Cycling trade-offs

Cycling trade-offs

One of the beautiful things about bicycles is their inherent timelessness. Pull a 1920s bike out from a barn and it will be just as easy (if not easier) to understand and use than a bike from 2022. Like the search for a better mousetrap, the core design was perfected 100 years ago – all we’ve been doing since is tinkering.

And ‘tinkering’ is exactly what used to be so easy about bikes. We here at Soigneur remember relaxing afternoons in decades past spent greasing wheel bearings, replacing gear cables, truing wheels and tuning 8-speed friction derailleurs.

DIY bike maintenance was the norm, parts were limited in range and largely interchangeable. Bottom brackets were about the only area where you could go wrong, which didn’t matter much as they used to last forever. Everything you needed to know was in Richard’s Bicycle Book, and if you wanted to show off your maintenance skills you were basically limited to fancy spoke lacing patterns.

Talk to any cyclist in decades past and you’d never had heard them wishing that their bikes were too complicated to fix themselves, or too hard to find compatible parts for.

But that’s what we’ve got. High end road bikes are more complicated than ever, with a range of designs and parts more complex than a hub gearing system.

Admittedly, we’ve gained a lot from many of the technological changes discussed above. Bikes are lighter, faster and easier to use than ever. Anyone still yearning for rim brakes hasn’t had to use them when descending the Stelvio in sleet (been there, done that).

Overall, we’ve traded off simplicity for performance, and the range in your local bike shop for everything bike related in the world.

The same applies to cycling jerseys. There’s more range than ever before and plenty of factories and sweatshops making a wider range of designs than ever before available, and at attractive prices. But there’s a trade-off. Over 700 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester fabric, a fabric which is made from the same material as plastic bottles and which has too many other scary statistics for a friendly newsletter like this. Add to that the fact that polyester fabric is extremely poor at moisture-wicking and breathing, and you have another cycling trade-off, although in this case the gains are minimal.

Which is where Soigneur jerseys hope to break the trade-off cycle. Environmentally friendly? Check. Ethically sourced and made? Check. Superior performance on the bike? Check. An infinite range of designs through our custom-design service? Check. And the trade-off? We’re struggling to think. Yes our jerseys cost more than most oil-based ones, but all those ‘checks’ above don’t come cheap.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already bought a Soigneur jersey. So what else is there to do? Buy another one of course - it's win-win!

Posted: Fri 26 Aug 2022