Shainer sent me an excerpt from a recent interview with Pivot Founder, Chris Cocalis:
leaps forward in bike design?
I think that shock technology is where
we will see huge gains. Have a look at
what they are doing with Magnetorheological
dampers on the Cadillac CTS-V
or on Corvettes and Ferraris. The damper
fluid has lots of tiny metal flakes in it and
electromagnets can completely change the
oil viscosity at a million times per second,
taking the suspension from super firm to
very plush in an instant. You could have a
device mounted to your stem to manage all
the electronic components on your bike;
gears, suspension and so on… It’s certainly
achievable and I think it would be crazy if
this technology didn’t make its way into
The whole interview is interesting, if you want to read it. Much of it - especially the notion that tiny metal flakes in your rear shock might someday become electromagnetically charged and immediately change the viscosity of suspension oil, and thus, the performance of suspension - is interesting to me as a concept. And I've made it my goal for sometime this weekend to use the word Magnetorheological while on a ride to appear smarter than I really am (which, let's face it, doesn't take much). But at some point, I fear the evolution of our bicycle technology will have gone too far. That's likely a subjective moment, which for some of us might have already happened. And I'm no technophobe. I love suspension. Gears make the steep muck I like to ride possible. The modern mountain bike is a terrific example of how much better, longer, faster, bigger, more accessible, safer (and yet more dangerous), and outright cooler a sport can become when it embraces the technology available.
But at some point along that continuum of technology progression, you are no longer riding a mountain bike; you are riding a robot.
And we all know where that goes.
(Although, on the plus side, a terminator-pivot won't know fear, or remorse, it’ll just keep going. It will never stop. And, in a masochistic sort of endurance freak way, I like the sound of that.)
Despite my deep, true man-love for Chris Cocalis, and my affinity for Pivot cycles in general, this isn't the first time I've disagreed with him. His vehement disappoval of all things 69er is borderline fascist, in my opinion. And it's important to keep in mind that he actually has a voice in the cycling industry, a succesful history, criteria for having an opinion, and I'm just a blogger with no real education. But you're reading my blog, not his.
Nonetheless, I feel compelled to reiterate that I like the point we've gotten to, as a subculture of bike freaks, that the technology available makes riding for 24 hours, or 100 miles, or up Brokenback even though I'm sort of fat these days attainable. But when my bike starts making decisions without me because it's smarter than I am, actually knows which way the car is, would prefer to just sit tight and take the view in even thought I'd like to go hucking, etc, I start to get a little uneasy. In a way, I think I want to retain the right to make mistakes on my own.
Which, of course, I still have.
I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude. At least for this weekend.
Who's coming with me?
Up, up, up.