Classic & Vintage - History of Modern Racing Bikes
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05-12-11, 12:07 PM
I'm moderately familiar of the steel framed bikes of road racing in the eighties and early nineties, but I recently realised that I have a gap in my knowledge from the early nineties to the modern carbon frame that dominates the Peloton. I know this is modern-vintage, but when did steel change to carbon and was there Alu/Ti in between? I can't remember seeing a single bike from this transition era. Does anyone have any info or resources for me to understand more?
Thanks a ton!
05-12-11, 12:25 PM
The Teledyne Titan (all-titanium) was out in 1973 or sooner.
Graphite tubing, graphite reinforced aluminum tubing and other composite frame, usually bonded or "glued ans screwed" into aluminum lugs was available in the very early 70's , as well.
Klein composite bikes were available in the mid 70's. Klein welded aluminum (with composite reinforcements?) bikes were available in about 1980.
The ALAN, all aluminum, "glued and screwed" together, were available in about 1972.
I think CF bikes made it's debut in the 70's with the Exxon Graftek bike. There might have been earlier attempts with the material but most agree that Exxon was pretty much the first massed produced CF bike out there. I think Aluminum bikes in some form or another had been around much much longer as you see some Al bikes out there even from the 40's. CF really took over in popularity for sport cyslists from steel and aluminum gradually between the 90's and the turn of the new century to the present. Ti had been around for quite a while too with maybe the Titan Teledyne being one of the first succesful ones in the 70's too, but Ti never really got as popular as Al because of the high prices they commanded.
You have to knote though that CF did not kill off steel and aluminum bikes as they are still produced in quantites by many manufacturers. In fact, it may be that there is most likely, still more Al and steel bikes produced worldwide than CF bikes. It's just CF seems to be the present technological benchmark for the industry.
I think the question is more this: Was steel the primary ride leading up to a total switch to carbon(no other material between)? Was there a decade where we saw steel, carbon, titanium, and aluminum equally represented before the switch to total carbon? I honestly can't come up with a decade of aluminum. For me it's much the same as it is for the OP. I remember steel. I remember carbon. There's a hazy phase in between.
We're not talking the introduction of other materials and their sparse use from the 70's up. What happened when steel stopped being used? Was it a mix of other materials? Did we go straight to carbon as dominant material. I cannot remember aluminum ever being a dominant material.
05-12-11, 12:50 PM
I think the Hinault & Lemond Tour victories on CF Look/TVT bikes in the 80s went a long way toward ushering in the carbon era. At least that was my perception, though I confess to a certain degree a La Vie Claire bias.
05-12-11, 12:58 PM
It's worth noting that during that transitionary period of the late 80s and early 90s, riders would sometimes use CF bikes for mountain stages and steel bikes for flat stages and classics such as Paris-Roubaix.
05-12-11, 01:03 PM
There was a mixture of frame types in the 90's. If you look at the Tour as a benchmark - Indurain rode Pinarellos that were sometimes steel, sometimes alu, and usually custom made (supposedly for a time by Pegoretti). Lemond's 1989-90 wins were on steel, carbon, and a disguised Cinelli Laser for time trials. Pantani won in 1998 on aluminum. Then everything changed in 1999 when the Trek OCLV started its winning streak and ushered in the full carbon era.
05-12-11, 03:42 PM
I have a few 2001 pro tour races on video and see a lot of AL frames with carbon fork
matt01, You might play around with this link: http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/gear-news/tour-de-france---team-bikes/1465.html
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