The Most Important Cycling Innovations of the Past 40 Years with Lennard Zinn

Cycling gear & tech expert Lennard Zinn explores the most crucial inventions of modern cycling history from e-shifting to fat bikes.

While a bicycle has never ceased to look like a bicycle, the technology behind the bike has changed dramatically since Lennard Zinn became Tech Editor at a small magazine called VeloNews, 40 years ago.

Some changes, such as frame material and tube shape, have changed noticeably while other changes are far more subtle but equally as important, like the ergonomic design of saddles.  

What’s important is that many of these changes weren’t about making the bike faster.

Some of the most critical innovations in cycling gear were about:

  • opening up new terrain such as riding in snow on fat tire bikes
  • making the bike more comfortable
  • and making it easier to use, such as with electronic shifting.

We all like to go fast, but manufacturers understand that we care even more about enjoying being able to sit on that sleek contraption.  

There is perhaps no one who has been more involved in the evolution of bike technology since the early 1980s than Lennard Zinn. He was there with Gary Fisher helping to build the first mountain bikes. Since then Lennard has been there testing, advising and reporting on every new technology to hit the bike shop.

In this episode, Lennard takes us through the biggest innovations he’s seen in his time. Some may surprise you. Many of the biggest innovations may have seemed minor at the time, but they opened up new ways of doing things that ultimately revolutionized the industry.

Along with Lennard, we hear from physiologist and avid racer Dr. Stephen Cheung, and experienced coach Steve Neal and their thoughts on the big innovations they have seen during their times in the sport.  

So, air up your tubeless tires, charge your electronic shifting, click into your clipless pedals, and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

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