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Bikes - An Illustrated History

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Technological Innovations in Bikes in the 20th Century
Trek 5900 Superlight

Lance Armstrong rode this Trek 5900 Superlight in the Tour de France when he was with the U.S. Postal Service. Made from composite carbon fiber, the entire bike weighs in around 16 pounds.

Trek Bicycle Corporation

Over the years, bicycle design, materials, components and manufacturing processes have improved to create bikes of today, increasingly sophisticated and efficient machines.

And while the basic frame design has stayed the same for over a hundred years, the use of space age material like titanium and carbon fiber have created bikes far lighter and stronger than creators of the early iron and wooden models could ever have imagined.

Other innovations like shifters and derailleurs allow riders to work themselves through a range of gears that allow bikes to go far faster as well as to climb much steeper hills than a single speed bike would ever have allowed.

Bike styles have morphed too, to allow the incorporation of design features that specifically enhance and embrace one particular style of riding to the exclusion of others. This specialization means that you can go into any given bike shop and select from mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, cruisers, tandems, recumbents, and more, all based on where and how you plan to ride.

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