The Bicycle Museum of Bad Ideas
Why a museum of bad ideas?
One reason is we learn from our mistakes.
Failures tell us limits of what we can and should do.
Unfortunately, we like to remember our heroes,
but less often our villians.
As example, Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst graduate thousands of students every year; they live everywhere in
the U.S.; and when I ask, most folks have heard of Amherst.
Yet almost nobody I ask
knows Amherst was the guy who invented the idea of giving smallpox-laden
blankets to native Americans. Bad bike parts do not compare to
killing people, but there are still things to be learned.
A second reason is it's fun. Sometimes the badness is
obvious, and as you look in awe you say "What were they
thinking?" Or, as I like to say, they were suffering from a
misplaced comma: "What, were they thinking?" Some of these are
fun like a knee-slapper. Other times, the badness is subtle and it
almost seems it should have worked. These are fun like a puzzle.
Occasionally you get a winner that combines the obvious and the subtle,
like the Gipiemme Colrut Crank. Wow.
Many ideas are bad only in context.
If your goal is to make the lightest bike at any cost,
some "bad" ideas work well. The problem is using those
ideas on ordinary bikes for ordinary riders.
So, some things here are always bad, while others are
here because they represent my personal bias about what makes sense.
I hope you find humor in those, too.
- Bottom bracket standards:
the great thing is there's so many of them!
frames — they're flexy and they break!
- CODA 502M crank —
when a chainring wears out, replace the whole crank!
- Hi-E cassette hub:
light, but skips under load, even when new.
- Gipiemme Colrut crank:
A heavy, expensive, and unreliable way to build long toeclips.
- Interdrive crank:
provides the energy-sapping effects of suspension "bob",
but without the benefits of suspension.
- Mavic 571 Hubs —
a reputation for ratchet failure.
- Mavic 631 "starfish" crank:
weight savings lead to flex
- P.M.P. L-shaped "bent" cranks:
two bad ideas in one.
- Roval Fusee Star wheels:
cool look, but higher weight than other designs with similar
- Shimano FC-E700
crank: Think non-round chainrings are funny? How about a
non-round bolt pattern!?
- Or, how about
patterns that are round but drilled unevenly?
- Stronglight 23.15 mm crank extractor threads:
how did they choose that size?
- Sweet Wings cranks tend to get
loose and noisy, sometimes pretty fast.
- Winners roller-clutch hub:
slipped when pedaling, stuck when coasting.
- Ye Oldde Pedal/Crank Joint
Everybody uses it, how could it be a bad idea?
- Hi-E "Siamese" Spokes:
If you break one spoke, it breaks another one for you!
And, they tend to break.
- Sharp housing stops near
your knees: making small injuries big.
- Campagnolo Power
Torque: light, stiff, and... once installed can never be
- 26" tires
- Velocity Cliffhanger rims
derailleur hangers -- it's not really replaceable if you cannot
get a replacement.
- Hidden fender eyelets
— it is well-hidden if they have any advantages for the rider.
You can send e-mail to "mobi-0001". The address will
change occasionally as the demons of junk mail get the full address.
See also more bicycle pictures.