Jan Heine, publisher of Bicycle Quarterly, recently published a blog post listing his "Top Ten" cycling innovations. Interestingly, he limited his list to a time-span equal to that of the safety bicycle, or a bicycle with chain drive and equal-sized wheels. Check out his blog post here:
It is also interesting to note the similarities between his list and mine, published last September. Number one on both of our lists are pneumatic tires, which comes as no surprise.
I maintain that, even today, no single component on your bicycle more dramatically effects ride quality. Want to improve your ride? Splurge on a really nice set of tires, and don't be afraid to experiment with the air pressure in each tire. Even a few PSI can make a difference!