It's official-I'm a retrogrouch...
Last Post 09/24/2020 12:52 PM by Frederick Jones. 16 Replies.
Author Messages
Berzin

Posts:68

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08/26/2020 07:25 AM
It's happened. I remember not too long ago listening to people older than me describe their younger years as "the good old days" and always thought that would never happen to me, because I felt I would always embrace change and new technology. Well, I was wrong. I am officially trapped in a time warp when it comes to cycling. For me, the golden age took place in the late 80's through the 1990's, both for the racing and the equipment. There seemed to be more characters in cycling. Now very few riders stand out for me. The clothing is obnoxiously too tight, most of the bikes look exactly the same and the sense of drama has been muted by the robotic likes of Team Ineos, who basically target one race and one race only. We used to have frames built in carbon, steel, aluminum and titanium. Now it's all carbon. A top-end frame would cost no more than $2500 dollars (Litespeed Vortex and Colnago C-40 come to mind). Now top of the line frames are more than twice as much. The heads of state would show up for the Classics and would always be at the front after tearing the peloton to shreds. Now we have 50-plus riders in with a shot during the final kilometers in races line Liege and the Fleche Wallone. Equipment was more varied. Now you purchase a frame and the same company also manufactures the handlebars, stem, seatpost and wheels, pushing out smaller companies that would usually specialize in aftermarket components. Even the fans have changed for the worse. If you see photos of races from back in the day you would see fans dressed well and behaving themselves. Now we have idiots in Borat-inspired man thongs and giant penises painted on the roads. And the changes made to bike frames are just saddening. Sloping top tubes, disc brakes, tubeless tires and aero road frames are things I could do without. Even Zipp has decided they will no longer make traditional brake rim wheels. Their offerings for 2021 are mostly tubeless/disc brake wheels with an occasional tubular version thrown in. I even miss World Cycling Productions (sorry Cosmic Kid). I miss getting their catalog and placing orders for their Spring Classics collection or any of the grand tour videos. Now with the advent of the internet and increased tv coverage there is no need for such a service, but I do lament its passing.
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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08/26/2020 08:59 AM
I’m older and grouchier. 70’s for me. Steel and wool! But mainly, the doping hardly did anything, so the playing field was more level.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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08/26/2020 10:53 AM
Everyone eventually becomes a retro-grouch.

On technology, it is a mixed bag. Looking at picture of Hinault at Roubaix on Velonews site the first thing that came to mind is what crap bikes were taken over those cobbles back in the day. Kinda like cars in the 70s that would start coming apart at wheels if you took them over a certain speed. And of course they rusted within a year. I also still remember my first road bike, those campagnolo friction shifters didn't nearly have enough friction and some major retrofitting was needed. As with cars, happy that the Japanese entered the market and started making stuff that works.

Wool. My first jersey was wool and it was crap. The only wool one should wear is socks in winter, period. If the lycra don't fit, it means you are probably carrying a few too many milk bottles as MVDP would say.

I don't think everything out there is carbon. Aluminum seems to rule still until a certain price point. I have steel, aluminum and carbon bike. OK, the carbon one is broken and with Specialized for inspection. Fully agreed on the major setbacks on frame geometry, lots of pooping dog frames out there and don't get my started on major offset some frames have for rear stays. Fugly.

The golden era of cycling is clearly defined by Zoetemelk, Raas, Kneteman, Kuiper, Hinault, Lemond, Fignon and King Kelly. We may in fact be entering a second golden era of cycling with likes of Evenepoel, van Aert, MVDP etc., guys that dare to just go for it. OK, in 70s I was too young to watch cycling and in early 90s I did not have a TV for half a decade so I missed some periods. But Indurain sounds pretty boring.

Oh, and the fans. Suffice to say that first time we travelled by plane as a family my dad wore a suit and my mom wore her best dress. Now anything goes. Cycling fans are just a reflection of the real world.
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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08/26/2020 11:38 AM
PS Anything before radios in riders’ ears.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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08/26/2020 01:04 PM
BTW on bike pricing. Yes there is some ridiculously expensive stuff out there but the price point at which I am buying has not significantly changed since the 80s (accounting for inflation). I may have gotten a top-end bike for that as my first purchase whereas currently it is more a mid-level bike, but that current mid-level bike performs much better than the old top end bike. Its only the operator performance that has gone downhill over time.
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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08/26/2020 07:58 PM
In the mid 70s $800 bought a top level hand built bike such as a Colnago Super or Schwinn Paramount with Campy record components. You could spend a bit more with chi chi custom builders - but Sachs etc were mostly pretty cheap back then. Someone correct me but adjusted for inflation that's about $3k now. That sum today would get a pretty darned nice bike that would compare well with that Colnago in most ways, but the state of the art has progressed in so many ways, apples to oranges comparison. My telephone back then was cheaper than my cell phone now, too.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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08/26/2020 09:35 PM
Those are the numbers I had in mind.
79pmooney

Posts:2507

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08/26/2020 11:09 PM
Posted By Frederick Jones on 08/26/2020 07:58 PM
... My telephone back then was cheaper than my cell phone now, too.

And ... the dial telephone and its 25' cord that I grew up with would have outlived 2 dozen cell phone lives.  It survived 5 kids and who knows how many drops and cord trips.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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08/28/2020 04:38 PM
Still have a land line just in case. But you can’t compare the technology. I used my mobile to handle several work emergencies while on a training ride this morning.

Now a bike on the other hand still fulfills the exact same function as it always has so you can compare price and capability.
Nick A

Posts:601

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08/29/2020 07:42 PM
Yeah, it used to be, you would get basically the same bike used in the TDF for $1200. Columbus frame, Super Record gruppo. No TT bike, no climbing bike, etc.

Even then, the pros weren't concerned with some ultra light craziness. They valued reliability.

Nick
Berzin

Posts:68

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09/15/2020 01:51 PM
I don't know about that, Nick A. Maybe my nostalgia goggles are getting fogged up but I remember the top of the line Italian frames decked out in Campy's finest costing 4 grand or thereabouts back when Lemond made his epic comeback at the Tour. R&A Cycles in Brooklyn, New York even had the Bottecchia time trial bike in the window for sale. The thing looked like a rocket ship. Very impressive to see in person.
Nick A

Posts:601

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09/22/2020 06:39 PM
I may have nostalgia going too. But I bought a Pinarello frame for like $400 maybe in 1983. I got it close to cost because I was on a team, and it had a factory paint blemish...but still. I remember Campy prices going insane after the Super Record to C-Record transition. (I raced as junior in the early mid '80's in NY. Did the Gimbels ride a million times. Sounds like you were around the same area.)

I think Mavic GP-4s were like $50 each? Hmm. Just looked it up, that's $130 today. So that's a lot. I haven't priced any fancy sh!t in years. I'm guessing some insane carbon rim (if they even sell them separately) is way more.

I guess reminiscing is well, reminiscing. Not too productive, but fun. LOL.

N
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3319

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09/23/2020 11:51 AM
I'm guessing some insane carbon rim (if they even sell them separately) is way more.


Wheelbuilder is selling Enve rims for ~$1K, i think.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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09/23/2020 10:29 PM
Those GP4s were classic Mavic of that era: heavy but otherwise solid relative to the competition. Only rim I've seen since then that might compare are HED Belgiums. I try to kill mine from time to time but they won't die. I would very much like to read other's input on this topic.
79pmooney

Posts:2507

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09/23/2020 10:41 PM
I killed a GP4. Rear rim. 17,000 NW volcanic ash miles. Wore the braking surfaces to less than parchment thin. Bunny hopped a poorly paved utility ditch, caught the far edge and put a 1/2"+ dent/kink in the rim. Bumped it 12 miles home. (Over the course of that set's life, I tightened about 6 spokes. Nothing else. No complaints.)

So GP4s are still around? Might motivate me to build/re-rim some wheels! Get back on the good rubber. Ride the magic carpets.
Nick A

Posts:601

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09/24/2020 10:04 AM
That's the thing. Unless I'm "mis-remembering", didn't pros regularly race on those? I mean, nobody's bike collapsed from hitting a dog back then! It wasn't always about the absolute cutting edge, but also reliability.

Nick
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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09/24/2020 12:52 PM
The mechanics would keep some 3x spoked wheels with GP4 rims for Paris Roubaix, but looks like carbon took over completely several years ago.
BTW, to clarify my post, it's the HED Belgiums that are bombproof for me, don't have any mavic rims at all any more.


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