Re: [CR]1983 and all that

Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme

Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2003 16:21:17 -0400
From: Mara & Steven Maasland <>
Subject: Re: [CR]1983 and all that

Kris wrote:
> Regarding your 1983 question; the list-keeper bumps the limit
> every year to keep
> it 20 years back, but there were some interesting forces at that time:
> --The Vitus 979, introduced in 1979, was gaining prominence to
> become the first
> aluminum bike accepted in large numbers into the peleoton;
> --Assos introduced lycra in 1979, and by the early eighties it was
> everywhere;
> --Shimano's "New DuraAce" was introduced in 1985, if memory
> serves, ending the
> Campy NR/SR reign and popularlizing indexed shifting;
> --Aero brake levers were popularized by Alexi Grewal in 1984; in
> fact, a whole
> aero mini-revolution occurred around then;
> --Time trial "funny bikes" and "cowhorn bars", corallaries of the
> aero fad, are
> introduced;
> --Alexi's bike also popularized the "fade" paint job, which one
> could fairly
> consider the bicycle mullet;
> --Look's Clipless pedals were introduced in 1985;
> --Mountain bikes were ascendent, bringing with them tig welding,
> "oversize"everything, and a downhome-punk aesthetic;
> --Specialized introduced the Turbo line of tires, and Mavic the GP4
> high-performance clincher rim, offering an alternative to sewups.
> These aren't all bad trends, but did in aggregate spell the end of
> one era and
> the beginning of another.

Kris, I respectfully submit that you are quite a bit off with most of the trends that you describe.

- Alan was already long established and widely used for cyclo-cross prior to the introduction of the Vitus frames. The Alan frames had also successfully been used for road racing too, so the first widely accepted aluminum bike in the peloton would need to be the Alan. - Assos was to the best of my knowledge not the first to make cycling 'skinsuits' out of lycra. Perhaps they were the first to promote them in the US market specifically for cycling, but they had been used since the mid-70's in numerous other sport disciplines (swimming, skiing...) - Prior to the entry of New Dura-Ace in the pro peloton, the original Dura-Ace was already present, as was the Mavic group. To the best of my knowledge, the initial New Dura-Ace was made with a friction option on the shift levers specifically to answer the worries of the pros. Besides, by that time, NR and SR were already deemed by Campagnolo to be near their end with work already underway on the C-Record group. - I was never aware that Alexi Grewal had any impact whatsoever regarding aero brake levers. Much more impactful in my eyes were the weight weenie Modolo Kronos and Orion levers. Besides, as has already been described on the list in the past, many of us had previously jury- rigged SR and NR levers, as well as those of other brands for use with aero routing. It wasn't overly complex to achieve. - The huge upsurge in interest in time trials was I believe largely due to the introduction of triathlons. Triathlons created the first significant market for bikes specifically designed for time trialling. Prior to the advent of triathlons, it was exceedingly rare that anybody other than the very elite of the sport would have anything more than one single bike. This was especially true for sportif riders. With time trialling become a reasonably widespread sport, free of UCI rules, came many 'improvements' such as the bullhorn... - Fade paint jobs have been around a long time and well before Alexi Grewal. The sole difference being that Grewal accepted to use colours that would previously have been considered gauche. It was a real 'in your face' colour scheme that matched the whole political and economic attitudes of the decade. Do you remember the pink Merciers or even the 'celeste' Bianchis? Neither was ever considered to be terribly in keeping with the toughness of the sport of cycling. (I must admit to however liking celeste, fades and even the Mercier pink) - Look pedals were merely an improvement of the Cinelli and other such pedals that came out previously. Like time trial bikes, Look pedals were successful because they arrived at a time when many people began to have specialized bikes for special uses and there was therefore a significant market outlet for them. People call the Cinelli pedals widow-makers, but they were never that bad. The biggest problem described by most was the difficulty keeping the shoe plates nailed on. Look initially worked this problem out with screws for installation inside the shoes and then later inserted into the soles. - I won't go into mountain bikes as a topic. Others can open that can of worms. - Mavic GP4 are strictly tubular rims. They were never made as clinchers. The clincher 'version' was called G40, however this was nothing more than an anodized version of their module 'e' that came out in the 70's. In my eyes, the module 'E' can be considered quite revolutionary, but not the G40, except for cosmetics. The Specialized tires were also not the true innovators in that Michelin had already come out with the narrow, high pressure and folding tires previously. The real key to Specialized was that they were among the first in the US to be able to spread good quality components to all corners of the country. Ask anybody in Europe or people living in the more sophisticated major American cycling cities and you will find that competing products had long been available.

Sorry to be so critical about your post, but I do feel that we owe it to everybody to once again show that there isn't very much truly new stuff being brought out. Most ideas are simply reworkings and improvements on past ideas.

Steven Maasland
Moorestown, NJ