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Bicycle components that proved to be wrong

By Adam Marsal

Some inventions are good. But some of them are good until they reveal to be completely wrong. We’ve selected five bicycle components that were very trendy years ago – but you won’t find them on bikes so much anymore.

And if you’re wondering – yes, we used to use them too once upon a time.


Bicycle fork
Photo: Profimedia.cz

Even today you can buy some overpriced and useless components, but nothing compares to the days when ‘elastomer’ dominated the world of suspension. Softer elastomers give more easily, dense elastomers take the big thumps and if you mix them together, you’ve got a suspension fork that offers the best of both worlds.

But only in theory. It didn’t matter how many shapes you tried to cut out of the elastomers, they were always terrible. And in cold weather they turned to concrete.


Toe clip
Photo: Profimedia.cz

If you thought riding with SPD’s was dangerous then you probably never rode with toe clips. They were much cheaper than SPD’s but in the case of an emergency you’d wished you’d have paid for a quicker shoe release. Most of the crashes ended with both feet imprisoned inside of the mechanism, while laying in a ditch.


Suspension stem
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It was cheaper than suspension forks but it worked even worse than the elastomer ones. It usually used elastomer blocks to absorb shocks.[cite align=”right” width=“35%”]”It worked neither as suspension or stem”[/cite] Basically it worked neither as suspension or stem. The whole mechanism was not rigid enough to give you the feeling of handling control. And when it came to absorbing shocks, it suddenly forget the word ’suspension’ was in its name. An expensive mistake if you bought one.


Bar ends mountain bike
Photo: Profimedia.cz

They haven’t reached extinction absolutely yet as you can see them mounted either on the bikes of very fat ugly men in lycra or on the cheaper bikes on sale at the supermarkets. Who invented this pointless part had to be a marketing genius, right?

Almost everyone used to have them before finding out that they’re totally useless. It was just a huge trend which will hopefully never come back. But who knows?


Handle grip of bicycle with gear shift system
Photo: Profimedia.cz

At the beginning it sounded like a brilliant idea. Changing gears just by twisting a ring mounted handlebar grip? Why not! It gave you a feeling like you’re riding a motorbike, right? You just twist and go faster! In reality people always changed gears by accident and the grips eventually got hard to turn after a short while of use.[cite align=”right” width=“40%”]”It gave you a feeling like you’re riding a motorbike”[/cite]Definitely no street hawk. If that wasn’t bad enough, even the high end versions of grip shifters sucked. The X-ray model was supposedly high-end, but it took poor performance to a whole new level. They were not only stiff but also made of a clear acrylic – to look ‘pimp’. This material seemed to be exactly the same as the stuff used to make cassette tape cases which is stuff that cracks if you just look at it. Guess what happened, even in a small crash.

What bicycle components do you find most useless? Share with us in the comments below.