> How many stone hits can the CF frame take? How long before the dirt/dust
> clogs that narrow 10 speed chain. What about being behind someone for a
> long distance throwing up all sorts of stuff into your fine ergo
> shifters. Perhaps I need to re-think my first impression. I guess we
> could ask some cyclecross folks these questions but not so sure they use
> the items that I just discussed for that type of racing.
Click through the pictures. Nearly every rider is on 9-speed or 10-speed, running integrated brake/shift levers. I agree that carbon fiber is not a material suited for longevity, but it would certainly stand up to a season or three of just about anything you could throw at a similar steel frame.
Not everything new is bad. Not everything old is good. I like the old stuff too. If given the option, I am sure Fausto would choose a bike from the modern peloton over his 1952 ride in a heartbeat.
I agree that the technology used by the top riders in 1952 was probably well-suited to the conditions they faced, but I doubt that modern technology is somehow inferior for those conditions. People still ride and race modern bikes through all sorts of difficult terrain and adverse conditions. I don't remember bike or component failure stopping any of the recent Paris Roubaix winners, although Museeuw's late flat (on sewups) this year was a heartbreaker. In almost all regards modern bike componentry is better than what was available in 1952, for any condition. It's OK to love the old stuff but keep some perspective on why things has changed.