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5. History #26 . Top

This started a couple of years ago when kept running into cases where people were spending 400 a year getting their drive trains overhauled. Every year after winter commuting their entire drive train: cassette, chain and crank rings would need replacing. And furthermore, there were lots of people that used to be able to do their own maintenance, but now indexed shifting, more special tools, and the problem of procuring the right parts had made it beyond what they wanted to do. So the bicycle was turning into an expensive means of transport.

I think we can do better. The increasing proliferation of non standard parts, egged on by the marketing departments should be questioned. Is it really the right idea to replace the 3x8 drive train and the standard hub clearances with all sorts of new hub spacings, and 1x drive trains with 11 or 12 cogs on the back? I think not. So I started to look into the whole subject. The first step was to research and document the standards. So I assembled all this information into what amounted to a small book. The main emphasis is to talk about the standards, as opposed to detailed descriptions of how to do repairs. But I found that there were many high quality videos on Youtube that illustrated how things went together, and so I started including those in the document.

The next stage was to start putting small tables of available parts into the document. That was fine, but always limited. So the next and current step is to build little databases for the key parts, and let the reader investigate themselves. So what we now have is little report writers for all the key components. And to tie it all together, a database of standards based bikes (touring and gravel bikes) in which all the interface specs can be collected and compared.

But I found that just documenting the standards wasn't enough. What was needed was to make actual databases of the parts that were