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Most notable change in road cycling since 2009

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Most notable change in road cycling since 2009

Old 05-29-23, 11:59 AM
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goose70
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Most notable change in road cycling since 2009

I just came across an old training log from when I first got (back) into road biking in 2009, when I was 39 years old. Just before I turned 39, my doctor showed me a series of graphs depicting how I had steadily gained weight and raised my blood pressure in my 30s. She recommended cycling and I never looked back. I owe her big time.


I got my first road bike that year, a Trek 2.3. Less than a year later, I got a CAAD 9 and a year after that, I joined a racing team. Carbon frames were certainly common, but aluminium was still predominant, even at races (esp. CAADs). This has me thinking through the biggest changes to road bikes/road biking between then and now. Carbon was common enough among top-end performance bikes in 2009 that I don't see that as a huge change between then and now. Moving from mechanical to disc brakes is a big one, but it happened very quickly rather than as an incremental evolution. Same with mechanical to e-shifting. Related to the bike, the rise of smart trainers and associated training programs has been a huge change in training, particularly in the off season. I haven't heard of any mid-winter, slogging outdoor training rides around here in years.


To me, however, what stands out as one of the most impactful, visible changes over this time period is the lowly tire. This has been a steady/incremental change since I started, when 23mm tires were becoming standard but 21 & 22mm were still common, especially on tubulars such as my Reynolds. And of course tubeless were virtually non-existent on road bikes. Now, I feel like a luddite still riding 25 clinchers while teammates sport tires wide enough to double as floatation devices on a boat.


I'm curious to see what others consider to be the biggest changes to road bikes/road biking over this time span.
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Old 05-29-23, 12:48 PM
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Yes, I was going to say "tires" as soon as I saw your thread title. Going back further in time, this becomes even more noticeable. Older bikes ride just fine on modern tires. Increasing rim width has also been important, but I think that followed rather than led tire development. I think the change from downtube to brifters was another huge advance, but that precedes '09. Going further back . . .
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Old 05-29-23, 01:04 PM
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Tires yes, except I can't help thinking of my '76 Schwinn Super Sport that had 27 x 1 1/4 inch tires which, in today's parlance would be ~31mm. Also, I rode on gravel rural Indiana roads not because gravel was cool (it absolutely was not) but because gravel was difficult to avoid.

Then I got with the cool kids and rode 700x23 at 110psi on pavement until, yes, somewhere between 2009 and now gravel became awesome and 700x28 became the new 700x23, and gravel tires are preposterously wide and comfy at 45psi.

So tires, yeah.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:07 PM
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I'm going to change my mind.

Pockets on Lycra shorts/bibs. Life changing.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:25 PM
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Sock height.
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Old 05-29-23, 01:37 PM
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Bicycling infrastructure in cities and the addition of rural trails.
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Old 05-29-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
Pockets on Lycra shorts/bibs. Life changing.
Why? Before I wore cycling jerseys and bibs, I had shorts with a pocket, from which I lost a credit card and my health insurance card.

I stopped cycling in my teens and only resumed cycling in 2016, so I think a significant innovation (since the resumption) is the Garmin Varia rear radar.
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Old 05-29-23, 02:11 PM
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Hard call. Sock length or 32mm becoming standard on new bikes. And what year did they put the nail in the sleeveless jersey coffin?
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Old 05-29-23, 03:04 PM
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- Disc brakes
- Better quality tires- faster and more reliable
- Di2 now more commonplace.
- GPS cost and quality
- power meter cost
- cables under tape on all levels of shimano
- wide range double replacing triple
- tubeless


Take your pick- all are going to be big improvements to those who really care about one of them.
For me?...better quality tires wins out for sure. For $45 you can get fast rolling 32mm tires that are comfortable, reliable, and long lasting. That's pretty awesome.
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Old 05-29-23, 03:44 PM
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There' been a HUGE change in bikes and cycling gear since the late 2000's for sure. So much has progressed, arguably for the better of course! For me the biggest things I've seen change within the bunches I ride with are:

- Di2 / eTap for the masses
- Disc brakes
- Power meters

Looking back to beginning of the 2010's era, it was very rare for a bike to come off-the-shelf with all three as standard.

Tubeless for the road still seems like it's progressing slowly. Most of the people I ride with are still on tubes for their road bikes. I think over the next decade we'll hopefully see more improvement in the high pressure performance of tubeless setups.
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Old 05-29-23, 05:28 PM
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Motors but not calling them mopeds.
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Old 05-29-23, 05:35 PM
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frame width for "road" bicycles, in-turn, wider rubber as standard issue.
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Old 05-29-23, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
Tires yes, except I can't help thinking of my '76 Schwinn Super Sport that had 27 x 1 1/4 inch tires which, in today's parlance would be ~31mm. Also, I rode on gravel rural Indiana roads not because gravel was cool (it absolutely was not) but because gravel was difficult to avoid.

Then I got with the cool kids and rode 700x23 at 110psi on pavement until, yes, somewhere between 2009 and now gravel became awesome and 700x28 became the new 700x23, and gravel tires are preposterously wide and comfy at 45psi.

So tires, yeah.
Tires have become better, but as you say, 27 x 1 1/4" used to be one of the standards. If you go way BITD, they're not racing/riding skinny tires. The condition of the roads/paths wouldn't allow it. So, nothing new or revolutionary there.
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Old 05-29-23, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Yes, I was going to say "tires" as soon as I saw your thread title. Going back further in time, this becomes even more noticeable. Older bikes ride just fine on modern tires. Increasing rim width has also been important, but I think that followed rather than led tire development. I think the change from downtube to brifters was another huge advance, but that precedes '09. Going further back . . .
Gonna agree, in principle, but also reshuffle 'what' might have led to 'what'. Since this is from each rider's perspective, and so my own...
Wheel/Rim design & Tires is highest.
Without the redesign of wheels and rims, so many things could not be possible. Wider rims. moving from 15 - 17 internal makes a HUGE difference. IN the early & mid-2000s there were only a few makers offering wider rims (19mm) then 21. But by end of the decade 19, from that 21 became the go-to widths. That opened rim design quite a bit and allowed truly functional deep profile and toroidal designs. Faster, stronger, for the same general weight. That allowed movement from 23-25 to wider tires, opening tire design to newer possibilites.
And if you were still using 23-25 - the wider rims rode smoother and allowed both more comfort and faster ride. When rims were 15-17, you really couldn't use wider than 233-25 because the risk of pinch flats was too high, also requiring greater pressures than a wide rim.
Everything being interdependent, then disk brakes opened rim shapes (away from the requirement for rim braking surfaces) to allow aero designs.
But then entire wheel benefited - stronger, lighter, less spoke breakage - a lot of things.
The wider rims also opened the possibility for wider tire profiles, again even more comfortable and better rolling performance (shown in multiple test?).
Taking the braking surface off the rim, opened road design to be workable with tubeless. Last year, on a weekly ride, which often does a lot of long steep climbs around here - on the return descent, one riding bud had his tubeless blow OFF the rim/wheel - too much heat from the hard braking on steep downhill, at speed. Thankfully it happened right at the end and bottom hill, 20ft from end/stop point and he had already slowed to a speed which he could handle when the tire 'farted' and eventually rolled off as he reached the stop. Yes, caliper rim brake wheelset.
#2 Training Tools and science... For anyone who truly wants to bring themselves to their best form - there's no comparison between now and 'ancient' times.
Everything (almost) has gone thru amazing gains that now makes a $1200-$1500 2023 road machine as good as ANY topline machine from the late 80's and 90's.
Finally the universe has expanded and is no longer the very 'narrow' design offering of the 'road' bike from the early 2000's (and certainly true for comparo with even older designs) we have so many variations and possibilities in frame/bike design, use and rider fit, which completely open up where, how and when we ride.
A few things I'm not crazy about, but that's 'me'. But I would never opt to winding the clock back.
The limiting factor now is truly the 'motor', and one needn't spend Huge bucks to get it (although, you can).
Same thing as what happened to winter snow sport - a whole new world, allowing winter sport for 74yr olds to seem like they were 34 (almost... LOL!)
Ride On
Yuri

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Old 05-29-23, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Hard call. Sock length or 32mm becoming standard on new bikes. And what year did they put the nail in the sleeveless jersey coffin?
I love the sleeveless jerseys. In fact, I just ordered one from Pearl Izumi.
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Old 05-29-23, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
And what year did they put the nail in the sleeveless jersey coffin?
Sleeveless belong to the ladies or tri-nerds. Let them have the sleeveless look. One group looks good and the other group gets to wear them as a consolation prize since they have no actual bike handling skills.

Joking...kinda.

Really though, sleeveless on guys just screams cheesy cheap jersey, even when that isnt the case. Its like something from lightinthebox or ali or wherever else that sells cheap jerseys.
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Old 05-29-23, 10:42 PM
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I haven't ridden a bike between childhood in the 90s/00s and just a few years ago, so to me road bikes from various decades still always look oddly anachronistic.

Bikes from 10 years ago look like they could be 20 or 30 years old to my eyes. I would have thought that bikes, as they look today, would have been around 20 years ago. A bike from the year 2000 looks like something out of the 1980s to my eye, and so forth.

Maybe cause the mountain bikes we had as kids 20 or so years ago already had disc brakes and wider tyres.

Maybe because cyclists apparently are a superstitious and traditional bunch.

Anyway, I started road cycling with wide tyres, discs, carbon, integration, etc., so no attachments to the machines or riders of the past.
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Old 05-29-23, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by yaw
I haven't ridden a bike between childhood in the 90s/00s and just a few years ago, so to me road bikes from various decades still always look oddly anachronistic.

Bikes from 10 years ago look like they could be 20 or 30 years old to my eyes. I would have thought that bikes, as they look today, would have been around 20 years ago. A bike from the year 2000 looks like something out of the 1980s to my eye, and so forth.

Maybe cause the mountain bikes we had as kids 20 or so years ago already had disc brakes and wider tyres.

Maybe because cyclists apparently are a superstitious and traditional bunch.

Anyway, I started road cycling with wide tyres, discs, carbon, integration, etc., so no attachments to the machines or riders of the past.
Come on, no allusion to waxed chains? Sorry, could not resist a gentle tease; I am a waxer too.
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Old 05-30-23, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Sleeveless belong to the ladies or tri-nerds. Let them have the sleeveless look. One group looks good and the other group gets to wear them as a consolation prize since they have no actual bike handling skills.

Joking...kinda.

Really though, sleeveless on guys just screams cheesy cheap jersey, even when that isnt the case. Its like something from lightinthebox or ali or wherever else that sells cheap jerseys.
Farmer’s tans look cheesy too
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Old 05-30-23, 04:38 AM
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Carbon rims.

Never have to true them and spokes never break, unlike aluminum.
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Old 05-30-23, 05:08 AM
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I'm going with power meters that the regular joe can "afford".
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Old 05-30-23, 05:49 AM
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I don’t have any way of objectively assessing it— I wonder what the huge wealth of Strava data says?— but the most impactful cycling change since ‘09 seems to me to be the general improvements in cyclists’ physical condition and performance due to the widespread adoption of training regimens, particularly power-based training.

I’ve been cycling since the mid-80s, and the rhythms of the cycling year seem a lot different now, with “spring training” barely being a thing anymore because people keep cycling-specific fitness up through the winter by being on the stationary trainer, Zwifting, and such. It had been a rare subset of cyclists who were able to effectively train over winter, but now everyone is reeling off big rides as soon as the snow melts, as if 5 months of winter was just a week off!
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Old 05-30-23, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Bully4
Farmer’s tans look cheesy too
sleeveless jerseys still give people tan lines.
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Old 05-30-23, 06:23 AM
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Are people really looking at the jersey tan lines? Or, are they gazing at those developed T Rex upper bodies/big tiny guns that cyclists want/have?
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Old 05-30-23, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Bully4
Farmer’s tans look cheesy too
Larry has your tan line solution.
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