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Old vs New

Old 07-03-16, 02:18 PM
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Old vs New

Sorry if this is the wrong place for this.

I've been trying to get my old Nishiki and Kuwahara back on the road, after not cycling for 16 years.

While I was at the bike shop buying parts, out of curiosity I asked if they had any road bikes? The kid said they had one really "good one" and showed me a "GT Sora".

At first I was pretty wowed by this bike after lifting it up off the ground. It felt like 1/4 of the weight of both my bikes maybe less, because the frame is made from aluminum. When I was riding in the 90's to purchase something this light would have cost a small fortune. It had the fancy disk breaks, and something I haven't really seen but I guess is standard now, which is shifting through the break lever.

But then I started looking at a few of the GT BMX's beside it...They were frankly shoddy compared to the GT BMX's I owned in the 90's. The kid said something about how they have been selling the ones with the chromed handle bars like hot cakes, and how rare it was to see chrome. I then told him how my old GT's were just about 100% completely chrome. The kid literally had sparkles in his eyes saying "That would be so cool to see" and he wished they made them like that today.
Upon closer inspection I noticed the welds were not as nice, the parts were cheap compared to mine and the BMX was a tank.

Which made me think if they cut so many corners on their BMX's then have they also done so on their Road Bikes?

After checking the classifieds I've noticed that there is a ton of people selling their "Space Bikes" after only one season. I can't help wonder if these bikes simply don't last very long, as some of the bikes I'm seeing are only 3 years old and complete basket cases.

I'm slightly at an impasse what to do. After searching this forum I've come to realize that for the same money, I can track down one of my "Dream bikes" from the 80's/90's that was unattainable for me at the time like a Trek 600. Unfortunately none of them seem to be in my local area, and I'm a little fed of tracking down parts that are no longer manufactured, and also fixing major problems. (I've been fixing my bikes now for over 2 weeks instead of riding)

TL;DR
I'm wondering if maybe I'm missing out, if new bikes are more pleasant to ride? What do you guys have both old and new? What are the advantages of either? Or is it "they don't make em like they use to"
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Old 07-03-16, 02:28 PM
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I enjoy putting modern components on older frames myself. Best of both worlds. I also enjoy the pure old time machines. As with the past, there are different level bikes. The real good ones are super expensive and come with the best components.
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Old 07-03-16, 02:36 PM
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Even new bikes need maintenance.
My view is this, better bikes are easier to work on, then and now.
Shimano sora is ok, the next rung on the Shimano food chain is better.
Get what will have you riding more.
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Old 07-03-16, 02:41 PM
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My 1969 Witcomb frame is built up with more modern 9 speed Campagnolo Veloce components, Ergo Shifting (shifting in the brakes). My 2003 light weight aluminum Schwinn Fastback is set up with its original 9 Speed Shimano Ultegra STI (shifting in the brakes) components and weighs 4 lbs less than my Witcomb. My 1981 Miyata 912 has old school friction shifting. All three bikes ride great and according to Strava I am equally slow on all of them.
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Old 07-03-16, 03:25 PM
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There is no doubt that that newer bicycles offer superior performance and a more pleasurable experience for most cyclists but many can get by fine on vintage equipment. It all comes down to how much you value features like nine 18 speeds, brifters, profiled cogs, disc brakes, low spoke counts, etc. You've already noted the weight decrease. Often, most of these features can be had at a fraction of the price by buying something only a few years old. There's also much to said for buying something totally lacking in these features, especially if it is something you lusted after in your youth but couldn't afford. Often this sentimental bond can outweigh the technological advantages. Everybody is going to having a slightly different point where the price increase does not offset the technological advance. Of course, the common solution to the dilemna is N+1, with many members owning multiple bicycles spanning a wide range of levels and technological eras.
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Old 07-03-16, 03:30 PM
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These bikes we love are classics for a very good reason.
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Old 07-03-16, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL
These bikes we love are classics for a very good reason.
Done.
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Old 07-03-16, 03:53 PM
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I keep a modern plastic/beer can special around for road rides, but I generally gravitate towards riding my vintage steel. I recommend one of each.
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Old 07-03-16, 05:23 PM
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GT is like many bikes, Was also one of my favorites in the 80s but outsourced to China in the early/mid 90's. I have a GT mountain bike just because I liked the brand but in reality they are not the same.Yes they have high end (a guy I know built/bought a 15k MTB) but if I were you I would base my buy on how serious I am or how you ride and the fit.

Casual rides and group rides honestly don't require a multi thousand dollar bike. I have rode mid range group rides and lead with an 80s bike and have to hold back and to not look like a jerk. I am
46 though and not interested in racing, so that's my take. I like fixed as well and enjoy riding for riding.

If you are having issues due to age or need a really light bike with more gearing for hills then get what works for you. Cost is relative if it's worth it to you and will result in satisfaction. Money can't go with you, do what you love while you can.
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Old 07-03-16, 05:41 PM
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Fixing up/modernizing an older classic from the 80's lets you have your cake and eat it too --

I built this for a friend recently and it started out like this -- Almost untouched since 1987 I would guess



This is how it looked when it rolled out of my lab ---- same great steel frame, but with modern shifting and braking performance , lighter wheels and a stiffer cockpit -

---- Were it me, I would rather go this route than ride a modern Sora equipped bike-- that's close to bottom of the rung in Shimano's gear changing hierarchy , and you could easily duplicate this machine for half the cost of a new bike





Personally I ride both new and old, but compared to some in this forum, my definition of "old" isn't very

My newest machine is the Cannondale in the foreground and, while I have toyed with the idea of getting rid of it, - having a 17 lb bike is nice sometimes -- so it still hangs around and gets ridden maybe once a month


This is one of my "old" bikes -- rather than old , I should say "traditional" - it is early 90's -- it has been ridden 5 to 1 more often than anything else since it was built a few months ago

--- Its still modern ish , but like the Centurion above, its 9 speed (most current stuff is 11 speed ) and has a triple vs the compact doubles that are popular today
--- its not a heavy bike per se', but it has 5.5 pounds over that modern carbon Cannondale -- weight isn't everything though

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Old 07-03-16, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL
These bikes we love are classics for a very good reason.
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Old 07-03-16, 06:17 PM
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As best I can tell, Sora 9 speed is functionally identical to older 105 9-speed, and older than that Ultegra 9 speed. It might be less durable, and use cheaper materials, but functionally, it works exactly the same as those older higher-end groups.
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Old 07-03-16, 06:20 PM
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Well let me chime in. Today I took my modern carbon fiber Scott CR1 Pro out for a century ride. The exact same route I did last week on my steel mid 90s Giordana Superleggero. Last week I finished with my usual foot pain but was otherwise totally fresh and ready for more miles. This despite not getting enough water and carbs in me during the ride. But this week I hydrated better and got a lot more carbs in me during the ride. But the Scott beat the crap out of me physically. By mile 75 I was very sore all over, wore out, and wanted to quit. The final miles sucked. That is precisely way I prefer vintage.
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Old 07-03-16, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
Well let me chime in. Today I took my modern carbon fiber Scott CR1 Pro out for a century ride. …. But this week I hydrated better and got a lot more carbs in me during the ride. But the Scott beat the crap out of me physically. By mile 75 I was very sore all over, wore out, and wanted to quit. The final miles sucked. That is precisely way I prefer vintage.
Ultimate stiffness does have a price. A steel bike can take care of you.
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Old 07-03-16, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
Ultimate stiffness does have a price. A steel bike can take care of you.
Even when it has a "Shock Dampening System" rear end.

Still can't come close to good steel.
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Old 07-03-16, 10:30 PM
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Deep down I'd like to make my bikes run like new and ride them (especially since seeing the great jobs many of you have done on your bikes), but every time I mess with something it's feels like opening a can of worms. For instance today I wanted to take the rear derailleur apart and one nut was a really odd size. It was neither 10mm or 3/8ths, but closer to 9.5 mm. It took me a while to get it off, I must have spent 3 hours on the derailleur. I'm starting to see why Suntour went out of business, and the weird thing is that it uses 3 gears instead of 2!

I'm pretty mechanical, I don't know why I've been having so much trouble. Is there a point where things are simply too worn out?
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Old 07-03-16, 10:37 PM
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Apples and oranges.

I try to ride 4-5 days a week. Most of those rides are on my 2 year old daily rider. But I love my classic old bikes too. I can't imagine NOT owning a road bike with down tube shifters. The old and new bikes.... aren't the same. There is no better or worse.
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Old 07-03-16, 11:58 PM
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Old vs. new, easy. The old bikes are old because they lasted long enough under the rigors of use to actually become old. New bikes, of today, will not ever be really old because they are manufactured from materials that have a practical life limit. And while it can be argued that steel bicycles have a life limit, they do not deteriorate from common environmental exposure to heat and UV radiation or incidental knocks and bumps. Not to mention unpredictable failure modes, unfriendly to the environment manufacturing processes and lack of recyclability and susceptibility to damage that is difficult to identify and assess.

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Old 07-04-16, 07:41 AM
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One thing I can't quite figure out on new bikes or wheels: How is reducing the spoke count an improvement? Even going from 36 to 32 means the rim and spokes will see a 10% increase in stress, going down into the low 20's or below seems a little ludicrous. I'd kinda like for my rims to survive a pothole or a curb hopping, cutting every single gram out to the point where the bike gets substantially weaker doesn't make sense to me.

(bought a used road bike a few months ago with a Campy rim on the rear, when I went to true it I saw the rim had already cracked through at the spokes. I was quite surprised how thin the aluminum rim was, and to be running with only 32 spokes on it...)

Maybe it's a conspiracy from the rim manufacturers to sell replacement rims
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Old 07-04-16, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar
Deep down I'd like to make my bikes run like new and ride them (especially since seeing the great jobs many of you have done on your bikes), but every time I mess with something it's feels like opening a can of worms. For instance today I wanted to take the rear derailleur apart and one nut was a really odd size. It was neither 10mm or 3/8ths, but closer to 9.5 mm. It took me a while to get it off, I must have spent 3 hours on the derailleur. I'm starting to see why Suntour went out of business, and the weird thing is that it uses 3 gears instead of 2!

I'm pretty mechanical, I don't know why I've been having so much trouble. Is there a point where things are simply too worn out?
There's lots of reasons Suntour went out of business- and the 3 pulley derailleurs are a part of it.

Suntour made the best derailleurs. They worked better than any other company's derailleurs- based on the slant parallelogram design patent, it kept the upper pulley closer to the cogs.

Suntour was busy chasing ATB/MTB technology. The 3 pulley derailleurs were a solution of getting a huge amount of chain wrap on a relatively short cage arm. It's a great idea, it works great. You'd have to have an arm a full inch longer to wrap as much chain as a 3 pulley can, and that inch longer cage will bump against rocks and sticks and stuff and go out of alignment much more readily.

However, while Suntour was figuring out how to go over rocks, Shimano was developing clicky shifting.

That little nut on the back of the upper pulley is kind of rounded, so you kind of need a wrench rather than a socket.




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Old 07-04-16, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by nashvillebill
One thing I can't quite figure out on new bikes or wheels: How is reducing the spoke count an improvement? Even going from 36 to 32 means the rim and spokes will see a 10% increase in stress, going down into the low 20's or below seems a little ludicrous. I'd kinda like for my rims to survive a pothole or a curb hopping, cutting every single gram out to the point where the bike gets substantially weaker doesn't make sense to me.

(bought a used road bike a few months ago with a Campy rim on the rear, when I went to true it I saw the rim had already cracked through at the spokes. I was quite surprised how thin the aluminum rim was, and to be running with only 32 spokes on it...)

Maybe it's a conspiracy from the rim manufacturers to sell replacement rims
I'm an idiot as far as engineering (well, most things actually), but as I understand it, the depth of the more modern rims is why this works. The spokes aren't nearly as long and the rim is absorbing more of the pressure.
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Old 07-04-16, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman
As best I can tell, Sora 9 speed is functionally identical to older 105 9-speed, and older than that Ultegra 9 speed. It might be less durable, and use cheaper materials, but functionally, it works exactly the same as those older higher-end groups.
I've been riding in Vashon Island WA the past week on a rented bike, a Fuji Tread 1.5 with Sora components. No complaints. The stuff is pretty good. I have zero complaints about the bike; the island is hilly so it's a good work out for the bike and me (my basic 25 mile training rides have 3200 ft of climbing). I'm having a bike shipped to me here; a 1996 Bianchi volpe. The bike has 3 x 7 gearing. I'll appreciate the 26 tooth inner on some of the climbs but I'll miss the brifters.
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Old 07-04-16, 08:48 AM
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the reverse.. my Screwed and glued AlAn, developed cracks, so I Bought a Steel Frame and moved the old components over..

USE , UK, had seat post sizing shims with 25mm ID, so I Kept using the Same seat post too.
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Old 07-04-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I'm an idiot as far as engineering (well, most things actually), but as I understand it, the depth of the more modern rims is why this works. The spokes aren't nearly as long and the rim is absorbing more of the pressure.
Fortunately, I am a mechanical engineer, so I can address this. The deep V-shape would indeed be stronger than a conventional flatter rim, if the material thickness is the same. However, this would add a lot to the weight of the rim (more material in the V shape versus the flat rim if the extruded aluminum was the same thickness). The extra weight is counterproductive though: it's not only increased the weight of the rim, but that extra weight is on the perimeter of the rim, which adds to the rotational inertia of the wheel. So manufacturers evidently have decreased the material thickness, which means that the overall strength of the rim could be same--IF we don't factor in the point load of the individual spokes, or increase the distance between them. Each spoke puts a high stress on the rim right at the spoke hole. Thinner material means the spoke can pull through the rim easier, which is exactly what happened on the Campy rim on that bike I bought. The spokes began to pull through and the rim developed longitudinal stress cracks propagating lengthwise from each spoke hole. Having fewer spokes compounds this problem since each spoke sees more tension (than a comparable wheel with more spokes)--higher tension on each spoke plus thinner material. Plus, having fewer spokes increases the distance between each spoke. For any shape that must withstand forces, increasing the distance between the supports is increasing what we call the span. Fewer spokes means a longer span; having a longer span increases the deflection and increases the bending stresses for that span.

So yes, the rim is absorbing more of the "pressure"--but that is exactly what we don't need! The lifespan of the wheel can be reduced if we have fewer spokes because a) each spoke is putting more point load on the rim and b) the distance between spokes is increased which puts more stress in the rim. Yes we've saved a few grams by reducing the number of spokes and making them a few millimeters shorter, but we've had to change the shape of the rim to a deeper profile and decrease the thickness of the rim material to avoid the weight penalty of the deeper profile.

Imagine if you were getting on an airplane and the pilot came on the intercom to announce "hey good news folks, our wings are now 10% flimsier"....
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Old 07-04-16, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by nashvillebill
Fortunately, I am a mechanical engineer, so I can address this. The deep V-shape would indeed be stronger than a conventional flatter rim, if the material thickness is the same. However, this would add a lot to the weight of the rim (more material in the V shape versus the flat rim if the extruded aluminum was the same thickness). The extra weight is counterproductive though: it's not only increased the weight of the rim, but that extra weight is on the perimeter of the rim, which adds to the rotational inertia of the wheel. So manufacturers evidently have decreased the material thickness, which means that the overall strength of the rim could be same--IF we don't factor in the point load of the individual spokes, or increase the distance between them. Each spoke puts a high stress on the rim right at the spoke hole. Thinner material means the spoke can pull through the rim easier, which is exactly what happened on the Campy rim on that bike I bought. The spokes began to pull through and the rim developed longitudinal stress cracks propagating lengthwise from each spoke hole. Having fewer spokes compounds this problem since each spoke sees more tension (than a comparable wheel with more spokes)--higher tension on each spoke plus thinner material. Plus, having fewer spokes increases the distance between each spoke. For any shape that must withstand forces, increasing the distance between the supports is increasing what we call the span. Fewer spokes means a longer span; having a longer span increases the deflection and increases the bending stresses for that span.

So yes, the rim is absorbing more of the "pressure"--but that is exactly what we don't need! The lifespan of the wheel can be reduced if we have fewer spokes because a) each spoke is putting more point load on the rim and b) the distance between spokes is increased which puts more stress in the rim. Yes we've saved a few grams by reducing the number of spokes and making them a few millimeters shorter, but we've had to change the shape of the rim to a deeper profile and decrease the thickness of the rim material to avoid the weight penalty of the deeper profile.

Imagine if you were getting on an airplane and the pilot came on the intercom to announce "hey good news folks, our wings are now 10% flimsier"....
Same caveat - I don't know what I'm talking about, and don't know what I don't know.

I've got about 1500 miles on my shiny new bike with low spoke count and deep rims...so not enough to judge yet, but so far, so good. The advantage as I understand it has less to do with weight and more to do with aero profile. Also, the CF rims and material advances have made this less problematic. Essentially you can build a lighter, more aero profiled rim with fewer spokes because of material advances.

I'm a big guy...bigger than the bike was likely intended for...and it's a gravel bike that I've shown some abuse to. I'm pretty happy with the wheels thus far.

Also - wouldn't the span distance also be reduced by the shorter actual distance from rim to hub, somewhat compensating for the reduced spoke count?

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