Awareness of product choice in today’s market place for manufacturers is very much being able to match the expectations of the end user. The motor vehicle market is a great example of this by making car’s appeal to the age, life style and perception of the status that the choice of make and model does in setting the individual apart from others. Cycling components or as to referred in the world of cycling the “ensemble” which is normally the cranks set, chain rings, rear cluster, chain, the gear changers/brake handles and hoods, and front and rear derailer, front and rear brake assemblies along with hubs are a point of passion for the more discerning cyclist selection of brand name. Selection of rims can be another individual choice of likes and dislikes or purely based on budget. There are three main players in road cycling for making a selection of choice of ensemble and there is as much debate at the coffee stop over what is best as to who may have ridden the best on the day.
Like brand names in Australian cars “I have always been a Ford or Holden driver like my father and his father before me” can be why people make choices. There are varying model selections in cycling ensembles (represented by model number or name) which range from mid range to the top of the range with a dollar value to match.
There are differences between the three main players that can come down to personal styles and differences of rider’s needs and ability. To start with the hood size (tops of the brake handles) can very much be a major deciding factor and is a comfort decision for some. Depending on the hand size the height of the hoods can make reaching the brakes easy or a chore and stretch of the fingers. If you are a person that is fastidious with style and things looking neat and tidy, having your handle bars clear of any unsightly cables may be your point of difference.
The manner in which gear changes are achieved is another very subtle difference for the rider to ponder on in making a choice. The shifting style differs between all three and the ability to shift down multiple gears or back up multiple gears is another choice factor setting each other apart. Some riders that are sprinters make the decision on their brand choice because they can press a button with their thumb and drop to a lower gears in one action and not lose any control of their grip on the hoods. Or it could be that while down in the drops gear selection can be achieved with ease both up and down the cluster range with a flick of the fingers. There is a distinct difference with some only having 10 cogs on the rear cluster and another 11 to chose from or it could be being able to have a granny a third chain ring or only the traditional two.
If being all carbon cranks shifter derailleur’s and brakes reducing overall weight makes a big difference then your choice may well be guided by the extra price and branding choice to gain this advantage.
Does it make any difference what ensemble you are using when the same motor is required to turn the pedals around? Will leave this debate hanging in the wind and stay impartial looking on while other debate the difference. Like many lifestyle choices it can be in mind of the beholder that looks really do count.
See you on the road soon God willing