Cycling Innovations redux

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: 

10 Most Important Innovations in Cycling

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!  

The Beauty of Bicycle Headbadges

Look at any fine bicycle frame head on, and one thing probably stands out more than anything else: the headbadge

Like the hood ornament on a fine automobile, the headbadge is one bit of identifying bike jewelry that offers the builder a chance to quite literally make their mark. A headbadge will not make a bicycle lighter, faster, stiffer, or more comfortable. But a beautiful headbadge can add value beyond those metrics that we typically associate with bicycle performance.

I am particularly fond of the Seneca Cycle Works headbadge. Thanks go out to Ryan Jacobs who designed it, with some of my input. I looked at classic headbadges for inspiration, especially those that combine simplicity, artfulness and a sense of polish and quality. For me, the mountain-top sunrise scene on this badge lends a sense of hope and opportunity to each bike that it adorns. My hope is that these bicycles will take their riders to new and wonderful places. 

The badges themselves are cast from a custom die, formed, plated, enameled and polished by hand, all by a specialized badge company here in New England. Each is affixed to its frame with a pair of stainless steel screws once that particular frame has passed its final quality inspection. In a sense, the badge is the last step of the build process for a new frame. It is my own stamp of approval. 

EDIT October 17, 2014: A well-known bicycle blogger wrote a piece about headbadges just a week ago! Check it out here