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Shopping for a modern bike... Question from fellow C&V-ers

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Shopping for a modern bike... Question from fellow C&V-ers

Old 07-29-21, 04:37 PM
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LibertyFLS
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Shopping for a modern bike... Question from fellow C&V-ers

Hello everyone, if this is already answered and I didn't find it in searches, or it's in the wrong place etc, please delete/move.

So I'm 1 year into cycling and still loving it, besides being the windiest year I think I've ever experienced where I live which really makes it a lot less fun to ride. I've had 4 C&V bikes since last Aug, and sold one of them to a member on here many states away! My main ride is a 73-4 Falcon San Remo, I also have an '80 SR Semi Pro (kids main bike) and an '88 Trek 360. After a year, I feel that if I'm riding for fitness and want to keep up with friends on modern bikes, I kind of need a modern myself. I also feel that maybe my almost 50 year old bike which I love should be treated more like my classic Benz and just ridden now and then when I feel like it, mainly on weekends and otherwise stored safely so it's around for years to come.

Which brings me to what I've been shopping.
I'm looking for a new bike under 2k, and have pretty much narrowed it down to the Marin Nicasio 2 or a Giant Contend AR2. I love that the Marin is made with 4130 double butted tubing, but I don't love that the complete bike is heavier than my 50 year old Falcon. The Giant is aluminum and has a slightly better/lighter groupset (Shimano 105 vs. Tiagra on the Marin), I love the dark blue and the geometry, but it's kind of boring and it's a bike from the biggest company in the world and I tend to like more boutique or rarer less common things... My probably #1 choice would be a State Bicycle Co. Undefeated but after watching their site all year and signing up for notification, they're still out of stock so that one is off the list unless I get an email in the next few days saying they're in stock.

The Marin weighs approx 24.5 pounds and the Giant is approx 20.5 so there's around a 4 pound difference. I prefer the Marin brand, I live in CA and have never seen anyone riding a Marin road or all-road bike, so I would definitely have a bike probably no one I ever came across has. But the Giant is lighter. Which should I choose, and is 4 pounds that big of a deal, which it is like 20% more so, just not sure. The 4130 Marin keeps me on a "steel is real" vibe, the color and look is on point, but the weight of it has me feeling, if I drop close to 2k and don't like it, I'm kind of stuck with it. The Giant is just another modern aluminum frame, decent bike in a color I love, wish the GIANT letters were a lot more subtle though.

Thanks as always for the input!
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Old 07-29-21, 05:05 PM
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Figure out what niche you wish to fill with the new bike that isn't filled with the old bikes. You're saying that you want to keep up with other road cyclists? I'm not sure I'd choose chromoly unless there was a compelling reason to choose it. Are you doing hills?

You seem to be looking at wider tire bikes, and that may be something that your other bikes aren't giving you. Touring Bike?

In my case, I did a frame-up build on a vintage CF frame with more modern components. I like the narrower tires, and it turned out quite nice. The bike is sharp, and overall, I think I spent around the price of the new bikes you're looking at.
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Old 07-29-21, 05:09 PM
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If you're gonna drop two grand on something "modern" anything over 17lbs means you're doing it wrong. Lightly used carbon fiber is everywhere.
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Old 07-29-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
In my case, I did a frame-up build on a vintage CF frame with more modern components. I like the narrower tires, and it turned out quite nice. The bike is sharp, and overall, I think I spent around the price of the new bikes you're looking at.
This is the route I would take. (remember that you're in the C&V section) Find a nice steel frame and put better components on it than you would get on a new one. Style and performance.
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Old 07-29-21, 05:15 PM
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Good questions. I have test ridden the Marin Nicasio and felt like it was a pretty decent bike, although performance-wise, I don't know that it could beat something like my 1970 Gitane Tour de France, which weighs in at 21.5 lbs., in any metric that matters: hill climbing, sprinting, whatever. But then, I have been known to drop weekend warriors on $5,000 carbon bikes with my ancient '70s steel. I did road race BITD, for what that's worth, and I'm a very fit 55 years old now.

I get not wanting to buy the Giant, I wouldn't want to either. Maybe broaden your horizons further, and look at some other brands as well, such as All-City, Soma, and Surly. They all have some sweet 4130 road bikes. But then, I'm a diehard steel guy, don't know that I'll ever own an aluminum, and definitely not a carbon fiber bike. Can't really speak of State Bicycle Co., I am not familiar with their lineup.

You might also think about getting a well-kept 70s-80s high end Italian or Japanese road bike (although seems like the SR Semi Pro would qualify). Those can be found in your budget, frequently weigh around 20 lbs., and could almost certainly (depending on your fitness and determination), keep up with your riding buddies.
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Old 07-29-21, 05:20 PM
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Also, there are a bunch of steel alloys.
Reynolds 753 and 853 are common with the higher end steel bikes.

Lemond?
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Old 07-29-21, 05:31 PM
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If you want a bike to enable you to keep up with the cool kids, it should be as light as possible, and @Fahrenheit531 is right that a modern bike should be lighter than 20 lbs. I went on a ride where I couldn't keep up and can't say for sure but it might have been because of my old heavy bike. If weight isn't important, then I question your premises. You do not need to baby an old steel bike. One thing you might enjoy, though, is a neo-retro where you put modern components on an old steel frame. In many ways, you get the best of both worlds. But it won't necessarily be light. I retro-ized my 1971 Raleigh Super Course, and I think it's heavier than original now. That's because I did it frugally with a heavy crankset and shifters. You can make it lighter than original but it won't be like a new carbon or aluminum bike.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:17 PM
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It's been said before: spending money on a bike to go faster pales in comparison to strengthening the engine, up until you are close or really into the professional competitive level.
Put another way (IMHO), any decent road bike from the 70's onward, with your choice of period or modern component upgrades, will put you in the running with your peers (in terms of age and fitness). And if you're trying to compete in a group that is younger and/or stronger than yourself, I doubt upgrading your equipment to the latest and greatest is going to close the gap.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:29 PM
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Thank you for the comments everyone! I should have clarified that yes climbing hills is a big part of it. I can keep up everywhere except when we get to the big climbs and then my 24 tooth rear maximum on a 40 something front just simply doesn’t allow me to hang with the guys that have such a wide range of gearing. I don’t want to bend my frame in order to fit a modern rear end but I have considered getting an old steel frame and building it with modern components.

Maybe it’s just that itch to have something new. I love riding the old bikes, but technology has made modern bikes and components far superior.

The Falcon is 531 and the SR is Tange of some variety but in its day the Falcon was a much higher end bike.

I’m also 50-something and very fit, lift weights & cycle so it’s not trying to keep up with fitter people.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:30 PM
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I know three things when it comes to keeping up with others on modern (expensive) bikes while I ride my C&V.

I can drop many of those that are riding $4000 carbon bikes.
Many (probably more) can drop me while they ride their $4000 carbon bikes.
If we all switched bikes, the above two numbers are unlikely to materially change.

I do like the All City brand. Their little touches are reminiscent of C&V. And, they have great paint. Their bikes tend to be a little more gravel/cross than pure road, but if you want fatter tires they have plenty of options.
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Old 07-29-21, 06:50 PM
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I should add, riding the hoods on Universal 68 brakes is, horrible, so uncomfortable they’re literally square blocks of aluminum.

I have looked at All City, I will take another deeper look!

Last edited by LibertyFLS; 07-29-21 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:02 PM
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How much you update a "vintage" bike is up to you. That is an advantage from starting from a bare frame and building as you desire.

I've successfully built a 9s wheel using 126mm dropouts and an "Off-Center/Asymmetric" rim. And, presumably 10s would work to. But, a lot of people suggest just cold setting the rear triangle.

I'm a big fan of modern "aero" brake levers. Origin 8 Classique, TRP, Tektro, Cane Creek, etc. My biggest problem was that I lost the brake adjusters when I removed the long worn out Universal levers. But, one can add inline barrel adjusters.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LibertyFLS View Post
Hello everyone, if this is already answered and I didn't find it in searches, or it's in the wrong place etc, please delete/move.

So I'm 1 year into cycling and still loving it, besides being the windiest year I think I've ever experienced where I live which really makes it a lot less fun to ride. I've had 4 C&V bikes since last Aug, and sold one of them to a member on here many states away! My main ride is a 73-4 Falcon San Remo, I also have an '80 SR Semi Pro (kids main bike) and an '88 Trek 360. After a year, I feel that if I'm riding for fitness and want to keep up with friends on modern bikes, I kind of need a modern myself. I also feel that maybe my almost 50 year old bike which I love should be treated more like my classic Benz and just ridden now and then when I feel like it, mainly on weekends and otherwise stored safely so it's around for years to come.

Which brings me to what I've been shopping.
I'm looking for a new bike under 2k, and have pretty much narrowed it down to the Marin Nicasio 2 or a Giant Contend AR2. I love that the Marin is made with 4130 double butted tubing, but I don't love that the complete bike is heavier than my 50 year old Falcon. The Giant is aluminum and has a slightly better/lighter groupset (Shimano 105 vs. Tiagra on the Marin), I love the dark blue and the geometry, but it's kind of boring and it's a bike from the biggest company in the world and I tend to like more boutique or rarer less common things... My probably #1 choice would be a State Bicycle Co. Undefeated but after watching their site all year and signing up for notification, they're still out of stock so that one is off the list unless I get an email in the next few days saying they're in stock.

The Marin weighs approx 24.5 pounds and the Giant is approx 20.5 so there's around a 4 pound difference. I prefer the Marin brand, I live in CA and have never seen anyone riding a Marin road or all-road bike, so I would definitely have a bike probably no one I ever came across has. But the Giant is lighter. Which should I choose, and is 4 pounds that big of a deal, which it is like 20% more so, just not sure. The 4130 Marin keeps me on a "steel is real" vibe, the color and look is on point, but the weight of it has me feeling, if I drop close to 2k and don't like it, I'm kind of stuck with it. The Giant is just another modern aluminum frame, decent bike in a color I love, wish the GIANT letters were a lot more subtle though.

Thanks as always for the input!
been there, done the cf route.
came back to steel with modern wheels and groupset. It dont mean a thing.
it is the engine
comfort, style and the benefit of Brifters.
i keep up with the modern kids, even on climbs
50 chainring, 28 or 30 cassette, light alloy wheels and there you go
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Old 07-29-21, 07:10 PM
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Picking the "right" bike for "performance" is 99% mental. It fits, it "feels" right, you will enjoy it more, it will be "faster". So asking my opinion on what you like is kind of dumb. (other than the fact red bikes are the fastest)

And of course what Geoff wrote is correct. And the difference between my modern 15.5 pound 22 gear steel bike and my un-modern 24.5 pound 8 gear steel bike is about 5 minutes over the course of 2 hours.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:12 PM
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Vintage doesn't have to be steel. A 90's Cannondale will give you a 130 spread and a good jump start on building a sub 20 lb bike. Fast frames that can be had at a very reasonable price and since you're fit, the stiffness will be a bonus as you climb those hills.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:17 PM
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It sounds like you don't like the Giant - it's aluminum, the decals and not too unique. We all agree the Marin is too heavy.
I would suggest you look into Gunnar frames - handmade modern steel and build it up how you want.
Check out listings on ebay - it's a great way to get ideas about what else you might like.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:17 PM
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OP needs to look at the retro brifter/ergo thread. I think it's in the Early Brifter Bikes section now.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:26 PM
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Nothing wrong with wanting a fresh new bike, but at that price point availability may be squeezing your options. Used market may produce a gem, or a retro upgrade build could be just the ticket.
I've gone the upgrade route and frankly have more bike than I need. Livin' the dream. Here's one of mine:

'86 Miyata 912 - 3x9 Campagnolo Veloce/Racing Triple, Fulcrum Racing 6 wheelset.


Also have an '87 Centurion Ironman 2x9 and an '88 Schwinn Premis 3x9. If I can't climb it on one of these, I can't climb it.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:38 PM
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2 Gs doesn't get you under 20lbs these days? Is that with discs or rim brakes? Is that because the OP wants steel? What exactly are you getting then? You could buy a used high end bike and upgrade the components. I need to find and list the "Fast bikes with triples" thread. If the OP is committed to steel, he can get some great ideas from that one and the retro thread.

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Old 07-29-21, 07:51 PM
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Here ya go.

Retro roadies- old frames with STI's or Ergos

Pics of fast bikes with triples?
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Old 07-29-21, 08:16 PM
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Keeping up

Originally Posted by LibertyFLS View Post
I can keep up everywhere except when we get to the big climbs and then my 24 tooth rear maximum on a 40 something front just simply doesn’t allow me to hang with the guys that have such a wide range of gearing.
...
I’m also 50-something and very fit, lift weights & cycle so it’s not trying to keep up with fitter people.
Lots of good advice in-thead, but I want to focus on this.

If you are keeping a reasonable RPM during these climbs, and are dropped as you're out of breath, a new bike is unlikely to help unless the bike+rider weight goes down by a significant fraction. You need more watts/kg.

If the others are at a reasonable RPM but at a speed where you need to stand to keep the pedals moving (or are inefficiently mashing slowly), then I think you need lower gearing, not necessarily a new bike. Even a 39/28 (1.39) is dramatically different than a 42/24 (1.75). That would move a 40rpm effort to 50rpm. And 39/28 might well be possible with your existing rear derailleur and crank set.

Tons of "lower gearing" threads exist to search through.

[Note that I'm assuming good maintenance, fit and positioning. There are stories of massive speed increases with a new bike; only possible if the old had some massive source of friction.]

I did find that when I ride with stronger folks, and am mostly drafting, that reaching for the downtube often leaves me gapped by a half bike length. If I suspect I'm the weakest of the 2-4 riders, I'll typically take my brifter bike, even though I'm faster solo on the Ironman.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:34 PM
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Here's a bike I'll be finishing tomorrow for a ride in late August. It'll eventually get a 3rd ring. Compact for that ride. 9 speed,(could be 10) brifters, brand new dual pivot brakes and a long cage RD in case I want a big a$$ cassette on back. Finished out as is, it'll be 21-22lbs.

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Old 07-29-21, 08:38 PM
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Have a lot of bikes, and at 70 years old there’s only so much that equipment can do to help one keep up with a fast group (‘fast’ being subjective).
All of my racing style steel bikes are fast, relative to other fast steel bikes ridden by moderately competent older guys. Think quality frame tubing, DA or equivalent components, high end tires and wheels, really superlatively tuned, and ridden with, shall we say, casual determination. None heavier than 21 pounds.
Having said that, on fast club rides I reach for the Canyon Endurace. Carbon frame, 105 11 speed, disk brakes, maybe 17 pounds. It does make a difference, cost right at $2K.

Also train thru the winter on a Neo2T six days a week. So, there’s that.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:46 PM
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This one weighs 19.94lbs as it stands. If I started putting carbon this and carbon that on it, I could get it in the 17-18lb range. Instead, I'm going to lube it up, replace the consumables, maybe brifters or barcons, then ride the $hit out of it.
With the budget you've set, and the commitment to steel, I don't know if you'll get much of, if any improvement over a modernized/upgraded used frame. You'll get the new bike look/smell. Maybe not much else. That's OK, new stuff is always nice!

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Old 07-29-21, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Have a lot of bikes, and at 70 years old there’s only so much that equipment can do to help one keep up with a fast group (‘fast’ being subjective).
All of my racing style steel bikes are fast, relative to other fast steel bikes ridden by moderately competent older guys. Think quality frame tubing, DA or equivalent components, high end tires and wheels, really superlatively tuned, and ridden with, shall we say, casual determination. None heavier than 21 pounds.
Having said that, on fast club rides I reach for the Canyon Endurace. Carbon frame, 105 11 speed, disk brakes, maybe 17 pounds. It does make a difference, cost right at $2K.

Also train thru the winter on a Neo2T six days a week. So, there’s that.
Listen to Doc, and take his advice. He knows what he's talking about. With that budget, CF could be the better choice.
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