On a random street in Shanghai, we came across a bike share parking stand. I’m curious about these bikes because I wonder about the longevity of the components. What is more reliable: mag wheels vs metal spokes? belts vs. chains? internal hubs vs single gear vs cogs/derailleurs? run-flat tires vs inflated tires vs solid tires?
What caught my eye about the orange rimmed bikes were the airless tires. In theory, a bike being shared in a city should get heavy usage and therefore all of the components have to be rugged to survive a variety of terrain, usage, and riders. I didn’t have time to figure out how to take one out for a spin to see how the tires felt on the road. Do they ride like air tube tires? Is it a harsh ride? Does the steel frame absorb the roughness of the tires? Does it feel, or is it, more efficient than air tube tires? Do plastic pedals survive well? And many more questions.
In some fantasy world, a 14 speed internal hub with belt drive seems like it will last forever. One way to get this data would be to look at data from bike share services. Unfortunately, individual part data isn’t readily available to the public. All of the data sets I can find are about bike share trip data, not component reliability data sets. If you have an idea of how to get this data, please let me know in a comment or the contact form.