I recently heard some chatter from the bike industry about the price of innovation. I’m generally a tech-oriented guy. I like new technology. I like the latest and greatest. I haven’t yet reached my retro-grouch stage, although I recognize that it will come at some point in my future if I follow the traditional cyclist trajectory.
Our discussion was brought on by a talk about the latest disappointment from the cycling industry. After last week’s trademark debacle, I was hoping for good and positive news this week. And then this.
That irks me quite a substantial bit because I have these:
Installed on this:
SRAM’s notice says that all umpteen-thousand sets of hydraulic road brakes that they’ve sold, for disc and rim use, must not only be recalled, but must “stop use immediately.” That essentially means that the Moots is currently shelved. I’ll be curious to see how this is ultimately resolved, and at the very least, the good news is that it’s currently fatbike season in Illinois. If it wasn’t, I’d be pretty steamed.
The bike industry chatter I heard suggested that there are basically two different ways to bring products to market: 1) innovate and bring product early, resulting in failures that are recalled and replaced, using the market to do your quality control; or, 2) test, test, test, and bring your product to market late…ending up with a quality product but one that is no longer innovative.
I’ve gotta tell you, as a consumer, both of those options suck. Is it unreasonable to expect that a $2,000 or more set of components will work when you put them on a bike? Is it unreasonable to expect that new products can be released and will be innovative and reliable? I don’t think I really need to write a long blog post explaining that my expectation is that new products released by major manufacturers will be thoroughly tested and reasonably safe to use–but some in the industry apparently don’t share that same belief. I went hydro because of the benefits of hydro, and in the process, I’ve been sold on the 11 speed setup. But if you had told me that my setup would be dangerous to use after only 4 months of use…there’s no way I would have made the switch.
What price are we willing to pay innovation? I’m seeing, more and more, that it isn’t just the up-front investment…it’s the long-term hassle. And let me tell you, Shimano is looking better and better.