Re: [CR] To ride or not - some facts

Example: Production Builders:LeJeune

Subject: Re: [CR] To ride or not - some facts
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 17:30:26 EDT


It's interesting to note that, where you came to reasoned, data-based conclusions (below), you agreed with me. Then you slipped back into the opinion mode to conclude your post....

How can "stiff and light" be the only points of comparison between new and vintage bikes? If those were the only things that mattered, we'd all be riding C'Dales.

I'm sorry, but I can't agree that a current $1500 road bike (what, slightly above entry-level these days?) compares directly to the top-of-the-line vintage racer from 20 years ago. There's just no comparison in terms of the more intangibles of design, performance, quality, or art, IMHO. You have to compare apples to apples. Would you directly compare a new Ford Mustang to a 1982 Ferrari? They're each as stiff and light as the other, and perform about the same on paper, in many respects....

Also, this weight difference discussion that I'm seeing lately in general is somewhat misleading. A "very light" top-level road bike in 1982 weighed about 18 pounds - today it's what, 16 perhaps? That's a two-pound difference, not four, or five, or six, and virtually all of that is in frame weight reduction, which isn't rotating mass. Many wheels today are heavier than many of the wheels of 1982. Never mind that the useful life of the "new" frame is "a year or two" (to quote several recent posts in support of the "new" materials), whereas the "old" steel one can last for decades....

You say that you agree that an NOS NR/SR group costs the same as a new Record group, then you bemoan the "high cost of vintage parts" compared to new ones. Explanation please?

Hoods? They get replaced, what, every ten years or so depending on usage? NR/SR NOS gum hoods currently cost about $30-50 per pair (and some of us already have a lifetime supply stashed away that was purchased for less than that, as e-RICHIE recently mentioned). That's $3-5 per year (not including the time value of money). Shoes? The old, cleated shoes, when purchased NOS, cost one-third or one-fourth of what the "new" clipless shoes cost. Chainrings? With the possible exception of the 42-tooth Super Record, the "old" ones" aren't generally much more expensive than the "new" ones. You have to look at the complete cost of ownership of any durable good to determine its lifecycle cost, and not just pick out a few line items. Someone once asked W. Edwards Deming (the quality guru that taught Japan Inc. continuous improvement - I guess it caught on) how much his shoes cost. He replied: "I don't know - I'm not done with them yet."

Let's re-convene in five years to compare the residual value of five nice vintage $800 bikes purchased today, vs. one $4000 Litespeed or equivalent. Care to wager on which collection will be worth more? That's the real-world telling us what value really is by establishing the market price....

At this point, I agree to disagree, but I also stand by my data.


Greg "still retrogrouchy when it comes to bikes" Parker A2 MI USA Where we're having a blow-out special on all TIG-welded non-steel road bikes...
> Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 07:38:53 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Tom Dalton <>
> Subject: Re: [CR] To ride or not
> To:
> I think your comments bring up some interesting points. It is difficult to
> compare current prices on things like bikes made in 1980 and bikes made
> today. Which bikes constitute a fair comparison? Should you compare two
> bikes that are both top of the line, as you do? I suppose these are
> comparable bikes, considering that the approximate fifteen hundred 1980
> dollars for a 1980 bike in 1980 is probably not much less than the
> approximate four thousand 2002 dollars for a 2002 bike. So, if we assume
> that the condition of comparable inflation-adjusted price makes the bikes
> comparable, and we further consider that an NOS 1980 race bike would only
> cost a little more today than it's original price, it seems like a great
> value.
> Then there are the quality adjustments, which is the contentious area.
> Since newer bikes are lighter, have more gears, and other improvements
> (hey, I said contentious!) we should really be comparing a mid-level bike
> of today with the top end bike of yesterday. Modern bikes that are as
> stiff and light as top-end 1980 bikes cost far less than $4000. In some
> respects a current $1500 mid-level racing bike is comparable to a top end
> bike that cost $1500 in 1980 and somewhere in that range today (as NOS).
> As for comparing NOS NR and 2002 Record component prices, I will conceed
> that current Campy components are a joke. Groups are what, $1500? Christ,
> that's as much as an NOS NR group ($400 cranks, $300 brakes, $100
> headset....). Of course, you could have the superior-to-Campy Dura Ace 9
> for about $1000.
> Seriously, when I consider the high cost of vintage parts, the astronomical
> costs of spares (hoods, shoes, rings...) and the time costs of searching
> the stuff out, I think the new stuff is a good bit cheaper.
> Tom Dalton
> Bethlehem. PA
> wrote:Tom:
> I hear you to some extent, and please ride whatever you wish, as everyone
> should, but the "vintage stuff costs more" argument is a fallacy. A new
> Ti-framed STI- or Ergomatic-deluxe-equipped bike costs, what, close to $4K?
> A
> beautiful vintage Colnago (just to pick an example, your actual preferences
> may vary) costs maybe $1500, and will appreciate over time if reasonably
> well
> maintained (which is quite easy to do). An NOS Campy NR rear der. costs
> about
> $125, whereas a new Record-Ti one costs maybe $225? Let's not even talk
> brake/shift lever prices - $300 "new" versus $100 NOS "vintage."
> The old stuff works just fine - it just doesn't click as much!
> Cheers,
> Greg Parker
> P.S. You should probably think about upgrading to a 10-speed bike soon.
> 9-speed is out-of-date and doesn't work as well, I've heard! ;-)