Re: [Classicrendezvous] Hellenic stays ( Equilateral rear triangle)

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing)

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 20:41:26 -0400
From: Jerry & Liz Moos <>
To: Hilary Stone <>
CC: Classic Rendevous <>
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] Hellenic stays ( Equilateral rear triangle)
References: <>

Some very valid points, Hilary. Although as a classic road bike fan it pains me to admit it, as an engineer I must confess that you are right on the mark in saying that most of the outstanding engineering applied to bicycles in the last 20 years has been connected with mountain bikes. This actually should not be surprising in that most of the innovation in product design will occur when the application, i.e. the task to which the product is designed, is new and not yet well understood. The task of designing a bike to transport a person over a maintained road with a reasonably level surface has not changed much since the 1890's, though incremental changes in design have developed in step with gradual improvement of road surfaces. The idea of riding a bicycle down the side of a mountain, however (or at least the widespread acceptance of this idea) is still new enough that major new insights are still being gained into what it takes to do this task optimally. Thus this is the arena where engineering effort is both more needed and more rewarding. As to the Cannondale Raven, this seems to me to cross over the line into the realm of "gratuitous technology", but I'm sure it will make an interesting, though hardly classic, Design Classic.


Jerry Moos

Hilary Stone wrote:
> Trek I have doubt used serious engineers to think hard about bicycle design
> and the Trek OCLV frame is particularly clever. However the improvements
> that are made are very small in relation to the performance of the rider
> which is still all important. And that makes the the sense of the current
> UCI retro rules even more stupid.
> Certainly in the last twenty years serious engineers have turned their
> thoughts once again to bicycle design (the relative decline of the aerospace
> sector has thrown out some excellent engineers who have have turned their
> talents to bicycles) though there are still many companies which are not
> much more than marketing operations. You only have to look at some of the
> full suspension mountain bikes to realise how much thought and research has
> gone into the design (and in in some cases little actual design work). The
> Cannondale Raven (the subject of an upcoming Design Classic is a technical
> tour de force even if the result is as little less effective than some other
> simpler solutions.
> Hilary Stone
> Jerry Moos wrote:
> > A very good summary of the subject, I think. It appears that you do not
> > necessarily
> > disagree with Richard Sach's comment that the purported advantages of some of
> these
> > designs, while they seem intuitively reasonable, might not withstand rigorous
> > engineering analysis. I think it is a good point that relatively few
> > engineers have
> > worked in the bicycle business since the auto and aircraft industries became
> large
> > and important. While I, like several on the list, have engineering degrees,
> mine
> > are in chemical and electrical engineering and impart no particular insight
> into
> > bicycle design. Even mechanical or structural engineers probably don't have
> much
> > more insight, as most of the extensive tools, techniques and literature
> accumulated
> > in that field in the 20th century were focused, as you so aptly observed in
> regards
> > to manpower, on the much more economically important auto and aerospace
> industries.
> > I'll bet there aren't more than a handfull of engineers in the world who would
> know
> > where to begin to set up the engineering tests necessary to confirm or refute
> the
> > structural claims of the classic British "funny frames".
> >
> > If Trek public realtions pronouncements are to be believed, with all the
> stories of
> > using wind tunnels and advanced CAD to design the US Postal team bikes, we are
> > seeing a renewal of the application of intensive engineering to bicycles,
> though
> > mostly to models far removed from the lugged steel ones of the past. Of
> course, it
> > bears remembering that past attempts at high-powered bicycle engineering, i.e.
> > Lambert, Exxon Graftek, and Teledyne Titan, produced in each instance a
> notably
> > flawed product. Or, if Richard Sachs will forgive my plagiarizing his
> company
> > motto "Technology alone is a poor substitute for experience."
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Jerry Moos