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  1. #1
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Equipment Improvments over the years

    Since I starting cycling in the early '70's, some equipment has really improved, and some seems to have changed more for marketing effect. The two things I notice that are the most improved are the mid range and low end component really work well now (anybody remember Huret Alivet and Simplex derailleurs Classic non-working components) and tires. Now people talk in terms of thousands of miles between flats. WE used to go hundreds. The most common clincher back then was the Michelin 50 with a live of about 1000 miles, but we all rode tubulars.

    No old guy grousing, what do you find is better on bikes these days?
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
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  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Clipless pedals and STI. I also agree about better components and tires.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    How about sealed bearings?

    I used to overhaul my hubs every month or two or immediately after any rainy ride. Now I go for at least a year or so on my sealed mechanism hubs and forever with my cartridge bearing hubs.

  4. #4
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    I just bought a new bike (encouraged by many on this thread - thanks all).

    Steel main triangle, carbon on the ends, Ultegra throughout.

    I still ride my lugged steel 1990 bike. It reminds me of my 1965 Dawes. That one did everything - as a schoolkid, I got into national championships in road, cyclocross, time trial (by coming 10th and last in the heats where the first 10 went national!) - and it also took me touring!.

    To be honest, I prefer .... the one I'm on

  5. #5
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Stronger rims, better spokes, disc brakes, better rim brake pads, teflon coated cables, hollow forged crank arms, sealed cartridge hub bearings..........................................
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 02-21-08 at 10:00 AM.

  6. #6
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    I agree about the clipless pedals. This is a huge improvement over having your feet strapped down with no possibility of quick release.

    Other things that I really like that we didn't have in the 70's are:
    more than 10 speeds.
    STI shifters
    Hyperglide cassettes so that shifts are quicker and more pleasant
    Pinned and ramped chainrings, so that shifts are better
    Better high pressure clincher tires
    Better brakes and brake pads
    Better cushioned handlebar tape.
    Lighter bikes overall, my 73 Raleigh weighed 28 pounds.

    I enjoyed biking then, but the new bikes are more fun to ride.

  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Cartridge bottom brackets were a big improvement in simplicity of maintenance over loose ball bearings. Many other changes came at the price of increased complexity.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Cartridge bottom brackets were a big improvement in simplicity of maintenance over loose ball bearings. Many other changes came at the price of increased complexity.
    Sealed bottom brackets- Sealed Bearings in headsets and wheels are One of the big improvements made to cycling today. Only problem is that they are not fit and forget- No adjustment possible so it is fit now and change Next???? year.

    To be honest- Other than the quality of parts fitted and the weight of bikes now- I don't think a great deal has changed. They still have two wheels and are great fun to ride. The same as they were 17 years ago when I started riding.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member reiffert's Avatar
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    Things I don't miss:

    Fiddling with the fr. der. to avoid the chainring rub due to frame flex at the BB,

    Taking pliers to a fr. der. to customize it for better shifting.

    Repacking pedal bearings (Speedplay injector now),

    Downhill corner fork deflection, esp. with panniers

    Having to swap out handlebars and cranks on a larger frame because they all got shipped with same with same width HB and length cranks.

    Things I miss:

    Reasonably priced wool

    And the fact that I can't quite fit my summerweight wool racing jersey.

  10. #10
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Aluminum rims have gotten better. I had one on the front wheel of my white Peugeot in the early '70s. When it tacoed under normal braking, it was decades before I'd ride on aluminum again. But the current ones on my commuter bike have proven themselves to be durable.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 02-21-08 at 01:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  11. #11
    Pat
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    Well STI shifters are a mixed bag. I like shifting up on the hoods. It is easier to shift routinely than fooling with down tube shifters. But STI shifers do have a limited life span of just over 20,000 miles. The old down tube shifters were virtually eternal.

  12. #12
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    From the commuting perspective, good drum and disk brakes, 7, 8, and 18 speed internal hubs, LED headlights and taillights, efficient hub generators, Nokian carbide studded tires for winter, Schwalbe Marathon Plus summer tires, sealed bearings, and technical fabrics for outerwear.

    It's true that good commuter and utility bikes are a lot harder to find than in the 1960s (although much easier than they were in the 1990s.) However, compared to an old Raleigh, my Kettler is faster and easier up hills, brakes better in snow and rain, and has vastly better generator lighting. All of this is with no sacrifice in convenience or reliability/maintenance - you just jump on and go, just like in 1965.

    Paul

  13. #13
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    Improved:
    Tires
    Rims
    Cogs with ramps
    Bushingless chains

    Not improved because there is no need and thankfully still available:
    36 spoke wheels
    Brooks saddles
    Square taper BB spindles

    Changed, Not improved, but at least no worse:
    Clipless pedals
    More than 5 cogs on the rear wheel
    Brifters

    Changed, Not improved, not worse, but unbelievably ugly:
    Threadless stems
    Compact frame design
    Fat frame tubes
    Modern graphics

    Changed for the worse:
    Frames with tight clearances
    Frames without eyelets for mounting things
    Low spoke count wheels
    Changing fashions in BB bearing design, BB spindle interface, headsets, etc. Not that the new designs are bad, just unnecessary and cluttering the marketplace with soon to be abandoned designs that will make finding replacements twenty years from now a pain in the neck.

  14. #14
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Anyone remember when only truly high-end bicycles had cotterless cranks? Cotter pins were really a drag to deal with when removing or reinstalling a crankset. I used to hate bar-end shifters. They were very sluggish in my experience. Now they're much improved.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  15. #15
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Much better today:
    - clipless pedals (vs. toe clips)
    - STI shifters
    - real options in frame materials -- steel, aluminum, ti, CF
    - overall bikes / components much lighter


    Also, bikes are a good value, IMO. My first "serious" bike was purchased for $365 in early 1979. Adjusted for inflation, that's about $1,400 today. I think the $1400 you spend today gets you a lot more bike than what I got for $365 way back when.

  16. #16
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I know people love their STI shifter/brake lever contraptions, but I don't think anyone has made a bicycle part that works better than a Suntour ratcheting friction bar end shifter.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I know people love their STI shifter/brake lever contraptions, but I don't think anyone has made a bicycle part that works better than a Suntour ratcheting friction bar end shifter.
    I love all of the choices that we have today.

    I've got 9-speed Ultegra STI's on my tandem and Klein and I like them enough to have bought a pair to keep for spares.

    My retro grouch bike was designed for high reliability and low maintenance. It's got Suntour ratcheting bar end shifters. Don't need any spares because they'll last for the rest of my life.

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I know people love their STI shifter/brake lever contraptions, but I don't think anyone has made a bicycle part that works better than a Suntour ratcheting friction bar end shifter.
    A Suntour ratcheting friction down tube shifter maybe? But I will stick with STI except on my 30 year old bike.

  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I would say that the SRAM Double Action shifters are an improvement over STI. I never liked having the brake levers double as shifters.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  20. #20
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    Good bad or indifferent the one thing bikes don't have today is the weight! Said before, a pro racer of 10 years ago would just about kill for what you can get on a $1500 bike today.

  21. #21
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sealed bearings aren't all that new.
    Designed our first custom tandem in 1977 with Phil Wood sealed hubs and sealed Phil touring pedals.
    Still using barcon shifters on our tandem and yes, toeclips. Why? We like them as they are extremely low maintenance and efficient.
    Choice of frame materials are the biggest improvement.

  22. #22
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKahrl View Post
    Improved:
    Tires
    Rims
    Cogs with ramps
    Bushingless chains

    Not improved because there is no need and thankfully still available:
    36 spoke wheels
    Brooks saddles
    Square taper BB spindles

    Changed, Not improved, but at least no worse:
    Clipless pedals
    More than 5 cogs on the rear wheel
    Brifters

    Changed, Not improved, not worse, but unbelievably ugly:
    Threadless stems
    Compact frame design
    Fat frame tubes
    Modern graphics

    Changed for the worse:
    Frames with tight clearances
    Frames without eyelets for mounting things
    Low spoke count wheels
    Changing fashions in BB bearing design, BB spindle interface, headsets, etc. Not that the new designs are bad, just unnecessary and cluttering the marketplace with soon to be abandoned designs that will make finding replacements twenty years from now a pain in the neck.
    Spot-on. For anyone but a professional bicycle racer, low spoke count wheels are a big step backward. Indexed front shifting is an engineering blunder. I love the durability, reliability, and interchangeability of my friction shift systems and the comfortable ride of my steel framesets. Very few modern saddles are as comfortable or as durable as my Brooks Pro, which has lasted 50k miles / 80k km and counting.

    Technology has improved most markedly in the rubber and composite parts: brake pads, cable housings, tires, innertubes, and pumps. I happily defer to modern components in these areas. Otherwise, I have no desire whatsoever to drop over $1K on a new road bike -- my Bianchi does everything I need for club rides, and the Capo is fabulous on long rides.
    Last edited by John E; 02-22-08 at 09:44 AM.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  23. #23
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    One thing that has changed drastically is my ability to afford good stuff. My bike in the 70s was low-end enough that everything on my current bike is better, but almost everything on a really good bike of that era was better also.

    HOWEVER, one thing I really like is index shifting, although I had a Huret front derailleur and a Simplex rear, and with friction shifting they both worked fine on my old 10-speed. (When I started touring I really wanted a third chainring for 15 speeds. Now I have 27 speeds. What a world!)

  24. #24
    Senior Member Spokes man's Avatar
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    The acceptance of riding a helmet.

    When I started riding for recreation during college on my first "10-speed" (as opposed to my earlier years of kid riding and delivering newspapers) no one wore a helmet. We were riding on rural roads with some car traffic but helmets just hadn't come along yet. Fortunately I managed to avoid a serious crash -- otherwise that could explain some of my goofiness.

    I still have a pair of leather-palm Avocet gloves from those days, though, that have held up amazingly well.

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