Respectfully, I didn't read any of the selfishness pointed out here in Quinney's op-ed piece. And I also didn't hear any "just take it from bike companies" attitude either. I thought Henry was saying, maybe not so clearly, that bikes have largely improved over the years and we should focus on that rather than all the misses along the way. To your point though Dave, yeah, I don't think many of the "standards" introduced since 2011 are directly correlated to better bikes, but I would say it's part of the design process to tinker with all sorts of aspects of component specs, materials, geometry, etc. Can we all agree geometry trumps everything else?
It's true — no one is forcing anyone else to buy anything based on new standards. With maybe the exception of 26" wheels and tires, it's not that hard to keep doing your thing on "outdated" bikes.
Case in point, my own sorta recent frame purchase and build: Banshee Spitfire frame. Several things about this bike show that standards or trends that act as de facto standards can be a limiting factor or are easily worked around. Consider:
• I'm using perfectly serviceable wheels built on 142mm DT 350 hubs. Banshees come with swappable dropouts for 142 or 148 hubs. Those wheels and just about every other component was easily swapped over from a previous frame.
• It's a 27.5 bike, supposedly obsolete or soon to be if you read the interwebs.
• It's a "short" travel 27.5 bike at 135mm — supposedly niche or just plain out stupid. Works for me.
• Trunnion mounted shock. Am I unnecessarily now forever at the mercy of Banshee's design choice here? Well, for the foreseeable future with this particular frame, yes. But I was fully aware of that going in.
• 31.8 stem and handlebars. Not hard to find, I have several different ones from SQ Lab, Spank, Renthal.
• I use a 150mm travel dropper on a size large frame. From what I hear everywhere, that's 50mm too short. Thing is, I have short legs.
• Drivetrain is 11 speed with cranks, chain, derailleur/shifter, chainring and cassette all different manufacturers. Works like a charm. I don't plan on going to 12 speed unless every part of the drivetrain fails at the exact same time.
Point is, that bike works for me. Some newish standards, some not new. It just works. I had to buy the right components for MY bike and that's on me. But that's always been on everyone with THEIR bike, no?
We are all locked into subsequent choices based on our previous choices. The standards that apply to anyone at any given time aren't ALL the standards, just the ones on your own gear.