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Novice question: First road bicycle for L'Eroica

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Novice question: First road bicycle for L'Eroica

Old 08-01-16, 07:33 AM
  #1  
goof1972
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Novice question: First road bicycle for L'Eroica

Hi Guys,

I'm a casual rider (Pashley Guv'nor) who is interested in doing long distance (endurance?) riding. Specially, I would like to do one of the L'Eroica vintage riding events ...but I would like to other long-distance events as well.

I want to train for the L'Eroica event. Right now my experience is limited to commuting.

I'm debating on whether my first road bicycle should be a vintage steel frame bike. The logic behind this is that I can get used to the "old components" like downtube shifters and strap pedals.

On the other hand...wouldn't this old bicycle be too niche? Could I use it in other long-distance events? Would my training benefit from the conveniences of a modern bike?

My question is should I get a vintage steel-frame bicycle and train with that? Or should I get a modern bicycle and train on that first?

Thanks in advance!
Brian
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Old 08-01-16, 07:56 AM
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What do you ride now? How much do you ride now? Why can't you train a while on your current bike?

How much are you looking to spend? Are you planning to keep the vintage bike entirely period-correct, including spending hours and dollars tracking down vintage missing parts?

You can ride a steel-framed road bike on any road anywhere at any time, pretty much ... and if you wanted tom, you could put toe straps on any bike, including the one you have.

Downtube shifters are indeed an art needing learning and practice, but if that is where your passion takes you, you can ride a bike with downtube shifters anywhere you can ride a bike with any other kinds of shifters.

You know up until about 1990, everyone raced with downtube shifters .... it didn't much slow anyone down.

If riding vintage is what you want to ... do it. Why wait?
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Old 08-01-16, 08:00 AM
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Modern integrated shifter are a convenience compared to downtube shifters, and the 10 and 11 speed cassettes give smaller steps between gears compared to older 5, 6 and 7 speed freewheels. Modern bikes are also a bit lighter, which you may notice if you climb a lot of hills.

But none of that will have any affect on how you train, and your fitness.
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Old 08-01-16, 08:26 AM
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If you are doing it specifically to go on those rides, in my mind it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a modern bike to train on, only to jump to the required vintagey steel bike to ride the ride on.

FWIW, I rode my downtube vintage steel bike on a non-vintage charity ride yesterday. The learning downtubes isn't that big of a deal, it was my first road bike and I had it down in a week or two. Still think it sucks in traffic, but not really that big of a deal to learn.
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Old 08-01-16, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Modern integrated shifter are a convenience compared to downtube shifters, and the 10 and 11 speed cassettes give smaller steps between gears compared to older 5, 6 and 7 speed freewheels. Modern bikes are also a bit lighter, which you may notice if you climb a lot of hills.

But none of that will have any affect on how you train, and your fitness.
And those features aren't really welcome on l'eroica.

I think if rides like that are important to you, get the vintage bike. Unless you are doing time trials the "slowness" of the vintage bike won't be a problem.

You can also modernize a vintage frame in many ways. You can add bar end shifters and all sorts of stuff with some work.

I've ridden down tube shifters and didn't find too hard. But I concur with the other poster about it sucking in stop and go city riding. But you have a bike for that.
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Old 08-01-16, 12:18 PM
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Mercian cycles in UK is still making Bike frames just like they used to .. *

Mercian Cycles - Custom Cycle Frames & Cycle Shop

they will pass what is the Bike equivalent of a Historical House society that has to Pass approval of any repairs
and renovations to not get out of the Period accurate Look.. [Like Colonial Williamsburg, a Theme park]

* There are Others as well ..



./.

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Old 08-01-16, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by goof1972 View Post
I want to train for the L'Eroica event. Right now my experience is limited to commuting.

I'm debating on whether my first road bicycle should be a vintage steel frame bike. The logic behind this is that I can get used to the "old components" like downtube shifters and strap pedals.

On the other hand...wouldn't this old bicycle be too niche? Could I use it in other long-distance events? Would my training benefit from the conveniences of a modern bike?
Unless you're intending to compete seriously, there's nothing wrong with training on and riding vintage steel in long-distance events. If your goal is to ride L'eroica, you'll need a vintage bike to do that, so unless you're willing to buy two separate bikes (one modern, one vintage), use the money you would have spent on a modern bike to get a better quality vintage bike than you might otherwise have considered.
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Old 08-01-16, 01:45 PM
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you need a vintage bike to enter L'Eroica .... even the pedals have to be vintage

look at the old Koga Miyata bikes .... they are light, ride superb and are fast (look for something like the full pro)

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Old 08-01-16, 01:52 PM
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I saw one of these:
Eroica | Bianchi Canada
Recently in a bike shop in France. It is permitted to use this bike in an Eroica event even though it has a 10 speed cassette. When we went into the shop, all the older guys in the group were going gaga over this bike. It captures the spirit of the time and still allows gearing that older riders can handle. In any case, long distance rides are not about having the best equipment, they are about having a comfortable bike fit. The best bike I have ever had for riding a century was my 1973 Raleigh Professional
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Old 08-01-16, 02:00 PM
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If you are seriously considering a L' Eroica, you probably want to train on the machine that you intend to ride for the event. Going from a 20lb/20sp aluminum bike to a 27lb/10sp steel, period-correct one will be a shock on 125 miles of hills. You want to be thoroughly-acquainted with the bike that you will ride. (You also want to duplicate the topograhy of the L' Eroica, in training, as well).
You seriously are asking if you can use a steel, pre-1983 bicycle for events other than the L' Eroica?
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Old 08-01-16, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
If you are seriously considering a L' Eroica, you probably want to train on the machine that you intend to ride for the event. Going from a 20lb/20sp aluminum bike to a 27lb/10sp steel, period-correct one will be a shock on 125 miles of hills. You want to be thoroughly-acquainted with the bike that you will ride. (You also want to duplicate the topograhy of the L' Eroica, in training, as well).
You seriously are asking if you can use a steel, pre-1983 bicycle for events other than the L' Eroica?
a good vintage steel bike weighs a lot less than 27 pounds .... My 1980's steel Condor weighs under 20 pounds (it weighs just under 9kg, and is fast)....

My Koga Miyata road champ that I owned weighed even less
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Old 08-01-16, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
You seriously are asking if you can use a steel, pre-1983 bicycle for events other than the L' Eroica?
Is there a reason you can't I can see if you are talking about races, but most biking events are not races, and those racing would already know the drawbacks of using such a bike.

But, as dim stated, even my rather modest Peugeot comes in well below 27#, and it is nothing special.

Last edited by jefnvk; 08-01-16 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Proper sentence structure
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Old 08-01-16, 02:38 PM
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I dont think it matters what you train on - as another posted asked - why cant you train on your current bike? The important thing is to put in the miles - lots of them. If you're in shape you wont have any problem at a long distance no matter what you ride.
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Old 08-01-16, 03:00 PM
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I wouldn't worry about riding a vintage bike, there are handy skills to be learned with one. You'll be able to ride anything if you can ride downtube shifters, and it's a lot more comfortable reaching down for a water bottle if you're already reaching down to shift.

As far as training fast, my old vintage Fuji has proven herself quite capable in timed charity events here, to the point of having riders on much newer stuff tell me I'm riding the old girl well ( I would get surprised looks when I passed a CF bike in those events).

I have a new fangled carbon fiber bike, and while it is quicker in just about every aspect, it's really not faster when I'm out riding fairly straight roads.
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Old 08-01-16, 07:12 PM
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For sure go with a vintage bike. Read up on the English classics at classiclightweights.co.uk.

Pick up a copy of "Sporting Cyclist" on ebay. Great mag from the 60's that covered racing in England and the Continent.

Bicycles like the Schwinn Paramount, Raleigh Professional, Peugeot PX10, and Gitane Tour de France were plentiful during the 1970's and can still be found easily today.

Enjoy a classic steel bike. Very easy to maintain, and ebay is full of vintage parts for sale. Over the last few years I have purchased bikes by Bates, Rickert, Gitane, Peugeot, Medici, Schwinn, and Raleigh. Great fun fixing them up and riding them. The Bates was from 1950!
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Old 08-02-16, 03:20 AM
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Thanks for all the advice guys! I was just wanting to know what is the best way forward. Drooling over the new Binachi Eroica...but we'll see .
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Old 08-02-16, 04:14 AM
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Life is very short. Get the bike that YOU want and do the events that YOU want. Nothing else matters
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Old 08-02-16, 07:29 AM
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Much as I love vintage bikes, since you're a novice but want to get into longer rides & events, I think you'd be better off with a mid-range new bike, like a 105-level, "Gran Fondo" type. You can get into shape and learn how to physically do long road rides without having to fuss so much with gear. Part of the appeal of rides like L'Eroica, besides nostalgia, is it's more of a physical and technical challenge. Better to get up to speed on modern gear, then try vintage.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Is there a reason you can't I can see if you are talking about races, but most biking events are not races, and those racing would already know the drawbacks of using such a bike.

But, as dim stated, even my rather modest Peugeot comes in well below 27#, and it is nothing special.

No reason at all! Some prefer the older, hand-made frames, and I am one of them. Even though I own a relatively modern road bike, I just built up a classic lightweight and probably will do considerable miles on it. If you own an old Peugeot, then you know how steel frames ride.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 08-02-16 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
For sure go with a vintage bike. Read up on the English classics at classiclightweights.co.uk.

Pick up a copy of "Sporting Cyclist" on ebay. Great mag from the 60's that covered racing in England and the Continent.

Bicycles like the Schwinn Paramount, Raleigh Professional, Peugeot PX10, and Gitane Tour de France were plentiful during the 1970's and can still be found easily today.

Enjoy a classic steel bike. Very easy to maintain, and ebay is full of vintage parts for sale. Over the last few years I have purchased bikes by Bates, Rickert, Gitane, Peugeot, Medici, Schwinn, and Raleigh. Great fun fixing them up and riding them. The Bates was from 1950!
I digress, but nice score on the Bates!
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Old 08-02-16, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
If you are seriously considering a L' Eroica, you probably want to train on the machine that you intend to ride for the event. Going from a 20lb/20sp aluminum bike to a 27lb/10sp steel, period-correct one will be a shock on 125 miles of hills. You want to be thoroughly-acquainted with the bike that you will ride. (You also want to duplicate the topograhy of the L' Eroica, in training, as well).
You seriously are asking if you can use a steel, pre-1983 bicycle for events other than the L' Eroica?
27 pounds for a vintage steel bike? I guess if you like hi tensile steel, you can ride a 27 pound plus bike. If you get a good quality steel road bike (one with a high quality frame and parts), the weight can easily be in the neighborhood of 21 pounds.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
27 pounds for a vintage steel bike? I guess if you like hi tensile steel, you can ride a 27 pound plus bike. If you get a good quality steel road bike (one with a high quality frame and parts), the weight can easily be in the neighborhood of 21 pounds.
I was thinking along the lines of the ones from the 40's-50's with steel rims and crank and straight guage tubing.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 08-02-16 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I'm thinking along the lines of the ones from the 40's-50's with steel rims and crank and straight guage tubing. O.P can modernize (lighten) his Peugeot or leave it period-correct.
I can't imagine why anyone would want to use a bike with steel rims for long distance events. They are awful in the rain and they're heavy. Even if you want a really old bike to ride, you could have 2 sets of wheels: a pair of tubulars for the events and a set of clinchers to train on.
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Old 08-02-16, 12:35 PM
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my next bike (hopefully):

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Old 08-02-16, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I can't imagine why anyone would want to use a bike with steel rims for long distance events. They are awful in the rain and they're heavy. Even if you want a really old bike to ride, you could have 2 sets of wheels: a pair of tubulars for the events and a set of clinchers to train on.
That's why I put alloy rims (Wolber GTX2) on my Grubb. It still has a steel crank and weighty, ball-bearing hubs, though and straight guage tubes, so it has about 4-5 pounds on my Technium with alloy forks. There's no way round it: in C&V, unless you buy top-of-the-line components and have a double or triple butted frame, the weight of the components is going to catch up with you. My point to O.P is that it is important to become acclimated to not only the weight of the bike that he'd use in L'Eroica, but to become thoroughly and intimately accustomed to every thing about that particular bike. This can be accomplished by training on it.
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