|Making it obsolete is makin' my job harder.|
The bicycle industry keeps trying to make itself money, which is what it is supposed to do. It is the "how they do it" of it all that perplexes this old mechanic. You know, heaven forbid we all use the same bolt circle diameter on crank sets, as an example. Or worse yet- I hate it when a company invents a BCD only to abandon it in 5-6 years. Combine that with how many parts are OEM for brands only and never supported in the retail market place. NEVER!
It is just plain stupid, frustrating, and it ends up making people less likely to buy into your XYZ company's latest stupid gambit to be different. Or....and more likely, it has to do with a way to find a way around a patent. Thanks for nothing you "intellectual property nerds" in all those corporate law firms. Do we really need to lock people out of BCD patterns for chain rings? Really?
So, the absolute worst offender by far is SRAM. Probably it is due in a large way to two things. One- They cater to brands that spec their parts by offering the lowest price. They can do this by manufacturing near to, or right next door to the Asian factories that make bicycles. The thought of actually making these bits for support down the road, ya know.....for people that actually want to maintain their bicycles? Yeah, that is not even a concern of SRAM's. How do I know?
I tried getting a 42T, 120BCD chain ring for a mountain double as spec'ed on a Salsa Fargo in 2014. Nope! Not even the SRAM rep had even heard of the part! Road chain rings used to be like finding hen's teeth for SRAM road cranks, but there seems to be a meager supply of some of these now days.
Secondly, it surely has something to do with Shimano having locked up patents on every detail of the minutest piece of a bicycle. Ever wonder where all this 1X stuff being pushed by SRAM is coming from? Just look at front derailleurs, which Shimano has and they work beautifully. SRAM cannot make one anywhere close to a Shimano one because the patents Shimano has disallow competition from SRAM in that area. Front derailleurs are not bad, patent lawyers are. Well, not for Shimano anyway......
And don't think Shimano is a whole lot better. They tend to run parts to maintain bikes down the road, but they change stuff so often, and delete SKU's so often, that it is hard to figure out the revolving door. And you may as well source your Shimano stuff from the Chain Reaction/Wiggle UK on-line vendors because they are almost always cheaper than the industry suppliers and distributors.
So, as a mechanic, what should be an easy chain ring swap becomes a multi-day ordeal of tracking down parts and trying to recreate a set up sold in 2014 that can be maintained into the future. It is a damn hard task when so much has been decided for you in advance that the thing is almost obsolete in two freakin' years.
That's just unacceptable.
Rant mode off.........