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Stars and Watercarriers

A place to discuss all things related to current professional road races. Here, you can also touch on the latest news relating to professional road racing. A doping discussion free forum.

Stars and Watercarriers

30 Oct 2012 03:51

Watched Stars and Watercarriers for the first time and several things stand out (or seem to).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ0pUiTXV40&feature=youtu.be

* They pedaled at much lower cadences (as least up climbs). It almost looks painful up climbs. Lots of rocking the saddle. Gearing? Style of the day?
* Less leg extension than today. They all look like their saddles are too low (compared to today). True?
* Far lower seat posts than today. The riders could set get down in a decent position, but it's so different from today's positions.
richwagmn
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30 Oct 2012 04:19

richwagmn wrote:Watched Stars and Watercarriers for the first time and several things stand out (or seem to).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ0pUiTXV40&feature=youtu.be

* They pedaled at much lower cadences (as least up climbs). It almost looks painful up climbs. Lots of rocking the saddle. Gearing? Style of the day?
* Less leg extension than today. They all look like their saddles are too low (compared to today). True?
* Far lower seat posts than today. The riders could set get down in a decent position, but it's so different from today's positions.


The gearing was different. Even up to the early 90s (according to Robert Millar in an issue of Cycle Sport when he was editor), climbs were tackled with a 42x17 or 42x19, with the 21 or the 23 as the "bail out" gear. This invariably means they were powering up climbs, rather than using higher revs.

There is less leg extension, but with that they also had longer, flatter positions back then. This negated that dreadful hump that I think was popularised by Big Mig, Ullrich and Armstrong. Chris Boardman was the last rider (I recall) of the 90s who had a really flat, stretched out position (and not the superman position invented by Obree).
Mama mia, dove sono i farmacia!
User avatar For The World
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30 Oct 2012 12:18

For The World wrote:climbs were tackled with a 42x17 or 42x19, with the 21 or the 23 as the "bail out" gear.


Yeah I remember reading somewhere that the various team mechanics would argue with each other, often bragging that the 20's on their riders bikes were still clean (un-used) after stages.

Look at the way they lurched over the bars to reach the hoods too, it's very uncomfortable.
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30 Oct 2012 15:39

For The World wrote:The gearing was different. Even up to the early 90s (according to Robert Millar in an issue of Cycle Sport when he was editor), climbs were tackled with a 42x17 or 42x19, with the 21 or the 23 as the "bail out" gear. This invariably means they were powering up climbs, rather than using higher revs.

There is less leg extension, but with that they also had longer, flatter positions back then. This negated that dreadful hump that I think was popularised by Big Mig, Ullrich and Armstrong. Chris Boardman was the last rider (I recall) of the 90s who had a really flat, stretched out position (and not the superman position invented by Obree).


Can you imagine climbing a 20% hill on a 42x19??? Amazing.

So was it the advent of more gears that had riders start to use easier gears up climbs or just a change in what was most effective?
richwagmn
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31 Oct 2012 02:36

richwagmn wrote:So was it the advent of more gears that had riders start to use easier gears up climbs

There's two things going on with the progress in bike transmissions
-more cogs and indexed shifters
. Imho, you need both. Friction shifting 9 cogs would be fiddly.
-wider gear ranges using relatively short cages.

The difficulty of accomplishing both advances is enormous.
User avatar DirtyWorks
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31 Oct 2012 02:45

richwagmn wrote:* Far lower seat posts than today. The riders could set get down in a decent position, but it's so different from today's positions.


The seatpost is a relative thing. Pro frames were sold in 2cm increments. Giant and carbon molded frames hadn't yet forced the industry into 3 sizes.

I have a big problem with modern bars because I'm used to what you see in the video. Those big hooks give you many more choices.
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31 Oct 2012 08:39

it was an intimidation thing too, everybody rode corn cobs, if you looked down and saw a 21 or 23, you knew the guy was a Fred (and afraid)
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31 Oct 2012 12:02

richwagmn wrote:Can you imagine climbing a 20% hill on a 42x19??? Amazing.

So was it the advent of more gears that had riders start to use easier gears up climbs or just a change in what was most effective?


It was both - but primarily it was the ruling thought about what was "proper" and efficient position. If you remember that the "Fit Kit" didn't enter the market until the 80's, and fitting wasn't prominent until years later, it becomes clearer. Before that, fitting and efficiency were arguments of logic and personal preference. If you happened to be a big name rider or frame builder, your personal preference got more street cred. Logic by itself is always subject to sophist arguments - which easily lead you to chasing your tail.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against learning from experience. But when you have everybody claiming equal voice because of their experience, and that is all you go on, you're gonna be following a lot of bad judgement as well as good, and no way to know the difference. With the "Fit Kit", you started throwing science into the mix.

Also, if you were a racer, you were supposed to be a strong man, like cobblestoned said - and that corncob on the back was a source of pride. Triples and higher gears were available, although the derailleurs of the 50's and 60's, right into the '80's, for shifting those bigger gears were less "efficient" than the short throw derailleurs that the small cogs needed. Click-shifting started taking hold in the late 80's, and derailleur designs improved a good deal in that timeframe. The pros might have been using click-shifting on a broader basis earlier, but it wouldn't have been by much, and I don't think it happened that way. If anything, I think it was getting used more at the entry levels initially. Anybody can feel free to step in and correct me on that if you were there. I just remember the top local riders whom I rode against were somewhat scornful of click-shifting: "I don't want to tell everybody I'm shifting for a sprint!" etc etc yadayada.
It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. ~ John Locke
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31 Oct 2012 12:06

richwagmn wrote:Watched Stars and Watercarriers for the first time and several things stand out (or seem to).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ0pUiTXV40&feature=youtu.be

* They pedaled at much lower cadences (as least up climbs). It almost looks painful up climbs. Lots of rocking the saddle. Gearing? Style of the day?
* Less leg extension than today. They all look like their saddles are too low (compared to today). True?
* Far lower seat posts than today. The riders could set get down in a decent position, but it's so different from today's positions.


BTW - cool film, isn't it? Glad you got to watch it!
It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. ~ John Locke
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31 Oct 2012 15:23

hiero2 wrote:Triples and higher gears were available, although the derailleurs of the 50's and 60's, right into the '80's, for shifting those bigger gears were less "efficient" than the short throw derailleurs that the small cogs needed.


You are joining a few things together here that didn't really go together at the time.
At the time, there were 13-26 freewheels. The deal was that the shifting on such a wide block at the time was not great compared to a 13-24. Campag was the gold-medal standard in bike transmissions and Campag shifting wasn't very good at all. Trying to use a 26 only made matters worse.

Shifting just wasn't very good, so wide range gears were pretty much a non-starter in racing.

hiero2 wrote:Click-shifting started taking hold in the late 80's, and derailleur designs improved a good deal in that timeframe.

Again, two things happened simultaneously.
1. Shimano figured out index shifting.
2. Shimano's rear mech meaningfully improved shifting under all conditions.

Shortly after Shimano's solution, there were other index shifting solutions but none as good as Shimano's because Shimano figured out a better rear mech.

hiero2 wrote:The pros might have been using click-shifting on a broader basis earlier, but it wouldn't have been by much.


Because the Pro Peloton was still riding French and Italian transmissions. Meanwhile Shimano was innovating, not a big player at all in Pro bicycle stuff and stuck on the low-end of bike culture/industry. Index shifting and the mountain bike group changed that. Sometime after, they had the budget to spend on outfitting a Pro Team.

I haven't seen that movie since VHS days, but I recall it being well done and felt like the movie itself held up pretty well over time. Well told story, good editing, etc.
User avatar DirtyWorks
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31 Oct 2012 15:36

richwagmn wrote:* Less leg extension than today. They all look like their saddles are too low (compared to today). True?


Not based on my recollection. The seat relative to the crank is about the same. It's that the framesets were bigger and the geometry tended to be more relaxed which "lowers" your seat relative to modern geometry. The relaxed geometry is something missing in most modern bikes.

I don't think the debate over foot and hip position has faded one bit.
User avatar DirtyWorks
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03 Nov 2012 10:35

great thread!

dont wanna start another so:
what you think? why the gaps between the first places, is so small/minor nowdays
in former times gaps was massive or greater(talk about GTs)

my opinion:
- technial development
- medical and dietic development
- roads are better
- maybe race mentality changed

maybe all true, but what is the main reason?
iam very curious, what you said

thx

pls dont mention the exceptions (Aimar, Janssen etc)
User avatar Capablanca and me
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03 Nov 2012 11:43

Capablanca and me wrote:great thread!

dont wanna start another so:
what you think? why the gaps between the first places, is so small/minor nowdays
in former times gaps was massive or greater(talk about GTs)

my opinion:
- technial development
- medical and dietic development
- roads are better
- maybe race mentality changed

maybe all true, but what is the main reason?
iam very curious, what you said

thx

pls dont mention the exceptions (Aimar, Janssen etc)


Maybe the UCI points system makes people actually fight for top-10 places a lot more fiercely, thus bringing everyone closer together?
"...it would have been harder being at home and watching instead of riding here."
User avatar Cancellator
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03 Nov 2012 11:47

Stronger doms and more even abilities.
Cancellara is like The Black Album. Really good but way overrated.
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17 Nov 2012 00:39

1974 Giro was won with a 12 second difference, the second smallest margin in Giro history.
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
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17 Nov 2012 01:48

Capablanca and me wrote:dont wanna start another so:
what you think? why the gaps between the first places, is so small/minor nowdays
in former times gaps was massive or greater(talk about GTs)

my opinion:
- technial development
- medical and dietic development
- roads are better
- maybe race mentality changed

maybe all true, but what is the main reason?
iam very curious, what you said


There's a far greater strength in depth these days. Now you have Americans, Australians, Eastern Europeans, Colombians, Brits, Scandanavians etc..
Back in Merckx's day, even Hinault's, they were very rare. Even Germans were fairly rare.

For example, look at Sky's Tour winning team - British (including Kenyan), Norwegian, Austrian, Australian, German and Belarussian - these aren't 'traditional' cycling nationalities.

The strength of field back when Merckx was around was not dissimilar to women's cycling now.
Parker
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17 Nov 2012 04:04

I love the old documentaries. I have a neat little DVD collection of the following:

A Sunday in Hell
Stars and Watercarriers
The Impossible Hour
Le Course en Tete
The Greatest Show on Earth

Are there any others from this era? I would like to see movies like this about Bernard Hinault.
babastooey
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17 Nov 2012 13:11

Parker wrote:There's a far greater strength in depth these days. Now you have Americans, Australians, Eastern Europeans, Colombians, Brits, Scandanavians etc..
Back in Merckx's day, even Hinault's, they were very rare. Even Germans were fairly rare.

For example, look at Sky's Tour winning team - British (including Kenyan), Norwegian, Austrian, Australian, German and Belarussian - these aren't 'traditional' cycling nationalities.

The strength of field back when Merckx was around was not dissimilar to women's cycling now.


Actually, if you look at the Giro's field in the 70s you'll notice much more nationalities than in the last decade of Giro history!

Last 10 years it has been an Italian affair and that is only now changing. I don't count 2008 or 2011 because the only reason Contador did the Giro was because he wasn't invited to the Tour and because of his positive dope test in 2010.

Now you have Rodriguez, Wiggins and the likes going to the Giro though. In the 70s you had José Manuel Fuentes(one of the best climbers ever), Eddy Merckx(best cyclist ever), Freddy Maertens, Pollentier(Belgian rider, winner of the Giro, could've won the Tour if it wasn't for his famous little incident), Johan de Muynck(Belgian winner of the Giro d'Italia), José Pesarrodona Altimi(Spanish climber), Ole Ritter(Danish rider, holder of the hour record at one point), Francisco Galdos(Spanish), Gösta Pettersson(Swedish Giro winner), Vicente López Carril(Spanish rider), Felice Gimondi(Italian rider) and many more Italians of course.

Merckx has also ridden against the Soviet Russians in his career, and beat all of their best riders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Giro_d%27Italia

Only 2 Italian riders in the top ten of the Giro. The Giro was almost the equal of the Tour in that era... So that balances out the fact that cycling is more international now. Because the best riders of that time were riding the Giro... Unlike now.
Ryo Hazuki wrote:horrible. boonen just the same guy as years before and this course is too hard for him. that's why he rode like a coward there were at least 3 guys stronger than boonen today and none of them won: sagan, ballan, pozzato


The Hitch wrote:Goss will woop boonens candy a[color="Black"]ss[/color] in a sprint he cares about, any day of the week
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17 Nov 2012 16:12

Parker wrote:There's a far greater strength in depth these days. Now you have Americans, Australians, Eastern Europeans, Colombians, Brits, Scandanavians etc..
Back in Merckx's day, even Hinault's, they were very rare. Even Germans were fairly rare.

For example, look at Sky's Tour winning team - British (including Kenyan), Norwegian, Austrian, Australian, German and Belarussian - these aren't 'traditional' cycling nationalities.

The strength of field back when Merckx was around was not dissimilar to women's cycling now.


thank you, intresting viewpoint (and new for me)
and your last sentence is a very good example
User avatar Capablanca and me
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17 Nov 2012 16:25

Capablanca and me wrote:great thread!

dont wanna start another so:
what you think? why the gaps between the first places, is so small/minor nowdays
in former times gaps was massive or greater(talk about GTs)

my opinion:
- technial development
- medical and dietic development
- roads are better
- maybe race mentality changed

maybe all true, but what is the main reason?
iam very curious, what you said

thx

pls dont mention the exceptions (Aimar, Janssen etc)


real reason is shorter and less difficult stages and most of all globalisation of the sport
User avatar Ryo Hazuki
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