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  1. #1
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    Red Kit Prayer blog - something to piss everyone off today

    I semiregularly follow the Red Kite Prayer blog. Most of the time, Padraig has something interesting to say. Today, he's tired of everything being black, which I can understand (simply put, you should want to be seen). In the run-up to that, however, he steps on some toes:

    Compared to the under-engineered components of the 1990s, the styrofoam bucket helmets of the ’80s, or the crap frames of the ’70s, today’s cyclist rides a much better bike that fits better, goes faster and thanks to better apparel is more comfortable and, generally, safer.
    Whoa there, pardner! "Crap frames of the 70s"? I assume he's referring to the mass-produced stuff which was tossed overseas from Europe to the US in the bike boom. I have no trouble finding quality frames from that era to ride. What's with the "under-engineered" comment? Perhaps early index shifting teething pains? (That's not my era, so I'm a bit unclear what the problem is.) As for the styrofoam bucket helmets, well, they were better than leather hair nets, were they not?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SJX426's Avatar
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    I would say it is a pretty ignorant statement. Cred would be flushed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    I semiregularly follow the Red Kite Prayer blog. Most of the time, Padraig has something interesting to say. Today, he's tired of everything being black, which I can understand (simply put, you should want to be seen). In the run-up to that, however, he steps on some toes:



    Whoa there, pardner! "Crap frames of the 70s"? I assume he's referring to the mass-produced stuff which was tossed overseas from Europe to the US in the bike boom. I have no trouble finding quality frames from that era to ride. What's with the "under-engineered" comment? Perhaps early index shifting teething pains? (That's not my era, so I'm a bit unclear what the problem is.) As for the styrofoam bucket helmets, well, they were better than leather hair nets, were they not?
    a ploy to up his view rate?

    He recently bought a steel Bishop. After the showing of it in paint, any further reference to it has vanished. No revenue there.
    As I read elsewhere, red kite bore.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    Yeah, such a broad generalization shows he either doesn't really know what he's talking about, or doesn't really care what he says.
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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    strange, I totally fell in love again with my crap frame from the seventies on an epic storm ride yesterday.
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    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    I think he is saying the quality of a frame the average person--not enthusiasts like us--would probably end up with in the 70's was crap, and that the same person would probably end up with something less crappy now?
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    Senior Member YouthxCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    I think he is saying the quality of a frame the average person--not enthusiasts like us--would probably end up with in the 70's was crap, and that the same person would probably end up with something less crappy now?
    Even then, that's probably still too broad of a generalization. I would probably say that a lot of vintage entry-level Japanese stuff is at decent. You could have gotten a decent butted frame with forged dropouts.
    Also, better fit is pretty subjective.
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    And I should care about his opinion, why? I don't even care about Grant Petersen's opinion.

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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    And that "better fit" part is total, total BS. Frame sizes dropped from 20 to 4. A decent fitter and an honourable shop, of course, can still get you biking the right way, but there's far less adjustment and you'd need stupid stem/spacer combo's to make a bike work.

    And I guess by "apparel" he means helmet. But safer? Nah. All the pro commentators here in Euroland (and still avid bike riders) agree that bike racing got more dangerous because of the ridiculous deep section wheels and carbon frames that fail in a nasty way.

    One Belgian commentator phrased it this way during last years' Roubaix. "In my day, riders just ate bananas on the go. Now, when I ride with the young guys from my club, they have to stop their bikes to eat because you can't control these deep section carbon wheels and finicky carbon frames while eating".
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  10. #10
    Senior Member shoota's Avatar
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    He sounds about right to me.
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    Senior Member shoota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
    "In my day, riders just ate bananas on the go. Now, when I ride with the young guys from my club, they have to stop their bikes to eat because you can't control these deep section carbon wheels and finicky carbon frames while eating".
    That has to be the most retro-grouch, troll-baiting comment I've ever heard. Well done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
    And that "better fit" part is total, total BS. Frame sizes dropped from 20 to 4. A decent fitter and an honourable shop, of course, can still get you biking the right way, but there's far less adjustment and you'd need stupid stem/spacer combo's to make a bike work.

    And I guess by "apparel" he means helmet. But safer? Nah. All the pro commentators here in Euroland (and still avid bike riders) agree that bike racing got more dangerous because of the ridiculous deep section wheels and carbon frames that fail in a nasty way.

    One Belgian commentator phrased it this way during last years' Roubaix. "In my day, riders just ate bananas on the go. Now, when I ride with the young guys from my club, they have to stop their bikes to eat because you can't control these deep section carbon wheels and finicky carbon frames while eating".
    Pretty good.
    I have noticed in pro race video coverage that the peloton today has almost everyone weaving all over the place even in the "boring" sections. Compare that to video of say the 70's and the riders today cannot seem to hold a straight line. I blame the bikes.

  13. #13
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YouthxCrew View Post
    Even then, that's probably still too broad of a generalization. I would probably say that a lot of vintage entry-level Japanese stuff is at decent. You could have gotten a decent butted frame with forged dropouts.
    Also, better fit is pretty subjective.
    When you talk about Japanese bikes, you're mainly talking about the 80's, though, not the 70's.

    I definitely disagree with him on better fit.

    The thing is, these are offhanded comments in his post which was about something totally different, which I suspect many of us would agree with him on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    ...

    The thing is, these are offhanded comments in his post which was about something totally different, which I suspect many of us would agree with him on.
    So, he needs an editor.

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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    Pretty good.
    I have noticed in pro race video coverage that the peloton today has almost everyone weaving all over the place even in the "boring" sections. Compare that to video of say the 70's and the riders today cannot seem to hold a straight line. I blame the bikes.
    Yes, the comment was prompted by the horrific accidents that happened even in the most pedestrian sections of the course. Apparently high-strung CF bikes, large pelotons and your average European road go ill together.
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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoota View Post
    That has to be the most retro-grouch, troll-baiting comment I've ever heard. Well done.
    The guy that said is an old pro that's hired for his colorful comments, so yeah, mission accomplished I guess.
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  17. #17
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    So, he needs an editor.
    You'll get no arguments from me on that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Italuminium View Post
    Yes, the comment was prompted by the horrific accidents that happened even in the most pedestrian sections of the course. Apparently high-strung CF bikes, large pelotons and your average European road go ill together.
    Aside from the deep section rims, Carbon bikes need not be "high strung". The s/m/l sizing crutch which often couples most pro riders with very long stems and bikes with sort front centers (bottom bracket to front axle measure) yields a bike that requires attention to keep in a straight line, not forgetting that the head angles are steeper than years past. I blame the bike geometry for the most part.

    I laugh at the modern "gravel grinder" bicycle geometry, if you bypass the sloping top tubes the geometry is 1970's road racing bike.

    There is another element that I should not forget, the grand tours have bigger fields. 180 riders is pretty common at the onset. In Merckx's era, it was 130-140. there is a difference there.

  19. #19
    Senior Member YouthxCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    When you talk about Japanese bikes, you're mainly talking about the 80's, though, not the 70's.

    No, there were some decent bikes in the mid-70's by Panasonic, Fuji, and Centurion. I'm thinking like the s10s (and later 12-speed version), Panasonic Touring and Sport Deluxe 1000, and the post 77' Super Le Mans. None of these were light by any means, but they were nicely constructed and finished and relatively responsive and stiff for the price point.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Chrome Molly's Avatar
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    Well, I think a lot of 70s frames were crap. Not the ones we seek here, but the run of the bike boom mill was pretty so so. Comparing a low-mid 70's offering to a mold pop frame from today, there is some validity to his statement.

    I take issue more with the under-engineered 90's components comment. There is no way that I see any real advantage to the complexity and "need to charge it" aspects of electronic shifting vs what was around in the late 90's. I, prefer a ratcheting FD mechanism, and rebuildable shifters. Maybe he's getting at 3 piece cranks, not sure. Unlike the frame comment, I have no valid point of reference that makes me see his point of view on 90's components.

  21. #21
    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    There is another element that I should not forget, the grand tours have bigger fields. 180 riders is pretty common at the onset. In Merckx's era, it was 130-140. there is a difference there.
    Not to mention the cars, motorbikes and the entire cavalcade that follows the tour. A Grand Tour is an unimaginable moving feast. When the Giro came through my University town, the motorcade took an hour to get through and I might have seen some bright jerseys flash by for a second or so
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Chrome Molly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post

    I laugh at the modern "gravel grinder" bicycle geometry, if you bypass the sloping top tubes the geometry is 1970's road racing bike.
    Yes, and if you can find a 70's race bike that accepts 30's, you're golden for most hard pack gravel rides. I love it when I get into a gravel ride and I see a 70's frame up in the top two or three groups. Perhaps a 70's gravel grinder would be "under-engineered", depending on who you ask.

  23. #23
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YouthxCrew View Post
    No, there were some decent bikes in the mid-70's by Panasonic, Fuji, and Centurion. I'm thinking like the s10s (and later 12-speed version), Panasonic Touring and Sport Deluxe 1000, and the post 77' Super Le Mans. None of these were light by any means, but they were nicely constructed and finished and relatively responsive and stiff for the price point.

    Well, I wasn't around then so I may be wrong, but my perception is that stuff was much less common than your Schwinns and Raleighs and such.
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  24. #24
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    I am offended!
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  25. #25
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    To be fair, it you read the first two lines you left out of the paragraph you quoted then it gives a better idea of the gist of his sentiment... "I’m fond of writing that I don’t believe there’s much in the bike industry that you need to be warned against. Today’s bike manufacturers do a damn fine job of making frames, forks, wheels, components and apparel."
    He's not saying all bikes and components from those eras are crap, by a long shot, just that there was enough junk being passed off as quality, that you could dedicate a blog to warning people about it. Which is true of any area of consumer goods you look at from those decades - compared to the seemingly higher standards and better quality of even lower end goods today.

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