I'll warn you in advance.....this will not be very engaging. I am heavily involved in cyclcross so this post will deal with that exclusively.
Lately on the framebuilder chat forums ( The ones I do not participate in anymore...) There has been a number of firestorms-at least, that's what I call them. Topics that get people arguing fine points. The big problem I see is that some of the folks giving opinions really don't know jack about cyclocross.The latest topic is the UCI's move to reverse their ban on the use of disc brakes in cyclocross events at the elite UCI level. Since about 99% of cyclocross racing is not at that level, most of us will not be effected by this ruling and shouldn't give a rat's ass.
Well, get on the forum and you'll see who gives a rat's ass-people who should really just keep thier mouths shut for the most part until they do some racing or work as a mechanic in the pit area of an elite cyclocross race. These are things that I have done......for about 10 seasons so far and I'm not quitting soon. While I don't claim to be any great or even average 54 year old racer ( 26th at the nationals being my best result at that level) I have been washing the mud off of bikes at some of the premiere events on both coasts. What I notice are which of my framebuilding bretheren are out there racing and being bike grunts with me. Almost all of the folks on the forum with greatly detailed arguments and engineering data on why we should all switch to disc brakes are absent......maybe I wouldn't know them if I saw them , but they are most assuredly not at the race. Why then, do they argue thier points so vehemently when they are completely clueless about the experience of the race itself ?These are folks who want to have the last word , even if it means ignoring the elemental truths of the actual subject ! Ahh, this is the essence of the internet-people who want to be right but really don't want to actually wade in the mud or beat themselves up on the bike to find out the real truth about cylclocross racing. If I were someone wanting to find out information on the forum, I think I would shut up and listen , perchance to somebody with real world experience in the subject at hand.
Year after year, I go to the nationals although not every year. When I go there I get to race but more importantly, I get to support the riders on my team who really are talented and will be in contention for medals or at least a top-ten finish. These and the folks in the pit are the ones who will give me the real world data that will help me improve as a builder, making bikes that will not hold them back when everything is on the line in a race. I'll look to my left.....there's Sacha White , ready to catch a bike and rinse the mud off of it before the rider completes the next half a lap. I look to my right....there's Richard Sachs, ready to do the same. While I might not build bikes the same way as these two builders might, I know that we are all in the same place at the same time for a reason....it is because we care. We , and other builders are there at trackside because it is a real world reality check on weather or not the stuff we do in the shop will hold up. Sooo.......all you other folks weighing in opinions on what should or shouldn't be on the bikes we build for the athletes we support-I guess you had better get your sorrel boots on and come out to the races or just shut the fuck up.
Oh, yeah.....disc brakes. hmmm, should they be on 'cross bikes ? Don't ask me......ask the guy who is trying to get the stars and stirpes jersey. I'm sure he'll give you an informed opinion, even if he isn't and out of work engineer.