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Seven most elegant bicycle components

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Seven most elegant bicycle components

Old 02-05-20, 05:35 PM
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jdawginsc 
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Seven most elegant bicycle components

Your seven favorite components in pictures and captions


Ambrosio girder stem; more elegant than the GB which I love and the modern Nitto which is incredible.

Perfection of form

The most perfectly shaped hubset in my opinion and the engraved Mavic instills character and solidity.

The standard by which all other derailleurs are judged. The dotted background to the embossed words, then the arrows softly bending around the rectangle.

I do not own one. Have always wanted one. They got it right.

In my opinion, the perfect non-aero lever (Modolo professional and Nuovo record are close seconds)

Other than the Nuovo Record, these were heads and shoulders in scupted form above the more staid competition.

Honorable mention


Milremo stem. Would have won if not for the bolted front.

Loved these.

Eclectically Zeus.
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Old 02-05-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post

In my opinion, the perfect non-aero lever (Modolo professional and Nuovo record are close seconds)
100% on Suntour Superbe brake levers. I don't know what it is about them for me, but even when they're "less than perfect" (that is, scratched to hell and back), to me they're just beautiful.
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Old 02-05-20, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
100% on Suntour Superbe brake levers. I don't know what it is about them for me, but even when they're "less than perfect" (that is, scratched to hell and back), to me they're just beautiful.
I agree!
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Old 02-05-20, 09:15 PM
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Regarding the Milremo stem posted, it's merely a copy of the earlier Philippe casting, if not manufactured by Atax itself.
​The hex nut clamp hardware is part and parcel of the era (recessed Allen didn't come til later) so my opinion is the stem would look odd without it.

I agree that the Superbe levers are the nicest-looking drop bar levers ever.

600 Arabesque is far too baroque to me. While those shifters are ugly to my eye, the crankset isn't half-bad.
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Old 02-05-20, 09:40 PM
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Old 02-05-20, 09:41 PM
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I don't have seven, but here's my number one:

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Old 02-05-20, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post

I do not own one. Have always wanted one. They got it right..
They got it righter earlier, with the square edges and undrilled.

Not mine, but similar.
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Old 02-05-20, 11:27 PM
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Sometimes, it is not just the component itself - but what you may do to it to blend in with other aspects of the aesthetic that makes it Special.







But when you say Elegant (meaning = production elegant), I think C-Record CdA, with Deltas.



Last edited by Wildwood; 02-06-20 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 02-05-20, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I don't have seven, but here's my number one:

You ran that so hard you wore the darn teeth right off of the jockey wheels!
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Old 02-05-20, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post

The standard by which all other derailleurs are judged. ...
.
Yes. And the Cyclones I raced were cleaner looking, lighter and shifted far better. Yes, the Campy NR was the standard, But in 1976, it fell far short of being the best, at least if you were a bike racer and wanted the best shifting, The NR had better pivots, went further before slop showed up and could be rebuilt with new bushings and so could be made to last nearly forever. But the Cyclone shifted very well even after a good deal of slop and at 1/3 the cost, forking over for a new one was not a hardship.

Engineer here, It's tough for me to worship inferior designs.

Ben

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Old 02-06-20, 12:01 AM
  #11  
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Seven is a lot

I guess I'm going more for engineering elegance. Elegance on the inside, more than the aesthetic outside. So in no particular order:



Suntour Cyclone M2 rear derailleur. In GT or short-cage form, this thing still beats the pants off even modern carbon in terms of lightness. Nothing's there that doesn't need to be. Picture stolen from DisraeliGears.


Suntour endless band clamp for shifters and front derailleurs. Light and secure and easy to make. Mostly made of air, in fact.



Triple-butted spoke, 13-15-14. Why are all spokes not triple-butted? The threaded section is 14g, as big as it needs to be. The rolled threads bring the threaded section's maximum diameter to 13g, which is therefore the diameter of the hole in the hub flange. Why not fill this hole all the way up with a 13g elbow, so it's less likely to break? Then make the middle 15g, because anything thinner would be too stretchy. How much more will this actually weigh than a traditional 14-15-14 spoke? Why are they not all like this?


Sturmey Archer Dynohub. No more moving parts than a normal hub. But it generates basically-free electricity, by some small miracle! What they must have seemed like when they came out! The mind boggles. Many are still doing commuter duty today. I wonder if the modern Schmidt, Shimano, and Shutter Precision dynamo keepers-of-the-flame will be doing the same in half a century or more.


MAFAC and other stamped sheet metal cantilever. Right down to the pad holders, a tour-de-force of industrially manufactured minimalism.


Stronglight Delta. This headset is lighter, more durable, and better-sealed than its contemporaries, or indeed much of we have now. Plus, it stops shimmy. When they stopped making these, I became convinced that the free market was incapable of selecting for the best products or delivering them to consumers.




Double-eyeleted rims. You have two walls. Why not spread the load to them both? How many grams will this add, and how much strength? See the above about the triple butted spokes. It's a wheelbuilder's version of the platonic ideal, and sort of a free lunch.

Last edited by scarlson; 02-06-20 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 02-06-20, 12:12 AM
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For stems, I like the 3TTT Record stems from the early 70s. Believe that they were standard on the Raleigh Pro bicycles for at least a while. They have an interesting shape, particularly when compared to Cinelli and Nitto, for example. Here's one that could use a little attention:


These things shine up very nicely without much hard work. Not a big fan of the decals, though replacements are available.
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Old 02-06-20, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
...
Engineer here, It's tough for me to worship inferior designs.

Ben

Ben
Well, we don't often ask engineers to define the meaning of "elegant," just like we don't ask an artist to calculate stress vectors* or some such

(*I have no idea if a 'stress vector' is an actual thing or not)
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Old 02-06-20, 12:39 AM
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Too rich for me to own, but one that always stands out is the JUY 543.

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Old 02-06-20, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Well, we don't often ask engineers to define the meaning of "elegant," just like we don't ask an artist to calculate stress vectors* or some such

(*I have no idea if a 'stress vector' is an actual thing or not)
Elegance is super important in engineering. Not always visual elegance, but sometimes, and sometimes it follows from design elegance.
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Old 02-06-20, 05:50 AM
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While blind folded fill a bin with Campy C-record era parts. Then pull out seven.

There are a few exceptions in there but only one or two.

Anything 1 & 2 generation C-record.
1st generation Athena is lovely except the rear mech. The brakes may be the most beautiful ever made.
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Old 02-06-20, 05:51 AM
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I was going more for aesthetics. Absolutely better engineering in other componentry. It's fun to see how other people view aesthetics!

I have seen a Zeus microfluted seatpost without the paint, and polished and it looks incredible...
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Old 02-06-20, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
While blind folded fill a bin with Campy C-record era parts. Then pull out seven.

There are a few exceptions in there but only one or two.

Anything 1 & 2 generation C-record.
1st generation Athena is lovely except the rear mech. The brakes may be the most beautiful ever made.
Are you talking about the chunky single pivot?

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Old 02-06-20, 06:08 AM
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Like gugie but I prefer the long cage version

So many things here, Shimano Arabesque, Dia-Comp centerpulls, Randonneur bars, Sakae 90 degree stem

Sakae Stem and Randonneur bars

Brooks Pro

Brooks Flyer and Acorn tool roll

Ultegra level flat bar brake levers

Sakae Riser stem
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Old 02-06-20, 06:18 AM
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Then there is this.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Are you talking about the chunky single pivot?

Yes those.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:59 AM
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I came here to see pictures of the Dura Ace stem.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:27 AM
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Stronglight 38 Crankset (photo courtesy of Velobase)
Don't have time to pick through seven right now, so had to choose one.
This is the one.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:28 AM
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Simplex Retrofriction - personal fav



Flite saddle - heir to the Brooks C&V throne



Athena monoplanar - easy on the eyes, stopping, not so much...



Another personal fave - love the enclosed "half-moon" cage. Works flawlessly




Beautiful and deadly.



It's red!



The best.

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Old 02-06-20, 07:49 AM
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Ok, ok. There's six more. Images lifted from the net, except for the last one. Bell's mine.
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