Dave Moulton

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« Exercise and Aging | Main | Brass vs. Silver »
Monday
Dec042017

Hidden Motors

No doubt you will have read about the brouhaha caused by Pinarello advertising their new electric motor assist bike, as being suitable for female riders so they could keep up with their boyfriends. The ladies responded by saying, they have no problem keeping up with their boyfriends, thank you very much.  

All that aside, the question I have is, why do we need bikes with “Hidden” motors? Unless someone is trying to hide the fact their bike is electric assist. It is cheating on some level, even if it amongst people on a Sunday morning ride. There is always friendly rivalry in such groups.

I think anyone caught using a hidden motor in a sanctioned race, amateur or professional, should be barred for life. In professional cycling the excuse for doping was always, “Everyone was doing it.” The problem is, what happens in the professional ranks, trickles down to the amateur level.

If you get to a situation where everyone is using hidden motors, bicycle racing will become a complete farce. In the past as an amateur racing cyclist, I spent many hours and hundreds of miles training, so I could race at a level I could enjoy. I would not make that sacrifice today if I thought I was competing with people either doped up or using electric motors.

There are those who would say someone like me might be justified using an electric assist bike, so I could ride with the “Big Boys” again. What would be the point, what would I prove to myself or anyone else. No thank you. I get all the exercise and enjoyment I need riding at a leisurely pace these days. At least I am doing it under my own steam.

  *       *       *

On a totally different subject. Has anyone noticed how all modern cars are all different and yet all look the same? No doubt due the fact they are all computer designed. Computers then control the machines that make the dies to stamp out the steel panels that form the car body. That make the molds for plastic tail and headlight fittings, etc., etc.

The end result is some multi-faceted nightmare of an object that not only pollutes the atmosphere, but is in itself, visual pollution. Tone it down for Cri’sakes. A few less curved lines that start at the front, undulate along the sides, to somehow morph into a tail-light cluster at the rear.

Less is more, just because you can do all that on a computer doesn’t mean you should. Go back to the old way of sketching something with a pencil on paper. Something that comes from a design artist’s head. Then trace the lines with a computer drawing program, and take it from there.   

The best looking modern cars are the one’s made to simulate the vintage cars. Therein lies a clue.

 

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Reader Comments (11)

I think part of the reason cars all look much the same these days is because of regulations stipulating light height and all the rest.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

I have no desire for anow electric assist hidden or not at this point in life. At some point though if it made the difference in going out or not in hilly Maine, I would prefer the quietest and most hidden motor I could have and use it for a boost on the hills.

The point would not be to fool people, but rather the bike would look better to my eyes than a big bulky obvious motor. And quiet as I prefer to not hear motors.

May that day be decades and decades in the future....

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRay Frechette

Apart from legal aspects, cars look the same because of efficiency and aerodynamics. When optimizing the shape of the car to balance all the equations that model the car (including cost) we find such look and there is little aspects to tune. Notice that the fuel consumption of current cars is far behind current motorcycles, regardless of their weight. Such is the impact of "being aero", as we know from bicycle world. And the aero coefficient of current cars is really impressive...

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPedroMJ

My wife uses an ebike on hilly rides to keep up with the group.
It is quiet, and lets her ride with friends who are faster.
Other days she rides her regular bike.
My reaction to the Pinarello was, finally we can buy real Team Sky bikes. ;-)

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterscottg

I did read that a female racer in I think Belgium used a motorized bike and was disqualified? I do think that motorized bikes can help the handicapped people gets them out in fresh air at l least I am passed at time's on the bike path, by people riding sit up and beg bikes with motor help There are notices that this is not allowed, but who is to complain and to whom?

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

I am not against bikes with an electric motors, I am questioning whether the motor needs to be hidden.

In the car design issue, I am all for aerodynamics, But look closely and you may agree they are over stylized, with too many curved lines going this way and that.

Dave

December 5, 2017 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

If all the current prose is the same, I doubt it's because it's all typed on a PC. Surely the authors must share the blame.

I remember there used to be many brands of computers: Micron, Gateway2000, etc. - and they all looked the same, Only Apple had the vision to design something different.
Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a visionary car company at the moment, particularly amongst the moderately-priced ones.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Bicycles, automobiles, the PC, the Internet, World Wide Web, cell phones, all widely predicted, but not one correct prediction about the vast, major consequences of any of these.

Why are we so good at predicting (and making) certain things, but unable to know the ramifications? Like the first bow and arrow, will robotics lead to a future no one recognizes?

It sure has with the “Smart Phone”.

December 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

David,
A good analogy. A piece of writing is not finished when there is nothing more to add, it is finished when there is nothing more to take away. Quality is in the re-write.
Car makers can come up with shapes that could never have been achieved in years gone by. But good design still requires restraint, which is what i meant when I said, "Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should."
Dave.

December 5, 2017 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

I'd love to have an ebike for commuting but they're illegal in my state. A hidden motor may be an option...

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterZed

With cars, when a car becomes popular, all the other will try to copy the design. What bothers me is the lack of available colors that you can get on a car. 25 years ago, all cars came in reds, greens, and blues. Now it's silver, grey, white, and black.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill K

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