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Subjective question I know.

Just had a great discussion with a shop owner and he was telling me all about newer bikes. Slacker angles and wider tires that run on lower pressures.

I’m still riding a 1986 steel guercotti that has 25mm tires and wide handlebars. Full 9spd STI setup.

Tried googling newer road geometry but kinda came up empty.

Opinions welcomed.


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The reason for the new fat-tire "gravel bikes" is to expand the market. There are some people who will not ride a standard road bike on the road because they're afraid of cars. So how to sell them a bike? Tell them they can ride on unpaved roads with fat tires and low pressure. But I live in a city and there are no gravel roads.

There are even more people who will not buy a bike because they become tired and get out of breath if they have to peddle it. How to sell those people a bike? Put a motor on it and call it an "e-bike". Tell them they can ride uphill with zero effort.

There gravel bikes and e-bikes are not better. They are just aimed at a different market.
 

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My road bike is 10 years old. My fat bike 5. Just buy another bike, they are cheap and fun. My LBS has about 320 bikes on backorder, so people are still buying bikes. Good luck.

icebike.jpg
 

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Just look at the feats by the likes of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Mercks and the like, they were doing stages and mile records and stuff no one on this forum or any other could do with “old technology.” Road bikes aren‘t high tech computers doing astronomical calculations no matter what the “industry“ is trying to sell everyone. It’s all for nuts. Dork disc brakes, and crap on road bikes? Forgot it. Ride what you got and enjoy the fresh air.
 

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Yes, you are. Bikes are exponentially better since 1986.

Do you need a new one. No- this isn't the needs business. Get one if you want a different experience or more performance.
 
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After riding bikes for over 30 years, here's what I think are notable improvements in road bikes (my OPINIONS only):
1. Tubeless on the road. Much less risk of flatting, more comfort, more grip, likely faster rolling (certainly no slower). Current rims and tires are much easier to setup reliably, so even that compliant is losing some validity. I've been using tubeless for about three years on the road and I'm a believer.
2. Disc brakes allowing more tire clearance. 28-32 road bike tires are terrific. The brakes themselves aren't a huge advantage, though.
3. Modern seatposts are very comfortable. Lots of exposed seatpost made out of flexible carbon is a good idea (although it does make the seatpost a much longer lever and that can cause problems...)
4. Wireless shifting. I don't have this (yet), but it seems like a good idea that solves some (not very large) problems.

Everything else (aero frames, internal/integrated cabling, press-fit BBs, drop in headsets, cartridge bearing wheels, electronic shifting, disc brakes themselves, general loss of durability in components, deep section rims, crappy plastic bottle cages, overcomplicated seatpost clamps, proprietary/model specific parts) is either a mixed bag or a bad idea, IMO.
 

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For 95+% of my rides, my existing bikes meet the needs.

Do I need disc brakes? Only on a few rides every year.
Do I need 12 cogs on a cassette? Never, just gear inch range.
Do I need electronic shifting? No, but I can see the attraction for others.

So, I have not gone new.
And may never.
But riding is the point, so do what makes you want to ride.

Lightweight wheels and tires are always the best upgrade, maybe try that first. I go aluminum rims and quality tubular tires. You might be surprized.
 

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It seems like I buy a new bike about every 10 years or so, generally from the same brand because I have my size dialled in their range. I only buy bikes that I really want and then they essentially last "forever" with proper maintenance and occasional upgrades. So I don't have any reason to replace a bike, and no incentive to buy the latest version of the bike that I already have. So each time I buy a new bike, it's a different type of bike to open up some new kind of riding. Over the last 5 years I've found myself on more varied terrain - broken roads, bike paths, trails, gravel - to explore new places and to get away from the cars and traffic lights. So a couple of weeks back I bought a gravel bike, and it has really been a blast. Sure I could use the mountain bike or I could use the race bike (well to some extent), but the gravel bike is so much more fun for this kind of riding.

The "modern" geometry has been an eye-opener for me - slack angles, long wheelbase, more upright position. It took a couple of test rides to appeciate this coming from a rather twitchy road bike. The new gravel bike is super stable at speed over varied terrain, yet still can be flicked through the twisty single track. The flared handlebars are fantastic, and I ride in the drops far more than I ever do on my road bike. There is something very rewarding about hammering around the mud levees at speed, or hitting the (non-technical) mountain bike trails, or climbing crazy grades on hard-packed dirt, and doing it all on the one bike. Also just riding out from my doorstep and feel like I'm not losing much on the road is super nice (compared to MTB tires which are miserable on tarmac). Oh, and it turns out that saddles are immensely better than they were 10-20 years ago (your mileage may vary).

The gravel bike doesn't in any way replace the other bikes (which I still love) - but for right now will probably get ridden a whole lot more. Maybe I'll even try this bikepacking thing some day.
 

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I have ridden new bikes and old bikes...my go to for the road is a 1997 Waterford , lugged steel frame. My mom offered me a brand new custom ride, anything I wanted , no limits. I looked around, nothing caught my attention. I called Waterford to discuss a new frame. We talked for a long time and they talked me OUT of replacing my bike. It makes me smile EVERY time I throw my leg over it. I just retired a carbon frame, because it was a harsh, twitchy ride. I really love my '97 Waterford. if I HAD to get a new bike, I would have it duplicated. If I want wider tires I ride an old 1984 Trek 400 with 32 cross tires on it. Regarding the above comment on saddles. Every bike I own has a Brooks, and not the new plastic stuff. Old school leather. Some are actually over 20 years old. I figure if I can ride 50 miles without putting my foot down, the saddles must be ok. As for carbon, I just gave my only carbon frame to my son in law. I find carbon abusive on a rough road. If you want a new bike and it will increase your riding pleasure , go for it.
 

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There's no doubt for me that newer mountain bike geometry is much better than older MTB geometry. I'm not so sure for road bikes though.

I agree that disc brakes and tubeless are clearly improvements to me for road bikes. Unless a bike has the super twitchy "crit" geometry that was popular in the 80's, I'm not so sure that newer geometry is any better than old geometry. Older road geometry was set up to be stable at speed, which may not work as well for gravel riding.

Also, good steel frames have a ride that is different than that of carbon fiber frames.
 

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It depends. If you are riding in groups, and like to be a little competitive, get the new bike. If performance counts, get the new bike. You won't regret it. then even when you ride by yourself you'll enjoy the lighter, stiffer, and more responsive frame. Carbon is the best, the best, the best! Do it, before you're to old, so when you get old you won't feel guilty riding an expensive bike just to go out on weekend rides. Also get the better tires, at least $60 tires, light weight and flat resistant. WoW! I wish I was younger, but I'm was, I did, and now I am riding with the best equipment, for free.
 

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I don't think you're missing much at all, and if love riding your bike then why get a new one? Do average riders really need 21 gears instead of 10 or 12 or 14? nah! but I see you upgraded yours to STI, personally, I would not have done that with your bike, but that's just me. The bike you have you can't get anything similar new today without ordering a custom-made bike and that will cost you a lot.

If you are still thinking about getting a new bike I would not buy an aluminum bike, they have limited life expectancy depending on how much you ride it, and you won't like the ride of it coming off of a fine bike like you have now. You will also experience a sort of deadish wood like feeling to carbon fiber compared to what you're used to, also with carbon fiber if you crash but don't see anything wrong with your bike you could have something wrong but the damage is most likely internally and may not be visible from the outside, so then you have two choices, take it back to the shop and they will send it back to the factory to be x-rayed at a cost to you, or take a risk and ride and hope there was no damage and it doesn't break all the way while you're on it. Also with CF frames, you have to make sure you know the correct torque values for everything you put on it if you don't get the value right and over-torque something you can crush the CF tubing which will lead to failure. I found it a bit disconcerting when I was able to press in a CF top tube with just my index finger and thumb.

If you like your steel bike ride comfort, and you know steel is very durable, then I would suggest you look at titanium instead, it's a long-term material like steel is, and it will actually ride a bit more comfortably than your old steel bike did! Yes, TI is expensive, but I know you won't be buying another bike for at least another 30 years, so figure out the cost per year of having your old bike with inflation factored in, and then do the same thing with the cost of TI. With TI you still will have the drawback of CF fork but with forks like Enve 2.0, True Temper extra-thick steerer tube version,
 

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Um, yes. Road bikes are vastly improved over their 1985 counterparts (and more recent 9-spd STI). Particularly if you like to go fast. You should get a new bike if you want one and can afford it. You might even consider getting a new bike if you cannot afford it. This is quite likely the scenario for a lot of people, as they are very expensive.

I have ridden and raced a large number of miles since 1984 on steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber. I never want to go back to a 1980s Columbus SL/SLX or Reynolds 531/753 bike. Current carbon frames are stiffer, faster, lighter, and more comfortable. By a large margin. At least all the CF frames I have ridden vs. all the steel frames (plus alu and titanium) I have ridden. Sure, there are problems with new bikes, but there are problems with old bikes. Only one of my steel bikes (a 1993 Specialized S-works mt bike) has survived to the present. The rest (5 or so SLX-level frames) have cracked or snapped. Sure, one can generally repair steel (I still have some of the cracked frames), but I have no desire to ride my sluggish, repaired frames.

Modern components perform well too, though the performance difference between older vs. new components might not be very noticeable. Can you really feel the difference between bottom brackets? Some new components, however, are much easier to service by a home mechanic. For example, cartridge bearings run great, last well, and are much simpler to replace and adjust than loose BBs. Shifting now is quicker, even if you don't need 12 cogs in the rear. CF wheels are light, stiff and responsive. I'm still not sure if tubeless is the way to go for daily use on the road, however. I don't really need disc brakes, but if I want a good selection of replacement wheels in 5 years, it makes sense to buy a disc bike, as rim brake wheels will be phased out (or reduced in production).

Oh - there is a great enough diversity in modern road bikes that you can likely find one with similar geometry to your current bike. Geometry affects handling and comfort, so you might find that a new bike with taller stack provides more comfort. It's worth test riding multiple types of bike (performance/racing, endurance road, gravel) to see what type of geometry you prefer.

Of course, you might be perfectly fine and happy riding your 1985 Guercotti. There is nothing wrong with that. And, Guercottis are excellent conversation starters.
 

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Subjective question I know.

Just had a great discussion with a shop owner and he was telling me all about newer bikes. Slacker angles and wider tires that run on lower pressures.

I’m still riding a 1986 steel guercotti that has 25mm tires and wide handlebars. Full 9spd STI setup.

Tried googling newer road geometry but kinda came up empty.

Opinions welcomed.


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Just had a great discussion with a shop owner and he was telling me all about newer bikes. Slacker angles and wider tires that run on lower pressures.

I’m still riding a 1986 steel guercotti that has 25mm tires and wide handlebars. Full 9spd STI setup.

Tried googling newer road geometry but kinda came up empty.

Opinions welcomed.
You've got a nice bike now, so that's a good starting point. Think about that bike and ask yourself what you like about it, and if there is anything about it that could be better. Others have given you ideas about what's changed in the market, so you have an idea of what you can expect from a new bike. I'll give you my two cents below...well, maybe two bucks.

Your current bike probably has typical road-race geometry, which really hasn't changed appreciably. Yes, you can get bikes with slacker angles that accept fatter tires, buy you could back then, too; they were called "touring bikes". So, nothing has really changed in terms of geometry there, either. Some people will enjoy the slower, more stable handling, but that's a personal preference, not a given for everyone. For me, it's fine for gravel, but I like more responsive bikes on the road.

Materials have changed markedly. Although carbon-fiber bikes have been around since the '70's (I had a '77 Exxon Graftex), it's only in the past few years that manufacturers have truly learned to exploit it's qualities to the fullest. The result is bikes that are laterally stiff for maximum power transfer, but have substantial vertical compliance for comfort. The difference is really quite striking. Weight has come down significantly, as well. My lightest race bike back in the day was around 18 pounds, but my current road bikes are in the 14.5 to 15 pound range and I didn't have to spend a fortune on them.

I stuck with riding tubulars and sidepull brakes until 2010. Modern clinchers are just as light, don't suffer from the lumpiness of tubulars and are simply easier to deal with. I still ride alloy wheels, but they're very light (1285 grams/pair) and they only cost me ~$250 to build, so I don't see the point in spending 4-8 times that much on carbon wheels that don't have the same braking consistency. Sure, deeper carbon rims are more aero, but frankly, it doesn't matter to me and I can't justify the cost.

Speaking of brakes, while I love disc brakes for my gravel, mountain and fat bikes, for the type of road riding I do here in New England, I simply don't need them. Frankly, a lighter bike and not having to build new wheels are far more important to me. In fact, I'm currently building up a new 2018 Cannondale SuperSix EVO frame which I sought out specifically because it takes caliper brakes (and because I own the predecessor to it and I love the way it handles). It will be equipped with Feather-style brakes (modified sidepulls) and mechanical shifting (for now, the 10-speed Campy group from one of my current bikes).

Ah, yes, shifting. My gravel bike has Shimano Ultregra Di2 on it. For me, it was an experiment and I bought the bike used, and a deep discount, mainly because I wanted to switch to disc brakes for gravel riding and the Di2 didn't cost me anything extra. Overall, I'm not impressed. Yes, individual shifts work great, front and rear; I have no complaints about that. When just trying to shift multiple cogs in the rear, it's imprecise because you have to guess how long to hold the shift lever to shft the number of gears you want; there;s no feedback like you get with mechanical shifting. Additionally, I was hoping that Synchro-Shift would make shifting while getting bounced around on rough dirt roads and singletrack a no-brainer. It turned out that it's extremely sluggish when shifting both the front and rear derailleurs together, and the shifts from the big to small chainrings occur at a really bad time (there's not much flexibility in changing the shift point, either). It's somewhat better when you just shift the front manually, but it doesn't come close the to speed and precision I get with Campy mechanical shifting. I can snap off a front shift while shifting multiple cogs in the rear in a fraction of a second with precision, and Di2 simply can't. Electronic shifting is also more expensive to buy and to replace. With all that, I'm not sold on it and won't buy it again. You've obviously been riding for quite a while and I'll assume that you know how to shift a bike, so it's quite possible that you'll feel the same way about it that I do.

Regarding tire width, going from 22mm tubulars to 25mm clinchers at lower pressure (70/80 f/r at my weight of 175#) was a revelation. It took the sting out of a stiff racing frames and made them downright pleasant to ride. I haven't had a single pinch flat since making the switch in 2011. My new frame will handle 28s and possibly 30s, but I'm not sure if I'm going to bother with them, at least not until I need to buy new tires.

Hopefully, I've added something useful to help you with your decision. As others have said, ride a newer bike to see what all the hype is about. Or if you're really happy with your current bike, don't bother. The only thing that matters is that you enjoy what you're riding, regardless of what it is, what it's made of, or when it was made.
 

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Subjective question I know.

Just had a great discussion with a shop owner and he was telling me all about newer bikes. Slacker angles and wider tires that run on lower pressures.

I’m still riding a 1986 steel guercotti that has 25mm tires and wide handlebars. Full 9spd STI setup.

Tried googling newer road geometry but kinda came up empty.

Opinions welcomed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Very good question. I do know most those old good Italian mid-80's bikes were very well made, but I'm not an expert on which brands were the really good ones.Regardless, I think the answer depends entirely on how far you ride, on what terrain, how many miles a year, stuff like that. Living as I do in a place north of San Francisco where the mountain bike was invented, for good reason, abecause the hills are long, often hard to climb, and often very steep, with very little flat terrain, I do appreciate the range of gears and lighter weight of a modern carbon fibre bike. And its also true that the new generation tends to have more relaxed geometries for comfort (which matters to me, as my back is as old as the rest of me), and you can probably put a 28 mm tire on most modern setups.

But it is truly not necessary to spend a lot of money on a new bike, especially if your rides are not very long, or extremely difficult. I got into regular road biking when I was 41 years old, and since then I've rode about 65,000 miles. And I have spent just over $5K on all my bike purchases in that entire time, so about $780 for every 10,000 miles I've rode.

Of course maintenance and new parts is extra, since no machine goes without wear after 10,000 miles or so. But around here, people spend $3K just on their wheels on one of their bikes, and they don't seem to enjoy it any more than people with clunker bikes do. . I don't know where you live, but REI often has nice sales on "last year's" models, as do many small bike shops. In fact that's how I got 2 of the 3 bikes I've bought to spend that $5K total, by buying the outgoing model.

In pretty much all trades and hobbies, having good tools is a good idea, but I notice those who focus on equipment purchases and collections tend to lose a lot of the joy of the activity. Your old bike is a good one, but it wouldn't hurt to try out a modern machine. Just don't let anyone tell you you have to spend $4K or $5K to get a decent one, it's just not true. That's because 2nd-tier components, like Shimano 105 (which is actually their 3rd tier) are every bit as good as the 1st tier stuff of 12 or 15 years ago, except the brakes are better, and I'm talking traditional caliper brakes, not disk ones.

Keeping riding!
Art.
 

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Keep in mind that carbon frames are HIGHLY variable in character. Carbon allows frame makers to tune stiffness, weight, shape (aero), and damping in ways not possible with steel/AL/Ti. HOWEVER there are lots of cheaper carbon frame that do not take advantage of this potential. There are plenty of bad carbon frames out there that provide an inferior ride to well-made older metal frames.

Regarding components- Don't mean to insult anyone but proper maintenance and set-up can mean more than the generation of components themselves. Any groupo can shift poorly with bad adjustment/cables/housings. And 15yr old Tiagra brakes with new cables/pads will stop better than current gen Ultegra with worn, glazed pads & bad cables.......Do NOT ask me how I know that :0
 

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Keep in mind that carbon frames are HIGHLY variable in character. Carbon allows frame makers to tune stiffness, weight, shape (aero), and damping in ways not possible with steel/AL/Ti. HOWEVER there are lots of cheaper carbon frame that do not take advantage of this potential. There are plenty of bad carbon frames out there that provide an inferior ride to well-made older metal frames.
If you're talking about lower-line carbon-fiber frames from quality manufacturers, I wouldn't say that any of them are bad, they just don't maximize the benefits of the material. Trade-offs are made in order to hit a price point. Typically that means lower-modulus carbon fiber, which is very durable, but heavier and usually part of a less complex layup. There's a point where there's not much - if any - weight or performance difference between low-end carbon and the latest generation of aluminum frames. The difference is that aluminum frames are cheaper and consequently at a given price point, you'll get a better components package. This can be a significantly better value.

Open-mold carbon fiber frames from China are another matter, as their quality is highly variable and there's little recourse when a frame is defective. There are some companies with decent reputations, but you still don't know what you're getting and you can't just take it to your local dealer if there's a problem.
 
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