There is no doubt that road bikes have evolved considerably since their invention. As competition cycling grew, so did the demands for increasingly light and versatile bicycles. Little by little, the brands were incorporating technologies and developing patents that made life easier for the cyclist.
Since its inception, the bicycle has been full of innovations and perfection that have converged in the creation of the modern machine that you have parked outside your office today; with the one you go to school or, with which you go out to conquer the path with only pedal power.
If you are wondering about every day cycling, check out our last post.
Next, we will show you the most notorious innovations that bicycles have had.
Today it is unthinkable that someone would take the Tour de France exit with a bicycle equipped with wooden wheels and iron covers. However, until the end of the 19th century, bicycle wheels were like this. Very heavy, very rough, not very maneuverable, and with a high degree of fracture in the event of a blow (the wood splinters easily in the event of a high-speed accident).
In 1887 John Dunlop developed the first modern tire. Changing the stiffness of iron and wood for the comfort of rubber was the first great revolution in cycling since it allowed cyclists to ride more comfortably and at a faster pace.
Before the rear derailleur appeared, there was an impractical way to shift gears. That involved getting off the bike, removing the rear wheel, and turning it, to use the sprocket on the other side of the wheel. Since then, the introduction of indexed shifting in the 1980s by Shimano launched the need for a fully compatible system of shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, and chainrings, and this was the first model of what we now call groups.
Before rear derailleur systems became popular, changing gears required the rear wheel to be removed, turned, and replaced. Started by Tullio Campagnolo while competing during the winter season, Campagnolo’s hands had become so cold that he had trouble removing the bolts holding the wheel in place to remove the wheel, and as a result, lost valuable time in the race.
The carbon frames
Almost since the beginning of cycling, one of the significant technological challenges of the cycling industry has been making bicycles that are increasingly light, resistant, and comfortable to ride.
When aluminum replaced steel as the primary material for making frames, there was a notable improvement in this regard. Aluminum is lighter and more flexible, which results in not only less weight for the bike but also the possibility of creating frames with more curved lines.
But the great revolution in materials came with the use of carbon fiber. It is light, resistant to corrosion, and offers extraordinary strength. Also, one of the significant advantages of carbon over metallic materials is that it can adapt to practically any shape and geometry.
Wire actuated brakes
Wire-actuated brakes are often overlooked, but we didn’t realize that the biggest problem for early riders was braking their bikes.
The first tests with this type of innovation that although they were not with cables but powered with rods date back to before 1900 and those powered by steel cables date back to 1901 demonstrating their superiority and efficiency, so they continue to equip most of the bikes we use today.
Electronic gear shift
They have been with us for a short time, but in the high competition, they have already become essential. And more and more amateur cyclists begin to bet on them. We refer to electronic exchange groups.
A rod system powered the first gearboxes. Shortly after that, parallelogram diverter was introduced, used as a mechanism to change the tension position of a cable.