Primitive But Varied

Background Reading


Do all the different standard size put riders off?

Do all the different standard size put riders off?

AngryAsian Too many standards and not enough benefit

Calling something a ‘standard’ implies that nearly everyone uses it. What we have in the bicycle world today, however, is anything but.

Instead, seemingly every company feels the need to do everything their own way, and what we’re all left with are a bunch of specific sizes, not standards. It’s a pain in the ass, and it’s high time the industry put their petty differences aside to make things easier for us, not harder.

Full Speed Ahead’s complete MY2016 catalog is quite the encyclopaedia with 432 pages of the latest bits and bobbles. However, a whopping 52 of those pages are devoted solely to different types of bottom brackets. More than a few companies now offer huge posters depicting various cross-compatibilities between threaded, BB30, PF30, BB386/392EVO, PF86/92 bottom bracket shells and different crankset spindles.

As if that weren’t bad enough already, there are variants. Early Specialized OSBB shells aren’t the same as current ones, for example, and Felt’s carbon fiber BB30 shells are slightly different from metal ones. Worse yet, PF86/92 shell bore diameters can vary depending on whether companies spec Shimano or SRAM on their complete bikes.


Where people notice this chaos of the bicycle industry first is in trying to buy simple things like spare master links for their bicycle chains. An 9-speed master link from SRAM does not work on Shimano chains. In fact Shimano uses a pin rather than a master link.

But probably the most confusing of all are the tires. Rims and tires of matching diameters are not always easily installed. With a 700C Schwalbe Marathon tire you can have no difficulty installing on a 700C Velocity Chukker or Dyad rim using only your fingers. But on a Mavic or other type of rim the installation might require a tool rather than your hand.

Nothing (well very few things) are as confusing as trying to find drivetrain parts that work well together. It would seem that each of the companies is ‘at war‘ with their competitors and it shows. The loser however is the consumer.