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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:11 pm 
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For christmas, my GF gave me an excellent book (which she'd learned about from Jim Langley's blog): "The Competition Bicycle" by Jan Heine. Photos stolen from Outside Online.

This would be a cool book just for the photos, with top-level racing bikes over a 100 year period from 1894 to 1994 (plus one from 1880). But what took it to that next level is the inclusion of geometry numbers and weights.

For example, sticking to road bikes as opposed to track bikes (or tandems or mountain bikes):

  • 1880 Cycles Barret high-wheeler: 11.7 kg, 25 mm trail, 115-135 mm adjustable crank length. (and you thought the Ruegamer VF cranks were new...).

On to "conventional" bikes:

  • 1894 Humber: 12.5 kg, sloping top tube, 62 deg head tube, 64 deg seat tube, 60 mm rake, 130 mm trail, 167.5 mm crank.

    Image

The next bike reallly shocked me.

  • 1910 Labor "Tour de France": 13.3 kg, 170 mm cranks, 67.5 deg seat tube, 79 mm fork rake, 53 mm trail, 67.5 mm head tube, "Lefty" fork, right-only chain-stay and seat stay.

    Image

Amazing! Left fork plus one-sided only stays (for increased stiffness). Boardman's Lotus Superbike, I'd thought, was the first bike with one-sided stays, and of course Cannondale gets credit for the "Lefty" fork. Maybe a "righty" fork is still untested :).

Derailleurs were first allowed in the Tour in the late '30's. Curious fact: it took awhile for spring-loaded tensioners to catch on, as the riders thought they reduced transmission efficiency until Coppi showed this probably not the case when he thrashed the competition on his Simplex rear derailleur. Oscar Egg, former racer at the time, developed the first popular rear derailleur for the bikes he built, which worked like a modern front derailleur (of course positioned on the bottom part of the chain line) with an adjustable chain tensioner behind the crank. A separate lever controlled the tensioner, so that the chain wasn't loose, but there was no spring maintaining the tension. Cool design.

The chain tensioner from Gino Bartoli's 1949 bike:

Image

  • 1939 Oscar Egg: 9.9 kg, 165 mm cranks, 72 deg seat tube, 71 deg head tube, 68 mm trail, 45 mm fork rake, 700C tubular wheels with Al rims, butted steel frame. The crank looks like something which would cause Tour magazine to break out in hysterical laughter.


Weight-weenie winner of the era:
  • 1948 Berralumin (Rene Vietto's Tour bike): 8.0 kg with pump, 73.5 deg seat tube, 71 deg head tube, 53 cm seat tube, 53.5 cm top tube, 167.5 mm cranks, 65 mm rake, 47 mm trail, 48/44 chainrings, 14-16-19-22 cogs, Al tubes (shaped for stiffness), Simplex rear derailleur.

This is VERY cool. Shaped Al tubes -- in 1948????

  • 1949 Bianchi (Fausto Coppi): 10.0 kg, 170 mm cranks, 59 cm seat tube, 73 deg seat tube, 73 deg head tube, 450 mm chainstays, 70 mm rake, 31 mm trail (Bartoli's bike from the same year was 56 mm trail, so apparenly Coppi preferred twitchy handling), 580 mm top tube, Simplex rear derailleur (with sprung tension adjustment).

So steel frame weights had dropped from 12.5 kg in 1894 to 9.9 kg in 1939, then with derailleurs held their ground with even Coppi's large frame weighing only 100 g more. Then there's that sub-8 kg Al bike. Then?

  • Greg LeMonds 1981 Gitane: 10.0 kg
  • Andy Hampsten's 1988 "Huffy" Landshark: 10.0 kg
  • Kelly's 1991 Concorde (won Lombardi): 10.3 kg

So bike weight of pro bikes made no progress over more than 40 years. Even J.P. Weigle's 1975 drillium-enhanced Witcomb time trial bike with 24-spoke wheels and a single chainring was 8.3 kg, heavier than that 1948 Berralumin.

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Last edited by djconnel on Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:20 pm 
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Sounds like an interesting book, i must look up one of those, thanks :thumbup:


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Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:20 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Yeah, but the following changes also occured over that time:
(light)Strapped to (early and heavy) clipless pedals.
(light) downtube shifters to (heavy and early) STIs.
5 speed to 8 speed rear mechs and cassettes (3 more cogs)
In some cases the early bikes had single front chainrings right?

Frames also got significantly stiffer, allowing riders to push bigger gears in the sprints. There is a perceptive post about this on red kite prayer. Remember that until the late 90s bikes were limited to 9kg. An alloy bike with alloy group and alloy tubular wheels will still weigh nearly 8kg. The fact is that you can only get rid of so much weight, and it is rare that a pro rider is overly concerned with weight, and that the bikes in the 'metal era' were being custom made for exceptionally strong riders, often out of alloy or Titanium, but for a time also out of steel. Wheel technology basically did not change for 70 years or so until the arrival of carbon.

I think what all this highlights is how exceptionally light carbon fibre is as a material.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:44 pm 
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DJ - Thx. Very interesting. It bears out what I've said for a long time. Up to the mid 90's, basically bike weights were caught in a time warp. You can go from the 50's to the late 80's with hardly a change apart from Look pedals and then STI/Ergo, but weights only started to change IMO after Ulrich won the Tour. The Germans in particular pushed the boundaries: AX Lightness, Tune, THM to name a few. Thereafter, the rush to carbon everything has got us to where we are now.

When I started, anything under 10kg was exotic! Now, under 6kg is eminently reachable and of course there are those pushing the envelope to 5kg and below.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Hi,

Lovely old bikes but let's go back to the future:

http://www.factor001.com/about-bf1systems :shock:

Ciao, ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:23 pm 
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djconnel wrote:
Weight-weenie winner of the era:
    1948 Berralumin (Rene Vietto's Tour bike): 8.0 kg with pump, 73.5 deg seat tube, 71 deg head tube, 53 cm seat tube, 53.5 cm top tube, 167.5 mm cranks, 65 mm rake, 47 mm trail, 48/44 chainrings, 14-16-19-22 cogs, Al tubes (shaped for stiffness), Simplex rear derailleur.
I'm not buying the weight. No way, José.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:46 pm 
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Very cool.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:38 pm 
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Great topic - thanks DJ. I find that 8kg a bit hard to credit too.....

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:50 pm 
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I saw a photo years ago of a circa 1900 road bike that looked something like the Slingshot concept. It featured a sort of sling that you sat on :noidea: It weighed 18 lbs :unbelievable:
I will try to do a search to see if I can find it.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:45 pm 
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HammerTime2 wrote:
djconnel wrote:
Weight-weenie winner of the era:
    1948 Berralumin (Rene Vietto's Tour bike): 8.0 kg with pump, 73.5 deg seat tube, 71 deg head tube, 53 cm seat tube, 53.5 cm top tube, 167.5 mm cranks, 65 mm rake, 47 mm trail, 48/44 chainrings, 14-16-19-22 cogs, Al tubes (shaped for stiffness), Simplex rear derailleur.
I'm not buying the weight. No way, José.
Wait a minute. Hold your horses. I think I figured it out. The scale used to weigh Rene Vietto's Tour bike is still in use ... by Deda Elementi.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:45 am 
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rustychain wrote:
I saw a photo years ago of a circa 1900 road bike that looked something like the Slingshot concept. It featured a sort of sling that you sat on :noidea: It weighed 18 lbs :unbelievable:
I will try to do a search to see if I can find it.


Yes -- it's in the book, and in the photo gallery from the book I linked to. Indeed, I've seen modern versions of that bike. Looks like a suspension bridge.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:50 am 
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That is it. I found so many "modern inventions " that are really just reinterpretations of some of the bikes in that book. Curved seat tubes, suspension frames, break apart frames for travel, all sorts of stuff. I know I have the book around someplace in my bike cave. Thanks for jogging my memory.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:04 pm 
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The book looks similar in concept to `Les Velos Mythiques Vainquers du Tour de France' by Yves Blanc and Bruno Bade (see this link http://www.decitre.fr/livres/Les-velos- ... 2749900049). I've got a copy and it's a great read. It has photos and weights for a number of bikes used to win the Tour from 1903 to 2002, a few of the more recent examples follow:

Anquetil 1962 - Helyett, 10.2 kg
Gimondi 1965 - Magni, 11 kg
Pingeon 1967 - Peugeot, 10.4 kg
Janssen 1968 - Lejeune, 8.7 kg
Merckx 1972 - Eddy Merckx (actually a Colnago), 9.6 kg
Ocana 1973 - Motobecane, 8.5 kg
Van Impe 1976 - Gitane, 8.3 kg
Thevenet 1977 - Peugeot, 10 kg
Zoetemelk 1980 - Raleigh, 10.2 kg
Hinault 1985 - Hinault, 9.6 kg, appears to have been his time trial bike
Roche 1987 - Battaglin, 9.6 kg
Delgado 1988 - Pinarello, 9.8 kg
Lemond 1990 - Lemond, 9.1 kg, time trial bike
Indurain 1993 - Pinarello, 10.3
Indurain 1995 - Pinarello Espada, 8.1 kg, time trial bike
Riis 1996 - Pinarello, 9 kg
Ulrich 1997 - Pinarello, 9 kg
Pantani 1998 - Bianchi, 8.1 kg
Armstrong 2002 - Trek, 8.2 kg
Armstrong 2003 - Trek, 7.2 kg


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:16 pm 
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Hawkwood,

Are these the weights for their non-mountain road stage bikes? Did some of the late '80s and '90s riders have lighter mountain stage bikes? Did Ullrich's mountain stage bike with ADA's (or LW's or whatever :roll: ) really weigh 9kg?


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Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:16 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:33 pm 
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HammerTime2 wrote:
Hawkwood,

Are these the weights for their non-mountain road stage bikes? Did some of the late '80s and '90s riders have lighter mountain stage bikes? Did Ullrich's (mountain stage?) bike with ADA's (or LW's or whatever) really weigh 9kg?


It will take me a while to check through all of the ones I cited. However to make a start:

Pantani - yes bike appears to be the same one used on at least one of the mountain stages, it has a Time front fork
Ullrich - no, it's got low profile rims, while in the mountains he was on deep section rims branded Campagnolo, but could of course have been by a different manufacturer
Riis - low profile rims again, but in one photo of a mountain stage it looks as if he was on deep section rims, incidentally he was on Campag pedals
Indurain - not sure, but I gather he wasn't into special lightweight stuff
Delgado - looks like the same bike he used on the mountain stages, but it' possible he went with a lighter Columbus tubing. He used Campag Delta brakes so not exactly weight weenie
Roche - hard to say, but the bike weighed had Delta brakes, while one mountains shot shows him on Campag side-pulls.

More later


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