A Retro Road bike with that can keep up with the modern bikes - advice please ?

taken4aride

Dirt Disciple
Can anyone recommend me a good retro / classic road bike which acts as a fast comfortable tourer on the road - rather than paying for a modern equivalent?

I could pay for a modern bike - but they don't seem to have the 'character' of older bikes - as long as the old bikes are not compromised too much compared to their modern counterparts.
 

widowmaker

Gold Trader
Roberts Fan
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I have a small resume when it comes to Retro Road bikes, my current is a Roberts in 531 steel (prior to that a 531c Raleigh) but ridden them for many, many years. The Roberts feels alive, not a great deal heavier than newer entry/mid level bikes and so very comfortable. They also have character, and I am not against anyone who rides modern. I like the fact that us retro people are different. At recent charity rides I get lots of compliments on the Roberts.

You can have the best of both worlds, old frame - newer components if you choose to.

I have almost pulled to trigger on a New Aluminium but just didn't feel any love for them.
 

taken4aride

Dirt Disciple
I have a small resume when it comes to Retro Road bikes, my current is a Roberts in 531 steel (prior to that a 531c Raleigh) but ridden them for many, many years. The Roberts feels alive, not a great deal heavier than newer entry/mid level bikes and so very comfortable. They also have character, and I am not against anyone who rides modern. I like the fact that us retro people are different. At recent charity rides I get lots of compliments on the Roberts.

You can have the best of both worlds, old frame - newer components if you choose to.

I have almost pulled to trigger on a New Aluminium but just didn't feel any love for them.
Thanks that sound like one good example.
 

KermitGKona88

Gold Trader
Overbury's Fan
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Depending on your tastes really any quality steel frame Reynolds 531c, 653, Colombus SL, SLX best to look for 130 O.L.D. on the rear as this will fit upto 10 speed. There are usually plenty on Ebay or a few on here, you can find some decent used parts you just need to be patient, also you could put a wanted ad out too.
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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Agreed.
One huge factor is tyres. Last year, I had two road bikes: a 1994 Litespeed Catalyst and a 1979 Witcomb in 531C.
The Witcomb is about 1.5kg heavier, has mudguards and lots of space around the wheels as it was designed for 27" (now running 700C).

Swapping to Conti GP5000 28C on the Witcomb made it faster over mixed Dorset country than the Litespeed, which can only take 23C. It's also a far more versatile bike than the Litespeed, which I had enjoyed for 20 years - as a result I decided to sell it. OK, I'm no athlete and the speed we are talking about is 16mph average.

So keep tyres very much at the front of your considerations, modern tyres can make a massive difference.
 

pigman

Old School Grand Master
Agree with hamster, don't under rate the tyre effect. But I'd also add wheels. Something like a good pair of aksiums/entry level ksyriums are both light and bomb proof, although they may not have the looks you are after. I'd avoid carbon rims because of the compromised braking and I'd avoid the real entry level offerings from Shimano and campag. Their weight isn't far off a traditional spoked wheel
 

badgermat

Dirt Disciple
Depends how authentic you want the bike to be. You could try something new but classic like the Condor Classico (lugged steel, classic-style frame with modern components) or Light Blue St Johns (new but built to Eroica rules), both of which are reasonably light (10kg-ish).

Oh and the tyre comment above is bang on. Putting decent, modern tyres on my gaspipe Falcon has made a massive difference to rideability. The next best change has been modern-ish dual-pivot brakes. The only thing that really stops me from taking this on my regular bunch ride is that it's currently set up as a single-speed.

bm
 

mikelowndes

Retro Newbie
My experience after riding a recent 'vintage' build, a gas pipe at 11.3 kg (my gas pipe frame/forks being approx 1 whole kilo heavier than my 531/631 - not much is it?): they are slower to accellerate, and braking time increases somewhat. You change gear less (mine's slightly cheating at 7 speed), and you'll compromise on cadence against a 10-12 speed. Overall I am about 2 kph down over 100k vs modern carbon for the same perceived effort. In a bunch you'll have to push harder on the corners and to get up to cruising speed.

If you wrap an old frame in a modern drivetrain, bars and seat a lot of these differences will go away.

Having said that, you glide over surfaces. Once up to speed its a beautiful feeling. You don't feel the speed as much because road buzz just goes away. I looked down to my Garmin to see that I was doing 43kph on the flat/slight decline. I had no idea!

I will be changing just one thing on the vintage build for longer term use. Clips are just too much faff, and nowhere near as efficient as clipless. I'll be adding some good old SPDs and hope no one gets too pedantic on me.
 

Fifthgrace

Retro Guru
Columbus steel lugged EL OS frame with groupset of your choice plus Open Pro wheels by a good builder. Retro as you wish to make it, light, comfortable, and plenty quick enough.
 
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