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  1. #1
    Steel80's vinfix's Avatar
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    Are current road bikes much better than good vintage bikes?

    I'm not too knowledgeable on the new road bike stuff. I've tried a handful of new bikes with brifters, carbon and aluminum, compact geometry, etc.

    I think vintage road bikes win for style, but performance and comfort wise, how much better is "modern"? For example, my road bike is 80's vintage, 19#, aluminum, with a variety of good Campy parts & wheels. Is a mid-level, say 105 group bike with aluminum frame & carbon fork, that much of better? Or do you have to move up to say, Ultegra & a carbon frame to really see much difference?

    I know, I should just try more bikes and make up my own mind....

  2. #2
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    Is that a rhetorical question given that you're asking that in the C&V forum?

    Neal

  3. #3
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Performance-wise, modern road bikes are better than vintage rides. They are lighter, stiffer, and index so much better than vintage rides. Another plus for me is that current road bikes tend to fit me better. TIG welding or carbon construction has made sloping geometry possible. With lugs you are limited with only certain angles and sizes. Anyone with a longer torso vs. legs will benefit greatly with the fit of modern compact geometry.

    Vintage bikes do have more soul though.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    What kind of bear is best?
    Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 01-14-11 at 02:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinfix View Post
    Is a mid-level, say 105 group bike with aluminum frame & carbon fork, that much of better? Or do you have to move up to say, Ultegra & a carbon frame to really see much difference?
    Depends on your riding style. The new Aluminum bike with 105 will be better if your riding style requires tight gearing and wide range gearing. New 105 bike will be better if you require shifting with your hands on the bars. It will likely feel better when you hammer on it, comfy, flexy frames are terrible to stomp on the pedals on.

    I've run 80s steel bikes @ 25 lbs and 21 lbs. Weight didn't matter much to me. I don't think the cost of a sub 17 lb bike would be worth it just for the weight benefits.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  6. #6
    Senior Member Marvin Android's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    What kind of bear is best?
    Polar
    Well I wish you'd just tell me rather than try to engage my enthusiasm.

  7. #7
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    What kind of bear is best?
    Polar bears look the coolest and taste the best
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  8. #8
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    What kind of bear is best?
    BEAR? Chinese moon bear

    BEER ? ...not touching that one

  9. #9
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    "COW" thread

    can-o-worms

  10. #10
    Senior Member tugrul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    "COW" thread

    can-o-worms
    A self fulfilling prophecy. If people that thought this didn't respond, it wouldn't happen.

  11. #11
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    Better for what? Taking your money?

    Yes, they're probably lighter, faster and easier to shift and brake. Might be more fragile. Certainly requires a different set of knowledge to maintain. You fix things by replacing them.

    My son keeps telling me I need a "better" bike. I say you put your butt on the seat and spin your legs. My '84 Cinelli works just fine for me. I'm not riding at a pace or distance where I need a "better" bike.

  12. #12
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinfix View Post
    For example, my road bike is 80's vintage, 19#, aluminum, with a variety of good Campy parts & wheels. Is a mid-level, say 105 group bike with aluminum frame & carbon fork, that much of better?
    Oh, I might add that I HATED some early aluminum I tried. Late 80s Cannondale models and Trek 1000 seemed awful to me. Some newer ones feel better, so chances are good I'd go with new bike over your old aluminum, I'd have to test ride both to find out, though.

    I'd also prefer not to race on bikes with DT shifters.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  13. #13
    Ride Fast and Ride Safe! gioscinelli's Avatar
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    Go with both carbon and aluminum combo frame, with carbon stays and fork. Equipment wise, Campagnolo Centaur, Veloce group or Shimano 105's. Can't say about SRAM, don't use it, yet. I think Fuji makes a fine carbon/aluminum frame with carbon stays and fork at an affordable price. The carbon stays help absorb most of the road shock and the aluminum adds stiffness. No mater what, you will miss the great ride of steel. If you can find a used titanium frame bike for the price of a good carbon/aluminum bike and it fits, buy it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    I love my older bikes, but I love riding my newer 9 speed Brifter equipped Marinoni "Squadra" road bike a lot more. That statement assumes that ride quality and "user friendliness" are the issues to be considered.

    However, were I to choose between keeping my "Squadra" as opposed to my 1976 Marinoni, there would be no contest. The 1976 is the keeper. So is my Peugeot PX10.

    My old Marinoni does not ride that much better than my new one. Of course, they are both lugged steel. But the older bike is, well older, and that is what I like. It still looks like a bicycle. And rides like a bicycle but it looks better than a bicycle - to me.

    As for carbon fiber bikes? Well, every time I get the urge to buy one, I think Dupont Delrin plastic, and the fiasco surrounding that product and Simplex derailleurs. To me, carbon fiber is plastic and I, personally, prefer to not have anything more to do with plastic(literally and figuratively), than I have to.

    All that said, I would be willing to bet that, were I to take a new carbon fiber wonder bike out, and ride it for a while, my thoughts, on this issue, might be changed, and changed considerably.

    Over the years, I have come to believe that, as often as not, improved technology does add to user comfort and friendliness. Why should bicycles be any different?

    Yup! That's about how I see it;-)

  15. #15
    Senior Member bikemanbob's Avatar
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    Current bikes perform better; vintage bikes have character, but its still the guy (or gal) on the bike that makes the biggest difference. Skill and ability will always win out when it comes to riding.

  16. #16
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    Weight wise your nicer Campy equipped bike is going to be similar in weight to maybe even lighter than a new carbon/aluminum 105 bike. I weighed some low to mid level bikes from Giant at the shop which I use to work at. The lighest was only 19.5 lbs and that bike was $1700. To get a lighter bike is going to require a lot more money for something full carbon and better/lighter parts.

  17. #17
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemanbob View Post
    Current bikes perform better; vintage bikes have character, but its still the guy (or gal) on the bike that makes the biggest difference. Skill and ability will always win out when it comes to riding.
    I beg to differ. Certain modern bikes perform better at certain tasks than certain vintage bikes for certain riders. Vintage bikes often peform better in other ways, depending on the task and rider.

    This question has no answer - or at least no simple answer. Bikes are tools and some tools are better for certain things than other tools. It doesn't make a hammer better than a screwdriver...it makes it better at hammering a nail.
    Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 01-14-11 at 03:09 PM.

  18. #18
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Personally I think my vintage steel ( read all my bikes) soak up road noise and are more forgiving
    than modern super stiff Carbon fiber or Aluminium.
    That said, were I looking to ride competitively I'd have a modern CF frame.
    One of my bikes has Ergo shifting, I like it, it's easier on my back (really, it is! )
    and in traffic or an uphill is a big plus.

    A current CF or Alu bike is better if your competing. for everything else
    it's personal preference.

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  19. #19
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    I like both Vintage Steel and Modern Steel bikes, but I also like Shorties so that kinda negates my opinion.

    ( Yes Mutt, it's everywhere!)

  20. #20
    Steel80's vinfix's Avatar
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    Many good answers. Not a rhetorical question, if I asked this on the road forum I'd guess many wouldn't know about the classic stuff. Or I'd get made fun of and told to buy a Cannondale Supersomething!

    In the last few seasons I've tried a Lemond Buenos Airies, Jamis Eclipse, Specialized Roubaix, Bianchi Axis- not a wide sample! The only one that impressed me as being much "better" was the Roubaix, purely because it has a comfortable geometry.

    It sounds like what I already kind of guessed, that I'd have to get a higher end modern bike to see much improvement. Since I don't race, do club rides, etc. I don't need a competitive advantage.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Better for going fast, yes. Better for getting from point A to point B? Debatable.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bikemanbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    I beg to differ. Certain modern bikes perform better at certain tasks than certain vintage bikes for certain riders. Vintage bikes often peform better in other ways, depending on the task and rider.

    This question has no answer - or at least no simple answer. Bikes are tools and some tools are better for certain things than other tools. It doesn't make a hammer better than a screwdriver...it makes it better at hammering a nail.
    Although you differ, we probably agree. All I'm saying is if you take a vintage bike with a conditioned rider, he will out ride the recreational rider with his carbon fiber bike. The recreational rider would have been better served buy a vintage bike for $200 and saved himself $1800. I go on group rides with my cyclocross bike ($1000) and routinely out ride cyclists on their $4000+ carbon fiber bike. At times, I ride my vintage bikes so as to not out ride my companions. The bike is important, but the cyclist is the biggest difference maker.

    For example, I routinely out rode my buddy until he spent $500 to upgrade the wheels on his cabon fiber bike. After that, he had the advantage. I'm not willing to spend $500 to match his performance. In fact, I became a better rider by not spending the money. I tried harder and gained ground by being better conditioned. I now out ride him again.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    What kind of bear is best?
    That's a ridiculous question.

  24. #24
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyDunlop View Post
    That's a ridiculous question.


    Bingo.

  25. #25
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemanbob View Post
    Although you differ, we probably agree. All I'm saying is if you take a vintage bike with a conditioned rider, he will out ride the recreational rider with his carbon fiber bike. The recreational rider would have been better served buy a vintage bike for $200 and saved himself $1800. I go on group rides with my cyclocross bike ($1000) and routinely out ride cyclists on their $4000+ carbon fiber bike. At times, I ride my vintage bikes so as to not out ride my companions. The bike is important, but the cyclist is the biggest difference maker.

    For example, I routinely out rode my buddy until he spent $500 to upgrade the wheels on his cabon fiber bike. After that, he had the advantage. I'm not willing to spend $500 to match his performance. In fact, I became a better rider by not spending the money. I tried harder and gained ground by being better conditioned. I now out ride him again.
    I agree with you for the application of club rides...but that's not the only application. What kind of vintage bike vs what kind of modern bike? What rider? What conditions? Etc. There are just too many variables for this question to have an answer.

    Asking will a modern road bike outperform a "standard" vintage bike in a club ride for an average rider might be a valid question...but even that would have a lot of variables. Which modern bike is being considered? Which vintage bike? What kind of riding? For climbing...sure an uber light CF is better...maybe not so much for an all day ride on level terrain. Are there off road portions? My Raleigh International is a much better bike if there's gravel involved than the Merlin.

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