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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Best Buys for Triathletes

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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Best Buys for Triathletes

Old 10-09-20, 10:24 AM
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Road Test/Bike Review (1984) Best Buys for Triathletes

There were no "triathlete bikes" in 1984, but there were bicycle manufacturers eager to tap into the growing market of a nascent sport.
The article was prescient of the key change to come -- introduction of the Quintana Roo Superform in 1989, and the subsequent acceptance of steep seat tube angle (76 degrees and greater) as the key feature of "tri-specific" frame geometry.

Enough already.
The affordable, tight, short-wheelbase racing bikes reviewed in this article are CENTURION Comp TA, PANASONIC Team, PINARELLO Triathlon G.S.,

WTB: Slingshot road model (1990s era; 18" L or 20" XL frame size)
WTB: Slingshot promotional documents (catalog, pamphlets, etc).
WTB: American Cycling Jun-Jul 1965; Jan - Aug, Oct 1966; Mar, Jul 1967.
WTB: Bicycle Guide issues, all you have.
WTB: Bike World issues Feb - Sep 1972; Jun 1974; Mar-Apr 1978.
WTB: ZIPP 500 front wheel (650c clincher)

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Old 10-09-20, 02:57 PM
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The gearing range even for entry level comp road bikes was crazy back then.
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Old 10-09-20, 04:20 PM
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What I found interesting were the size of the frames used by "athletes" in this article. Is this what would be referred to as "French Fit" ?
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Old 10-09-20, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
What I found interesting were the size of the frames used by "athletes" in this article. Is this what would be referred to as "French Fit" ?

I don't know, but I've had french fit with less seatpost showing than that.
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Old 10-10-20, 05:13 AM
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Interesting that none of the bikes were equipped with either Shimano Dura Ace AX of 600 AX, introduced in 1982, and were touted for their aerodynamic properties which would increase overall speed and reduce time.

I suppose triathletes in the early 1980s were not concerned about achieving better finish times?

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Old 10-10-20, 10:44 PM
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Regarding aero bike design, I suspect that then, as now, cyclists knew their own bodies were the main aerodynamic drag. Almost nothing on a road bike creates significant enough drag to worry about, compared with the cyclist's own body position and snug kit.

I noticed the Centurion Ironman bikes tended to incorporate Shimano and Suntour groups that were sorta-aero for that era. The Suntour GPX group has flowing lines in the crank spider, brakes, the usual aero brake hoods, even the downtube shifters are a bit more streamlined than some from that era.

Some users report the Dura Ace AX setup was a PITA, including cable routing for the rear derailleur. I'm sure plenty of wind tunnel tests have been done to check the gains made by internal cable routing, etc., but it's probably still all marginal compared with aero bars of any kind, getting low and a skinsuit or snug kit and reasonably aero helmet.

And some aero components of the era before single purpose TT bikes seemed like a bit of a stretch, such as aero seat posts. Hard to imagine how that could make enough difference to justify the cost on bikes before aero bars were in common use. As uncomfortable as the early Scott bars were, that single addition probably made more practical difference than the shape of any component.
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