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Old-school, new-school, road and gravel = 4 times the fun

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Old-school, new-school, road and gravel = 4 times the fun

Old 10-31-13, 05:34 PM
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Old-school, new-school, road and gravel = 4 times the fun

Cycling is for fun and fitness, and the fun and fitness tend to be complementary. I've discovered that a top-performing 28 to 32 mm wide tire on a nice Cyclocross bike expands where I can ride without reducing the responsiveness and pleasure of riding the bike. Holding a rapid pace on firm gravel is a great way to expand the cycling experience.

Cyclocross bikes are typically differentiated from road-race bikes by their greater tire clearances, lower gearing, stronger frames, cantilever brakes and more upright riding position. Frame geometry is altered from other bikes: Chainstays are often 425 or 430mm long and the bottom bracket drop from the axle line is less than on road or touring bikes. Cyclocross bicycles have altered drivetrains, some are set up with a single chainring others use double cranksets. Bikes that use a double crankset, generally use a 36-46 or 46-38 gearing. Cable routing for the rear brake and the derailleurs are placed down the top side of the top tube. This allows the racer to shoulder the bike while running. Tires are regulated to be no larger than 35mm for some groups and no larger than 33mm for elite racers. Knobby tires are common.

Cyclocross bikes are also popular as Sports/Touring bikes and many models feature mounting braze-ons for fenders and racks. Cyclocross bikes fill a broad niche as versatile bikes for recreational use, training, commuting, credit-card touring and gravel path & gravel road use.

In 2011, I put together two modern bikes, using Pedal Force frames. Building a bike from a frame allows me to specify the key components, including crankset, wheels, tires, handlebars and saddle. One of these bikes became my regular ride, the Carbon fiber Cyclocross bike with fast rolling Vittoria tires;











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Old 10-31-13, 05:36 PM
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To add the retro aesthetic philosophy while enjoying the the go-anywhere freedom of a slightly wider tire, I added an Italian recently.

A good hand-built lugged steel-framed bike adds a little individuality to the ride. While many cyclist work hard to stay with a competitive group, taking out a 25 or 35 year old bike and riding with other collectors removes some of the what's-new trendiness and returns cycling to a different aesthetic philosophy. 1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross is ready for the road or trail. Everyone needs a retro lugged Columbus steel CX bike.

















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Old 10-31-13, 08:45 PM
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Back when I bought my '81 trek 720 touring bike (lugged reynolds 531 tubing), touring bikes were just road bikes with more robust components, longer chain stays, more braze-ons and slightly more relaxed geometry. Over the years, road bikes have become ever narrower, lighter and less robust while touring bikes have become more tank-like. This opened the door to the development of cyclocross bikes, which are not much different from the touring bikes of old, IMO.

Everyone should have a bike that can go anywhere. Of course, that bike may well be a modern road bike for some folks, like an acquaintance of mine who regularly rides self-supported double centuries plus that include many miles of gravel/dirt logging roads in the coast range. He's happy on his 23 mm tires; I prefer rolling on 25 mm on those same roads and other riders won't touch them with less than 32 mm.
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Old 10-31-13, 11:06 PM
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As I get older and become more relaxed about my riding-- less driven to hit Zone 3 or 4 during every ride-- I find myself riding my old bikes more. I like their comfort, predictability, casual let's-have-fun feeling tone, and, thanks to a smart geometry, I can sit up and ride no-hands into the wind while struggling with an energy bar wrapper, and love them for their old-friendness. They also remind me of youthful accomplishments using a 5 cog freewheel.
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Old 10-31-13, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
To add the retro aesthetic philosophy while enjoying the the go-anywhere freedom of a slightly wider tire, I added an Italian recently.

A good hand-built lugged steel-framed bike adds a little individuality to the ride. While many cyclist work hard to stay with a competitive group, taking out a 25 or 35 year old bike and riding with other collectors removes some of the what's-new trendiness and returns cycling to a different aesthetic philosophy. 1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross is ready for the road or trail. Everyone needs a retro lugged Columbus steel CX bike.


Ooohh I like.

How do you like those Challenge Paris Roubaix 27c clinchers as compared to your Vittoria Rubino Pros on a paved road ?

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Old 11-01-13, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Fellow View Post
As I get older and become more relaxed about my riding-- less driven to hit Zone 3 or 4 during every ride-- I find myself riding my old bikes more. I like their comfort, predictability, casual let's-have-fun feeling tone, and, thanks to a smart geometry, I can sit up and ride no-hands into the wind while struggling with an energy bar wrapper, and love them for their old-friendness. They also remind me of youthful accomplishments using a 5 cog freewheel.
Yes, vintage bike reward the cyclist with extra fun without being extra slow, IMO

Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Back when I bought my '81 trek 720 touring bike (lugged reynolds 531 tubing), touring bikes were just road bikes with more robust components, longer chain stays, more braze-ons and slightly more relaxed geometry. Over the years, road bikes have become ever narrower, lighter and less robust while touring bikes have become more tank-like. This opened the door to the development of cyclocross bikes, which are not much different from the touring bikes of old, IMO.

Everyone should have a bike that can go anywhere. Of course, that bike may well be a modern road bike for some folks, like an acquaintance of mine who regularly rides self-supported double centuries plus that include many miles of gravel/dirt logging roads in the coast range. He's happy on his 23 mm tires; I prefer rolling on 25 mm on those same roads and other riders won't touch them with less than 32 mm.
Hi,

When the industry started using short-reach caliper brakes in the mid-1980's, the popular Sports/Touring segment got pushed aside. Bikes like your Trek 720 or a Paramount could fit 27x1 1/4 tires or 700x32. These bikes were great recreational bikes, with room for fenders and they were fun to ride, even with a light overnight pack mounted to a rack. They could also be raced at local club events.



Cycling is beginning to return to this design. A bike like the Specialized Roubaux can fit most 700x28 tires. Cyclocross bikes are often built with sports/touring use in mind with attachments for fenders and racks. The trend towards gravel bikes also provides a user friendly platform for a wide range of cycling.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

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Old 11-01-13, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
Ooohh I like.

How do you like those Challenge Paris Roubaix 27c clinchers as compared to your Vittoria Rubino Pros on a paved road ?
Hi Zinger,

I need to put more miles on the Paris Roubaix before I form a complete opinion. I will say that they are larger without being heavier. I think the Vittoria's are tougher with better build quality. I also hope I never get a flat with the Paris Roubaix, they are very challenging to mount.

Which feel and roll more like a fast road-race tire? I can't say yet. I'll update my opinion after a few hundred miles.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-01-13 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 11-01-13, 08:43 AM
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Very nice looking bikes.
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Old 11-01-13, 09:18 AM
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As the thread title states - 4X the fun. ^^^^Neat builds and the Simoncini looks especially sweet!

I agree, a cross bike is all one needs but there's another category of bikes I wouldn't rule out. Although I enjoy the early rides (gas pipe to upper end steel tubing) and the latest (incl. CF) but there's been only one bike to me that really does it all and its modern era. I've posted before about it but its just your bland, boring, generic brand Giant Rapid 1.

As they produce limited frame sizing (compact), I found the M/L for my height of 6' perfect. Hate to admit how these Taiwan made bikes have flawless quality for a bargain price. Cost a fraction of the CF rides and I love it. Flat bar 700C w/ 105 group using thumbies.

Not your old school aluminum frame either. The new ally frame technology today is amazing. Sub 19 lbs is plenty light. Rides beautiful w/ part carbon seat post and a carbon fork. No braze on's but instead is clean drilled for rack and fenders / aftermarket stuff line up, fit flawless and simply install in a few minutes.

Used for light touring club century's, gravel running to single track off-road. I have two sets of mid-level wheels specific geared and ready for any ride (23C slicks to 35C knobbies) and two sets of bar ends (road drop and mtn. style). Its actually survivable for occasional off-road without triple rings as its lighter than most ATB. Nice geometry for climbing. Good for technical riding but you can't bomb the descents. As I mentioned, its generic but serves by far the most all around fun riding.
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Old 11-01-13, 09:33 AM
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Sweet looking bikes! I'm actually in the market for a cyclocross bike. Not so much for racing, but because I think it would be the ideal commuting bike.

I came at cycling from a touring perspective, and my first bike was a Bianchi touring bike. Lugged Tange frame (yea, it was a Japanese Bianchi), cantilevered brakes, downtube shifters, triple gearing, room for fenders and 28mm tires. It cost me $300, and I was in heaven.

Here's a pix of it at the end of a Cycle Oregon tour.



Gawd, I loved that thing. Still do. It's now a rusty heap, but I don't have the heart to give it up. I think I may donate it to the ghostbikers.

More evidence here about my belief at the time that there was no need or advantage for cycling-specific equipment. Note my trunk bag. Some canvas thing, held on by bungee cords. And the jacket? Some fleece lined Columbia thing. Totally wrong for the job, but it got it done anyway.

There is something else in here of note ... remember the Flickstand? Oy was that convenient. I wonder why those aren't made anymore? Too much variation in downtube shape and diameter?
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Old 11-01-13, 09:54 AM
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Great thread Barrettsvc and I agree 100%. I only have space in my apartment for one bike and it is a Specialized Secteur, a poor mans Roubaix. The best thing about the bike is it's versatility. It is plenty fast for me eventhough it's a bit heavy at 20 1/2 pounds. This past summer I did a weekend tour to nearby campgrounds with a few other BF members. For a mere three day tour, 25 pounds in panniers in the back handled fine. I use 28mm tires an enjoy an occasional ride on a woodland trail at the local state park. I think I can fit up to 32 mm in the back which would be slightly better in dirt. Basically, this bike does everything I need to do on a bike. If I ever got another bike it would likely be a CX type so as to fit 32mm tires front and back.
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Old 11-01-13, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Yes, vintage bike reward the cyclist with extra fun without being extra slow, IMO



Hi,

When the industry started using short-reach caliper brakes in the mid-1980's, the popular Sports/Touring segment got pushed aside.

.


Smaller makers are still producing the old "sport touring" genre. My Rivendell Romulus (discontinued by Grant but replaced by other models like the Roadeo) fits in perfectly with longer wheelbase, chainstays, relaxed angles. 57, "long-reach" brakes and fork designed for bigger tires allow a versatility of riding that was always intended by the hyphenated designation "Sport-Touring". Good bikes for simply taking off in the morning and getting back whenever having gone wherever. Before the big bike makers made racing the overwhelming push in their marketing.
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Old 11-01-13, 10:03 AM
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Not old school, but it is steel and some do race cross on it.



I just went fatter, from 32's to 40's, mucho more control in deep gravel and a plush ride with that steel frame.

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Old 11-01-13, 10:19 AM
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Welcome to the dark side.

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Old 11-01-13, 11:32 AM
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Love both your bikes, but especially the Italian since I have an old steel CX bike high on my list of musthaves. I put 35 mm Hypers on my CX bike to do the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix Challenges this spring. I have kept them on all through summer and fall and love the speed they offer. Makes gravelgrinding fun and challenging since you do have very little grip cornering.
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Old 11-01-13, 01:04 PM
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Old School: my 1974 Atala, lugged steel frame with full Campy, 27, 1 1/4" wheels.

Over the 32 years it served as my only, it went from high speed club rides in the midwest, to mountain riding in Colorado, dirt trails, gravel and snow included, to fully loaded panniers for multi day tent touring and commuting 15 miles each way to law school, to infant seats bolted to both front and back (somehow the kids survived), to being the tow vehicle for a trail a bike manned by our youngest daughter who has Down syndrome. She and the trail a bike hit the 125 lb. mark right around my 50th birthday and we went after her ultimately successful conversion to her own two wheeler with a vengence. The only indignity from its racing heritage the Atala didn't suffer was fenders.

New School: A 2009 Bianchi 928 B4P, weighing in at 10 lbs lighter than the Atala, and rolling on 700s, with 23 slicks. The Bianchi cimbs like it has wings, but I never realized that gravel was a problem for road bikes until I hit a 3 mile stretch of washboard in Bozeman Mt. and thought I was going to die. So much for a single bike quiver.

Graduate School: My new Trek Domane. With 25s, it goes up hills just like the Bianchi, rolls down them with better control, and gobbles up the gravel as well as the Atala. I'm switching to 28s with tread as soon as the snow flies, and suspect it will be a veritable mountain bike. Heck, it may even get some fenders.
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Old 11-01-13, 01:17 PM
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This thread comes at a propitious time for me. I have progressed to the point where I can ride. But, I still cannot reliably mount/dismount without goring myself on the large gear ring of my CF Lemond Versailles. The Versailles was my first road bike and I really like it. But, I definitely do not like being gored. IF I cannot get over this problem I will change bikes next Spring for one with a longer wheelbase. So, some questions from this thread:
>What steel bike would give me a longer wheelbase?
>What do you mean "lugged"?
>Just how heavy are these steel bikes?
>Disc brakes?
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Old 11-01-13, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
This thread comes at a propitious time for me. I have progressed to the point where I can ride. But, I still cannot reliably mount/dismount without goring myself on the large gear ring of my CF Lemond Versailles. The Versailles was my first road bike and I really like it. But, I definitely do not like being gored. IF I cannot get over this problem I will change bikes next Spring for one with a longer wheelbase. So, some questions from this thread:
>What steel bike would give me a longer wheelbase?
>What do you mean "lugged"?
>Just how heavy are these steel bikes?
>Disc brakes?
Touring frames have the longest wheelbase, Criterium Race bikes have the shortest. Cyclocross bikes are longer than any road race type bike, but shorter than a touring frame like a Surly Long Haul Trucker.

Steel frames are now mostly tig welded without the use of lugs to fit the tubes together. Using lugs or just tig welding are equally strong, but a handcrafted lugged frame can be more valuable and collectable.

Steel bikes range from 20 to 30 lbs in most cases.

I've never used disc brakes and have no opinion.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
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Old 11-01-13, 01:53 PM
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I love that the versatile road bike seems to be on the rise again. The traditional competition cyclocross bike is a compromise solution for road and gravel riding, mostly because of the higher bottom bracket. Many of the newer cross bikes have a bit more drop, like the 67mm drop on my Crux, but ideally, I would like even lower like the 75mm drop on my Salsa Casseroll. Also the tire width limits of many cyclocross bikes is narrower than what works best in many rougher and looser gravel conditions. I can squeeze in 40mm tires on my Crux, which is more than many, but sometimes more would be better.
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Old 11-01-13, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
>What do you mean "lugged"?
>Just how heavy are these steel bikes?


Whether painted or chromed, lugged refers to brazed investment cast steel lugs to hold the tubing together as opposed to welded and fillet brazed tubing joints. The hand welded frames are going to be probably just as strong (can't say that about robot welded bargain store bikes as I've seen a Bottom Bracket torn out of one of those) and marginally lighter than the lugged steel bike. The lugged bikes mostly appeal to adherents of the older style and it's hard to find them in anything but custom made frames anymore.

As far as the weight goes I couldn't tell you what the weights of the welded steel bikes are but used to be that an '80s lugged steel bike of good quality tubing should be about 25 lbs or less with components.

Others are more qualified to answer your other questions.
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Old 11-01-13, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by plodderslusk View Post
Love both your bikes, but especially the Italian since I have an old steel CX bike high on my list of musthaves. I put 35 mm Hypers on my CX bike to do the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix Challenges this spring. I have kept them on all through summer and fall and love the speed they offer. Makes gravelgrinding fun and challenging since you do have very little grip cornering.
Hi Plodderslusk,

It's good to know the same tires I use in Illinois are also selected for road and gravel in Norway, France and Belgium!

I've tried slick tires in the 28 to 38mm sizes, and really like the speed they provide on 95% of the routes I travel. Yes, you need to study the surface in-front of the bike and let the bike dance around a little when the surface gets "interesting". I've also used larger tires, knobby tires and semi-slick tires and find them to be slower on anything that looks like a road or regular bike path.

For the kind of conditions most people ride with a drop-bar bike, I find the best tires in the 28 to 38mm sizes offer speed and very good ride comfort with enough traction for fun gravel-grinding.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

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Old 11-02-13, 08:10 AM
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I completely agree that more people should be getting way from the "roadie" bikes. More people would ride more often if their bikes were more versatile. I find myself taking rides that mix up roads, MUP's, gravel and sometimes dirt; then stop at the grocery store on the way home. You ain't having that kinda fun on a CF crotch rocket!



Marc
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Old 11-02-13, 06:29 PM
  #23  
Zinger
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Originally Posted by con View Post
Not old school, but it is steel and some do race cross on it.



I just went fatter, from 32's to 40's, mucho more control in deep gravel and a plush ride with that steel frame.



Originally Posted by MileHighMark View Post
Welcome to the dark side.

You guys don't just tease us. Feel free to show some more pics, if you've got 'um, when you want to convert us roadies into gravel grinders.
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Old 11-02-13, 06:40 PM
  #24  
MileHighMark
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
You guys don't just tease us. Feel free to show some more pics, if you've got 'um, when you want to convert us roadies into gravel grinders.
First taste is free.

More:
https://www.gravelbike.com/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/justridingalong/
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Old 11-02-13, 07:06 PM
  #25  
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^^^^^

Thanks ! Missed your signature the 1st time.

That "All City Space Horse" is an interesting looking ride. But maybe someday in the future I might try and convert an older lugged steel frame for a cheaper gravel-entry ride. I already run 28c tires and touring rims on my present road bike but don't trust the freewheel hub axles to hold up off the road. I would probably go with more than 36 spokes too. I'll hafta think about it some more.

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