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1972 vs 2017 road bike - how much difference does it make ?

Neil GrubbNeil Grubb Posts: 38
edited August 2018 in Road general
Today I took my vintage 1972 Freddie Grubb road bike out on one of my usual routes, and tried to ride the route as quickly as possible to see how much slower it is, compared with my Planet X ProCarbon SRAM Force bike which I use normally (the Freddie Grubb bike is used for short work commute). Of course lots of variables make the comparison on a single ride unreliable but this was just a bit of fun. The difference is about 1.5 - 2 mph on the average speed over a 30 mile route (17.2 vs 19 + mph) which is fairly flat (c1100ft ascent only) in similar wind conditions.

The old bike is steel, 5 speed cassette, toeclip pedals, and has 32mm tyres; new bike carbon, SPDs, 11 speed cassette and has 25mm tyres. The old bike is much smoother to ride (lower tyre pressure a factor). Top gear ratio meant I was spinning out with ridiculously high cadence on fast downhill stretches. I suspect difference may be bigger on hilly route - maybe will try this next.....

Posts

  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Im surprised it was so much difference.

    Some 32mm tyres are heavy & slow rolling, others very fast like the compass brand ones so that could be the main factor.
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,243
    About the same for my 'modern' steel tourer. I think it's mainly the weight (15kg unladen...) possibly a bit of aero too, but it's usually a solid 2mph avg down on my other bikes.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    With respect, if the Freddie Grubb is running 32mm tyres and you are spinning out downhill (where you wouldn't be on the other bike I presume) then you aren't quite comparing like with like.

    It sounds like the Freddie Grubb is more of a touring setup - if you look at what Merckx rode (72 being arguably his finest year) you will see skinnier tyres than are common now, big chainrings (same size as today if not bigger) and a cassette that appears tiny.

    I suspect the biggest single difference between now and then would be down to tyres - clinchers in particular were not very good back then, lightweight tubulars were practically a requirement to be competitive when racing, whereas a decent clincher nowadays is pretty nearly as good as a tubular for rolling resistance.

    It's also probably the harder thing to compare as I suspect tracking down vintage tyres that haven't perished is not easy!
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    As an analyst I would have many questions about this test! (don't worry I know you weren't suggesting it was a scientifically robust comparison!)

    which bike did you want to win? you would probably have tried harder on that bike (consciously or subconsciously) so it makes it hard to ever get a fair test - and throw in all the other variables and it gets much harder to say what is causing the difference let alone what the "real" difference is.

    If I were you i'd repeat the test at least 100 times on each bike and take an average

    (none of the above is sertious btw)
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Also, A PX Pro Carbon is hardly a '2017' bike, it's a design that has been around over a decade I think. You need to get one of the latest range of aero bikes (Cannondale SuperSix, S Venge or Trek Madone, etc...) to really test
  • As others have eluded, the Planetx is a not exactly a benchmark of a decent modern bike
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • timothyw wrote:
    With respect, if the Freddie Grubb is running 32mm tyres and you are spinning out downhill (where you wouldn't be on the other bike I presume) then you aren't quite comparing like with like It sounds like the Freddie Grubb is more of a touring setup

    Yes, I think that's probably right.
    Chris Bass wrote:
    which bike did you want to win? you would probably have tried harder on that bike (consciously or subconsciously) so it makes it hard to ever get a fair test - and throw in all the other variables and it gets much harder to say what is causing the difference let alone what the "real" difference is. If I were you i'd repeat the test at least 100 times on each bike and take an average
    (none of the above is sertious btw)

    There's definitely a chance of psychology at play - was thinking today if I had that Bianchi Oltre XR3 I've been drooling over, I'd definitely finally top 20mph average on the route - simply because of knowing I'm on a bike I think is great. The Planet X runs have been done in an attempt to beat that target (19.8 mph my best in very good conditions - so you can see I'm not a great cyclist) and later I decided to try the Grubb bike which I really like. I think I wanted the old thing to go fast :-) No way am I doing multiple runs !
    joey54321 wrote:
    Also, A PX Pro Carbon is hardly a '2017' bike, it's a design that has been around over a decade I think. You need to get one of the latest range of aero bikes (Cannondale SuperSix, S Venge or Trek Madone, etc...) to really test
    Agreed, the frame isn't new though the groupset is 2014ish, fair point. Also agree the Planet X is no benchmark, nor was the Freddie Grubb. If I could go back 18 months I would now buy something else but it's an okay bike which will do me for now; the main limitation is the engine.......
  • Tyres can make a big difference. My brother has been doing the same Tri for the last few years and previously he was using this:
    https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Bontra ... -Tyre/G2P8

    But changed to some Gatorskins this year because he wanted something more reliable, he found he was 10min slower over the course of the bike event on the new tyres, compared to last year.
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    I typically get to work a minute or two faster on my ten year old GT than my 1980 Raleigh Arena, mostly due to lack of gearing for the inclines combined with an extra few kilos.

    Always arrive smiling on the Raleigh though.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Tyres can make a big difference. My brother has been doing the same Tri for the last few years and previously he was using this:
    https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Bontra ... -Tyre/G2P8

    But changed to some Gatorskins this year because he wanted something more reliable, he found he was 10min slower over the course of the bike event on the new tyres, compared to last year.

    How long was the bike leg ? 10 minutes sounds a big difference to put down to tyres.
  • Very interesting comparison, did you try and get your position the same on both bikes? for what its worth it doesnt matter than you used the planet x, its simply the comparison you chose. results will vary by every selection. Did your planet X have those mavic alum xsyrium rims or the more recent aero ones?
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,962
    joey54321 wrote:
    Also, A PX Pro Carbon is hardly a '2017' bike, it's a design that has been around over a decade I think. You need to get one of the latest range of aero bikes (Cannondale SuperSix, S Venge or Trek Madone, etc...) to really test

    Seriously - how big a difference will that make? Retitle the thread "1972 vs 2007" then - and run a separate thread comparing "2007 to 2017" and wait for the unmeasurable differences to start rolling in..........
    Faster than a tent.......
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 13,139
    Unless you are racing it makes zero difference.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    pblakeney wrote:
    Unless you are racing it makes zero difference.

    he sort of is, he is doing a time trial against himself
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,962
    pblakeney wrote:
    Unless you are racing it makes zero difference.

    No, it does make quite a difference. I find riding old bikes quite a lot harder than modern ones. Partly down to the weight issue and partly down to the gearing. I suspect I push harder to compensate - maybe not a lot but I do always find riding an old bike has an arduousness over and above what I get from a similar modern bike.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 13,139
    Chris Bass wrote:
    pblakeney wrote:
    Unless you are racing it makes zero difference.

    he sort of is, he is doing a time trial against himself
    :lol::lol::lol: I prefer going a bit slower, more comfortably and enjoy the pedal more. It’s only a commute after all.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • chippykchippyk Posts: 529
    cougie wrote:
    Tyres can make a big difference. My brother has been doing the same Tri for the last few years and previously he was using this:
    https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Bontra ... -Tyre/G2P8

    But changed to some Gatorskins this year because he wanted something more reliable, he found he was 10min slower over the course of the bike event on the new tyres, compared to last year.

    How long was the bike leg ? 10 minutes sounds a big difference to put down to tyres.

    112 miles would be long enough
  • Did your planet X have those mavic alum xsyrium rims or the more recent aero ones?

    The bike has Vision clincher wheels - not especially aero, I think.
    pblakeney wrote:
    Unless you are racing it makes zero difference.

    I'm intrigued - by that do you mean new bike technology makes very little difference to the average road cyclist and only makes a difference if you're fast and pushing the boundaries in a race ?
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 13,139
    Neil Grubb wrote:
    I'm intrigued - by that do you mean new bike technology makes very little difference to the average road cyclist and only makes a difference if you're fast and pushing the boundaries in a race ?
    Pretty much. If you are training then it is the same effort, just over a longer time. In fact better on that basis. And if you are not training or racing why worry about time and speed? Enjoy the cycle.
    Not that that stops people wanting the best, just that the reasoning is self justification. :wink:

    PS- I am referring to a decent comparable levels of bike 1972 v 2017, not BSOs.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pblakeney wrote:
    Neil Grubb wrote:
    I'm intrigued - by that do you mean new bike technology makes very little difference to the average road cyclist and only makes a difference if you're fast and pushing the boundaries in a race ?
    Pretty much. If you are training then it is the same effort, just over a longer time. In fact better on that basis. And if you are not training or racing why worry about time and speed? Enjoy the cycle.
    Not that that stops people wanting the best, just that the reasoning is self justification. :wink:

    PS- I am referring to a decent comparable levels of bike 1972 v 2017, not BSOs.

    Kind of get what you mean - if I gained 0.3mph by spending a few grand on a bike, it doesn't make me a better cyclist. But speed does matter to me in that it's a motivator when I go out - gives a target for improvement (and yes, I know average speed isn't the most reliable measure of fitness). I would add that I don't look at speed or any measure during a ride, only after. But knowing I'm aiming to set a good pace on a route makes me work harder. And as a relative newcomer this has helped get me fit enough to do club rides in the faster group of our smallish club.
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