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Old 06-21-09, 10:29 PM   #1
scozim 
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Beating the modern bikes

I just had the wonderful experience this weekend of beating a lot of modern bikes with my 1984 Gitane Tour de France and I had a blast doing it. I had been training for this 17 mile race/ride that I haven't done in 25 yrs and have been planning on using the TdF for this ride for 9 months. The last 11K climbs almost 1850 feet. Did I mention I love hills.

I was curious to see how my 6 spd (13-26) downtube shifters would work in the lead group where all the bikes had modern brifters. Turned out it wasn't an issue I had no problem with shifting quickly and felt completely comfortable in the middle (and in the front) of the pack.

At one point as we're cruising along in the paceline I had a rider from the University of Idaho team say I was doing well. I told him "hey, mid-40's and a 25 yr old bike and I'll keep up with you." His reply was "I got you halved" (i.e. 21 yrs. old and a 10 yr old titanium bike). We both chuckled at that.

We hit the bottom of the hill and I was in 6th place and held it all the way to the top pretty easily, well there was a lot of pain involved also. I obviously have some work to do on the conditioning but overall was thrilled that my TdF performed so well.

The set up was:
**Suntour Blue Line derailleurs
**Regina Superlegerra alloy 13-26 freewheel
**Ofmega 52-42 cranks with original Look Delta pedals
**Mavic Gel 280 tubular/Suntour Superbe hub with Continental Sprinter tubular
** Original Wolber Aspin tubular rim/Ofmega hub with Bontrager 270 gr tubular
** Modolo Speedy brakes
** Finally, the original Bernard Hinault Turbo saddle

Weight was right around 20 pounds and close to equalling my dad's 1991 titanium frame.

I had a great conversation at the top with a guy who used to own a Gitane and raced Peugeot's 20+ yrs ago. His current vintage ride is a 1970's Masi with Super Record for components. I would have loved to have seen that bike.

It was such a fun weekend I just had to share. A photo after the finish at the top is included.
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Old 06-21-09, 10:51 PM   #2
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atta kid!

just proves again it's the engine not the bicycle
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Old 06-22-09, 01:25 AM   #3
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I´ve done two major runnings (amateur races) and theres never been any problem competing, allthough my main satisfaction comes from participating. I often get praise for my bikes and I wouldnt change fast gearing for my feeling and pride of my bikes. Pic; going head to head on my Crescent -79 with a "modern" competitor towards finish line + after finish with my daughter!

(Me too mid 40´s and semi-serious about showing off my vintage bikes)
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Old 06-22-09, 07:56 AM   #4
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Scozim way to go! It's always awesome to hear about people riding vintage bikes and contending with the new stuff Beautiful bike by the way
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Old 06-22-09, 08:09 AM   #5
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As I mentioned over in the 50+ forum, I often ride with a bunch of 40-to-60-somethings in the local YMCA's MasterFit group. Even when I ride the Bianchi, I almost always have the oldest bike in the group, and of course it's no contest with Capo #1, which turns 50 this year. Most of the others ride contemporary circa 18 lb. carbon or carbon mix bikes, but I am often at or near the lead on the major climbs, particularly on the Bianchi, which is noticeably stiffer than the Capo, having been designed for modern smoothly paved roads instead of Europe's cobblestones, which were still prevalent in the 1950s.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:31 AM   #6
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The biggest thing you miss out on with modern bikes is the gears. It's not the lighter weight, frame material, stiffness, or brifters. It's the fact that you can crowd 10 or 11 gears where 6 are. Over a long distance of 40 or 50 miles of varying terrain, maintaining an even cadence makes a difference.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:37 AM   #7
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Hey Scott, good job! That TdF looks gorgeous. The Gel280's are scarily light. Did you use the old pedals I sent you?

Since you love hills, we missed you over here for the Native Planet Classic this last weekend. I have a post about it on this page somewhere. We should hook up for a ride sometime, like halfway between us. Maybe Blewett Pass?

I find too that holding my own among carbon is no problem, even at 46 years old. Until it goes downhill. My tall steel frame becomes too scary at 40 mph+, while those stiff plastic wonders just whizz down.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:42 AM   #8
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I just built up my 25 year old steel bike I used to race on using a mish-mash of parts I had hanging around. I'm thinking of doing a criterium or 2 on it. A bit hesitant to go with downtube shifters since brifters really are an advantage in a race .... hmmmm
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Old 06-22-09, 08:53 AM   #9
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Um, you didn't actually beat any bikes. You beat other riders.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:12 AM   #10
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Um, you didn't actually beat any bikes. You beat other riders.
True, and many of those riders spent a lot more $$ on their bikes than I did on mine.

Jan - the pedals from you are on another bike. The ones on the TdF are original to the bike. The Native Planet ride looks like a lot of fun/pain. I might just have to try that one. RAMROD is another goal.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:41 AM   #11
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I agree, it's the engine that matters more than the bike.
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Old 06-22-09, 10:07 AM   #12
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Congrats! That's super cool. My engine needs some tune-ups.
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Old 06-22-09, 10:57 AM   #13
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I agree, it's the engine that matters more than the bike.
But on Bike Forums - its always about the bike.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:14 AM   #14
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This post kinda made my day. I'm planning on a century ride sometime this summer and I plan to ride on my 1983 (26 years!) PSV10. I'll be riding with a few other vintage fans and a mix of those running more modern builds. Should be great fun!
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Old 06-22-09, 11:31 AM   #15
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I enjoyed this post too as it was a burning question for me. Not being a fan, nor having the means to own those modern bikes, I've wanted to know how old bikes compare in actual competetion.

Everyone on those new bikes like to sway me towards modern frames and modern groups saying I'd never keep up unless I owned one but this gives me confidence.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:40 AM   #16
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I don't compete, but I did a 200km group ride in April. I was the only one on a steel bike --'82 Trek 720 touring frame with mostly newer components, including an internally geared hub and dynamo hub. I had no trouble keeping up and towards the end it seemed some of the other riders were in quite a bit more pain than I was.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:41 AM   #17
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The biggest thing you miss out on with modern bikes is the gears. It's not the lighter weight, frame material, stiffness, or brifters. It's the fact that you can crowd 10 or 11 gears where 6 are. Over a long distance of 40 or 50 miles of varying terrain, maintaining an even cadence makes a difference.
You really think so? I think some riders benefit from gears more than others. I do like closely spaced gears, but I do fine riding up and down hills without shifting much or at all.

My most important upgrades to old bikes are clipless pedals and modern tires. I just put some lightweight wheels and some high-end tires on a relatively heavy bike, and wow. Clipless pedals, too, of course.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:48 AM   #18
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I think there's always going to be the old school vs modern, just a thought.

It also seems like people who ride nice bikes may be able to afford it but don't ride nearly enough to justify it and there's people who ride more often because bikes are a big part of their daily lives.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:55 AM   #19
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My gear spacing is rather broad - 13-15-17-20-23-26. Very nice for hills and on a longer ride it might cause problems - but that's why there's two chainrings. The 42 can help even out the spacing problems a little. For the most part I was in the 52-15 while in the lead pack and up the hill in the 42-23 and 42-26.

This ride just convinced me that I don't need to buckle to the pressure of owning the latest and greatest. The fact that the 21 yo college kid was eyeing the components on my bike before the race started created even more satisfaction.
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Old 06-22-09, 01:53 PM   #20
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I've done three organized centuries back to back lately, and consequently watched quite a few riders and their bikes. These were non-racing events, which I think are what most of us here participate in, and I did them on eighties steel with friction shifters and 12 gears.

Carbon outnumber all other material at least ten to one. Really fit riders are outnumbered thirty to one. This leads to the already stated conclusion that if you show up in above average shape on a "slower bike", you will easily finish among the faster riders. And probably be more comfortable along the way, too.
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Old 06-22-09, 02:20 PM   #21
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Fact is, your wheelset and tire combination was as light as or lighter than anything anyone else was riding. A great classic sewup wheelset and tire combo gives up nothing to whatever is out there now except some aerodynamics to the low spoke setups. That doesn't matter on a tough climb.
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Old 06-22-09, 02:36 PM   #22
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The biggest thing you miss out on with modern bikes is the gears. It's not the lighter weight, frame material, stiffness, or brifters. It's the fact that you can crowd 10 or 11 gears where 6 are. ...
Not true. On each road bike I have 11 non-redundant ratios, excluding large-large crosschain, with an average 7% progression except at the very bottom and sometimes (1.5-step) at the top. Most of the 2x9 or 2x10 systems suffer from redundancy where the two low and high ranges overlap. Since I choose not to waste space on any gears over 100 gear-inches or on redundancies, I can concentrate my (optimally close) ratios right where I need them. If I have a well-engineered half-step with a 2-tooth progression in back, such as Capo #2's 49-46 / 14-16-18-21-24-26, or the Peugeot's 45-42 / 13-15-17-20-23-26, I get about the same ratiometric spacing as someone with a single tooth progression corncob.

I sometimes feel that my Bianchi's 1.5-step 50-42 / 14-16-18-20-23-26 could use a 90-inch gear, which I could provide with a 7-speed freewheel, viz: 50-42 / 14-15-16-18-20-23-26.

Since there is little point to having two gears less than about 5 or 6% apart, 10 steps (11 unique ratios) of 7% can easily cover the 2:1 range from the mid-90s to the upper 40s. Allow a gap at the top and the bottom, and you have covered 96 gear inches down to 44 with two chainrings and six cogs.
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Old 06-22-09, 03:57 PM   #23
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I would think that the really granular drivetrains would only matter in pacelines and such where small adjustments in speed really matter.

Clearly weight, stiffness, and whatever matter (including comfort over long rides) but if we are not talking about the pros where everyone is generally within teeney tiny percentages of each other, than I'd rather have a 250 Watt engine on a classic bike instead of a 200 Watt engine with carbon fiber glib glab.
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Old 06-25-09, 04:25 PM   #24
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I seldom use the casette. High and low is my standard gearing style. Too many gears makes one forget about actually using ones legs
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Old 06-25-09, 04:49 PM   #25
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I would think that the really granular drive trains would only matter in pacelines and such where small adjustments in speed really matter.
And on long rides, and into the wind, and on rollers.....

10 or so closely coupled gears make a difference, especially cumulatively on long rides. You will be less fatigued at the end.

Most of the folks that knock it haven't tried it.. That's ok, though, ride whatever makes you happy. Having logged 1000's of miles both ways I know it makes a difference, so I'm good.
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