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Bike history questions

mr_hippomr_hippo Posts: 1,051
edited August 2007 in The bottom bracket
When were the first carbon fibre frames made?
When were the first titanium frames made?
When did they become commercially available to the general public?
What equipment was on LeMond's 1989 tour bike?

Posts

  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,869
    Titanium frmaes have been kicking about for decades, Lightspeed may have been the first, I have vague memories of them advertising in the 70's. Merlin advertise that they have been making Ti bikes for over 21 years.
    Google (I assume you've tried an internet search engine) throws up a link to a man at Plymouth Uni, who says he had 12 of his frames being used at the '96 Olympics.
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The first titanium frames were made by Speedwell in the UK in the 1970's - they were reputedly pretty flexy, had a habit of breaking and cost a fortune. I remember seeing a Fuji ti frame in the late 1980's but they were rare and expensive too. I think Litespeed started in production in the early 80's and certainly weren't the first.

    The first carbon bikes appeared about 1984/85 - can't remember exactly who but likely to have been Vitus/Look or TVT.

    In 1989, Lemond was using the Mavic SSC groupset on his Botteccia.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • AidocpAidocp Posts: 868
    I was reading the Robert Millar book last night and I see he was peed of because his mechanic never prepared his carbon framed bike for a stage in the 1983 tour.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    The original carbon frames used plain round carbon tubes bonded into aluminium lugs - they had a nasty habit of coming unstuck, depositing the rider on the road at high speed.

    Seem to remember that Vitus did indeed make the first carbon frames.

    One listed on Ebay at the minute.
  • HungryColHungryCol Posts: 532
    What ever happened to Mavic gears, derailleurs and the like? They were pretty cool in the 80's but seemed to disappear.
    Every winner has scars.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    I recall being given an article on Speedwell by my welding instructor in the early '80s. They used to weld the frames in large inerted chambers, IIRC.

    The earliest carbon frames I can recall were the Peugeot which had 3 carbon main tubes and alloy lugs and stays. The bonding of the stays to seat lug makes me think Vitus used to make them. I think the TVT and Look frames came after that.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    Assos claims to have made the 1st carbon frame in '76 http://www.assos.com/en/facts/ I think I read on an older version of their site that it was banned by the UCI so they didn't see any future in it. My memory could be playing tricks though.

    I don't think the Assos carbon frame was ever available to the public. The first ones I remember in the shops were by Alan, at Harry Hall.

    Google led me to the mysterious "Bill at Santana" who claims to have marketed the first carbon frames to the public in '74 http://www.sudibe.de/articles/carbontandems.html

    Slightly OT, but Lemond's '86 Tour-winning bike was a Serotta in disguise. Allegedly. http://www.cyclefit.co.uk/serotta_11.html
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • DavidBelcherDavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    HungryCol wrote:
    What ever happened to Mavic gears, derailleurs and the like? They were pretty cool in the 80's but seemed to disappear.

    The vast majority of non-wheel items produced by Mavic seemed to cease production in the mid-90s after the company was acquired by skiing equipment firm Salomon (later passing to Adidas). I still use a Mavic 840 rear mech (acquired NOS for about 20 quid) on my 'cross bike and think it's a great product, though the jockey wheels didn't last too long and were swapped for Tacx ones. I think the one thing that really went against them in their heyday was the hefty price tag when compared to Shimano & Campag, plus they stuck with single-pivot brakes when dual-pivots were starting to take a foothold, and didn't have their own Ergo/STI equivalent (though the rebadged 8sp Ergos intended for Sachs-Huret groups worked with Mavic stuff - Boardman's GAN team used them when they were Mavic-equipped).
    Mind you, they were designed & built for a long life (witness details like the meaty cage plates on the rear mechs), and to have the parts that did wear out easily replaced (complex bits like gear mechs can be totally disassembled by fiddling with screws and circlips). I used to have an 840 rear mech on a road bike, too, till it got pulled out of the frame in a freak chain-jam episode, stripping the thread off the main pivot bolt and stranding me in the back of beyond on the moors above Menston :(
    Still, it's now standing by as a source of spares for the other one, though if you have a broken 840 that could still donate a pivot bolt, drop me a line....

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • DavidBelcherDavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    LangerDan wrote:
    I recall being given an article on Speedwell by my welding instructor in the early '80s. They used to weld the frames in large inerted chambers, IIRC.

    The earliest carbon frames I can recall were the Peugeot which had 3 carbon main tubes and alloy lugs and stays. The bonding of the stays to seat lug makes me think Vitus used to make them. I think the TVT and Look frames came after that.

    Another contender for the "first carbon" tag is the US-made Exxon Graftek (as the name suggests, it was a spin-off venture by the oil & petrol company). For various snippets of bike history, www.classicrendezvous.com is a very good site and has info on Speedwell, Graftek and many others. As far as the Peugeot frames go, they very probably were Vitus - one of their more recent carbon offerings was blatantly a rebadged Vitus (ZX1??), including the trademark integrated threaded Stronglight X94 headset. Some of the earliest Peugeot alloy frames were also clearly Vitus (Duralinox with new transfers), suggesting strong trading links between the two firms.
    TVT seem to have been one of the first to make carbon forks well before they were an everyday item in bike shops - Jean-Francois Bernard used a set way back in 1987!

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
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