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Old 11-20-07, 07:06 PM   #1
TBatty
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riding old vs. new

Is there a noticeable difference in how a new bike rides vs. an older one? i know it is impossible to do a completely apples to apples comparison, but will I notice a real difference on a mid-range new bike compared to my well maintained mid range 20 year old bike?

Basically trying to decide if I want to buy a new bike or just do some updates on my current one.

Thanks.
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Old 11-20-07, 07:41 PM   #2
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Is there a noticeable difference in how a new bike rides vs. an older one? i know it is impossible to do a completely apples to apples comparison, but will I notice a real difference on a mid-range new bike compared to my well maintained mid range 20 year old bike?

Basically trying to decide if I want to buy a new bike or just do some updates on my current one.

Thanks.
Something I've been noticing lately is that it has a great deal to do with autosuggestion.

If you are telling yourself that this old piece of junk is not where it's at, and can't be, then you create a framework within which your riding experiences will likely be diminished.

If you think of new bikes as cutting edge, or as superior in critical ways or major ways, then those sorts of thoughts also provide a certain framework, or a set of expectations.

Older bikes can be a lot of fun. It depends tremendously on what's going on in your mind, and its expectations and perceived limitations, or freedom from those limitations.

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Old 11-20-07, 07:52 PM   #3
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I'd say it depends on what type of riding you're talking about. For general purpose I doubt a new bike is going to make much difference. Serious racing, MTBing, etc is a different story.
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Old 11-20-07, 07:54 PM   #4
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Depends on the bike. I have an 88 trek 1000 and a 2004 trek 1000. No comparison, The 88 is a much better bike. The 04 feels like a wet noodle, has cheap rims, and shifts very slowly. They really have dumbed down the trek 1000 since 88.
Other bikes 50/50
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Old 11-21-07, 09:36 PM   #5
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Basically no. With that said, frame materials and geometry are different. My guess is you are talking about a steel frame, or perhaps an early Al. I would also point out that that vintage saddle might need replacing.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:43 PM   #6
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Given proper fit, no physical difference to me. I've had 4 touring frames over the decades and barring the Cannondale which was a bit short, they all rode the same. iI the mind I think Miyata, Bianchi, Cannondale, Bruce Gordon. Imagine which one I brag about.

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Old 11-22-07, 07:11 AM   #7
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Yes and no (how's that for a straight answer) There have been some improvements in things over the past 20+ years, but that doesn't mean your old bike is a POS that you need to dump. Some things that I have noted: Generator hubs and lights are much better, index shifting is nice, but I ride the original...Sturmey Archer 3 speeds More gears to me does not necessarily equal better. I still have a couple of non indexed 10-18 speed bikes and ride them fairly regularly. Some touring bags have gotten better with the more modern materials. I still wear wool and cotton when I ride, no miracle fabrics for me. I don't think their have been any great advances in frame materials for the average rider. Steel is still steel and is king in my book. Aluminum is aluminum, and carbon fiber is a high dollar form of plastic Kevlar belted tires are a great improvement. And I still ride Brooks leather saddles and have been for over 30 years.

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Old 11-22-07, 08:30 AM   #8
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What kinds of things might you want to "update" or change about your current bicycle?

IMHO, the only reason to purchase a new bike vs a "well-maintained" 20-year-old bike is if you want something different, and it can't reasonably be achieved with your present bike.
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Old 11-22-07, 10:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TBatty View Post
Is there a noticeable difference in how a new bike rides vs. an older one? i know it is impossible to do a completely apples to apples comparison, but will I notice a real difference on a mid-range new bike compared to my well maintained mid range 20 year old bike?

Basically trying to decide if I want to buy a new bike or just do some updates on my current one.

Thanks.
If by "ride" you mean how the bike moves over the road, there is little difference. Bikes are still just 2 wheels rolling across a surface. However there is more to 'riding' a bike then just the way it rolls. Since the mid80s things have changed a lot. Shifting has become so buttery smooth that you'd swear the bike is shifting when you think about it. With up to 10 cogs on the rear cluster, the progression of shifts is small enough that it feels like an infinitely adjustable transmission (a little over the top) compared to the 5 or 6 gears. Having the shifters at your finger tips at all times (STI) means you shift more and more easily.

The other improvements have been in the installation and maintenance of the components...especially if you do your own work. Threadless headsets have simplified the headset so that installation and adjustment is trivial. An added benefit with the threadless headset is the ability to change stems and stem lengths much easier then the old goose necks. External bearing cranks made installation a single allen wrench job.

There have also been improvements to the metallurgy of the frame also. You can now get bikes that were world class weights in the 1980s for Wallmart prices (Jamis Ventura, $500, 22 lbs). Many bikes are now featuring carbon fiber subframes ...even on inexpensive bikes...that lighten the weight and improve the ride quality.

The final issue is economic. You've been riding the same bike for 20 years. That bike cost you around $400 which means that you've paid $20 per year for it. I think you've sucked the value of the bike dry In that same 20 years, in which you weren't spending money at the local bike shop, 1200 shops across the US have gone out of business. That's because lots of us - myself included...at least as far as road bikes are concerned*- have hung on to an old bike for 20+ years. Unless you want to buy all your bike stuff at Hellmart in the future, put a damned crowbar in your wallet and buy a new bike! It's time


*In the interest of truth, I've owned over 20 bikes in the last 30 years. Most of them have been mountain bikes. I've only owned 4 or 5 road bikes.
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Old 11-22-07, 12:02 PM   #10
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I prefer buying a new bike rather than the endlessly searching our local area for a used bike(which still I do on a regular basis ) that is either very cheap/worn out, requiring considerable time, energy and money to restore, or barely used, but has been sitting for years yet still needs some tires or considerable maintenance, or if it is the right bike for a great price, it's the wrong size or has already been sold. I will not buy a used bike from out of the area online, since buying only from pictures can prove deceiving at times. My current ride, an '06 Trek hybrid, has already paid for itself many times over, so I can easily afford a new bike, which I will be puchasing in the near future, making for much less of a hassle.
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Old 11-22-07, 12:09 PM   #11
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If we can assume you are not talking about mountain bikes the answer is probably no. With mtb's the answer is yes. Good tires properly inflated and a good regreasing and precision adjustment of BB, hubs and head set makes a world of difference on my bikes. As someone said, a new saddle can make a big difference too.
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Old 11-24-07, 01:43 PM   #12
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Many bikes are now featuring carbon fiber subframes ...even on inexpensive bikes...that lighten the weight and improve the ride quality.
Can you tell us more about these carbon fiber subframes?
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Old 11-24-07, 02:54 PM   #13
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I have two road bikes. The 1960's 10-speed does not transmit as much road vibration to my body as the new Specialized Allez Sport (aluminum frame and carbon fork). The new bike is nice to shift and very light. But, the old bike is so comfortable that I am riding it more and more. My impressions of each and comparisons between them change according to my objectives in riding and the increases in endurance. As the weather has gotten colder I have discovered the old bike is easier than the new bike to shift while wearing mittens. After a year of riding the new bike, I have concluded the old bike was not as outmoded as I had thought.
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Old 11-24-07, 07:39 PM   #14
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Can you tell us more about these carbon fiber subframes?
Many bikes are using carbon forks and lots of the bikes in the $1000+ range are using seatstays and/or chainstays that are carbon. I don't trust carbon that much but I have a Salsa Las Cruces that has a carbon fork on it and I'll have to admit it smoothes the ride.
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Old 11-25-07, 12:52 PM   #15
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I ride all old bikes, so I guess that says it...for me. Depends on how you ride.

I know it's important that whatever you ride works the way it was intended to...nice greased bearings and well-adjusted brakes/shifters. Fit is important, too as well as your saddle.
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