newest Refrain portions on that Litespeed, as a result of I completely would, however I indisputably wouldn’t do it for cultured functions.

I feel each roadie of a undeniable age hopes Campagnolo will relinquish their position within the professional peloton ceaselessly, stay providing high-end mechanical rim brake drivetrains indefinitely, and dedicate themselves solely to creating merchandise for mature riders who wish to stay their vintage street motorcycles working with dignity:

[Classic Cycle]

Alternatively, that’s most certainly now not an effective way to stick in industry–regardless that no less than it’s simple to provide a life-time guaranty when maximum of your consumers have already reached retirement age.

As for Shimano, it looks as if they’re disc brake most effective all over 105:

Despite the fact that they nonetheless be offering rim brake Tiagra:

It’s a bit of unhappy that what’s for all sensible functions Shimano’s most sensible finish street motorbike rim brake doesn’t even include cartridge brake pads. This being Shimano I’m certain it really works nice, and actually I’m certain all of the Tiagra drivetrain works nice. For sure the one reason why to not put it to your outdated Litespeed or equivalent is vainness. On the identical time, it’s lovely glaring that Shimano has reached the purpose the place they’re completed refining anything else rim brake-related and are as a substitute simply slowly getting rid of options to chop prices, and in contrast to Campagnolo you’ll’t in point of fact delude themselves that they’re going to be there for you if you wish to stay your fancy rim brake street motorbike working smartly into your golden years. You will be simply fantastic placing Tiagra on that outdated street motorbike, however you most likely received’t be fantastic with no matter their easiest rim brake street crew is in 5 or ten years.

And SRAM? Don’t even take into consideration it. Fail to remember rim brakes–if you wish to have mechanical you’ll’t even get a entrance derailleur from them:

Howdy, I feel the Eagle drivetrain on my Jones is excellent. However in case you’re speaking about preserving a vintage street motorbike going, SRAM isn’t your buddy.

In fact, there’s no reason why for those firms to stay making rim brake street motorbike drivetrains when no firms are placing it on their motorcycles. (With the exception of for Campagnolo, who can do what they would like, as a result of no firms put Campagnolo on their street motorcycles anyway.) Maximum last rim brake street motorcycles from the large firms are finances fashions and are on closeout:

Or out of inventory:

Despite the fact that I used to be stunned to peer Cannondale nonetheless seems to provide a complete vary of rim brake street motorcycles:

Most commonly regardless that, new rim brake street motorcycles these days are restricted to heritage fashions:

Or frames from firms like Rivendell and Crust:

Of the ones, most effective the Grasp is a candidate for a complete leading-edge street motorbike drivetrain, while the Rivendell and the Crust will probably be construct extra esoterically, as with the ones motorcycles getting all types of disparate stuff to paintings in combination is more or less the purpose, so it doesn’t in point of fact topic what the Large 3 are doing with their street drivetrains. If truth be told the Crust doesn’t even take matching brakes:

As for normal street motorcycles, I knew the rim brake used to be lifeless, however I didn’t fairly recognize simply how lifeless it used to be till now. That’s to not say they’ll be exhausting to come back through or anything else like that–a brake caliper lasts kind of ceaselessly, and I doubt provide at the used marketplace will come just about being exhausted in our lifetime–however it’s to mention they’re formally “unfashionable,” and as squarely previously as downtube shifters and toe clips. 

Did I name it?

Or did I name it?


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