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Any opinions on Planet X carbon-fiber frames?

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Any opinions on Planet X carbon-fiber frames?

Old 12-01-17, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Exactly. You don't need to justify your decision any more than the OP needs to. You want Ultegra because you want Ultegra. He wants Campy because he wants Campy.

You are being hypocritical. The 'state of affairs' of you criticizing another's groupset choice when he's using similar reasoning (or lack thereof) to your own is ironic.
I'm not really interested in continuing this little side argument. It seems I have touched a nerve with you and you're just going to try to make me wrong somehow. The OP, like everyone, is free to buy whatever he wants for whatever reasons he wants, as are we all. Since he offered up his thoughts on what direction he's leaning in terms of stepping into the modern era of current cycling hardware, I thought I would help him understand that one crucial decision he was making (ie: Campy because of his nostalgia for what "serious" cyclists bought back in the day, and because of a bias he retains against Shimano because decades ago he associated it with junk bikes) was out dated and incongruent with his desire to reap the most benefit from what the current era of cycling hardware has to offer him. If he's biased against Shimano because decades ago it was junk he should hear that today's Shimano is top notch. If he's biased towards Campy because decades ago it was what "serious" cyclists chose, then he should know that, depending on how you define "serious," a simple statistical approach would tell him that "serious" cyclists today would most likely be on either Dura Ace (if they were both serious and sponsored, or serious and wealthy) or Ultegra (if they were serious and at least comfortable financially). 105 is good stuff too, and many people choose it either because their financial situation dictates that to be the prudent choice, or else they are frugal enough that in their estimation the price/benefit analysis makes that the best choice for them. There's nothing wrong with any of this. I'm just telling him that that's the way it is today, and if he's wishing to jump into 2017-era cycling hardware today he ought to know this, rather than simply rely on his impressions of the relative standing of various brands from 40 years ago.

I'm not sure how this makes me a hypocrite merely because, after looking at what each groupset would offer, I chose to go with Ultegra 6870 on my new bike rather than 105 5800. Ultegra 6870 offered me things that were more important to me than the difference in price between the two.

But if it makes you feel better, I'll promise to give 105 another serious look next time I'm in the market for my "dream bike." Hell, I'll spend some time looking at Campy too, and SRAM. I'll even throw Rohloff and Sturmey Archer or whatever, and that new Norwegian IGH offering into the mix too, and let them duke it out.
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Old 12-01-17, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ
I'm not really interested in continuing this little side argument. It seems I have touched a nerve with you and you're just going to try to make me wrong somehow. The OP, like everyone, is free to buy whatever he wants for whatever reasons he wants, as are we all. Since he offered up his thoughts on what direction he's leaning in terms of stepping into the modern era of current cycling hardware, I thought I would help him understand that one crucial decision he was making (ie: Campy because of his nostalgia for what "serious" cyclists bought back in the day, and because of a bias he retains against Shimano because decades ago he associated it with junk bikes) was out dated and incongruent with his desire to reap the most benefit from what the current era of cycling hardware has to offer him. If he's biased against Shimano because decades ago it was junk he should hear that today's Shimano is top notch. If he's biased towards Campy because decades ago it was what "serious" cyclists chose, then he should know that, depending on how you define "serious," a simple statistical approach would tell him that "serious" cyclists today would most likely be on either Dura Ace (if they were both serious and sponsored, or serious and wealthy) or Ultegra (if they were serious and at least comfortable financially). 105 is good stuff too, and many people choose it either because their financial situation dictates that to be the prudent choice, or else they are frugal enough that in their estimation the price/benefit analysis makes that the best choice for them. There's nothing wrong with any of this. I'm just telling him that that's the way it is today, and if he's wishing to jump into 2017-era cycling hardware today he ought to know this, rather than simply rely on his impressions of the relative standing of various brands from 40 years ago.

I'm not sure how this makes me a hypocrite merely because, after looking at what each groupset would offer, I chose to go with Ultegra 6870 on my new bike rather than 105 5800. Ultegra 6870 offered me things that were more important to me than the difference in price between the two.

But if it makes you feel better, I'll promise to give 105 another serious look next time I'm in the market for my "dream bike." Hell, I'll spend some time looking at Campy too, and SRAM. I'll even throw Rohloff and Sturmey Archer or whatever, and that new Norwegian IGH offering into the mix too, and let them duke it out.
So, you just followed, "I'm not really interested in continuing this little side argument" with an additional 400+ words - is that ironic?



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Old 12-01-17, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
So, you just followed, "I'm not really interested in continuing this little side argument" with an additional 400+ words - is that ironic?

I'm not sure irony is the best choice of word to describe what I did, but yes, if not irony, it certainly is something. Oh well. I just got back from a bike ride. I'm in a mood to concede an obvious point.
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Old 12-01-17, 05:21 PM
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Old 12-02-17, 03:16 PM
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Oh, you guys have got me. I’d been figuring that when I built up a new bike, I was going to get the very skinniest tires I could find. I’ll stop by my local bike shop and ask to ride something with those new wide tires, and see for myself whether they make a difference. Looks to me like I’ll have to make a decision about tire size before I pick a frame.

Thanks again to everyone who has shared their experience with the Planet X frames. I’ve gone back to their website, and I notice that none of the frames for their road bikes are described as “endurance frames.” There’s one made of 531 steel that is described as optimized for “all-day riding” (I’m not considering that one -- it is essentially the same sort of frame I have now, and I really want to give carbon fiber a try). What it shows me is that not everyone is going to use the phrase “endurance frame” in their product descriptions. I think this means I’m going to have to do a bit more research about the geometric characteristics I need to be looking for.

The big thing I have feared is that anything modern will seem a vast improvement, and I won’t know until too late that I might have missed a frame in my price range (up to about $800) that might have suited me better.

SethAZ, you were teasing me when I called clipless pedals “newfangled.”

Well, for me, pretty much everything that has come down the pike since 1980 is newfangled.

For 37 years, right up until the day this summer I got this new/old Swiss Cilo I’ve been describing back from the shop, I’d been riding the same bike I’d gotten as a high school graduation present. It’s a 1980 Centurion Super LeMans, with the original SunTour running gear. Those of you who know about these bikes will understand that there was nothing really special about it, even at the time, except that it was pretty well made with a lugged frame. Yet back when it was new, the super-heavy Schwinn Varsity ruled the road – I think those were made of solid iron. Mine seemed a lightweight road rocket by comparison – it is “only” a little over 30 pounds. People used to marvel at how light it was. It cost a whopping $235 brand-new. Now the guys at my local bike shop tell me they can't believe anyone who ought to know better would still ride such a thing. And before you start laughing at me for my backwardness, I made it across the state twice on that thing, Spokane to Seattle, rode to Astoria and back a couple summers ago, often made 100 miles or more in a day, and probably put more than 50,000 miles on it over the years.

Well, the lesson for me of this last year has been that this old technology doesn’t cut it anymore, not if I want to keep up. When I set out on the STP for the first time this year, and told myself I was going to ride 200 miles in a day, come hell or high water, I had it in the back of my mind that it really didn’t matter what kind of bike I rode. It was all about muscles and training, hydration and determination. I built myself back up to the endurance I had when I was a teen-ager, and may have even gone beyond. I assembled what would have been considered the very best bike you could get in the ‘70s, based on everything I knew – surely that was good enough. Yet getting passed by 3,000 people who were pedaling no harder than I was – and probably less – offered a humbling lesson. Things really have changed.

Maybe the reason for this rather belated recognition is that there were about 25 years I did almost no riding at all (I used to have a waistline to prove it). Riding for me has been a solitary affair. I never paid attention to what “the community” was saying. And maybe I wasn’t ready to spend an enormous wad of cash on a bike. Heck, the very best Paramounts used to cost only $700 – why spend more?

Okay, lesson learned. Time to move into the modern age.

HTupoley, thanks for the advice on tire choices and tire pressure. This kind of knowledge is invaluable. I had no idea. But what is really mind-blowing to me is that people have thought to measure the “wattage” that it takes to move a bicycle. Makes it more of a science. Maybe this is the big difference between the bikes of yesterday and today. Back then I think it was more of an art (though they’d gotten really good at it by the ‘70s). Anyway, I’ll look for tires with this in mind for the new bike. I think I’ll put better ones on the classic, too, and see how that changes the ride.

SethAZ, you know, I’d always thought the extra vibration I felt because I pumped my tires rock-hard was just something “real men” lived with – I never considered that it was subtracting from my forward motion. Holy cow. Just forgive me for liking Campy without offering a performance reason. Based on what I have read online, it sounds like a Chevy-versus-Toyota kind of decision, where quality differences are more a matter of personal perception rather than anything real. (I sold Chevies a few years ago and ought to know.) You know, comparing the actual prices of Potenza versus Ultegra groupsets, I’m coming up with slightly different numbers, but I’m seeing a price difference of only about $50. I guess what appeals to me about Potenza is that it is the highest-grade Campy groupset that still uses metal for just about everything – this is something some reviewers have considered a drawback. Maybe I am still being a Neanderthal here, but it does seem to me that metal parts are going to last a little longer than carbon fiber.

Rpenmanparker, until this year every tire I used had a rather deep tread. It’s a standard feature on the really, really cheap tires I’ve always bought at discount stores. Forgive me, I have sinned. I shall repent. And you are absolutely right. I am sort of a Rip VanWinkle when it comes to this stuff. I’m just waking up.

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Old 12-02-17, 05:48 PM
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Whatever you do, before you start spending money, you need to get your entire buy list worked out and post it here for review and help, so you don't buy stuff that will not work together--Things have changed quite a bit from the 70s and compatibility of parts and frames and wheels is all over the map in the current state of 2017 cycling.

You should get a carbon fiber frame if that is what you have your heart set on, but you need to make sure the frame can take 28 mm tires or even 32 mm tires before you buy it and find out it can't. I like Vittoria Rubino G+ tires in 28 mm for combination of fast, comfort, and puncture resistance. The right tire (one with high TPI for suppleness) pumped to the right pressure is the most important factor for comfort--Nearly all frames have behavior similar enough past a proper sized and inflated tire that it's not worth fretting over frame material. In other words, unless you're over-inflating your tires, the ride is 90% determined by tire size and inflation, and 10% by frame. And actually, Reynolds 531 frames are still considered to be outstanding bike frames in today's cycling world by those in the know.

Even if you said you have your heart set on a new carbon fiber frame, if your frame is 126 mm spacing for the rear wheel, you could have it spread by a shop to 130 mm spacing and just buy the modern components and keep your old frame. It's an option you may not have thought of. You should also look at getting carbon fiber seatpost and carbon fiber handlebars, especially the handlebars, as they tend to help damp vibration and will keep your hands and arms less fatigued, but beware carbon is a woven fiber that is set in an epoxy resin, and if you over-tighten carbon parts, hit something with a carbon part, or don't treat it carefully, i.e. you drop your bike, it can and will crack, and once it cracks, it is generally not safe to ride.

I would not ride campy in 2017, they are behind the times and it's not a value proposition and it has finicky issues like unique shifter cable end sizes that mean campy shifter cables aren't always easy to find which prevents you from the ability to buy a very common shimano shift cable and other similar issues such as with the bottom brackets, crank rings, cassettes/freewheels, etc.

Where-as a shimano 105 full groupset from wiggle, ribble, chain reaction is the best value deal going, but if campy is what you are set on, you need to make sure you can get the right gearing combination, campy doesn't always have that available and they are a bit behind the times compared to what modern riders are using for gearing, you'll need a 50/34 compact crank up front and an 11-32 cassette in the back so you have gears to climb those hills you are dealing with, and the new trend which is just coming out, is for 48/32 and 46/30 cranksets, which are even smarter than the big move to 50/34 about 15 years ago, but other than FSA, those new subcompact cranks aren't widely available yet.

From importance to least importance: Comfort/fit of frame (material of frame isn't all that important) pay to get fitted at a bike shop for a comfort fit, appropriate gearing, wheelset rotational weight (you can get good deals on good quality vuelta wheelsets from NASHBAR's website), then tires, then bike + rider weight.

At the end of the day, bike + rider weight is hugely overblown and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars per lb to reduce weight for almost no benefit--Many riders do. A good guide for bike weight is as long as your bike is under about 22 lbs, worry more about losing weight from your body and not the bike.
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Old 12-02-17, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Olympianrider
I’ll stop by my local bike shop and ask to ride something with those new wide tires, and see for myself whether they make a difference.
Make sure that they're actually pumped appropriately low. A wide tire pumped to the same pressure as a narrow tire will, if anything, be a tad harsher than the narrower tire. The whole point of wide is that you can get away with lower.

Yet back when it was new, the super-heavy Schwinn Varsity ruled the road – I think those were made of solid iron.
Varsity frames were made from 1010 carbon steel, I believe.

The frame was not made from solid bar. The Varsity would have been far, far heavier had that been the case. It used hollow tubes.
Steel is an extremely dense material, and the wall thicknesses of steel tubing is lower than most people realize. The wall thickness at the center of the tubes on lightweight steel frames is often less than half a millimeter, and I've heard numbers as low as .3mm in the case of certain Reynolds 953 tubes.

Now the guys at my local bike shop tell me they can't believe anyone who ought to know better would still ride such a thing. And before you start laughing at me for my backwardness, I made it across the state twice on that thing, Spokane to Seattle, rode to Astoria and back a couple summers ago, often made 100 miles or more in a day, and probably put more than 50,000 miles on it over the years.

Well, the lesson for me of this last year has been that this old technology doesn’t cut it anymore, not if I want to keep up. When I set out on the STP for the first time this year, and told myself I was going to ride 200 miles in a day, come hell or high water, I had it in the back of my mind that it really didn’t matter what kind of bike I rode. It was all about muscles and training, hydration and determination. I built myself back up to the endurance I had when I was a teen-ager, and may have even gone beyond. I assembled what would have been considered the very best bike you could get in the ‘70s, based on everything I knew – surely that was good enough. Yet getting passed by 3,000 people who were pedaling no harder than I was – and probably less – offered a humbling lesson. Things really have changed.
Given the things you've told us about your bike and riding experience, I suspect that a large majority of speed improvement you'll see is going to come from having a bike that's better-configured for your riding, not technological advancement.

For the most part, the performance differences between my vintage road bikes and my Emonda are not very striking. I've even had people in my group rides ask if I'm having a bad day while I was riding the Emonda, because my pulls weren't inflicting any more suffering than when I'd showed up on the old stuff.

Last edited by HTupolev; 12-02-17 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 12-02-17, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Make sure that they're actually pumped appropriately low. A wide tire pumped to the same pressure as a narrow tire will, if anything, be a tad harsher than the narrower tire. The whole point of wide is that you can get away with lower.


Varsity frames were made from 1010 carbon steel, I believe.

The frame was not made from solid bar. The Varsity would have been far, far heavier had that been the case. It used hollow tubes.
Steel is an extremely dense material, and the wall thicknesses of steel tubing is lower than most people realize. The wall thickness at the center of the tubes on lightweight steel frames is often less than half a millimeter, and I've heard numbers as low as .3mm in the case of certain Reynolds 953 tubes.


Given the things you've told us about your bike and riding experience, I suspect that a large majority of speed improvement you'll see is going to come from having a bike that's better-configured for your riding, not technological advancement.

For the most part, the performance differences between my vintage road bikes and my Emonda are not very striking. I've even had people in my group rides ask if I'm having a bad day while I was riding the Emonda, because my pulls weren't inflicting any more suffering than when I'd showed up on the old stuff.

A Schwinn Varsity was a terrible bike, make no mistake about it. It weighed 39 lbs and all sizes had 165 cranks. They may as well have been made from solid steel--the only real magic of the Schwinns were that in 1959 the adult bike market was less than 1%. But 1986 it was over 60%.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickolassc
Olympianrider

Where-as a shimano 105 full groupset from wiggle, ribble, chain reaction is the best value deal going, but if campy is what you are set on, you need to make sure you can get the right gearing combination, campy doesn't always have that available and they are a bit behind the times compared to what modern riders are using for gearing, you'll need a 50/34 compact crank up front and an 11-32 cassette in the back so you have gears to climb those hills you are dealing with, and the new trend which is just coming out, is for 48/32 and 46/30 cranksets, which are even smarter than the big move to 50/34 about 15 years ago, but other than FSA, those new subcompact cranks aren't widely available yet.
Nickolassc, I just want to say these are great thoughts about gearing. I'm not planning anything as punishing as the one-day ride around Mt. Rainier. But it would be nice to be able to make it up the steeper hills I find on rural highways (and on the STP). Honestly, until this point, I hadn't given gear ratios any thought -- just as long as I could find something with a somewhat bigger low gear, I figured I'd be doing fine. My guess has been that modern gearing (11 speeds on the rear!) will make a dramatic improvement no matter what I get.

As for Campy, well, I'll admit this is the first really performance-oriented argument I've heard. You're saying better gears might be available with Shimano, huh? Well, first things first, I think I need to investigate this a bit more. What do I need for my purposes? Will the standard gears be sufficient or are there better options out there? I'll see what I can find out. I guess this is why Al Gore invented the Internet.

You haven't quite dissuaded me -- yet. But I'm open to a solid argument.

And sure, once I make a choice and get ready to buy, I'll see what I can find out here -- and I'll bring my local bike shop in on it, too. Last thing I need is a frame that won't work with what I have in mind. Sometime after Christmas, though -- the kids come first.

BTW, no way am I getting rid of the "classic" bike I assembled this summer. At long last I have a bike with a comfortable ride, a perfect fit, light weight, and a look that draws stares -- the best bike I've ever owned. Looks like a jewel. Rides like a dream. It's just right for an 80-mile ride on a sunny day. It also has the right kind of geometry for fully loaded touring, if I want to install a stouter rack.

I just want another that's a bit more competitive.

Nikolassc and HTupolev, I know the Schwinn Varsity wasn't really made of solid iron. It just felt that way. Given its awfulness I think people today would be stunned to know how popular it was. Seemed like 40 percent of the bikes I saw on the road in the mid-'70s, in Spokane, Wash., were Varsities or their Schwinn corporate cousins based on the same frame. Most of the rest were department-store bikes that were even worse.

And HTupolev, I'm a little more willing than you are to bet a modern bike actually will make a significant difference. Let me think it, anyway, and maybe it will be so. I actually had a somewhat-more-modern bike a while back -- an aluminum-frame 1989 Schwinn 564. The light weight, better gearing and tighter wheelbase certainly made it seem faster than the old bike I had been riding (and I have no idea why the wheelbase would affect my perception, but it did). Yet after a few jaunts I gave it up because of the bone-shaking ride -- my hands started going numb after about 10 miles, and chipseal roads were pure torture. I learned later that this particular model is known for its harsh ride. I hate to think my practice of pumping tires rock-hard had something to do with it, but hey, you live and learn.

Anyway, I'm convinced enough that I'm going to be betting $1,500 or so on this proposition, once I get a new bike. Or maybe even a little more.

Erik Smith
Olympia, WA

Last edited by Olympianrider; 12-06-17 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 12-06-17, 03:11 AM
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I had a Planet X carbon. Nice frame for the price. I sold it later as it was a bit small for me. Current owner still rides and likes it. Now over 5-6 years old I think.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickolassc
Where-as a shimano 105 full groupset from wiggle, ribble, chain reaction is the best value deal going, but if campy is what you are set on, you need to make sure you can get the right gearing combination, campy doesn't always have that available and they are a bit behind the times compared to what modern riders are using for gearing, you'll need a 50/34 compact crank up front and an 11-32 cassette in the back so you have gears to climb those hills you are dealing with, and the new trend which is just coming out, is for 48/32 and 46/30 cranksets, which are even smarter than the big move to 50/34 about 15 years ago, but other than FSA, those new subcompact cranks aren't widely available yet.
What? Potenza has an 11-32 cassette option: Campagnolo Potenza 11 Speed Road Cassette | Chain Reaction Cycles

And Shimano doesn't offer sub-compact cranks either as you've noted. So how again is Campy behind anything/anyone?
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Old 12-06-17, 08:16 AM
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there are a lot of words in this thread. that is all
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Old 12-06-17, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Olympianrider
But it would be nice to be able to make it up the steeper hills I find on rural highways (and on the STP). Honestly, until this point, I hadn't given gear ratios any thought -- just as long as I could find something with a somewhat bigger low gear, I figured I'd be doing fine. My guess has been that modern gearing (11 speeds on the rear!) will make a dramatic improvement no matter what I get.
You should look up the compact crankset as compared to the "standard" crankset. The standard has 53/39t chainrings, and the compact has 50/34t rings. There are other options now too for folks who feel the need to be different, like 52/36t. I'd guess that for your purposes on the road (almost everyone's purposes on the road unless you can spin out with a 53t front ring and 11t rear cog at like 40mph or whatever) you really want the 50/34t compact crank. It's fairly standard now too, which begs the question when 53/39t will stop being referred to as a "standard" crank. Having that 34t low chainring in front is pretty awesome for climbing where you don't have a really huge low gear in the rear. With a 34t front/25t rear combo I tackle the few hills there are near me, and if I want to go do a real mountain I've got a cassette with up to 32t on it I can swap in. With a 34/32t ring/cog combo you could almost climb up a wall if you had the traction (and a seatbelt).

As for Campy, well, I'll admit this is the first really performance-oriented argument I've heard. You're saying better gears might be available with Shimano, huh? Well, first things first, I think I need to investigate this a bit more. What do I need for my purposes? Will the standard gears be sufficient or are there better options out there? I'll see what I can find out. I guess this is why Al Gore invented the Internet.
It's just that between Shimano and SRAM parts there are nearly limitless options, whereas there's always a question whether something you want has a version compatible with a Campy drivetrain, campy brakes, campy whatever. Most common things will have a campy version, but you still have to ask. Some folks may hate Shimano because they're the market leader now and to be hip you've got to buck the trends, but it's the market leader for very good reasons, and I like the fact that it's the most common, best supported, good quality, etc. Their stuff is good, and you really can't go wrong with Shimano. People can and do choose whatever they want for whatever their reasons, but if someone doesn't have an opinion or reasons to choose one brand over another and they default to Shimano they will be fine.

And HTupolev, I'm a little more willing than you are to bet a modern bike actually will make a significant difference. Let me think it, anyway, and maybe it will be so.
Oviously the older stuff works, and a well-configured older bike will still do everything it did when it was new. There's no question about that. With modern stuff things weigh less, there are more options, things may shift better, things can be more comfortable, can be more ergonomic if you have particular fit requirements and find the right geometry, etc. It's just a huge collection of incremental improvements. Whether it actually makes you faster or not would depend on a lot of things, but chances are a more comfortable, lighter, more efficiently geared, more aerodynamic, more ergonomically fitted to you bike will in fact seem and feel quite different, and likely better, to you.

As just one example, consider a 6-speed rear wheel with 13-23 cogs. It's probably 13-15-17-19-21-23. That's two teeth between every shift, and the fastest gear is 13, the easiest gear is 23. Especially when you consider that's probably on a bike with 53/39t front chainrings, that means if you do any climbing you either have thighs of steel or you just can't easily climb as steep a road as a more modern bike with a 50/34 compact crank and 11-28t cassette. And you'll spin out sooner on a descent than you will on a modern 11-speed with an 11t high gear. And that 11-28t cassette with 11 cogs is probably 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-28, which means your first four shifts from the high gear are only 1 tooth at a time, which means your cadence changes less on a shift. If you're spinning at a high cadence it kind of sucks to have the cadence suddenly change by 12 or 15 rpm on a shift. Keeping the shifts tight like this helps you maintain an efficient cadence with as little disruption as possible as you shift up or down.

Is it world-ending to shift 2 teeth at a time on every shift with that 6-speed? No. But is it better if you maintain an efficient spinning cadence to shift only 1 tooth at a time? For most purposes: hell yeah.

This is the kind of incremental improvement we're talking about.


There are oodles and oodles of little advantages to be gained in modern choices that may or may not have any impact on speed at all. I'm talking little things that most people wouldn't even think about until you point them out, such as ovalized or flattened tops. With an older, lower diameter round handlebar with relatively thin cork wrapping you might find your hands getting tired if you ride on the tops a lot (which for a 200-mile ride you may well do). Nowadays there are plenty of handlebar options where the bar in the top area where you put your hands it flattened out a lot, so the forces on your hand are more spread out and hence more comfortable. That makes a pretty big difference in comfort, and I believe anything that makes you more comfortable will help on very long rides, because discomfort is fatiguing.

Even things like clip-in pedals are so much more comfortable if only because the forces keeping your foot on the pedal are transmitted through the structure of the shoe itself, rather than being some little metal frame pushing down on the top of your foot.

Anyhow, you may or may not be faster on a new bike, but you'll probably be more efficient, more comfortable, more convenient, etc. And over long distances those can translate into speed too.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ
As just one example, consider a 6-speed rear wheel with 13-23 cogs. It's probably 13-15-17-19-21-23. That's two teeth between every shift, and the fastest gear is 13, the easiest gear is 23. Especially when you consider that's probably on a bike with 53/39t front chainrings,
Pure gear availability is specifically something where I think the benefits from pure tech advancement are very small for most people.
You're making assumptions that run specifically against what I was getting at with my "configuration vs tech" point. A typical vintage racing bike tends to have a gearing scheme that's dubious for a large portion of cyclists, but there's no reason that a vintage bike had to be set up that way.

I've got a 1970s bike with a six-speed freewheel that has tight gear spacing in the road cruising range, and a lower granny gear than my Emonda. The only real compromise it makes versus the new bike is a little less on the high end, not really an issue on endurance rides.
This basically just required a long-cage derailleur and a triple crank. Not done most of the time, but very easily doable.

Also: for most of the era when six-speed was dominant, a typical road double was 52-42 or similar. 53-39 as a common combo is more recent.

With an older, lower diameter round handlebar
The diameter was the same as today's road bars.

The difference primarily comes from...
with relatively thin cork wrapping
...the tape. It was most frequently cotton cloth, not cork, and this cloth (and most alternatives) tended to be fairly firm and thin.

There were things you could do if you really wanted a thicker wrap. A second layer of wrap, or even an inner tube under the tape is a bit more damping and squish is desired, could be used.
For a while, there were even slide-on foam grips available for drop bars that made them really thick, but these were too squishy and kind of hideous...
It was also possible, if a noncircular bar shape was desired (or if you simply wanted a cleaner cockpit), to route the housing on bar-end shifters to exit the tape at the handlebar clamp, rather than the transition between drops and hooks.

Last edited by HTupolev; 12-07-17 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 12-07-17, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Pure gear availability is specifically something where I think the benefits from pure tech advancement are very small for most people.
You're making assumptions that run specifically against what I was getting at with my "configuration vs tech" point. A typical vintage racing bike tends to have a gearing scheme that's dubious for a large portion of cyclists, but there's no reason that a vintage bike had to be set up that way.

I've got a 1970s bike with a six-speed freewheel that has tight gear spacing in the road cruising range, and a lower granny gear than my Emonda. The only real compromise it makes versus the new bike is a little less on the high end, not really an issue on endurance rides.
This basically just required a long-cage derailleur and a triple crank. Not done most of the time, but very easily doable.
Recall that the context of this discussion is the OP's observation that everyone around him was going just a little bit faster than him over 200 miles, and his wondering whether a modern bike could close a little bit of that gap.

With that in mind, consider for a moment the differences between a 6-speed and an 11-speed bike on a 200-mile ride through country with various terrain. If we stipulate that the highest gear is the same, and for the sake of argument that the lowest gear is the same (give or take), then the entire range between those extremes is covered by 4 gears on the old bike, and 9 gears on the modern bike. Across a widely varying set of terrain from descents, ascents, flatlands, and rolling hills this will unavoidably result in either inefficiencies, or else other endurance-sapping conditions like mashing too hard a gear, the only alternative being to spin to easy a gear because the "sweet spot" for that particular stretch of road, and his abilities, is between gears.

This along could account for a narrow gap between his own average speed on that ride and those who finished, say, within an hour of him. Since that's what he's asking about, I think I've made my point.

Also: for most of the era when six-speed was dominant, a typical road double was 52-42 or similar. 53-39 as a common combo is more recent.
A 42t low ring would actually make my point even stronger, assuming at least some of the climbs over that 200-mile ride were steeper than he could efficiently spin up with a 42/<whatever>. And his low gear in the rear probably wasn't all that low, either. And if it was, that just makes the gear spread discussed above even worse.

The diameter was the same as today's road bars.
Yes, in the drops and where the shifters are. Cheap bars, or bars for people who just like resting their hands on round, narrow tubes while riding the tops, yes. But there are a plethora of bars out now with ovalized tops that are, in my own experience anyhow, a godsend in terms of long-distance cruising while on the tops.

The difference primarily comes from...

...the tape. It was most frequently cotton cloth, not cork, and this cloth (and most alternatives) tended to be fairly firm and thin.

There were things you could do if you really wanted a thicker wrap. A second layer of wrap, or even an inner tube under the tape is a bit more damping and squish is desired, could be used.
For a while, there were even slide-on foam grips available for drop bars that made them really thick, but these were too squishy and kind of hideous...
It was also possible, if a noncircular bar shape was desired (or if you simply wanted a cleaner cockpit), to route the housing on bar-end shifters to exit the tape at the handlebar clamp, rather than the transition between drops and hooks.
I agree that he could simply rewrap his old round bar tops with modern squishier and more comfortable bar tape, and that would reduce the long-distance fatigue owing to the hands. I'll still take a modern bar any day. I haven't tried that many bars, but the Ergonova Pro I put on my Trek, and have since moved over to the Lynskey, was a godsend over the original bar, regardless of tape, that was on both the Trek, and the one that came with the Lynskey. I'm guessing bike manufacturers like Lynskey put cheapo bars on a bike because they know that's likely to be something that someone will want to personalize with their own choice anyway.

Anyhow, I'm not going to argue that someone can't be just as fast on an old bike set up for whatever conditions are being ridden in a comparison with a new bike. We have testimonies of that all the time. I'm just saying that there are legitimate sources for improved efficiencies available in a modern bike that do in fact improve upon a typical 70s-era bike. One might argue the net impact of them, but they are there. If the OP wishes to take advantage of these improved efficiencies, I don't think he will be disappointed. He's not asking if it will help him win the Tour de France; he just wants to be a little faster, and considering that efficiency and fatigue reduction over long distances equals net speed gain, I think he'll see it.
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Old 12-07-17, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ
Recall that the context of this discussion is the OP's observation that everyone around him was going just a little bit faster than him over 200 miles, and his wondering whether a modern bike could close a little bit of that gap.
And I agree that a good modern road bike will close the gap quite a bit.

What I disagree with is the suggestion that modern technology is most of why it will do so.

So for instance, I think that a typical modern road gearing will be a huge improvement for the OP over their old setup; but I think there are old setups if a similar age for which the difference would be very slight.

With that in mind, consider for a moment the differences between a 6-speed and an 11-speed bike on a 200-mile ride through country with various terrain. If we stipulate that the highest gear is the same, and for the sake of argument that the lowest gear is the same (give or take), then the entire range between those extremes is covered by 4 gears on the old bike, and 9 gears on the modern bike. Across a widely varying set of terrain from descents, ascents, flatlands, and rolling hills this will unavoidably result in either inefficiencies, or else other endurance-sapping conditions like mashing too hard a gear, the only alternative being to spin to easy a gear because the "sweet spot" for that particular stretch of road, and his abilities, is between gears.
Yes, but there's nothing stopping someone in the 1970s from deciding to add another chainring or two. You can get pretty respectable spacing over the usefully-pedalled speed range of most endurance riders with something like a carefully designed 3x6.

And if it was, that just makes the gear spread discussed above even worse.
Unless there's a half-step or 1.5-step kind of scheme going on. Then you can roughly double the tightness of the cluster.

Anyhow, I'm not going to argue that someone can't be just as fast on an old bike set up for whatever conditions are being ridden in a comparison with a new bike. We have testimonies of that all the time. I'm just saying that there are legitimate sources for improved efficiencies available in a modern bike that do in fact improve upon a typical 70s-era bike.
I completely agree with all of that. I'm not saying that a modern bike won't offer improvements over a typical 70s racing bike; I'm saying that a majority of the performance improvement that will be seen in this case likely isn't due to advancement of technology, but rather the bike being far better-designed for this rider and their needs.

Last edited by HTupolev; 12-07-17 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 12-07-17, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ
It's just that between Shimano and SRAM parts there are nearly limitless options, whereas there's always a question whether something you want has a version compatible with a Campy drivetrain, campy brakes, campy whatever. Most common things will have a campy version, but you still have to ask.
Seriously, what are you going on about? Either cite real examples of these 'issues' or just quit talking about parts of which you know nothing.
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Old 12-07-17, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Yes, but there's nothing stopping someone in the 1970s from deciding to add another chainring or two. You can get pretty respectable spacing over the usefully-pedalled speed range of most endurance riders with something like a carefully designed 3x6.


Unless there's a half-step or 1.5-step kind of scheme going on. Then you can roughly double the tightness of the cluster.
I don't know the exact vintage of this bike off the local Craigslist but it's a good example of gearing from a while ago that was well suited to the common cyclist:

https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/...380922441.html




3x6, half-step with a granny, looks like a 14-28 freewheel.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:09 AM
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so [MENTION=418727]Olympianrider[/MENTION], you buy the frame or not? this thread has lost its way
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Old 12-07-17, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Olympianrider
What do I need for my purposes? Will the standard gears be sufficient or are there better options out there?
I'm currently using a 50/34 compact crank, and a 12-28 cassette. That's a 2x11 system, with Shimano's electronic shifting.

These are on an "endurance gravel road bike." I have 28 mm tires with rims that stretch them out to 32 mm wide. This is fairly wide for road use, I do a lot of forest service roads, too.

This has worked well for me on rides like Blewett, Loup Loup, and Washington Passes.
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Old 12-07-17, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'm currently using a 50/34 compact crank, and a 12-28 cassette. That's a 2x11 system, with Shimano's electronic shifting.

These are on an "endurance gravel road bike." I have 28 mm tires with rims that stretch them out to 32 mm wide. This is fairly wide for road use, I do a lot of forest service roads, too.

This has worked well for me on rides like Blewett, Loup Loup, and Washington Passes.
And it should go without saying that what works for you won't necessarily work for someone else due to age, weight, fitness, etc. The good news is that even with the restriction to double cranksets for any higher tier groupset these days there are still options by way of sub-compact cranks and MTB (or MTB-esque) cassettes to achieve as low of a gear as most road cyclists could want. You may sacrifice some top end relative to a triple, though.
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Old 12-07-17, 02:07 PM
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[MENTION=11954]joejack951[/MENTION]

Of course you're right. But the OP asked, and didn't get many answers. As we only live about 50 miles apart, I expect [MENTION=418727]Olympianrider[/MENTION] is at least familiar with Blewett &c.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve90068
there are a lot of words in this thread. that is all


The Moby Dick of bf threads.
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Old 12-08-17, 12:25 AM
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Just a few thoughts here, responding to the many comments --

Originally Posted by SethAZ
With that in mind, consider for a moment the differences between a 6-speed and an 11-speed bike on a 200-mile ride through country with various terrain. If we stipulate that the highest gear is the same, and for the sake of argument that the lowest gear is the same (give or take), then the entire range between those extremes is covered by 4 gears on the old bike, and 9 gears on the modern bike. Across a widely varying set of terrain from descents, ascents, flatlands, and rolling hills this will unavoidably result in either inefficiencies, or else other endurance-sapping conditions like mashing too hard a gear, the only alternative being to spin to easy a gear because the "sweet spot" for that particular stretch of road, and his abilities, is between gears.
This is precisely what I was thinking about as all those riders passed me during the STP -- that my more limited number of gears meant I was less likely to hit the optimum for whatever terrain I was covering. Keep in mind, because I was on the larger front chainring most of the time, for greater speed, I really had only four gears (I couldn't use low gear because of the cross-chain issue). People using 11 were more likely to hit the sweet spot. I knew I could speed up and match their pace, but I'd be working harder than they were, and I needed to conserve energy to make the full 200 miles.

My thought was this, plus my extra 5-8 pounds, and all the little incremental improvements for comfort and ergonomics on the bikes everyone else was using, really might make a difference on a 200-mile run.

And of course, I also penalized myself substantially by using the Nuovo Record derailleur. The max low gear the bike shop could get to work was 25T. I'd already learned the value of modern cushioned handlebar wrap -- until a few years ago I always used the old-style cloth tape, but my local bike shop convinced me to give it a try. And I already had an oval shape to my handlebars, because, as HTupolev observes...

Originally Posted by HTupolev
It was also possible, if a noncircular bar shape was desired (or if you simply wanted a cleaner cockpit), to route the housing on bar-end shifters to exit the tape at the handlebar clamp, rather than the transition between drops and hooks.
This was precisely the setup I was using, with vintage SunTour bar-end shifters. Another one of those ideas my local bike shop suggested.

Originally Posted by HTupolev
A typical vintage racing bike tends to have a gearing scheme that's dubious for a large portion of cyclists, but there's no reason that a vintage bike had to be set up that way.
This was one of the big lessons I learned. Keep in mind, until I got my "classic" back from the shop a few days before the ride, I'd been using my old clunker bike for training. That was the heavy old 1980 Centurion LeMans I mentioned with SunTour running gear. Now, one of the things people said way back when was that even though serious folks used Campy, SunTour was cheaper and shifted better. Sure enough. They were right about that. And one thing I'd never considered was that the SunTour derailleur permitted a bigger low gear you could use whatever chaining you were using in the front, while the frame allowed six speeds instead of the then-more-typical five.

Not that any discussion of old derailleurs really matters as I contemplate a new bike, of course. I'm sure it'll be better, whatever I use.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
As we only live about 50 miles apart, I expect @Olympianrider is at least familiar with Blewett &c.
Well, this may sound a little funny, but this summer's STP was the first and only "organized" ride I've ever done. I've always been a solitary rider -- I haven't known anyone else who likes going long distances. I think this was the big reason the whole idea that modern technology might actually make a difference came as such a shock. Until that day I was more inclined to say, "bah, who needs it?" I've heard of some of those rides you mention, though -- I've driven Blewett Pass enough times to know how fun it would be on a bike -- and rides like these are one of the reasons I want something that might allow me to keep up.

And finally,

Originally Posted by superdex
so @Olympianrider, you buy the frame or not? this thread has lost its way
The frame has to wait for the first paycheck after Christmas. First comes a new computer for the kids -- my toy comes second. But I wouldn't necessarily say the thread has lost its way. I am fascinated by the advances in technology that have occurred over the last 30 years. Honestly I'm still learning the things "everybody" knows. Thanks again to everyone who has chimed in with their knowledge and understanding!

Erik Smith
Olympia, WA

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Old 12-08-17, 12:59 AM
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Erik,
Just in case you're interested, let me mention a couple more things. I do most of my rides solo too, but I actually quite like riding with others and do it fairly often, usually once a week, but occasionally twice if things work out. One guy I've ridden with probably dozens of times on both MTB and road bikes I met because he Kudoed my ride one day in Strava, and we struck up a chat, and it turned out he lived around the corner on a different street maybe 500 yards away. I've met some others on Strava in similar ways, and was eventually told about meetup.com, where you can do a search for cycling meetups and there are probably some almost anywhere. Local bike shops in my area have at least one or two organized rides each week per shop, so there are a few to choose from. I've now ridden with several different groups, some of them many times. From there we followed each other on Strava, then I saw them join some Strava group that looked local so I joined it, got in on other rides, etc. This one group has a Facebook page I joined, and there are people organizing anything from two or three-person rides to whole group rides several times per week. If I were retired I could probably be doing group rides every single day if I wanted. If you ever see other cyclists out while you're riding there's a pretty good chance that there are groups that you can go ride with when you want. I've gotten to do some very challenging but enjoyable rides because people I'd ridden with in these groups invited me along. I'd probably never have done these rides just on my own, or even known about them.

Anyhow, good luck with the new bike, and let us know what you end up getting. I realize you're probably still using daguerreotypes, but you could probably get someone to scan them in for you and post some pics of your new bike too. :-)
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