It's been a while since I've been on the '79 PY10 CP. It never seemed to ride right with the Gommitalia Roller tires it had when I got it - though I am told this is as tires were made specifically for use on rollers (though I've yet to find any hard confirmation of such - a Google search on them only chucks back my own articles).
Nevertheless, when a pair of well-kept, older Hutchinson Tempo 1 tubulars presented themselves, I swapped tires to see what the results would be out on the road.
Mind you, the last time I critiqued the ride of the PY10 (with the Gommitalia's), I criticized it for being "lackluster and unexciting," if not downright dull. I put it down - tentatively - as a failure on the part of the tires.
It took about 10 minutes on the road to realize that this isn't the case. The PY10 is unlike any other French bike I've ridden. It's the stiffest, most unwielding, bone-shaking, teeth-chattering steel frame I've ever known - with either set of tires at a conservative 100PSI. Even smooth pavement transfers the tarmac's subtle texture into the frame. However, I did find that the new tires proved to be much more forgiving for maintaining speed.
There is one large loop of road in the neighborhood which hasn't been paved in ages, and is roughly on par with chipseal - on that road, I came to wonder how the Peugeot team made it through the Paris-Robaix on the PY10. It's the only time I think I've experienced rolling shutter without necessitating a camcorder
It still feels like a dead frame too - starting from a complete stop in the 42/17 (or any other gear, lowest bailout being the 42/18) is needlessly taxing, and accelerations feel similarly labored. It does accelerate with planted certainty, but the slightest sprint seems to necessitate cranking out-of-the-saddle. Quite the fun stuff when the dried-out, original Galli brake pads don't particularly fulfill their intended purpose anymore!
It isn't until the rider looks down at the BB that it all starts to make sense though - it doesn't give. No play. Nothing at all - this frame is virtually immune to torque flex, which is immensely surprising to me, for it's built from the slightly smaller, metric version of Reynolds 531SL. (In contrast, the same diameter Super Vitus 980 tubing on the 1983 PSV-10 is on of the whippiest tube sets in existence).
Ironically enough, all the cheap (in quality, not in replacement price!) aluminum bits transfer all the power much like the frame - no play, no give. Knowing how bad the Simplex (Spidel) seatpost and Philippe ATAX stem is on these things, they'll probably break beforehand. I'm just surprised they don't soak up any of the rough ride either.
I was pleased to find that the titanium-rail Ideale 2002 saddle wasn't as much of a hatchet as last time, now that I tilted the nose absolutely parallel with the downtube. Nevertheless, the roughness of the ride made it difficult to stay on the saddle's comfort zone.
In essence, it's a hard ride in all situations, excluding constant speed scenarios on smooth pavement. Anything else is a real workout. I'm not sure if they meant it to be this way or not, but I'll take bets that Cannondale patterned their ride after this beast.
It'll remain to be seen whether it's ride will grow on me or not.
Anyway - in the meantime - some needless glamour pictures of the PY: