historical bicycle weights

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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by ligfiets

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

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

Funny how so many people think "if it's good enough for $Random_Motorized_Vehicle, it is surely good enough for a bicycle". Like a bicycle is something of a lower technological level than a machine that runs on fossil fuel.

It is not. The level of efficiency required for a bicycle staggers the imagination. The human engine is a engineers nightmare: high, irregular force, low speed and almost no power. Motorized vehicles have plenty of energy to spend, and engines which behave much better.

This is why good bicycles are at the highest level of innovation allowed by the UCI (*f##k* them), or higher if compliance is not required. Cyclists know this. Motor guys don't, and regularly come up with solutions that work fine in a car or motorcycle, but simply suck on a bicycle. Shaft drive is the classic example.

In this bicycle it is less obvious, but I see several things that look like a nice new idea, but will not work well. They say the classic headset is a bad construction, but their alternative is almost a braking parachute. Same for the placing of the back wheel. And wheels without a quick release are just plain stupid if you don't invent the unflattable tyre at the same time.

by Weenie

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by ligfiets

djconnel wrote:Rominger rode his round-tube frame[/url], with bulbed-out disk wheels and aero bars, 55.291 km: absolutely incredible, especially considering he'd done no prior track racing before that, and had to learn to ride the turns in the days before his record ride.

So sad his record was waived at a much later date because he didn't do it the Eddy Merckx-way...

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by djconnel

ligfiets wrote:So sad his record was waived at a much later date because he didn't do it the Eddy Merckx-way...

Neither did Merckx.

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in the industry
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by dave99ag

My inlaws gave me "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles" also by Jan Heine. The craftsmanship that these builders had was amazing. I wasn't aware of "The Competition Bicycle," but will definitely be checking that book out as well.


During the "Golden Age," small makers built amazing bicycles that transcended their function to become a form of art. Their craftsmanship was not limited to the frame, but included hand-made derailleurs, brakes, stems, racks and other components. The entire bicycle was carefully designed and crafted as a unit, combining function and beauty. Famous makers like René Herse, Alex Singer, Jo Routens and others spent countless hours on each bicycle in their search for perfection.

With lavish color photography, The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles charts the development of these machines from the early 1900s through the present day. The 50 classic bicycles in this book display amazing craftsmanship, elegance and function. Each brought innovations that continue to be used today. Additional historic photos show the bikes in competition and with their original owners. Insightful descriptions set the scene for each bicycle and explain its details. Here you find machines with a level of craftsmanship that never has been surpassed.

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by djconnel

Some info on the Merckx 1974 5.5 kg bike, from EC himself:

CN: The story of Merckx's World Hour Record and the special bike you built is so interesting, even 32 years later. How did it all come about?

EC: Even today, it's hard to imagine how much work we put into building those two bicycles... in those days, the tubing was 6/10 to 4/10 wall thickness. A guy like Merckx, who weighed 72kg., 1m85cm high with incredible power, well, to build a superlight bicycle for someone like that took a lot of courage. I lightened everything; the cranks, drilled out the chain, because we wanted the lightest material and well, you couldn't buy a Regina Extra chain with holes drilled in it! So the bike ended up weighing just over 5.5kg.

Do you realize that the tubular tires we used, the Clement number 1 Pista, weighed 90 gr. for the front and 110 gr. for the rear! No one else could have put this bike together. For example, no one in Italy could weld titanium, so I went to Pino Morroni in Detroit, America to weld the special lightweight titanium stem for Merckx's Hour Record bicycle.

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by Birillo

I have several memories of the 1988 World championship in Ronse. One was keeping very quiet at the finish lest some of the Belgian fans assumed I was Canadian . . .

Another was about half way through the race when my friend and I came across the pit stop as we walked the course. Life was a little more relaxed in those days, and we were allowed to pick up Laurent Fignon's spare bike. We looked at each other in puzzlement: the pros had the lightest and best of everything didn't they? We were agreed: his System U bike weighed a ton (well, 22 pounds at least). This compared with 19 pounds and a few ounces for my 6 speed TT bike. Now an extra chainring, front mech and down tube lever doesn't weigh 3 pounds, so what was going on? The only conclusion we could come to was that that either Fignon didn't care, or that he cared a great deal . . .

Since then, I've always assumed that pro bikes are as light as they need to be, but no lighter.

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by User Name

On the Merckx hour record bike, it's interesting that some of the minor details vary on different sources. :)
According to Bike Cult, Merckx used 200g Nisi rims (not Fiamme) and the frame was a combination of Reynolds and Columbus PL steel

http://www.bikecult.com/bikecultbook/sp ... sHour.html

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by bartali

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.

Vietto was riding an aluminium frame ... not steel. They had a lot of breakages with that frame.

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by 2 wheels

Regarding bicycle history.

Speedplay has an online BICYCLE PEDAL HISTORY MUSEUM with a time line starting all the way back in the 1860's:
Quill/Platform Pedal Gallery and Time Line: http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuse ... seum.quill
Toe Clips, Toe Straps and Shoe Cleats Gallery: http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuse ... eum.straps
Clipless Road Pedal Gallery and Time Line: http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuse ... m.clipless
MTB Specific Pedal Gallery and Time Line: http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuse ... museum.mtb

Lallement 1860's

The first bicycle pedal to receive a U.S. patent, invented by Pierre Lallement. Made of brass with a counterbalance weight to keep it upright. Rotated directly on the spindle.

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