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Six Reasons Why Vintage Road Bikes Are Better Than Modern Road Bikes

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Six Reasons Why Vintage Road Bikes Are Better Than Modern Road Bikes

Old 07-06-22, 06:46 PM
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prairiepedaler
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Six Reasons Why Vintage Road Bikes Are Better Than Modern Road Bikes

This video might have already made the rounds here, but in case it hasn't:

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Old 07-06-22, 07:48 PM
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steelbikeguy
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honestly, I just had the discussion about electronic shifter issues with a friend last Saturday. He had some problems with the bluetooth link between his shifter and derailleur. By chance, I was riding my Olmo Competition that is very similar to the one in the video.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 07-06-22, 08:04 PM
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52telecaster
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Honestly I ride vintage because I can afford it.
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Old 07-06-22, 11:22 PM
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For most uses older bikes work perfectly well, and I especially love their simplicity and interchangeability. One problem that is not too bad now, but is only going to get worse as time goes on, is availability. The 70's-80's, even 90's equipment that used to be everywhere is getting less common every year. As an example, my LBS is a fairly new business, and they don't have any small parts for older bikes.
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Old 07-07-22, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kroozer View Post
For most uses older bikes work perfectly well, and I especially love their simplicity and interchangeability. One problem that is not too bad now, but is only going to get worse as time goes on, is availability. The 70's-80's, even 90's equipment that used to be everywhere is getting less common every year. As an example, my LBS is a fairly new business, and they don't have any small parts for older bikes.
Maybe its time to stock up on these older parts
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Old 07-07-22, 07:44 PM
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Laying up carbon is very hands-on and needs to be done correctly, with many many pieces. There are many frames that do look blobular, but plenty of frames along the way, including many new ones, that have plenty of crisp edges and overall forms that would be beyond impractical to achieve in steel or aluminum (hydroforming would get one close). I think there is plenty of carbon that is very artistic/aesthetically pleasing, just as there is plenty of it that isn't. Low-end lugged bikes aren't particularly artful, but yeah, if we're going top lugged steel vs top carbon, the steel frame's craftmanship is readily apparent. It also helps that its default component color is polished/anodized silver, thus providing the critical Pretty Shiny Things visual element to the bike. Details details details.

The modern stuff is fun and works really well, but like @52telecaster said, I can afford vintage, even (very) nice vintage and vintage componentry, of which I am very thankful. For all the reasons that we know, prices on mid to upper level stuff continues to walk northward, and that simply makes things less appealing. And aside from more affordability, I just have the fact that I got started with a 1985 bike and the standards present at that time allow one to build and upgrade as a novice or expert. Accessibility is appreciated. I like the silver bits, I like the detail and scale of things. I like steel's friendliness to clunks and framesetting and repair. And in combination with the roads around here, my height, my "planned" level of fitness and speed; I know my pace, am happy enough with it, and guess what? I go as fast as I ever would on a nicely updated vintage steel touring bike with nice larger tires and a long wheelbase. My bike doesn't look awkward (because horizontal top tube), I'm not getting jackhammered around on race frames with small tires on these streets, and also perhaps I don't look 'threatening' to cars or pedestrians because who in 2022 is fast on an old looking bike???

I ride vintage 'cause it's pretty. And I'm a big fan of pretty.
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Old 07-07-22, 08:21 PM
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Enjoyed the video, even the slow talking.

Entry to the sport is reasonable and logical.
Tools for the hobby are very reasonable.
The repair principals are logical and forgiving.
Discussions can get into details bordering on insane.
There are plenty of untapped demographics.
There is often drinking.
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Old 07-08-22, 06:04 PM
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I am a vintage bike enthusiast and have owned only one new bike in the past twenty years, a full suspension mountain bike. It was, by the way, great. That said, I do not, necessarily, buy into the old is better than the new.

I find the movie author to be too biased. Many of his arguments do hold water but vintage bikes are not, in my opinion, better than not vintage bikes. That said, many will argue that my 2000 Marinoni falls into the vintage category. If so, fair enough but it is a heck of a lot newer than my other bikes.

If I am looking for the best riding bike in my little collection, this 2000 Marinoni is, absolutely, the most comfortable bike that I own. In my experience and opinion with its Brifter transmission, ergonomic saddle, ergonomic handlebar, SPD pedals, wide gear range, solid side pull brakes, comfortable saddle and lightness, wins hands down...


over this vintage Torpado...


or this vintage Legnano...


The Marinoni is easier to use. Safer to use, Faster than anything else in my collection. And, personally, I am a fan of the aesthetics. All that said, I cannot comment on a new bike's virtues. The author is right, I cannot afford one but I am not so sure that a new bike will not be around, and thought to be vintage, twenty years from today.
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Old 07-08-22, 07:25 PM
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I am in the middle. I love vintage frames and the vintage steel lugged frame look, along with the look of a nice quill stem but also love dual pivot brakes and my compact double 11 speed with sti shifters. best of both worlds.

classic friction is easier to set up and easier to mix/match and macgyver if needed and I find a ride differently, shift less with this setup.

i have nothing against, carbon, electronic shifting, disc brakes, or even pedal assist but not for me right now, reserve the right to change my mind

and threadless stems are soulless and fugly
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Old 07-09-22, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I am a vintage bike enthusiast and have owned only one new bike in the past twenty years, a full suspension mountain bike. It was, by the way, great. That said, I do not, necessarily, buy into the old is better than the new.

I find the movie author to be too biased. Many of his arguments do hold water but vintage bikes are not, in my opinion, better than not vintage bikes. That said, many will argue that my 2000 Marinoni falls into the vintage category. If so, fair enough but it is a heck of a lot newer than my other bikes.

If I am looking for the best riding bike in my little collection, this 2000 Marinoni is, absolutely, the most comfortable bike that I own. In my experience and opinion with its Brifter transmission, ergonomic saddle, ergonomic handlebar, SPD pedals, wide gear range, solid side pull brakes, comfortable saddle and lightness, wins hands down...


over this vintage Torpado...


or this vintage Legnano...


The Marinoni is easier to use. Safer to use, Faster than anything else in my collection. And, personally, I am a fan of the aesthetics. All that said, I cannot comment on a new bike's virtues. The author is right, I cannot afford one but I am not so sure that a new bike will not be around, and thought to be vintage, twenty years from today.
I like quality steel and CF bikes.
I like mechanical and also wonder what the lifespan will be for the electronics now added to the modern bike.
One example is the power meters that are integrated onto cranksets as I got a nice used CF crankset cheap because the PM failed and could not be replaced or fixed.
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Old 07-09-22, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SeeSeeRookRook View Post
Maybe its time to stock up on these older parts
yes, I like to support my local bike shops but they donít have a lot of the parts I need so I buy extra short stem tubes and tan sidewall tires on the internet . I still go in for cables for now but I suspect that will change at some point because the new bikes have different ends.
As far as better, I dunno Iíve never ridden a newer bike. My friend has a very nice Specialized Creo Turbo that he rides . He very rarely uses the ebike function on our rides so it is basically like a regular bike. It weighs 28lbs so not as light as a typical carbon bike but has the same design and puts more power to the road. I have no doubt that the efficiency is improved through modern engineering , but better? I just like classic steel bikes, kind of like when I used to drive around in my 1957 Porsche around. A Toyota was better at braking and probably faster , but oh what class!

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Old 07-09-22, 01:53 PM
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I have a vintage frame with a 5 year old group set on it.

I'm on the larger side and a carbon fiber frame that was comfortable to ride for more than 10 miles was well outside of my budget. It was cheaper to take an old frame and build it up with all new parts.

if I'm on vacation with my bike and something breaks, most shops will have the parts and skill to deal with Shimano 105 (5800). Definitely not the case with early 80s Suntour.
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Old 07-09-22, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RandolphCarter View Post
I have a vintage frame with a 5 year old group set on it.

if I'm on vacation with my bike and something breaks, most shops will have the parts and skill to deal with Shimano 105 (5800). Definitely not the case with early 80s Suntour.
I’m in this camp, but never thought about that aspect. Probably used that advantage once or twice without even knowing it.

For me, it’s about the frames I like with the components that work for me, within my wrenching skills.

I used to be who the shop called for older parts. A huge swap meet cured that non-illness.
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Old 07-24-22, 11:20 AM
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....

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Old 07-24-22, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago15 View Post
More resistant, more comfortable and above all, they can run for 100 years without any problem if maintained, something impossible with carbon...
P.S. Only with high quality steel
More resistant to what? The passing of time. Oxidation. Crash damage. I am not sure what you are getting at with this comment.

More comfortable? I have ridden a very wide range of vintages and the vintage has nothing to do with comfort. Frame design geometry and componentry define comfort and user friendliness concerns...

I do not find reaching for down tube shifters comfortable (anything but)...


But these are a treat to use and very comfortable to rest my hands on...


and the handlebar tape in the above picture is more durable and comfortable than the vintage cotton stuff vintage bikes were usually fitted with...


Last for 100 years or more? I have owned over 500 vintage road bikes but not one was 100 years old. I have restored well over 50 of them, and believe me when I say, unless they are unused, they all suffer from environmental and use damage. Paint fades, chips and scratches, chrome plating does oxidize, even when a bike sits unused. And the older they are the more likely it is that they will be in poorer condition. This old Torpado below spent almost all of its life hanging from the rafters in a garage. The frame was covered with oxidation, the grease had dried out and the tires were toast...



And though I am a Brooks saddle fan, this one is every bit as comfortable as anything that I have ever ridden...


But after saying all that, I am a true fan of vintage bicycles but I am also a realist. They are not necessarily better than newer machines.
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Old 07-24-22, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
.....
Last for 100 years or more? I have owned over 500 vintage road bikes but not one was 100 years old. I have restored well over 50 of them, and believe me when I say, unless they are unused, they all suffer from environmental and use damage. Paint fades, chips and scratches, chrome plating does oxidize, even when a bike sits unused. And the older they are the more likely it is that they will be in poorer condition.....
.
Any vintage bike that falls into Randy's hands will think it has arrived at the gates of heaven, at least based on the photos of his bikes!

The idea of lasting a long time is an interesting one. I got into this hobby back in the 70's and still own bikes from the 70's and 80's. This was an era of technology that wasn't changing too fast. 5 speed freewheels, eventually giving way to 6 speeds and then onto 7 and more. SunTour's slant parallelogram was a major change in performance, but didn't affect compatibility.
And of course, Campagnolo's stuff dominated the racing scene, and therefore dictated (to some degree) the stuff that us ordinary folks could get.
As a result, the parts of this era were produced in rather large quantities and many of us are happily still using it.

Weirdly, folks using later parts are quickly finding it hard to get spare consumables. A buddy with a lovely custom Serotta (sp?) was complaining that he couldn't find a replacement front derailleur for the Campy 10 speed system. After clarifying that he meant "10 speed cassette" and not a 5 speed freewheel (and I knew better), I was blissfully stunned that a special 10 speed front derailleur was needed. At least I knew enough to not bother to offer a spare SunTour Cyclone front derailleur.

Maybe the bigger issue is not to ask whether vintage is more durable than modern, but to ask what bikes will be able to get replacement parts longer. I suppose I'm still betting on the low tech of the 70's and 80's, but perhaps others are better informed?

Steve in Peoria

...and a quick shot of bike built for me by Gordon Borthwick back in 1990. It's got a bit over 60,000 miles on it now. Not bad.

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Old 07-24-22, 01:35 PM
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The narrator could use a sense of humor. The video sounds like someone's idea of one of the bad training movies they sometimes make you watch at work . . .

I like vintage bikes because all the cool bikes I couldn't afford in college when I was working at a bikeshop are now on deep, deep sale.
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Old 07-25-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Honestly I ride vintage because I can afford it.
yep. before covid, i could buy an old thousand dollar bike from the dealer for 200. actually an old thousand dollar bike is really a 2,000 dollar bike for inflation. the old bikes he would blow out for 200 plus dollars.

we mostly ride rural flat roads and have no need for 50 speeds, most people don't. in the end it is the fit that matters and the ride quality; i like my fugi touring bike with drop bars and fat tires. it is not fast and weighs a ton but the tires are cushy more so than my trek aluminum racing bike.........oh yeah those bikes mentioned were 200 to 300 dollars and change.

steel is real; the fugi touring bicycle is quite heavy. after reading stories of people riding them around the world, i got sold on them. also ride a trek 620 touring, but like the fugi better for fit reasons.

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Old 07-25-22, 07:29 AM
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Vintage bikes with polished alloy components just look WAY BETTER than the modern black plastic crap with black parts.
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Old 07-25-22, 07:51 AM
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Well, it wasn't "vintage" when I bought it in 1985 ('84 GT). Arguably, it's aged more gracefully than I have. (still own and ride it)



Found this 2000 Fuji Newest with a "FREE" sign on it. It was in pretty rough shape. Cleaned up well and needed a few parts. Much lighter, can ride faster (yes, even with the reflectors), 9 more gears but by no means a "modern bike"
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Old 07-25-22, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ago15 View Post
More resistant, more comfortable and above all, they can run for 100 years without any problem if maintained, something impossible with carbon...
P.S. Only with high quality steel
I think my gas pipe Surly's are probably more durable than "high quality" steel form the boom era
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Old 07-25-22, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
I think my gas pipe Surly's are probably more durable than "high quality" steel form the boom era
Who the heck knows, right? If I had to bet on which bike would last the longest, my money would go on the fillet brazed Schwinns.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/schwinn-braze.html

Those bikes are way overbuilt but that was Schwinn's DNA. Those bikes were built straight gauge chrome moly, fillet brazed, and they had an internal sleeves (a sort of butting). Plus the forks were built strong since they take an .833 stem and use a thicker steerer tube. Those are beautifully built bikes but you do pay a weight penalty for the bike.
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Old 07-25-22, 11:23 AM
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You decide to go on a date. Its your first date. You really want to impress the nice lady. You can.......
Show up in a 1957 white Cadillac convertible with red interior and chrome wire wheels
Or, Show up in a silver Toyota Camry.

You be the judge. The Camry will be lighter, fuel efficient, and handle better. But is that what life is all about?
And if your date prefers the Camry over the Caddy, find a different person to date.

I rest my case.
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Old 07-25-22, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by etherhuffer View Post
And if your date prefers the Camry over the Caddy, find a different person to date.
Preferably one that likes bikes.
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Old 07-25-22, 04:52 PM
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These are the two road bicycles sitting next to me right now... Both are equipped with mid-range componentry and considered quality frames from their respective eras. Outright performance brought about in terms of frame, wheel, crankset and cockpit stiffness, as well as braking power and shifting capacity, highly favors the 2013 Look 675. I can fly on that bicycle compared to the 1979 Mercian Campionissimo, which is more comfortable for long-distance riding and has that sprightly steel ride quality that no carbon frame I've been on has ever come close to mimicking well.

I have different reasons for loving to ride both bicycles, and personally feel sorry for people who chose to be "haters" of anything having to do with this great hobby. Thankfully in this thread so far I've seen more appreciation for both sides of the story than I recall in previous discussions of this nature around here. Cheers!

-Gregory


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