I went to Home Depot to get a replacement toilet flapper, but bought the wrong one. I thought that they were all the same. (Bonus tip: In 2005 some toilets changed to 3”, not 2”) Bicycle parts are not all the same either. There are parts that you would expect to fit all bikes, but they do not. Here are a few examples:
Derailleur hangers – This is an important piece of metal that you hope doesn’t break, but hopefully if you do have a problem, it will break before cracking your frame. There are over 400 different models, so make sure you find the right one for your bike.
The relationship between tire and rim – All 700c tires and rims ‘should’ work perfectly together given they are all designed around the 622mm rim bed/bead seat diameter standard. However, anyone who has switched tires or rims can attest that some combinations fit easily while others are nearly impossible to install or remove.
Headsets – Thankfully most bike brands have adhered to a standard of sort when it comes to headset diameter, well 1 1/8″ top race diameter seems to be standard at least. However the style of headset and actual bearing shape and style are certainly not universal.
Bottom brackets – At the last count there were 12,682 different types of bottom bracket available within the cycling industry. Okay, that might be a ‘slight’ exaggeration, but choosing the correct bottom bracket for your bike can be a nightmare.
Seat post diameters – Luckily seatpost diameters have seen a reduction in the number of different diameters being used by manufacturers over recent years. Whereas seatposts could be any number of sizes incrementally varying by just 2mm, the industry has settled upon 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm as the three main options.
Helmet testing – In a quick search I counted at least 4 different standards in the US (CPSC, ASTM, Snell and ANSI) and one in Europe (EN1078). Unless you plan to fall exactly 6 feet and land squarely on the top of your head, they are not that helpful. Both the Road Safety Trust and Virginia Tech have released data of the ‘safest’ helmets after carrying out testing using more realistic protocols.
Quote of the week: “Running would be much better if they invented a little seat to sit on and maybe some kind of platforms for your feet to push and… Oh wait.” Liz Hatch, American cyclist
Here is an article that explains the topic in more detail: