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When do you realize you were a retro-grouch?

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When do you realize you were a retro-grouch?

Old 05-30-17, 03:36 PM
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When do you realize you were a retro-grouch?

I know a few of you actually embrace new technologies, but I'm assuming their are enough self-aware retro-grouches here to make this an interesting discussion. Presumably none of us were born wistfully pining away for obsolete technology. Maybe you used to ride (or at least want to ride) bikes with all the latest features and then eventually things started to come out that you just decided you didn't need. Maybe the components you like now predate your riding experience but once you were introduced to them you thought "Hey, that's really cool!"

I rode cheap Varsity-ish friction shifting bikes as a kid, but didn't get into cycling as an adult until the 10-speed STI era. My first quality road bike had 9-speed Tiagra and I eagerly upgraded it to 10-speed Ultegra when I could. A couple of years after that I added a disc brake and could wait for hydraulic road discs to arrive. I loved new tech!

Then came Di2. From the first time I saw it, I thought "Ewww!" I don't want a bike like that. I like shifting, and I like fixing my shifting when it isn't right.

I guess this changed something in my mindset because when 11-speed came out, I didn't want that either. I was happy with 10-speed and I didn't want to have to buy new wheels. And then CX bikes started coming with thru-axles. I didn't want that either because, again, I liked the wheels I had and wanted to keep them.

You might think maybe I'm just a cheap skate who doesn't like buying new wheels. Au contraire! I just built a set of 650B wheels because wide, supple tires is a technology trend I can get behind. So I'm willing to get new wheels to adopt old technology. I also just like building wheels.

So I have come to accept that I am a retro-grouch. I may look like a technophile to some of you with my retro-roadie builds of everything I get, but I can't plausibly deny that I am just an early member of the next wave of retro-grouches. I've accepted that this is my fate.

What about the rest of you? Can you identify some single technology shift that marked the end of the road for you? If not, how did it happen?
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Old 05-30-17, 03:44 PM
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I blame bike forums. I used to periodically "upgrade" my bike stuff but then I stumbled on to this website. Before you knew it, I fell through this rabbit hole and started hankering after old bikes. What the heck, I figure I can now finally afford to buy the bikes I thought were cool when I worked in a bike shop in the 1980s. I was in college then and couldn't afford those bikes; now they're all on sale. How cool is that?
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Old 05-30-17, 03:46 PM
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I bought several expensive brand new bicycles. Then I realized that for 85% of my rides they were really no better than the older friction ones. But,if Campy 10sp isn't retrogrouch now, I live comfortably in the modern and retro world.

edit: If I have to be labeled- call me 'retro-modern-neo-grouch'.
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Old 05-30-17, 03:52 PM
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When my daughter was born (22 years ago) and I couldn't afford to upgrade - all the new stuff just ..... was not good. On account I could not afford it....

But I'm on the verge of probably getting a Twin Six Rando - disc brakes, 10 or 11 spd. Maybe I'll go 1X.
Looking forward to getting a bike with plenty of tire clearance instead of forcing fat tires through the brake pads because I'm too lazy to pump them up twice.

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Old 05-30-17, 04:02 PM
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I've always had a soft spot for old stuff that isn't broken. Especially if there's some sort of mechanical technology involved. If it clicks, whirs, ticks or even just moves smoothly, I'm interested. The acquisition of an old racing bike (derailleurs! freewheels!) was just waiting to happen. Things did kind of get blown out of proportion after stumbling into this community, though.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:11 PM
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I'm still using an iPhone 5S because it's small, easily fits in my pocket and I hate doing anything but the basics on my cellphone. The reaction I get from people who can't believe I'm still using a 5S I think qualifies me as a retro-grouch. I'm not quite there when it comes to bikes though.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:13 PM
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When I looked at new bikes and discovered they're marketed towards delusional people who think clearance for tyres bigger than 25c, or mudguard eyelets would make your bike slower.

My position was confirmed when I saw the price of STIs.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:22 PM
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Airhead BMWs and 8 speed STI places me firmly in the retro mode . Not a grouch though, retro still makes me smile, I'm just going slower .
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Old 05-30-17, 04:24 PM
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Recovering retro grouch here.

Gravel bikes and my full suspension Yeti have completed cured me of this affliction.

I still dig old bikes though, but I don't go quite as whacky about them as I used to thankfully.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:27 PM
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I mix and match, but there are some lines I don't think I will cross....so I am mostly grouch

Lines to not be crossed:
Carbon Frame
Disc brakes
electronic shifting
threadless stem
Thru axle

Tech I am fine with
Brifters
dual pivot brakes
clipless pedals
gps watches, HRM etc
nice Led lights

on the other hand I have tried and just don't like one of the retro grouch's favorites: Barcons...... keep hitting them with my knee
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Old 05-30-17, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I know a few of you actually embrace new technologies
Appropriate technologies are how I view it.

Although the most difficult ride of my season is on 19th century fixed gear tech, keep a '74 that I built up when new in regular service riding the most challenging terrain in my area at pace at my age requires something other than my '92 race bike to get up and over with reasonable stress.

In fact my '77 FG will be fitted w/ a low spoke count AL/CF aero front wheel for this year's FG century.

As always, suit yourself.

-Bandera
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Old 05-30-17, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
...I can now finally afford to buy the bikes I thought were cool when I worked in a bike shop in the 1980s. I was in college then and couldn't afford those bikes; now they're all on sale. How cool is that?
^ This is me, except I never worked in a bike store.

I had one college roommate who had a brand new Cannondale in 1988 or so. That bike probably cost him (or his parents) more than my car was worth at the time. Meanwhile, I had a rusty old Sears Free Spirit 10-speed with stem shifters and disintegrating Grab-On grips that a guy gave me for helping him move.

Now that I think of it, I guess that old bike made me a C&V rider way back in the '80s, right?
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Old 05-30-17, 04:39 PM
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I have never bought into that "steel is real" mantra nor do I diss on lower end vintage bicycles. I can, however, get pretty grouchy when I see people modifying vintage frames in an irreversible manner. Really grouchy! Do I qualify as an RG?
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Old 05-30-17, 04:39 PM
  #14  
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I've been specializing in fine tuning ancient technology - making fix gears that work in the mountains. Sometimes working with a machinist to make parts that don't exist. What does that make me?

When it works as intended, I can be seen with an ear-to-ear grin. So not retro and not a grouch.

Ben
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Old 05-30-17, 04:43 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I have never bought into that "steel is real" mantra nor do I diss on lower end vintage bicycles. I can, however, get pretty grouchy when I see people modifying vintage frames in an irreversible manner. Really grouchy! Do I qualify as an RG?
My Peter Mooney will have the guide for the rear derailleur housing taken off and re-brazed under the chainstay so my wrench clears it when I tighten fix gear hub nuts. I think an early Peter Mooney qualifies as vintage. Is that OK?

Ben
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Old 05-30-17, 04:50 PM
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I got away from cycling for about 15-20 years, riding only occassionally. Work, marriage, kids, the standard story. When the kids started getting old enough that mommy didn't feel abandoned entirely if I went out to do something for myself, I pulled out an old bike, oiled it up, and it still worked. But I didn't fit into any of my old jerseys. Then I looked at the cost of new jersies. And new bikes. And new drivetrains. I liked it when 6, then 7 speed freewheels became available, then 8 speed cassettes. Once it got to 9, cost started skyrocketing. The BB on my old carbon fiber Allez broke. A buddy of mine joined the Elfdom and bought a Riv LongLow. I saw nothing wrong with it, outside of the Wald basket he bolted onto the front. As a mechanical engineer, the toughness of steel appeals to me. As an overweight, middle-aged guy, shaving ounces off a bike doesn't make sense anymore.

That and my wrenching skills froze in time from working at many LBS's in the 80's. Battery powered derailleurs? C'mon!
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Old 05-30-17, 04:53 PM
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"A single technology..."
Solid fuel maybe...
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Old 05-30-17, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I'm still using an iPhone 5S because it's small, easily fits in my pocket and I hate doing anything but the basics on my cellphone. The reaction I get from people who can't believe I'm still using a 5S I think qualifies me as a retro-grouch.
Relatable. I used my wife's first generation iPhone until our provider stopped supporting it. I have an iPhone 5S now and see no reason to upgrade. Frankly, I liked my old Razr flip phone (also a hand-me-down from my wife) better than any phone I've had since.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
I mix and match, but there are some lines I don't think I will cross....so I am mostly grouch

Lines to not be crossed:
Carbon Frame
Disc brakes
electronic shifting
threadless stem
Thru axle

Tech I am fine with
Brifters
dual pivot brakes
clipless pedals
gps watches, HRM etc
nice Led lights
This is pretty close to my list. I like disc brakes and don't like gps/hrm. I'm willing to tolerate threadless stems on new bikes, but I prefer quill stems. I do like wireless bike computers.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:59 PM
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Even as a kid I liked old stuff. One of my summer jobs was working in an antique shop. I bought a plastic bike a few years ago but basically couldn't afford the upkeep so sold it for a loss. My bikes are old simple clunky and robust. I drive a 1963 Falcon. The newest things I own are shoes, tee shirts etc. I bought a 2004 D28 new only because i could afford an old one.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:10 PM
  #21  
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"If it ain't broken, don't replace it."
"If it is broken and can be repaired reasonably, don't replace it."

I discovered road bicycles at age 12 (Christmas 1962), got into serious commuting and recreational cycling in college, and kept riding the same type of equipment.

I like 32- to 40-spoke wheels because they are reliable, truable, and maintainable, and traditional 3X or 4X lacing patterns look good.

I like Moly steel frames with a sports touring geometry because they are comfortable and versatile. (Need to increase rear axle OLD? No problem. Want real (not callout) 28mm or even 32mm tires? No problem.)

I like horizontal top tubes and lugs because both look good.

I like friction shift because I can endlessly mix and match components and never worry about small amounts of cable stretch.

I like my old bicycles because they continue to serve me well without draining my nest egg.

I would rather have something old, rare, high-end, and durable, like my collectible Capo Sieger, than something anyone else with a bit of money can buy.

At the same time, I would also rather have something old, beat-up, and not collectible, like my Peugeot UO-8, for running errands and stress-free parking at work, the gym, shopping, etc.

I am devoid of natural athletic talent and have no delusions that a $10K superbike will make me something I am not.

I have turned into a bit of a retrogrouch on automobiles, as well. Since I have yet to find anything as perfectly configured and sized as our 2001 VW Passat wagon, I dread the day we would have to replace it. There are several newer models that could replace my 1996 Audi A4 sedan, but it looks great, runs great, and is still a blast to drive, so why replace it?
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Old 05-30-17, 05:20 PM
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Everything just got old.

It all began innocently enough with a hunt for a good bargain on a used road bike in Parma Italy... well, back in 1982.

I had an acquaintance named Renzo helping me look, but perhaps by the early 80's, things were already beginning to shift, and I just didn't realize it yet. Out was the old Record and Nuovo Record, and in was the Super Record. Perhaps more Shimano coming to the heart of Campagnolo territory. Anyway, Renzo brought me a couple of bikes that weren't quite right. Heck, perhaps they were already too modern? Then he showed up with this 14 year old Colnago Super, (probably reassembled). It was the right bike for me at the time. It has been beat on and upgraded over the years.

Somehow my 14 year old bike became over 45 years old.

I'm still experimenting and exploring, and trying to find my place with a mix between classic and modern. So, not fully retro, not fully modern.

I did go mostly car-free a couple of years ago, and started putting money that would have gone to Saudi Arabia into bicycles

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I blame bike forums. I used to periodically "upgrade" my bike stuff but then I stumbled on to this website. Before you knew it, I fell through this rabbit hole and started hankering after old bikes.
Yep, perhaps a bit of Bike Forums. Perhaps a bit of exploring. Realizing my old road bike is now a vintage classic, even if it is well worn from years of use. PATINA?
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Old 05-30-17, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I'm still using an iPhone 5S because it's small, easily fits in my pocket and I hate doing anything but the basics on my cellphone. The reaction I get from people who can't believe I'm still using a 5S I think qualifies me as a retro-grouch. I'm not quite there when it comes to bikes though.
You have a cell phone?

Actually, I finally broke down and got one a few weeks ago, mainly because I needed an iPod and the 128GB iPhone SE was $250 at virgin, so I thought WTH, I might as well get it. (The corresponding ipod touch was $400).

As for my new bike, I wanted hydraulic disc brakes and to get that at the time I also had to get Di2. But the frame at least is steel.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:37 PM
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I don't really consider myself a retro grouch per se. There's a lot to like in certain new frames and technologies. Price can be a factor on some new bikes that I'd love to have if money were no object. I like my expanding collection and have paid very fair prices to the seller and for myself for much of what I have. I like each for what they are. At the end of the day, I could likely have ONE of what I lust after for what I have in all combined. That's not really my style and think I'd get bored of one bike...

As a rider, I ride nearly strictly road. I enjoy riding by myself much more than I do in groups as it's a time I use to clear my head. So wanting to 'one up' a riding buddy/friend/group with the best new frame or component doesn't ever enter into the equation for me. Weight tends to never factor in either as I'm not racing and I ride at my pace. I could take more lbs off myself than would ever come off a bike.

Lastly, the form and function of a bicycle is beautiful to my eyes. I like what I ride to look the part and each are babied. All are kept in a room inside the house and it's nice to see them daily. Very few new frames speak to me the way well crafted steel does.
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Old 05-30-17, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Appropriate technologies are how I view it.

Although the most difficult ride of my season is on 19th century fixed gear tech, keep a '74 that I built up when new in regular service riding the most challenging terrain in my area at pace at my age requires something other than my '92 race bike to get up and over with reasonable stress.

In fact my '77 FG will be fitted w/ a low spoke count AL/CF aero front wheel for this year's FG century.

As always, suit yourself.

-Bandera
I'm seriously tempted to build a fixed gear bike and do a century after reading about your ride. Fortunately it's a heck of a lot flatter in central Iowa than the Texas hill country. I think I'm going to build up my 1978 Trek 510 into a fixed gear and install some fenders for crummy weather riding.
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