> I find it hard to believe that
> these guys don't know how to wield a wrench,
> sufficiently to keep things gear-quiet.
Training with those guys must be a unique experience.
I really do think that the biggest problem with new equipment (indexing onward) is that it is hard for most people to properly set up. Back in the NR/SR era, your average Joe could build his own bike, once the HS and BB were in and the wheels were built. In fact, given the tools, he could do those jobs, though not always correctly. So this average Joe gets his bike built up and the derailleur hanger isn't perfectly aligned, a couple of cables have small kinks, the housings aren't really the right length and have a couple burrs. Maybe he used the pre-CPSC spindle with the post-CPSC crank, maybe the hub spacing is incorrect, maybe the spoke tension is a bit low and uneven. Maybe the shifter bosses aren't tapped quite deep enough and, God forbid, he's using a Suntour shifter with his Campy NR rear. The end result? The bike is a touch noisier than it should be, doesn't shift as smoothly as it could, there's a bit of ft. der rub or arm strike, the wheels go out of true every once in a while and the shifter slips and has an oddly short stroke. Basically he's done everything wrong but the bike still works passibly. Make the same (or analogous) mistakes with a modern bike and it will barely go down the road. Yet these are all common set-up blunders for an average amateur mechanic. In the end, it has always taken a skilled mechanic to optomize the funtion of a good race bike, it's just that today things must be optimal in order for things to work at all.
So, no, the new stuff isn't intrinsically noisy and crunchy, it is just a lot more demanding of setup.
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