Old 08-08-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dugla View Post

I am trying to get a definitive, fact based answer to the question: what makes a modern steel frame road bike faster than my vintage - 20 years old - custom steel frame?

Some context. I ride a lovely custom frame built by Dave Moulton called a Fuso. Fits me like a glove. Itís old. How old? 7-speeds old. A few years ago a buddy of mine upgraded my shifters to entry-level Shimano brake/shifters. I recently had a new rear wheel built with a Shimano 105 hub, Mavic rim, and 11-28 cassette. I have Shimano Claris compact cranks: 50/34.

I am fit and - due to limited time - ride hills for about an hour every other day during the week. On weekends I do a longer (32mi.) ride. I occasionally try riding with a local group ride but I am routinely dropped early in the ride. Average pace is about 17mph. It drives me nuts! The other riders are not exactly studs and do not look super fit. What I do notice is everyone is on a modern bike. Carbon mostly. Some titanium. Some steel.

Is it time for me to join the modern world? I love steel. I love custom. Should I just bite to bullet and get a modern custom steel frame (Independent Fabrication looks cool)? What is the true speed advantage of these modern bikes?

I too have a Fuso made in '85. The first time I rode it I was surprised to see how well it rode and handled. You'd be hard pressed to find a better steel frame as Dave was a master builder and at 83 years old still rides. As someone else pointed out, your bike isn't the problem_ you just don't ride enough miles at this point. I did build mine with modern Athena 11 speed (with downtube shifters though) since I bought the bare frame and I like smaller jumps between gears.
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