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Old 07-12-20, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
The winning riders did 24.5mph (taking it as fact) on pretty much dead flat (10' per lap) course in 1974. Today we'd see ~30. Some flat as fast as 32mph, and hilly can be 28 for U23 and juniors (USA adults are slower than the U23s).
These bikes were likely 7 pounds heavier than today's winners and less aero.

Anyway, we have to figure out how they are losing 5mph to today's fast flat crits. I think the weight matters a lot, as does the aerodynamics and ...these are fighting words, but I also don't think the fitness was near what it is now.

If those numbers are real, and if there wasn't treacherous wind on that day, I'd be shocked if a large majority of the speed difference wasn't due to changes in racing strategy.

I routinely ride my grandfather's Fuji America, which was made in the 1970s, and which has received almost zero modernization besides SPD-SL pedals and unavoidable features on consumables (notably modern shift housing and hyperglide tooth profiling on the six-speed freewheel). Given the speeds that I can sustain on that thing - which are extremely close to what I do on my Emonda - I don't feel any hesitation in saying that an elite racer would have no trouble doing 24.5mph solo on flat ground for 100 minutes on actual racing bikes of similar vintage. The only way that a peloton of elite racers would fail to sustain higher speeds is if they were all desperately trying to avoid doing any kind of serious effort at the front.

Also, if we're talking about a bike+rider weight of 170lbs or thereabouts, and we're acknowledging that the modern weight savings is largely away from the rims thanks to today's aero rim profiles, there's basically no situation in which a 7-pound bicycle savings increases speed by more than 4% or so. 24.5->30 is a 22% speed increase. On a flat course, even if there's lots of cornering, a 7lb bicycle weight difference is pretty much in the noise when talking about that scale of difference.
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